02 June 2019

Che Apalache (RA) - kings of Latingrass

With the latest news from We Banjo 3 fresh in our minds, thanks to Devon Léger of Hearth Music/ HearthPR for news of another fusion of bluegrass methods with native traditions.

Che Apalache (photo) is a four-piece band (banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle) formed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by multi-instrumentalist Joe Troop from North Carolina and three of his former music students. Starting with straight bluegrass (in a continent not always friendly to American cultural influences), they now have more Latin-American idiom and feeling in their original material. Nonetheless, they won the Neo-Traditional Band contest at the 2017 Clifftop, WV, festival.

A feature on them by Lee Zimmerman appeared on Bluegrass Today in May 2018. In April this year they signed with Free Dirt Records, as announced by John Lawless on Bluegrass Today with a promo video (also on YouTube) to raise funds for their twelve-track second album, Rearrange my heart. This was produced by Béla Fleck and is due for release on 9 Aug. 2019.

The BIB editor writes:

From an advance hearing of the new album (and earlier material on YouTube), I like the music of Che Apalache a lot - their close harmonies, Joe Troop's lead singing, and especially the banjo work of Pau Barjau from Mexico. I can imagine this band getting a particularly good reception at the annual Al Ras Bluegrass & Old Time Festival at Barcelona.

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