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Old Time Banjo with Jake Blount

In this workshop students will learn a tune from Nathan Frazier and Frank Patterson, a Black fiddle-banjo duo recorded in Nashville, TN in 1942. The duo is notable for their flexible group dynamic; the banjo and fiddle trade off leading roles, improvising all the while. This class will cover melodic and rhythmic variations for both banjo and fiddle with members of Tui. For the first hour of the class, students will be split into two separate classrooms, depending on their preferred instrument, where they will alternate between listening to recordings of the Frazier and Patterson duo and learning the tune by ear with the help of the teacher. If time permits, they will explore some of the variations happening on the recording. After an hour, the two classes will come together for the last half hour to put both banjo and fiddle parts back together, exploring what it means to play a duet.

Tui is an internationally touring old-time duo made up of Jake Blount and Libby Weitnauer. They draw inspiration equally from rare archival recordings and the music of their peers, and both have extensive experiences with other genres of music; Blount spent years as a funk and metal guitarist, and Weitnauer has an M.A. in classical violin performances from NYU. Tui's diverse influences enable them to create music that is innovative and technically demanding, yet accessible and affecting as only old songs can be. They plan to release their debut album, Pretty Little Mister, June 28, 2019.

Jake Blount is a fiddler, banjo player and scholar based in Washington, D.C. He has performed and recorded with acclaimed fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves and award-winning old-time string band The Moose Whisperers, in addition to having served as a guest lecturer on music history at numerous museums and universities. In 2018, he and Hargreaves opened a series of shows for GRAMMY-winner and MacArthur “Genius Grant" recipient Rhiannon Giddens. He centers and venerates his racial and ethnic heritage through his approach to music and its history.

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