There were millions of them.
Some were born on American soil, some came from Europe, and some were brought to America by force.
With their traditions and memories, from their often hard or tragic lives, they forged the musics and songs who touch our hearts today. A magnificent blend of cultures, but it was not easy nor quick.
A quick look at the musical instruments tells a lot. Irishmen, Scots, Englishmen, the French and others brought the violins. Africa gave us the banjo. The dobro originated in HawaÃ¯ and saw its main transformation thanks to two Czech brothers form Eastern Europe. The mandolin made its beautiful first steps in Italy and, for a long time, the acoustic guitar was called the "Spanish guitar". The German spread the melodeon, now most often called "French Accordion", due to its use in Louisiana and Quebec.
Many beautiful songs, tunes and musical genres were born in spirituality and religion - I'm an atheist and I like to sing many of them!
Bluegrass Gospel and its wonderful vocal harmonies is the best example. Asked about his voice and singing style during a masterclass at La Roche sur Foron, France, Blue Highway bass player Wayne Taylor, answered once :
"Most of us learned vocal harmonies in church, with no particular method, just like that. And we did not have the choice to go or not".
As seen from France, which is the subject of this post, let us avoid clichÃ©s such as "Old Time is a music for old timers", "Bluegrass is cow-boy music" or "Country music is just for truckers".
One thing is obvious. In the past, but even more today, each of these music genres takes from the others.
Bluegrass has many of its roots in Old Time and Gospel. And many Old Time fiddle tunes have a strong celtic sound. Western Swing's jazz flavour lives on musicians who first learned traditional music. Many Cajun songs or tunes come from Old Time.
And while mostly white performers are getting the media exposure, African roots are real in many of these musics.
Of course, all of these musicians write and compose from their own experience, life and artistic skills.
And there are many bridges. A Bluegrass concert often offers Old Time fiddle tunes, modern compositions, a classic country song, maybe another one by Bob Dylan or a pop song writer. Some performers push the boudaries further away, like The Sons of Navaronne covering Abba's "Dancing Queen" bluegrass style.
One more example? Just listen to the marvelous "Live at the Ryman" album by country singer Emmylou Harris. A delicious synthesis.
In France, people do not always get the differences between these music genres, which is not that problematic as long as they get the emotions and a desire to discover more.
In this country, traditional musics have, for a long time, been hidden and banned from medias. Ignorance in such matters as traditional music forms is not surprising.
Let us put aside the routine singers (always the same ones) that radio and TV shows bring to our ears and minds every day. The real taste of emotions and pleasure one can feel with traditional music is what really matters.
Most of the traditional music artists you can hear are not greedy or eager to sell you something, except their performances and concerts. Many are amateurs and sing and play just because it matters to them as much as breathing or eating.
And the greatests among them spend considerable time teaching in lessons, workshops or master classes.
Are you new to these musical sensations? Welcome!
Feel free to follow some of the links below. And if some of them seduce your ears or give you emotions, maybe a tiny and discreet breath of transmission took life.
We at Jam Hall just love that.
Article rédigé par Ti' Pierre
Do not forget the feet...
France Bluegrass Musique Association organise traditionnellement chaque année deux weekends rencontres de jams et échanges, en automne et au printemps. Hors période de pandémie, bien sûr. Mais cette fois-ci, masques et vaccins aidant, le Spring (printemps) devrait quand même se tenir à Lormes du 28 au 31 mai.
Et c'est bienvenu.
- Christmas Bluegrass & Old Time Open Mic
- Méthode Wernick pour la jam, soigneusement pensée pour le plaisir des jammeurs.
- Éric Stefanelli, banjo-trotter
- Benoitt Dupeux, ingénieur luthier ou luthier ingénieux ?
- Hervé Lascaux, banjo-partageur
- Alabama Monroe au théâtre
- Mad Meadows spirit
- Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival, june 23, 24 & 25 2023
- Cheat GPT and the Bluegrass composer
- Virton Spring Workshop 2023 : starting blocks !
- Les Cours De Patrick
- Festival L'Herbe Bleue
- Winter, rencontre et transmission
- The Black Indians exhibition in the Quai Branly Museum, Paris
- Jam : déménagement réussi !
- A banjo, three fingers, many melodies.
- Thank you for your support, we continue!
- Kids On Bluegrass Europe, now 2023
- La Roche Bluegrass Workshop, souvenirs côté stagiaires et côté profs
- Calendrier 2023-2024, le chant en stages.
- Tiens !? Un stage de chant en franÃ§ais !
- Soirée Hootenanny & Jam, ven. 06 mai 2023 !
- Kids On Bluegrass Europe !
- Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival
- Charles Albert Tindley, Becca Wintle and tears.
- The Stack, Bluegrass Singing Workshop
- Songcatcher, Old Time music, Appalachians mountains and cinema.
- Turkey in the Straw, the controversial.
- Roger Mason, toute une vie de transmission orale
- The California Bluegrass Association, momentum ... and more!
- Virton 2022, go !
- Le Stack ! Stage de chant bluegrass en deux parties.
- PiG Society, la causette.
- Mathilde Cousin, en harmonies.
- New Bluegrass Jam in Isere!
- Les musiciens, la jam et le crayon.
- Le Winter de FBMA, une belle occasion !
- Les 50 ans de Rounder Records
- Quelque part, à un certain moment...
- Banjo Newsletter suspends publication
- The Earl Scruggs Banjo Songbook
- Guitare Bluegrass avec Bryan Sutton
- Doug Lang : I'll meet you on "Riverside Drive" for "Better Days".
- BBT Bluegrass Backing Tracks
- Back up Dobro, exploring the fretboard
- Tom T. Hall, the story Teller.
- Improvisation mélodique
- Bluegrass Backing Tracks
- Shove That Pig's Foot a Little Further in the Fire
- School of Banjo
- Acheter son premier banjo en France.
Vous aimez le Bluegrass, l'Old Time, l'Americana.
Vous aimeriez que ces musiques et leurs valeurs soient plus représentées