06 November 2022

The 5-string banjo and bluegrass in Latin America

On Thursday (3 Nov.) the Deering Banjo Company presented on Deering Live the duo of Larry and Joe, consisting of Joe Troop, originally from North Carolina (see the BIB for 31 Aug. 2021) on 5-string banjo and Larry Bellorín from Venezuela on the llanera harp. The 72-minute interview, with ample musical illustrations, can now be seen and heard on YouTube. For anyone who enjoys Latin American string music, this is a treat, and pickers will be interested in Troop's account of the banjo's acceptance in a culture where it was unknown, but where, at the same time, there was no prejudice against it; and of how he adjusted his bluegrass technique to the demands of llanera. Trigger warning: halfway through, there are a few sentences that may offend classical harpists.

The Deering blog also features 'Bluegrass in Buenos Aires', an article by Nuala McLoughlin on the scene in the capital of Argentina, where an old-time music jam is held every fortnight, and the first Buenos Aires bluegrass festival is being held today (6 Nov.). A video is included. McLoughlin adds: 'The lineup includes bands from all over Argentina and even a couple of familiar faces from the popular "Latingrass" fusion group Che Apalache', which Joe Troop founded while he was resident there.

© Richard Hawkins

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