Posted by Enviroguy on Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I guess that I've enjoyed playing banjo with a competent fiddler as much as I enjoy doing tunes with great bluegrass harmonies. Both require skill and knowledge and take years and years to master.
I've been lucky in that I have some great friends who have helped promote my knowledge of both these areas. My banjo mentor, Chris Quinn once mentioned to me that he recommends all serious banjo students get a fiddler to play with them as much as possible.
With these thoughts in mind, I posed the question to Chris Quinn a while back about the possibility of holding a workshop on banjo-fiddle duets, with the emphasis being on instruction to banjo players on the banjo role. He thought this was a fine idea and subsequently I've been going through the banjohangout members list looking for members in the Toronto vicinity who might be interested in participating in such a workshop.
We now have confirmed a date for the workshop, November 21st from noon to 3 pm. It's going to be an interesting, fun and educational session, with fiddle great John Showman holding up the fiddle end of the equation. John and Chris will demonstrate the banjo-fiddle duo style by performing, then, deconstructing various songs and tunes; Chris will focus on rolling back-up, vamping, licks, moving bass lines, chord voicings; down-the neck, up-the-neck, rhythm, repertoire, etc. etc.
So far, I'm delighted with the response from the BHO members - we're about half full as of October 20th, and have a great venue for the workshop. Happily, Toronto's own Foggy Hogtown Boys BG band, of which John and Chris are members, will be playing not too far from the workshop location afterwards, so beers and bluegrass following the class can round out the day for anybody so interested.
The interplay between the fiddle and banjo strike a happy nerve for players of those two instruments, and take us back to a time when a band consisted of those two instruments and were all you needed for a great kneeslappin' toe-tappin' dance.
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