Tuesday September 14, 2010
Bruce Molsky, Wednesday September 15th 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
It's a busy week at The Rogue! We have a concert tomorrow (Wednesday) with Bruce Molsky. Bruce opened "Rogue U" this week, with a Seminar last night and another one tonight. (We have to choose our terminology with great care these days.) He is a fabulous musician and an excellent teacher. He plays fiddle, banjo and guitar. And sings. His music ranges from Old Time to Scandinavian, Blues to African, and more! In case you haven't seen it yet, this is a great article about Bruce, written by Alex Varty is in this week's Georgia Straight:
Bruce Molsky is a stellar performer, but it's possible that he's even more revered as a teacher. As an evangelist for American roots music, he's trained hundreds of younger players, some of whom are showing up in bands like Boston's Crooked Still and Vancouver's own Shout!WhiteDragon. And it doesn't take long before he's taught me something new, thanks to our mutual admiration for the Hardanger fiddle styles of rural Norway.
With that music, there's a special way of tapping your feet, he explains, on the line from his Washington, D.C., home.
You tap both of your feet, almost in the exact rhythm of a heartbeat. And that translates into 6/8, which in turn translates into a jig. It also translates into 2/4, so you can move back and forth between those two time signatures, as they do in that kind of fiddle music.
That heartbeat pulse, he adds, is common to all kinds of folk music worldwide, along with the impulse to make music that reflects the performer's daily life.
The thing that unites every kind of folk music I've ever heard is not what the music sounds like; it's what the music does, Molsky explains.
It's used for dancing, for telling stories... It's just used for enriching your life, and that's
true everywhere. If you think of music as an analogy for spoken language, then what you hear is really the same thing everywhere–it's just spoken with a different accent.
This, says the 55-year-old fiddler, singer, banjo player, and guitarist, was a revelation when it first occurred to him, well into his professional career.
After playing nothing but old-time music–and wanting to play nothing but old-time music–for the first 15 or 20 years that I did this, I started being invited into some other kinds of projects.
The first time it happened, it was with Irish musicians, and my response was: