Blues Week 2012 - our 13th year
Sunday 29th July to Friday 3rd August 2012
University of Northampton
Sunley Management Centre
Blues Week 2012 provides an opportunity for blues enthusiasts to come together for a full week of music making. It is a chance to broaden your skills and knowledge in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. The programme will offer morning and afternoon workshops and classes for all levels. The beginners class is for those who have little or no knowledge of their instrument. The intermediate and advanced classes are for those who already play to varying degrees of proficiency and are ready to learn new tunes, techniques and styles. The evening activities throughout the week will consist of a concert by the staff members, a student concert and nightly jam sessions. In addition, there will be special presentationsfor the entire group.
Classes will begin on Monday morning and run through Friday afternoon. There will be 2 sessions in the morning beginning at 9:30 and lasting until 10:45 and the second class will start at 11 o'clock and end at 12:15. In the afternoon, the first class will start at 2:15 and end at 3:30. The second afternoon class will commence at 3:45 and end at 5:00. All classes and workshops during the week will last for one hour and fifteen minutes.
STEVE PHILLIPS, Guitar
Steve Phillips was born in London and at the age of13 learned to play the guitar. When he first heard the music of Robert Johnson, Blind Blake, Big Bill Broonzy and Lonnie Johnson, he embarked on a long, self-tutored course in the intricate art of country blues guitar playing. In 1965, Steve joined a jug band which became known as ‘Easy Mr. Steve’s Bootleggers’. In 1968, he met Mark Knopler and later they formed a duo called ’The Duolian String Pickers’. In 1985, Mark and Steve formed the ‘Notting Hillbillies’ along with Brendon Croker. To date, Steve has now released six albums in his own name and his most recent release is simply titled ‘Solo’.
For Blues Week, Steve is teaching an intermediate/advanced country blues guitar class which will introduce his own tablature for Willie Brown’s ‘Mississippi Blues’ for students to learn in detail. He will also cover the music and techniques of Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy and the east coast ragtime pickers including Blind Blake, Willie McTell, Blind Boy Fuller and Carl Martin.
For the beginner/intermediate slide guitar student, Steve will offer a class focusing on relevant opening tunings and the techniques of Robert Johnson, Tampa Red, Fred McDowell, Willie McTell and Sylvester Weaver. Steve is planning to bring the baritone 12 string guitar he uses for the Willie McTell material. Students are encouraged to bring their own 12 string guitars.
DEL REY, Guitar
Del Rey started playing classical guitar when she was four. As a teenager, she met bluesman Sam Chatmon who inspired her to become a blues queen. Her guitar playing combines country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie. Her live show is full of complex guitar grooves and sly humour.
For Blues Week, she will be teaching Intermediate to Advanced students songs from the Memphis Minnie song book which will include ways to make duet guitar parts work on solo guitar (as Minnie often worked with a partner). Her class will include Boogie Woogie guitar styles with moving bass lines and pianistic chord melodies in standard tuning. She will also be playing her resophonic ukulele on blues and jazz tunes (don't leave your uke behind!).
RICK FRANKLIN, Guitar
Rick Franklin from Washington, D.C., has been playing and singing the blues at local and international festivals and community events, as well as various clubs and cafes, both in and around the DC area since 1981. In addition to solo performances, Rick also performs 1920s and 1930s blues and ragtime in the Memphis and St. Louis guitar-duet style with the popular acoustic blues trio Franklin, Harpe, and Usilton.
For Blues Week, Rick’s class will examine the original versions of songs by Sleepy John Estes, Leadbelly, Washboard Sam, Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson and a few others that are considered the roots of Taj Mahal. The class will examine the original version, the Taj Mahal version and a version created by the class. For Beginner guitarists with skills in chord changes and Intermediate guitarists with additional skills with fingerpicking.
MICHAEL ROACH, Guitar and Vocals
Michael Roach is the Founder/Director of Blues Week. Dating back to the early 1980’s, he spent several years learning directly from such well known figures as John Jackson, John Cephas and Jerry Ricks. With six albums to his credit and an instructional DVD (An introduction to Country Blues Guitar), Michael is firmly established in traditional blues music circles.
Michael will teach beginner/intermediate students the basic finger-picking skills to play country blues guitar. He will focus on song form, chords, techniques for developing rhythm and how to pick out the melody with your finger while your thumb is alternating the bass line. Also, playing a monotonic steady bass line using your thumb while your fingers pick melody lines will be discussed.
Michael returns to conduct the vocal class. Using a selection of songs as tools, students will find their true voice with tips on phrasing techniques and breathing demonstrations. Sedatrius Brown will be on hand to offer advice and assist on Keyboards. Be prepared to sing!
CATFISH KEITH, Slide Guitar
Catfish Keith, from Iowa City, Iowa is a cutting-edge blues singer/songwriter and bottleneck slide guitarist. His innovative style of foot-stomping, deep delta blues and American roots music has spellbound audiences the world over. In 1984, he recorded his first album ‘Catfish Blues’ for Kicking Mule Records. Since then, he has recorded a dozen solo albums.
For Blues Week, Catfish Keith will teach the whole spectrum of slide guitar. He will unlock the secrets of Open D & G tunings for beginners and advanced students. Catfish will dive into the deep gospel and blues repertoires of Blind Willie Johnson, Bukka White, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Barbecue Bob and more. Students will learn to slide from the ground up as Catfish will teach the building blocks of bottleneck, including the three slide positions, developing a vocal-sounding slide vibrato, a steady rocking thumb and percussive rhythmic techniques. Also, the mysterious world of the Baritone slide guitar will be revealed.
MICHAEL MESSER, Slide Guitar
Michael Messer is a slide guitar master. His obsessive appetite for knowledge of the art is virtually unequalled. His playing encompasses the entire history of slide & lap steel guitar and is highly individual. In 2008, Michael launched his own range of resonator guitars. The success of the Michael Messer ‘BLUES’ and ‘LIGHTNING’ resonator models have set a new benchmark for affordable professional instruments.
For Blues Week 2012, Michael will teach a beginner/intermediate class and an intermediate/advanced class that focus on the playing styles and repertoire of the originators of blues slide guitar, including Son House, Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Fred McDowell,Blind Willie McTell and Muddy Waters. All students can expect to learn the vibrato techniques that produce clear notes and great tone.
JOE FILISKO, Harmonica
Joe is one of the world's most respected teachers, players and authorities on the diatonic blues harmonica. He has worked on 5 different continents. His area of expertise is the traditional acoustic prewar and amplified postwar playing styles and all their nuances. The SPAH organization named Joe ‘Harmonica Player of the Year’ in 2001.
For Blues Week, Joe will teach students exactly what they need to know and do to sound like a competent and seasoned player in the BIG toned Chicago blues tradition. He will focus on: how to relax and breathe correctly; various hand positions and techniques for acoustic & amplified playing; throat tremolo & vibrato; tongue blocking; and note bending.
His Beginner class will be for students with NO experience or have been playing for up to about 1 year. He will conduct an Intermediate class geared towards most players who have been playing for more than a year but have felt like they have been stuck in a rut with little recent growth and progress and have a general lack of playing direction. His Advanced class will be for students with good playing technique, some performance experience and some repertoire.
MARK GRAHAM, Harmonica
Mark Graham grew up in Renton, Washington and discovered the harmonica and southern old-time music in 1971. He has performed at the ‘Newport Folk Festival’, the ‘Royal Festival Hall’ in London and taught at the ‘Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival’ and the ‘Augusta Heritage Blues Week’. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of southern country and blues styles, he has mastered the hallmark traditional fox chases, train impressions and the call and response song accompaniment reminiscent of Sonny Terry and Peg Leg Sam. Kim Field in his book ‘Harmonicas, Harps, and Heavy Breathers’, calls Graham “a walking gold mine of harmonica lore” and notes his “traditional harmonica wizardry”.
During Blues Week, Mark will be teaching 2 advanced and 2 beginning classes. The advanced classes will concentrate on playing the music that lies in the borderland that includes country blues and southern old time country music. His class will focus on various rhythm techniques, modes (positions), high playing, vocal effects, octave playing and more. Tone and attack will be scrutinized and developed with care and zeal. The beginning classes will concentrate on the basic skills that will be required to play good country blues: mouth positions, hand positions, bending, breath control, vibrato and attack in straight and cross harp.
SEDATRIUS BROWN, Keyboards
Sedatrius Brown from Washington DC, has been playing the piano since she was 5 years old. She was one of the more soulful organists and vocalists of the 1960s and 70s. In 1965, she recorded ‘Where There’s a Will There’s a Way’ for Roulette Records and in 1967 ‘Wise Fool’ for MGM. Sedatrius is comfortable playing blues, jazz, soul, R&B and gospel. Her success had her touring and recording with James Brown, Isaac Hayes and Pharoah Sanders among others.
For Blues Week, Sedatrius will explore different chord tones and how to incorporate them into song form. There are 3 tones (low, mid and high) and students will learn how to hear and feel the right tone. She will demonstrate left hand bass line techniques and right hand melodies and chords. Her class will focus on the structure of storytelling in music and song. Sedatrius does not read music and the ability to read music is not necessary. If you have a portable keyboard and would like to develop your skills, please bring it along. We ask that you let us know in advance so that we can allocate a classroom big enough to accommodate everyone.
Registration Fees 2012
On Campus: includes all classes, activities, room & board £625
European Blues Association Members receive £10 discount.
Off Campus: includes all classes, activities and lunch £410
EBA Members receive £10 discount.
Per Day Rate: includes all classes, activities and lunch £125
EBA Members receive £5 discount.
Space is limited and it is advisable to book early to avoid disappointment. A £200 deposit will secure your place.
Please Make Payment To: Euroblues Promotions Limited
Our John Jackson Youth Scholarship Fund will provide a limited number of subsidised places for young people between the ages of 14 to 21. Students between the ages of 14 and 17 are eligible for a £250 subsidy. Students between the ages of 18 and 21 who are not in full time employment are eligible for a £200 subsidy.
A parent or responsible adult must accompany all students 16 and under. If you know of someone who qualifies or have a family member that you would like to bring along, please contact us for immediate consideration. This scholarship is only available to first-time participants.
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