September 07, 2007

NYC readers, this looks like a great weekend of old time music, plus some opportunities to pick some tunes.

I have put in bold things I don't think you should miss, just my 2 cents

[there are some question marks thoughout this, I don't know why, I lifted it off of a banjo listserv.

Yes, I am on a banjo listserv]

10th Annual Park Slope
Old-Time & Bluegrass Jamboree

September 14-15, 2007

At the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture meeting house and gardens
53 Prospect Park West at 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY
718-768-2972 / 718-788-2048 / 718-965-8490

Friday, Sept 14, 8pm-10pm - $10 adults, $6 kids

James Reams & The Barnstormers
Bluegrass Unlimited magazine writes: ??delightfully unadorned 1950s-style bluegrass that draws heavily on, yet doesn?t mimic, the best-loved bands of that era.? Sing Out magazine: ??tight instrumental excellence and hard-edged vocals ?uncompromising, hard-core bluegrass?? For more information, visit

Saturday, Sept 15, 12:30pm-10:30 pm - $4 (that?s right, four dollars for all day)

12:30 - 1:40 ? Workshops - 1st session
Meet the Banjo (Clawhammer) ? Mike Cala & Pat Conte
Ragtime Guitar ? David Laibman
Fiddle ? Rafe Stefanini
Harmonica ? Trip Henderson

1:50 - 3:00 ? Workshops - 2nd session
Fiddle ? Bill Christophersen
Clogging / Appalachian-style Percussive Dance ? Mary Beth Yakoubian
Mountain Harmony Singing ? Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz
Mandolin ? Mark Farrell & Bob Green

12:30 - 6:00 (and beyond) ? Jamming

3:15 - 5:15 ? Special Presentations

Old-Time/Bluegrass Film Festival
Early bluegrass video footage, with local film/video curator Russell Scholl (55 min.)
Highlights of more than six decades of bluegrass and old-time music on film, including rare musical short subjects, television and film appearances. Bring the family to enjoy songs of laughter and pain, drinkin' and cheatin', true love, heartache, moonshine and murder ? as well as songs in praise of God, mother and home.
Short films on Lillie Mae Ledford (29 min.) and Morgan Sexton (28 min.), with Chad Hunter, archivist for Appalshop Archive
Lily May Ledford ? the original "banjo-pickin' girl" ? led the Coon Creek Girls, the first all-woman stringband on radio. The program intercuts interviews with Lily May, footage of her performing and comments from scholars and musician friends on the conflict between personal and professional fulfillment that existed throughout her career, her struggle for autonomy in the music business, and the role she played in the "commercialization" of mountain folk culture. Eastern Kentucky's Morgan Sexton cut his first banjo out of the bottom of a lard bucket, and some 70 years later won the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Award for his "amazingly pure and unaffected singing and playing style." In this program, the 80-year-old Sexton shares his life and music.

Slow Jam, with facilitator Bob Green
You?ve got your instrument. You?ve attended the workshops. Put it all together in a non-intimidating environment ? jamming with other musicians who are looking forward to playing music with you.

Music on the Internet, with RAM Radio?s Pam McCluskey
An informal discussion about the future of the music business.

5:00 - 6:00 ? What?s for Dinner, Grandpa? (Vittles in the sunroom)

6:00 - 10:30 ? Concerts (note: order of performances subject to change)

6:00-6:40 Rafe and Clelia Stefanini: Rafe Stefanini?s playing on the fiddle, banjo and guitar has been celebrated for almost three decades. He has been part of some of the best bands on the old-time music scene and is currently performing solo. He is joined here by his 17-year-old daughter Clelia, who is a fledgling fiddler and guitar player with skills far ahead of her age. Together they appear on Rafe's latest recording for County Records, Ladies Fancy. (

6:45-7:25 Blast from the Pasture plays old-time and early bluegrass and includes Dave Howard on guitar, Bill Christophersen on fiddle, David Kiphuth on banjo, Phil Zimmerman on mandolin and Frank Stettner on bass (with vocals from all).?The band members are life-long friends going back as far as 1964, and both their love of traditional Appalachian mountain music, including bluegrass, and their great rapport make for a wonderfully entertaining experience.

7:30-7:45 Presentation of Brown Jug (sponsored by The Clay Pot), presented each year to a person who has made a significant and continuing contribution to old-time and/or bluegrass music in the Northeast.

7:50-8:30 American Flyer: Bill Christophersen, Gene Yellin, Deb Griner, Phil Zimmerman, Ben Freed and Ethan Kende play a brand of bluegrass that derives from the 1950s-era sounds of the Stanley Brothers and Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys.

8:35-9:35 Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz: The distinctive southern mountain singing of Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz ( has a spellbinding effect as they wrap their songs in stories that make places and people very real and precious. The Smithsonian Institution has described Ginny's singing as "seeming to distill the experiences of the southern Appalachians." Tracy has been three times nominated for a Grammy. "Their music calls to mind the purity of early country music, before commercialization set in."?Chicago Tribune

9:40-10:20 Lightning in the East is a powerful string band that puts an exciting spin on traditional Southern Appalachian music, featuring red-hot, driving fiddle tunes that make the body dance and soulful songs that move the spirit too. John Hoffmann (fiddle, banjo), Erica Weiss (guitar, vocals), Steve Arkin (banjo).

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