Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mama Mia, That's Good Stuff!

I’ve decided to expand my personal bluegrass journey a little beyond the usual borders, and I'm hoping you'll come along.

As often as my own dreams take me to the muddy backwaters and high lonesome hills, where I long to live and breathe the music, the truth is, bluegrass is as international a musical language as any other. And like other forms of folk music, it has fans, and practitioners, around the world.

A few years back, while sitting around waiting for a shower at Grey Fox, we were joined by a group of teens from Eastern Europe. It took me a few minutes to realize that these young men were representing a country that probably had pretty slim pickins when it comes to choices about music and possibly a lot of other things, and yet, here they were, traveling half way around the world to immerse themselves in good old American bluegrass.

Now, almost certain to be a novelty in their homeland, this group of young musicians may have been urged to view bluegrass as their ticket to something better, the way the Olympics might be to a young skater or the Van Cliburn competition to a young pianist. But they picked bluegrass, likely for the same reasons other European musicians find it so exciting -- its virtuosity, speed, and harmonies.

It wasn’t until I sat there in the late afternoon sun, my little baggie of hygenics in hand, listening in as they talked excitedly in their own language peppered with names of bands coming up that evening, that I realized the reach of bluegrass music. I had been naïve to think of it otherwise as America's best kept secret.

We’re going to start our European tour in Italy, home to a number of fine bluegrass bands over the years (some readers may be familiar with the group Red Wine). Here’s a band simply called Bluegrass Stuff, with their rendition of "Bluegrass Breakdown." Time for another glass of vino and to hit the strings. Ciao e buon notte!


At March 01, 2006 10:15 PM, Blogger Darkneuro said...

Musica bella! *giggle*

At March 02, 2006 8:01 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Oh man, Neuro! You wouldn't believe the email I found waiting for me at work from the EBMA -- I just asked if and how I could become a member and they sent me like, a love letter! LOL! Europeans just LOVE bluegrass and they LOVE US for it! It's wonderful! Now I'M giggling!

Hey, happy 30 days!


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