Greetings from Gainesville, Florida. It is has been a long time since I have written, so here’s an update of recent happenings.
First and foremost I am blessed with a happy, healthy family.
This past summer I had an opportunity to teach banjo at the Mars Hill College Blue Ridge Old-Time Week. My old pal, Hilarie Burhans and I taught advanced clawhammer together. We had a crew of talented, friendly students to share music with. It was big fun. I conducted an akonting workshop, where I met Andrew Hensley and Emily Poole, fine musicians from the UK, and as it turns out, editors for the British publication Old-Time News. I am proud that they chose to interview me, and to review Banjourneys.
We were also delighted to host Jola akonting/banjo scholar Daniel Laemouahuma Jatta, in Gainesville, while He attended the Arts in Medicine Summer Intensive at the University of Florida.. We had a grand time with Laemouahuma. During his visit, Greg Allen stopped in to interview him for National Public Radio. Laemou, Scoot Anderson and I presented and banjo/akonting lecture and demonstration. Laemou and I visited the Staleys in Micanopy for music and to swap tales. Laemou really enjoyed North Central Florida, in part because it reminded him of The Gambia.
In September, Jim Strickland and I directed the Stephen Foster Old-Time Music Weekend. Our Special guests were Art Rosenbaum, Beverly Smith, and Erica Weiss, along with Chuck Anton and me as instructors, and Kerry Blech and Jane and Gordon Scott as Florida Masters (Jim did some teaching too). It was an old-time music lover’s dream, filled with great music, and good fellowship. You can find videos of the concerts and www.youtube.com/banjochuck although you may have to dig a little.
In December, Bob Carlin stopped by and presented banjo workshops to enthusiastic students with his usual flare. In January, we hosted Moonshine Holler (Paula Bradley and Bill DIllof) and Jeni and Billy in separate house concerts. I joined Paula and Bill on the banjo for John Lover’s Gone, (one of my favorite tunes)and on Chicken Ridge, Cecil Robert’s Hand, and The Robin and the Banjo with Jeni and Billy. With J. and B, I played the cello banjo, which I thought filled in nicely under Billy’s banjo playing.. Paula, Bill, and I played as the Polliwanna Crackers (Susan Trammel was unavailable) for the Melrose dance with Susie Rudder calling. Toes were tapping, heels were flying, partners were swung. The house rocked!
Right now, Ken Perlman and are gearing up for what promises to be a terrific Suwannee Banjo Camp, March 15-18. Our line up includes: Ken and I, as well as, Scott Anderson, Alan Munde, Janet Davis, Tony Trischka, James McKinney, Paul Brown, Brad Leftwich, Mark Johnson, Kathy Barton Para, Mac Benford, Greg Adams, and Erynn Marshall www.suwanneeebanjocamp I am also happy to announce that the Ferrets of the Mall (Aisha Ivey, Aaron O’Rourke, and Chuck Levy) have some appearances in the next couple of months.
In the coming weeks, I hope to be able to announce the Ferrets dates, and report on our faculty for the Stephen Foster Old-Time Weekend,.
Well that is it for me. What is happening in your world? Drop me a line. I would love to hear from you.