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Dec 4, 2022 - 8:49:46 AM

MitchPicks

Ireland

24 posts since 10/8/2021

Does anyone else live outside of the states and feel a bit lonely in their hobby? I have friends here I sometimes jam with (it is always great fun) but most people here in Ireland don’t know what bluegrass is, let alone know how to play any bluegrass songs. I get it, because up until a couple years ago I wouldn’t have known much about it either, but it is frustrating seeing how accessible everything looks in the US! Music stores that actually stock banjos and banjo accessories, festivals and jam sessions everywhere, etc.

I’m actually from Canada originally, so I did grow up seeing tv commercials for US-exclusive things, but still!

Just curious if anyone else has felt that similar disconnect living overseas.

Dec 4, 2022 - 9:03:02 AM

HSmith

UK

491 posts since 12/30/2005

Hi Mitch
I can certainly sympathise! I've loved and played bluegrass for more than 50 years here in the south of England, and for much of that time I've been virtually without people to play the music with. I've been lucky to have had several years in a great band, unlucky to have had some time with less capable and committed musicians, but for much of the time it's just me, the banjo and recordings. These days there's a much greater awareness of and interest in bluegrass over here, but I know of no proficient and committed musicians in my local area. Have you checked out the BBMA website and Sore Fingers Summer School. You could probably establish some good contacts through them.

Dec 4, 2022 - 10:09:20 AM

leehar

USA

190 posts since 2/18/2018

Funny, I was in Kenmare, County Kerry in 2015. I peaked in a music shop and saw at least 6 banjos hanging on the wall. Several of them appeared to be 5 strings. I wish I had found out more about the store and the neighborhood. Would have been fun to pick a few bluegrass tunes with some Irish musicians. A good friend of mine took his mandolin to Ireland back in about 1980 hoping to pick some Irish tunes in the pubs. The people there wanted to hear him play some bluegrass!

Dec 4, 2022 - 10:21:19 AM

leehar

USA

190 posts since 2/18/2018

I googled music stores in Kenmare. I believe the store was Soundz of Muzic on Henry Street.

Dec 4, 2022 - 10:23:12 AM

MitchPicks

Ireland

24 posts since 10/8/2021

Thanks Harry! I hadn’t seen those resources before as I hadn’t really thought to look at UK sites for some reason.

I think I might even start planning ahead and look into some festivals for next year. There are a couple here in Ireland but sadly they’re pretty rural and far from me. It might actually be easier to get a flight to another nearby country to find something.

Thanks again, I’m looking forward to having a good look at BBMA and Sore Fingers :)


Lee, that does give me hope. I know there are people around who like the music, it’s just hard to find them. I went to a local music shop last year to see if they had nylon strings for an open back banjo I had. They had 5 string banjos for sale as well, but they had never heard of clawhammer and actually told me I should “go do some research and come back” because nylon strings don’t go on banjos. Admittedly, that left me a bit bitter, and I know this isn’t all music stores over here.

In fact, I bought my banjo from Moloney Music up in Galway and I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Kieran.

Maybe I just need to go to the pubs more!

Dec 4, 2022 - 10:24:49 AM

MitchPicks

Ireland

24 posts since 10/8/2021

Thanks for that Music Store name by the way. It’s always good to have another local place to shop, and I haven’t seen this one from any Google searches.

Dec 4, 2022 - 10:41:39 AM

4 posts since 1/16/2021

I'd like to take the opportunity to shout out one of the greatest bluegrass ambassadors out there-- Paul Trenwith, New Zealander and host of 'Backyard Bluegrass' podcast. It's a great show!

Dec 4, 2022 - 4:05:46 PM

chuckv97

Canada

67786 posts since 10/5/2013

Canada being next door to the U.S. has umpteen bluegrass festivals, weekly jams, radio broadcasts, and albums by proficient bluegrass groups. (but I’ve yet to learn the iconic Canadian fiddle tune “Maple Sugar” on the ol’5,,, maybe this year….)

Dec 4, 2022 - 4:20:01 PM
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MitchPicks

Ireland

24 posts since 10/8/2021

Rick, I don’t listen to enough podcasts and I’ve been looking for something for my commute. I’ll have to check that out!

Chuck, that’s such a classic song I’ve been meaning to learn as well. I was doing Tony Trischka’s ArtistWorks course for a little while and he helped me figure out how to get started with it, but I haven’t gotten around to arranging it properly. My grandma played piano in an old time banjo and this song was a favourite of ours, so it’s pretty sentimental; it might even be what led me to bluegrass eventually.

I’ll be moving back to Canada in a few years so I’m glad to hear there’s a bluegrass scene!

Dec 4, 2022 - 7:43:21 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

11671 posts since 6/29/2003

quote:
Originally posted by RickJWagner

I'd like to take the opportunity to shout out one of the greatest bluegrass ambassadors out there-- Paul Trenwith, New Zealander and host of 'Backyard Bluegrass' podcast. It's a great show!


Nice to hear Paul's name mentioned. Have been a great friend for years. You don't get to pick BG in NZ without hearing about him. 

Dec 5, 2022 - 2:06:41 AM

552 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by MitchPicks

Does anyone else live outside of the states and feel a bit lonely in their hobby? I have friends here I sometimes jam with (it is always great fun) but most people here in Ireland don’t know what bluegrass is, let alone know how to play any bluegrass songs. I get it, because up until a couple years ago I wouldn’t have known much about it either, but it is frustrating seeing how accessible everything looks in the US! Music stores that actually stock banjos and banjo accessories, festivals and jam sessions everywhere, etc.

I’m actually from Canada originally, so I did grow up seeing tv commercials for US-exclusive things, but still!

Just curious if anyone else has felt that similar disconnect living overseas.


Hi Mitch.

There is a Bluegrass Community in Ireland you just gotta know where to look. Many of the Irish Folk Musicians will also play crossover bluegrass. Just ask around. 

https://bluegrassireland.blogspot.com/

http://www.westportfolkbluegrass.com/

https://www.facebook.com/events/3278161945799351/3278161949132684/?active_tab=about

https://longwayhomeduo.com/

https://www.corkfolkfestival.com/

Dec 6, 2022 - 10:00:35 PM

Bart Veerman

Canada

5360 posts since 1/5/2005

quote:
Originally posted by MitchPicks


I’ll be moving back to Canada in a few years so I’m glad to hear there’s a bluegrass scene!


 

Yup, there is a "scene" but it's small and hard to find, kinda under ground... Keep your eyes on this group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/166127452746

Perhaps Chuck has additional info/suggestions.

Dec 7, 2022 - 3:22:09 AM

phb

Germany

3680 posts since 11/8/2010

It took me years to make contact with the German bluegrass scene. Now that I have it, I meet a lot of people from around the country and get to make even more new bluegrass acquaintances through the people I already know. Don't give up! Bluegrass festivals, workshops, jams and concerts are the best places to meet people. There surely are some within travel distance.

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