Thursday, December 4, 2008

Harvest Time Blues

I know this is not quite topical any longer, but I was listening to Folk Alley this morning and heard Stephanie Davis' "Talkin' Harvest Time Blues" and just had to smile. Pretty much sums it all up!
Willer Custom Instruments - Artist Style MandolinI've started playing the mandolin this year; I used to play violin as a kid (not brilliantly, nor diligently), and Dad gave me his mandolin a few years back. They're strung the same as the violin, but a mandolin has double strings for each one on a violin, there's a visible fret board, like a guitar, and you use a pick rather than a bow. There's quite a lot to learn, but the fingering is at least the same. I never had to do chords with the violin, nor particularly thought about note relationships. I've started taking some lessons with Mark Vaughan, in order to learn a bit of bluegrass feel, chords & improvisation. I've got a loooong way to go.

Anyway, as a result, I've been trying to listen to more music, and different music. Hence the discovery of Folk Alley, which I've really been enjoying. We also went to a great concert a couple of weekends ago with Pe de Cana, a local group that plays Brazilian choro music. It was all acoustic instruments with percussion, and it was a solid two hours of fabulous music. The rhythms & sounds were fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable. One of the instruments was a cavaquinho, which was lovely to listen to and very bright sounding. It's "not a ukelele" but it is a small instrument that looks like a miniature guitar, but with only four strings. Might have to learn another instrument!
The Cavaquinho

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