12 June 2012

Bluegrass workshop success in Carlow, 10 June 2012

Niall Toner sends this report from his own blog:

Many thanks to Hugo Jellett, director for the Carlow Arts Festival, for having the vision and the courage to suggest to me that I might consider presenting a bluegrass workshop during Eigse 2012. I have to say that I was a little nervous about the idea, but what a result! We had fourteen participants, all with instruments, including guitars, mandolins, fiddles, and basses, and all very keen to learn bluegrass.

I did some basic demonstration on rudimentary flat-picking technique, and three of my guitar students then demonstrated their skills on a couple of standards, and did a brilliant job. Sincere thanks must go to Dick Gladney, who not only played bass throughout, but took time to give some one-on-one instruction to a fellow bull-fiddle player. There were total beginners on all instruments, and some really fine players too - in particular, a young man on fiddle, and a very fine young guitarist.

The enthusiasm was palpable, and there is no way we could not continue with this approach in the Carlow area, at the very least. I am already in the process of talking to Eigse, the Arts Council, and IBMA about support for an ongoing project. Oddly enough, there was nobody with a 5-string banjo, but the main reason for this may have been the fact that the best young banjo picker in Carlow was busy doing a gig with his own little string band. For our next event we will make sure there are no such clashes.

Most of our attendees will be coming to the NTB show on Wednesday night which is taking place in the 1890s Wyoming Barn in the Visual Arts Centre at 8.30 p.m. Advance ticket sales are very strong, and we are looking forward to a full house. We will also be doing some of the new songs from our forthcoming Pinecastle album, due for release in September in Nashville.

Oh yes - the folks at our workshop were a little shy about posing for the camera, so you will have to do with a photo [by Fiaz Farrelly, above] of yours truly playing the part of a lawman with my patrol car.

The latest e-newsletter from Mountain Music Entertainment, Niall's agents in the USA, is devoted to Niall and his position as #1 downloaded bluegrass artist of all time on AirPlay Direct.

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