27 July 2022

Curly Strings (EST) receive first IBMA International Band Performance grant

The BIB editor writes:

On Monday (25 July) the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced that its first International Band Performance Grant (see the BIB for 11 Mar. 2022) has been awarded to the Estonian band Curly Strings (photo). The grant will enable them to attend this year's IBMA World Of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC, with a follow-up tour in 2023. Paul Schiminger, chair of the IBMA International Band Steering Committee, said: 'We felt Curly Strings stood out with their exciting blend of Estonian-influenced bluegrass music.'

With all due respect to IBMA and the band - whom I described after seeing them five years ago, when they had already won a string of European awards, as 'a young, original band, full of charm, verve, and musical mastery, and worth anyone's time to see and hear' - I stick with the view I had then, that their sound could be better described as 'bluegrass-influenced Estonian music', with the bluegrass influence basically consisting of using fiddle, upright bass, mandolin, and flat-picked guitar. Since then, they have also used a four-string banjo played with a plectrum, which I admit is an innovation in bluegrass.

More details, together with a video (also on YouTube), are in John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today.

© Richard Hawkins

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