Blues Week 2015 - our 15th year
Sunday 2nd August to 7th August 2015
University of Worcester
St John's Campus
Blues Week 2015 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 11:05 and end at 12:20. There is a 20 minute break between each session. In the afternoon, the first class will start at 2:15 and end at 3:30. The second afternoon class will commence at 3:50 and end at 5:05. All classes and workshops during the week will last for one hour and fifteen minutes.
DUCK BAKER, Blues Guitar
Duck Baker’s repertoire covers almost every style of American music, from old-time country and bluegrass to blues, gospel, ragtime, swing and modern jazz. Duck has recorded two dozen albums under his own name. Amongst the many tutorial books and videos he released, several are devoted to blues and gospel styles, notably ‘Blues 101’ and ‘The Complete Gospel Guitarist’ (published by Mel Bay). For Blues Week 2015, Duck will lead 2 classes a day.
Ragtime and swing chording ideas for blues fingerpickers (advanced/intermediate)
This class will look in a general way at how the techniques of ragtime/blues playing can be expanded in various ways by looking outside the blues repertoire. Some of the thinking of ragtime/jazz giant Jelly Roll Morton will be looked at, as well ways to spice up alternating bass lines in basic blues progressions. We will also try to incorporate some of the chord shapes and harmonic ideas from the swing era, without getting into anything that is too complex.
Gospel and soul jazz ideas for blues fingerpickers (advanced/intermediate)
From the beginning, the history of blues and gospel music were always intertwined, and many of the most important fundamentals of African American music were worked out by gospel vocal groups. Several seminal guitarists of the blues tradition worked out of this background, most notably Rev. Gary Davis. But there are many other ways to mine this rich vein, as jazz musicians all the way from Louis Armstrong to Cannonball Adderley and Horace Silver all knew well. And these ideas have been used for blues material by many great modern fingerpickers, such as Davy Graham, John Renbourn, Steve Mann and Woody Mann.
SONNY BLACK, Blues Guitar
Sonny Black first picked up the acoustic guitar in the late 1960’s after hearing ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’ by the great Jesse Fuller. He now performs a blend of roots music that includes fingerstyle blues, ragtime, old time country and original compositions and arrangements of classics such as ‘Tennessee Waltz’ and ‘Heard it through the Grapevine’.
For Blues Week, Sonny will teach 2 classes for intermediate/advanced guitar students. Sonny will demonstrate the alternating thumb style of playing and some flatpicking to show students “how to do the most with the least”.
Guitarists will be asked to look at the blues and see how they can expand the format. While staying true to the tradition, Sonny will focus on chord progressions, rhythm, playing alternating bass patterns, shuffle patterns, using ‘jazzy’ chords and sequences in slow and swing blues and explore single string playing.
JOHN MILLER, Country Blues Guitar
John Miller was inspired to take up the country blues guitar after seeing Mississippi John Hurt at the 1963 Philadelphia Folk Festival. He taught himself to play guitar by listening to records and recorded his first album in 1973. Since then, he has come to be recognized as one of the foremost authorities on country blues guitar. John has released 12 instructional videos on the music of Furry Lewis, Bo Carter, Robert Wilkins, Elizabeth Cotten, John Hurt Vols 1&2 and Memphis Blues amongst others. For Blues Week 2015, John will conduct 3 classes (2 for advanced and 1 for beginner/intermediate students).
Country Blues Repertoire by Ear (advanced/intermediate)
Students will learn at least one song a day, working through the songs phrase by phrase in a listen-watch-imitate-repeat fashion. For each day of class, the song(s) presented will be in a different key or tuning, so that familiarity with a variety of different playing positions will be fostered. There will be lots of playing in class, and lots of repetition to get the songs to stick in your ears, hands and head.
Play the Song YOUR Way (advanced/intermediate)
Much of the learning of Country Blues guitar focuses on learning to play versions of songs recorded many decades ago. In this class, we'll use the songs themselves as the starting point, and see how to create your own versions of the song. Class members will be assigned to come up with their own arrangements of well-known Country Blues songs in different keys or tunings, and will perform these arrangements in class as the week goes along. Focus will be on learning to access ideas and see how differently the same song can sound in different keys or positions, or with a different rhythmic treatment.
Intro to the Musical Language of the Blues (beginner /intermediate)
Students will work on learning how to identify the commonly-encountered blues forms, 12-bar, 8-bar and 16-bar, and how to plug in the appropriate chords, playing them in different keys. He will also look at blues vocal phrasing and how it sets up a call-and-response with the accompanying instrument. Finally, the class will work on building a vocabulary of licks specific to different keys that speak convincingly in the language. Expect lots of playing in class.
RICK FRANKLIN, Country Blues 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 Rick Franklin and His Delta Blues Boys.
For Blues Week, Rick will teach 3 Beginner/Intermediate guitar classes that will show students how to alternate the bass with your thumb and pick melody lines with your fingers.. He 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. In addition to the study of the roots of Taj Mahal, Rick will be conducting a session titled ‘Ricks Picks’. This class will examine selections off CDs that Rick has released, including his latest, ‘Dancing With My Baby’.
Michael will be available for one to one and small group sessions for beginner/intermediate students teaching the basic finger-picking skills to play country blues guitar. He will focus on chords, song form, techniques for developing rhythm and how to pick out the melody with your finger while your thumb is alternating the bass line. Michael will also conduct a beginner/intermediate class for slide guitar students. The class will focus on helping students to develop at their own pace using simple practice techniques to support what is being taught in the other classes with Martin Grosswendt and Kenny Sultan.
MICHAEL ROACH, Country Blues Guitar
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.
KENNY SULTAN, Slide Guitar
From Santa Barbara, CA., Kenny Sultan has been teaching classes, workshops, and seminars around the world for the last 30 years. Along with his partner, Tom Ball, he has released 8 CDs and more recently 2 solo CDs of his own work. He has two Martin Signature Models to his credit, a 000-18KS, and a 00-18KS both patterned after his old 30's Martins. Kenny is also a National Guitar Endorsee, an author of 5 books, several DVD's, and an iPad App.
For Blues Week 2015, Kenny with be teaching slide guitar. He will have two advanced classes and one beginner/intermediate class that will cover all the basics needed to get the most important thing - tone. Working with open D/E and open G/A, along with standard tuning, he will explore the sounds and songs of Muddy Waters, Son House, Tampa Red, Johnny Shines and Robert Jr. Lockwood among many other slide greats. Students can expect a heavy dose of groove and rhythm. Kenny will also show students how to incorporate finger style blues, with the slide. His classes are always loose, fun, and improvisational. As he says...."Every class is different, and I just adapt to their wants, and needs. I rarely teach the same way twice".
MARTIN GROSSWENDT, Slide Guitar
Martin Grosswendt has been exploring the roots and branches of American acoustic music for more than 40 years. A master of pre-war blues and other southern traditional music, his fingerpicking, bottleneck playing and singing amaze and move audiences, critics and other musicians alike. He's known at festivals, concerts and music camps across the U.S., and his musical accomplishments are matched by his knowledge of the music's sources and creators, whose stories he weaves into every performance. For Blues Week 2015, Martin with be teaching slide guitar to beginners and advanced students.
Bottleneck Guitar Basics (beginner /intermediate)
Bottleneck guitar - guitar played with a bottleneck or metal tube on one finger of the fretting hand - is one of the most compelling sounds to emerge from the blues regions of the American south. This class is for guitarists who would like to explore this exciting style. Martin will spend the week taking a deep, hands-on look at the subject, talking about tone, intonation, vibrato, right and left hand damping techniques, single string and chord work along with other fundamentals. He will also look at different types of bottlenecks (glass, metal, ceramic), tunings, repertoire, and resources.
The Bottleneck Guitar of Blind Willie Johnson (advanced/intermediate)
Blind Willie Johnson, the great Texas guitar evangelist, was known for his searing bottleneck guitar work and powerful vocals. He combined expressive, vocal-like melody lines with an incredibly percussive right hand to create a distinctive, driving sound. In this class, Martin will delve deeply into Blind Willie’s bottleneck style and pay particular attention to his right hand technique. The class will analyse Johnson’s single-string melody lines, vibrato, left and right hand muting techniques, and unique rhythm within the context of his greatest recordings.
PHIL WIGGINS, Harmonica
Phil Wiggins, from Washington, D.C. is best known as part of the duo ‘Cephas & Wiggins’. Until the passing of John Cephas in 2009, for over 30 years, their multiple awards winning collaboration has taken Cephas & Wiggins all over the world from the Royal Albert Hall to the White House. Scott Freck, Vice President for Artistic Operations & General Manager North Carolina Symphony wrote that “Phil is among a very small handful of virtuosos whose command of his instrument takes my breath away. His talent rivals that of any artist I’ve encountered in my career in Classical music, in my view placing him in the company of the Yo-Yo Mas and the Joshua Bells of the world.”
Phil’s beginners class will focus on getting a good tone, breathe control and rhythm. They will learn to play a twelve bar and an eight bar blues in the cross harp position with the use of note bending. Students will get some basic tools to get started in jamming. The class will use an ‘A’ harp but students should bring several keys for the jam sessions.
Students in the advanced class will learn lots of techniques using beautiful songs from the Piedmont, Delta, and Classic blues styles as well as some swing tunes. Students should bring as many keys as you can get your hands on and be ready to do lots of playing and singing.
GRANT DERMODY, Harmonica
Grant Dermody is an American Roots musician; harmonica player, singer/songwriter specializing in acoustic blues and Appalachian fiddle tunes. He is widely known for his deep, open tone and his ability to get underneath, with his own voice, a wide variety of genres. Grant is respected for rich tone, tasteful solos, and solid rhythmic playing. He is in a country blues band with guitar greats Orville Johnson and John Miller and periodically tours and recorded with Eric Bibb.
Grant will be teaching an intermediate/advanced class and a beginner’s class. The advanced class will focus on the fine art of improvisation within various blues forms. Solid rhythmic accompaniment will also be an area of in depth study. The class will also look at expanding the student’s unique voice as a harmonica player.
The beginner’s class will start at square one and proceed, at a reasonable and fun pace, with chord playing, single note production, basic blues playing, beginning tongue blocking, and melodic and rhythmic playing.
Registration Fees 2015
On Campus: includes all classes, activities, room & board £650
This year, we are offering an Early Bird Discount of £50 if full payment is received by the 10th February. That's right! Blues Week will only cost £600 if you pay by the 10th. The discount is only available to full week on-campus students.
Off Campus: includes all classes, activities and lunch £425
Per Day Rate: includes all classes, activities and lunch £135
Space is limited and it is advisable to book early to avoid disappointment. A £250 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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