Monday, June 19, 2006

There's Only One Word for 'Bluegrass'

About two months ago, I got my first issue of Bluegrass Europe. I had just basked in my son's success with a long-suffering school project and came home to find the magazine in my mail box. I decided it was the perfect way to relax. So, I put on my jammies, poured myself a nice glass of wine, removed the wrapper with great anticipation, and quickly discerned that the contents of this membership magazine of the EUROPEAN Bluegrass Music Association were not all in English.


The charm and charisma of EBMA's enthusiastic treasurer Angelika Torrie and her comrades, who encouraged me to pay my dues in person by stopping over for coffee (bluegrass people are just so bluegrassy everywhere!), won me over to my intention, that is to support bluegrass around the world. Nonetheless it was a pretty funny MandoMama moment. Sort of like the time I was riding along I-75 outside Louisville and looking up, said to my ex-husband, who was driving us to Nashville, "Boy, there sure are a lot of horses in Kentucky."

This past weekend, while Twinsburg endured a nearly five-hour power outtage, I took the opportunity to catch up on my reading to keep my mind off the potential for having to replace all the food in my fridge. I picked up the latest editon of Bluegrass Europe and actually began reading some of the articles. I was struck by the fact that there are some words than just don't translate. Granted, they are considered musical styles, but I thought it kind of interesting that "bluegrass" is the same in any language. Here are a sample of some of the other terms that were untranslated into Dutch or German:

  • brother duets
  • folky songs
  • liner notes
  • country-rock
  • folk music scene
  • lead vocal (kind of an odd one, really)
  • hometown song
  • string band
  • gospel
  • old-timey

Seeing that helped me to remember that I share a connection and a love of some very special and wonderful music and traditions with bluegrass fans and supporters all over the world. It really is a small world, after all.


At June 27, 2006 11:01 PM, Blogger fungoir said...

Damn tootin about that, no word for brother duets? My banjoi teacher would be shattered to hear this. I will have to get him to write to the magazine and make up a word for it. And I also have to say I admire your bluegrass passion

At June 28, 2006 6:56 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

It is pretty odd, Fungoir. I have to say, it made me laugh out loud to read through copy in Dutch or German (there are three magazines in one, all different, in Dutch, German, and English -- now THAT'S collaboration!) and see the occasional bluegrass word blurt itself out. Kind of like a form of Folk Tourette's or something.

Thanks for stopping by, and please come back! What are your favorite tunes to play? I do love the banjo but am still not sure if I'm smart or strong enough to play it. Bluegrass banjos are so darn heavy!


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