31 March 2021

Beyond the Tagus river

André Dal is the moving spirit of bluegrass music and 5-string banjo playing in Portugal. For years now he has been seriously afflicted by incurable focal hand dystonia in his picking hand; but he has responded with energy, inventiveness, and adaptation (as described by Tom Nechville in this article in the Dec. 2018 Banjo News Letter).

As André's latest move to present bluegrass to Portugal, earlier this year he began preparing an instrumental album, Beyond the Tagus river, to display the character of the music. He brought in many musicians from abroad who had become his friends. The genesis of the project is told (in Portuguese and English) on his Facebook. The musicians taking part (above left) come from Portugal, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, the USA, Canada, Japan - and Northern Ireland.

During March the pickers were individually featured day by day on Andre's Facebook (and thence on the European Bluegrass Music Association's Facebook), and on 15 March it was the turn of Reuben Agnew (above right) of Co. Armagh, Cup O' Joe, and Pet Yeti. Congratulations to André, Reuben, and everyone who has taken part in Beyond the Tagus river.

© Richard Hawkins

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