Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Glen Echo Friday Tailgate

There's a fine tradition where a small group of dancers get together after the Friday Night Dance at Glen Echo for a little tailgate party, just down the hill from the lovely Spanish Ballroom. Even in November it's not too cold to hang out for a while and talk music, share home improvement stories and/or jokes. (Like the one about the turkish wedding band drummer who goes off to study jazz in New York.)

Contratopia has been able to attend a couple of these events and last Friday night we had a really nice time. I met two "persons of interest" there:

Robert Cox is the creator of a fine series of podcasts that feature contra dance music. Here's the link: http://www.contracast.com/

These are half hour collections of excellent music from a wide variety of fine musicians along with some tasteful announcing. Robert was kind enough to feature one of our tracks on his soundcast from 10/20/2006. It's nice to be able to just click on one of these shows and hear some good music, carefully chosen and presented with full credits and links to where you can go to purchase the recordings.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Orrin Star, a master of mandolin and guitar who's especially well-known in the bluegrass world. The tailgate meeting led to Orrin sitting in with us for a dance during the Sunday night contra where I had the benefit of a close-up lesson watching him play my Rigel mando on a medley of "Nail That Catfish to a Tree" and "St. Anne's Reel". His right hand precision and economy of motion gave me plenty to work on for months to come.

I saw today at the Mandolin Cafe that Orrin has announced a series of mandolin workshops from November through February 2007. I'd strongly recommend any mandolin players in the DC region, no matter what style you play, to consider attending these workshops. I know if I lived in the area I'd be signing up.

(Thanks to Pat for the photo of the band+Ted with Fala, FDR's dog.)

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