2021 instructional workshops
Registration has not yet opened for BOTMC workshops; we’ll post links here when it opens.
All the workshops will take place at the Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St, Berkeley (except for Saturday's clogging workshop - details below) . This location is easy to get to by bus or BART. Proof of vaccination required; we will be adhering to the Freight's health and safety practices. Material will be taught by ear; a recording/video device is recommended. Class size is limited; register early to make sure you get a spot. Tuition is $25 per class, package deals will be available; all net proceeds go to instructors. Register online at the Freight’s website (www.thefreight.org) or in person at the Freight box office. Credit card charge applies to all credit card transactions; the Freight also takes cash or check.
More workshop descriptions coming soon!
THURS. Sept. 23
3:30 - 5:00
ROUND PEAK/GALAX STYLE FIDDLE - Eddie Bond
Learn fiddle in the old-time way, phrase by phrase from with one of the most respected fiddlers in the Blue Ridge Mountain region. Eddie will teach Round Peak/Galax style tunes with attention to bowing.
CLAWHAMMER BANJO - Jared Boyd
FRIDAY Sept. 24
3:30 - 5:00
FIDDLE - Richard Bowman
CLAWHAMMER BANJO HILLTOPPER STYLE - Ivy Sheppard
Ivy will teach the finger style banjo playing that she learned from Bill Birchfield of the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, with whom she played for several years.
CAJUN FIDDLE - David Greely
Cajun fiddle star David Greely will teach a standard Cajun two-step and a waltz. We’ll learn what to listen for in Cajun music–-the things that make it different. As we learn the tune we’ll learn about the phrasing (the Caribbean-based syncopation essential to the sound), the ornaments (some that will be familiar and some that will not), and the bowing texture and tempos that allow the funk to flourish.
SATURDAY Sept 25
FLATFOOT CLOGGING WORKSHOP with Evie Ladin
Note: This workshop is NOT at the Freight. It is in the Temescal district of Oakland, not far from MacArthur BART station. Address and details provided when you register.
Practice dancing to old time music while making rhythms with your feet. The percussive dance that lights the fire under the music - this workshop will get everyone dancing while adding skills. All levels! Wear hard soled or tap shoes if you have them - or any shoes that are clean for the studio.
SUNDAY Sept 26
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
FIDDLE - Fiddle music of Will Adam - Jake Blount
Will Adam was a Black fiddler who lived in Kensington, Maryland in the early 20th century. Many of the tunes that he recorded are completely unique to his repertoire and have never been recorded by anyone else. In this workshop, experience this seldom-heard music as Jake Blount teaches one of Adam's songs to the group. Blount, a scholar of the traditional music of Black communities in the US, discusses Adam's unique take on rhythm and modality, and tells the story of his music as part of a broader Black fiddle tradition.
CLAWHAMMER BANJO - Barry Southern
Barry will teach old time tunes from his repertoire, breaking them down into phrases and focusing on using your ear to learn. We’ll also cover some helpful techniques that will make your playing easier, relaxed and more fun.
BEGINNING FIDDLE - Gabrielle Macrae
Gabrielle will give you an introduction to Old Time fiddle to get you started on the path to being a fiddler. She’ll go over some basics of the instrument and get you playing right away with a simple tune. Some things she’ll be addressing during the workshop are old time bowing, regional styles, practice techniques and playing “in the zone”. Questions and discussion are encouraged, as are recording devices. She will be teaching at a nice slow pace that should be accessible to beginners, though participants should have some musical experience as it will all be taught by ear and no written music will be used.
SUNDAY Sept 26
1:00 - 2:30
CLAWHAMMER BANJO - Jake Blount
FIDDLE - Gabrielle Macrae
Gabrielle will teach a favorite tune or two from her repertoire, which draws largely from western North Carolina fiddlers such as Marcus Martin, Esker Hutchins and Benton Flippen. She’ll break each tune down phrase by phrase to learn by call-and response and repetition. Questions and discussion are encouraged, as are recording devices. She’ll talk about rhythm, groove, intonation, and bowing technique through the lense of Western North Carolina fiddling.
BEGINNING CLAWHAMMER BANJO WORKSHOP - Ivy Sheppard
Champion fiddler Richard Bowman, with his band the Slate Mountain Ramblers, has been a prize-winning mainstay of fiddlers’ conventions in North Carolina and Virginia for over three decades. Born into a musical family from Patrick County, Virginia, the first fiddle music Richard remembers hearing (on the radio) was Tommy Jarrell who lived just 12 miles away. Richard began visiting him and other local old-time music icons including Ernest East, Benton Flippen, and Kyle Creed, picking up tunes and style. He has won ribbons at many fiddlers’ conventions including Galax, Mount Airy and Fiddler’s Grove. Richard and his wife, Barbara, live in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Learning from local old-time fiddlers, Richard’s long-bow style is easily recognizable. At fiddler’s conventions, he can be found with fellow musicians in a jam session. Other weekends finds Richard and the band playing for square dances where everyone enjoys flat footing or two-stepping to a pile of fiddle tunes. Richard does not travel far from home very often; this is a rare chance to learn from him in person.
Old-time fiddling thrives in Grayson County, Virginia, which many consider the musical heart of Southwestern Virginia and Appalachian old-time music. It is from here that one of the greatest living old-time fiddlers, Eddie Bond, hails. Though he has played on stages worldwide, Bond continues to be a central figure at local music festivals and at picking parties in parking lots, country stores, or any of the other informal settings where musicians gather along what’s become known as the Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail.
Bond was raised up in a family of musicians in the Grayson County mill town of Fries. A tiny town of 600 residents, Fries has a strikingly rich musical tradition, producing such musical luminaries as Henry Whitter, Ernest Stoneman, among others. Fries is six miles from Galax, home of the Old Fiddlers’ Convention, the oldest and largest fiddlers’ convention in the country.
Music descends in families in Grayson and Carroll Counties of Virginia. Bond was taught by a maternal grandmother who played guitar and sang music handed down for generations through the Hill family, musicians well-documented in the Library of Congress’ archival field recordings. His paternal grandparents played guitar and sang; his Grandmother Bond was from the same region of North Carolina as Doc Watson and taught Bond many of the old mountain ballads he sings today. One of the most influential members of his family was his great-uncle, Leon Hill, a musician who took him to visit many of the local fiddlers from whom he learned. Family friends included master performers such as Kilby Snow and Glen Smith. Bond first learned the guitar, then the banjo, autoharp, and his signature instrument, the fiddle.
Since 2001, Bond has been the lead singer and fiddler for the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, among the most respected of Virginia’s old-time string bands. The Bogtrotters are staples at Galax-area community dances and gatherings and frequent first-place winners at the Old Fiddlers’ Convention, where Bond himself has won countless fiddle contests and twice been named Best All Around Performer—arguably the highest honor in old-time music. Bond has performed across the country and overseas, including the “Music From the Crooked Road” tours produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts. He regularly performs at festivals from Australia to Ireland, where he trades familiar tunes with local masters.
Bond also remains deeply committed to his local community---performing locally as a solo artist and with others, and teaching a string band course at a high school in Grayson County. Much as the great old-time fiddling masters did for him, Bond never hesitates to take the time to teach, assist, and encourage the next generation of fiddlers.
Jake Blount is an award-winning banjoist, fiddler, singer and scholar who foregrounds the experiences of queer people and people of color in his work. He specializes in the music of Black and indigenous communities in the southeastern United States, and in the regional style of Ithaca, New York. Jake has studied with modern masters of old-time music, including famed fiddler Bruce Molsky and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Rhiannon Giddens.He has twice won first place at the prestigious Appalachian String Band Music Festival (better known as Clifftop), in the traditional band category (2016) and in the banjo contest (2019) with three tunes from Black banjoists.
Jake holds a B.A. in Ethnomusicology from Hamilton College. Based in Rhode Island, he has toured Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand. His solo album, Spider Tales (Free Dirt Records), appeard on “Best of 2020” lists from NPR, Bandcamp, the New Yorker, the Guardian, and others.
Gabrielle was raised in the old-time music hotbed of Portland, OR. As a teenager, her love of old time music brought her to North Carolina where she immersed herself in the music of the region. In 2008, she released an album with the Macrae Sisters which received glowing reviews in both Sing Out! and The Old Time Herald. She performs with her partner Barry Southern in the Horsenecks.
Jared grew up in the small community of Laurel Fork in Carroll County, VA and spent the early years of his life surrounded by old-time music on both sides of his family. His first banjo teacher was Ray Chatfield through the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program, but he also learned from his grandfather Jimmy Boyd, co-founder of the Franklin County old-time dance band, The Dry Hill Draggers. His playing has also been influenced by clawhammer players such as Kyle Creed, Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Adam Hurt, Reed Martin, and Eddie Bond. Jared currently plays with the Twin Creeks Stringband, an offshoot of The Dry Hill Draggers, who have recently released their first album entitled "Lee Highway Blues".
At age fifteen, Ivy was playing clawhammer banjo and had announced to her parents that she was going to make her living playing music. She met the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers in 1999 at a fiddlers’ convention, followed them home, and subsequently performed with them for several years. Ivy is a DJ on WPAQ (a station which plays exclusively old-time, bluegrass and gospel music), with two long-running radio shows: Born In the Mountain and An Old Revival Meeting.
Barry’s banjo versatility shines whether playing clawhammer or driving three-finger banjo. Also adept in many styles of guitar playing, he has been active in the UK’s old time and bluegrass scene for the last decade with multiple groups. he and his partner Gabrielle Macrae, as The Horsenecks, have appeared at many festivals in the USA and the UK, including the Cornwall Bluegrass Festival, Doolin Folk Festival, The Portland Old Time Gathering, and the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Festival.
David Greely, founding fiddler of the Mamou Playboys, has for years been assembling a repertoire of uncommon Cajun music: ancient ballads, cane field blues, yearning waltzes and fiery two steps, melding his ancestral legacy with his own adroit compositions and stories of the rich souls who kept this music and language alive.
David was born in Baton Rouge of Cajun and Irish ancestry, and learned Cajun music on dance hall stages throughout South Louisiana, in the archives of Cajun and Creole music at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and from his apprenticeship to Cajun fiddle master and National Heritage Fellow Dewey Balfa. As a founding member of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, David toured worldwide for 23 years, and was nominated for four Grammy Awards. He has received the Louisiana Artist Fellowship Award for Folklife Performance, and is an adjunct instructor of Cajun fiddle at the University of Louisiana.
Banjo player, singer, songwriter, percussive-dancer, choreographer and square-dance caller, Oakland, CA-based Evie Ladin grew up steeped in traditional folk music/dance on the East Coast, and brings a contemporary vision to her compositions and choreography while holding fast to the roots. Her performances, recordings and teaching reconnect Appalachian music/dance with other African-Diaspora traditions, and have been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Lincoln Center, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Celtic Connections, from Brazil to Bali. She has shared the stage with innumerable luminaries, such as Alice Gerrard, Laurie Lewis, Ralph Stanley and John McKuen, and many contemporaries. Evie currently tours internationally with her Evie Ladin Band, and as a duo with Keith Terry. In the trad world, she teaches clawhammer banjo at the infamous Freight & Salvage, online at Peghead Nation with over 300 students, and numerous camps and festivals. In the percussive dance world, she directs the moving choir MoToR/dance, is Executive Director of the International Body Music Festival, does educational outreach with the multicultural Crosspulse, and is an ace freestyle flatfooter. In the songwriter world, she writes clever, poignant and funny songs, subtitling her band “neo-trad kinetic folk." In 2019 she released two CDs, celebrating both of her musical sides: one totally trad fiddle/banjo duets with 17 different fiddlers, Riding the Rooster, and her fourth album of adventurous originals, Caught On A Wire, followed quickly by the 2020 release of an EP of eclectic cover songs. A highly entertaining performer, Evie enjoys facilitating arts learning in diverse communities, always connecting the music with the dance, and educating people about traditional Appalachian culture and history. “The best example I have seen of a Neo-Trad band's sound being authentically anchored in old time music but extending it into new and entertaining directions.” —Founder, Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival.