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The Last Night at Gooik

There’s some pretty incredible stuff going on with the folk music scene in Belgium.  I was just teaching at a week-long festival in Gooik, a small village that gets completely overrun with folk musicians… All day long there are classes for all the different instruments: fiddle, bagpipe, accordion, guitar, hammered dulcimer (that’s me!), percussion, hurdy gurdy.  And then at night, after the evening concert, everyone fills the dance hall and dances into the morning.  On the last night of the festival, the youth take over, and keep it going literally until breakfast.  I loved how the kids mimicked their teachers, as the two boys in this clip are playing the role of ensemble leader, just like the ensemble class they had been in all week.  I also love how these young musicians are thinking about arrangement and changes in energy to keep the dancing going.  The melodies are simple and fun, but how much fun is determined by the group.  I think it’s safe to say they’re generating an ample amount of fun here!

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Well if you’re going to have a city-themed song stuck in your head all the time, I suppose this is the one to have.  I can’t help it!  There’s a neon sign I see from my porch that says “Choo Choo”— (or sometimes just “oo Choo”, or sometimes “Choo Ch”, or sometimes “h Choo”)…. And there’s just something so inviting about that little chromatic walkup on the words, “Pardon me boys,” that gets the tune going in my head before I have a chance to stop it.  I’ve heard Glenn Miller’s rendition, of course, but I’ve never seen this little production before today.  How awesome is this?!!  And how about that slippery dance floor routine at the end?  Wonderful stuff.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re a really cool person and if you ever find yourself going to visit (or stay at) the Choo Choo, drop me an email, because I really do live four blocks from there, and I really would meet you for a beer or a walk around town.

Mountain Music Folk School

This is an exciting day!  I am announcing the opening of the Mountain Music Folk School, co-founded by myself, Matt Evans, and Steve Daugherty.  And in the spirit of all things nifty and new, I’ve changed the look of my own blog–And yes, I will continue to post clips from my musical adventures on this blog, but keep an eye on the Mountain Music Folk School blog as well, because there’s going to be a lot of activity there!  All of the teachers are blog contributors, so there will be a variety of stories, videos, and photos coming soon.

There’s a great video there now of Casey, Matt, and myself playing “Cockeyed Hen”, an original by Casey Phillips.

Last weekend’s contradance

Here’s Butch and me playing at the Chattanooga Area Contradance last weekend… Fun as ever. The first tune is “A Roof for the Rain” by our friend, Ken Kolodner. Then we take it into Bill Cheatham, which didn’t work out to be the slickest transition ever, but we didn’t end up with a pile of dancers on the floor either, so I guess it wasn’t too bad. The caller is Vicki Herndon–she’s quite a gal! I dig her energy, and she says if Butch and I behave ourselves, she’ll consider taking us out on the road with her sometime. I think we could be talked into that! Thanks, Philip Luckey, for making this video for us.

Contradance Rehearsal

Well the time has finally come for Butch and I to play for the Chattanooga contradance.  I’m excited about this because although we’ve played for contradances before, it’s always been with a group, and this time it’s just us as a duo.  That means that we get to pull out all kinds of tunes we’ve collected together over the years and throw them together in fun ways.  And I’m excited about playing for the dancers, because that adds a whole new rhythmic element to our music, which could lead to a whole new groove altogether.

Here are two clips from our rehearsal tonight.  They’re not perfect, but it’s the sound of us working out some ideas.  It’ll be rockin’ on Saturday, I’m fairly sure.  If any of you blogateers are within a stone’s throw of Chattanooga (or Ringgold, actually), I’d say you should come on out and dance a little.

Butch and Christie’s contradance rehearsal:  Blackberry Blossom into Miserlou, into June Apple:

And another, Fearghal O’Gara’s into Mississippi Sawyer into Nail That Catfish to the Tree:

Dancing at Fono, Budapest

This is a short clip of the dancing at the folk club Viktoria took us to. Gotta love the way the dancers’ feet add to the ryhthm of the music.