Blog

Blog

learn to play the mandolin

Tunefox – Learn to Play Bluegrass Tunes

Tunefox is a new web and app based learning tool for bluegrass instruments. I was asked by Bennett Sullivan to present tunefox in my blog.

Tunefox is primaily a web and app based learning tool for banjo, mandolin, guitar and bass. To use all the features of tunefox you need to subscribe.

As a subscriber you get access to the app or website with tutorials for many Bluegrass tunes. For each tune you can select between different levels of difficulty and between different playling styles. You can try the free tunes Cripple Creek and Worried Man Blues on the website.

To learn the tune you can play along the TABs, change the playback speed and shuffle the licks of the tune which can create many different solo versions for each tune.

You can also use the free beginner lessons, blog posts, youtube videos and other resources of tunefox without paying.

Tunefox is presented in the following introduction video:

Salt Creek Advanced Mandolin Solo

Tunefox will have it’s first Tunefox Camp with Mike Compton as mandolin instructor and other experienced Bluegrass instructors in May 2019. You can find detailed information about the tunefox camp on the tunefox website.

Additional information

Tunefox Youtube Channel

Tunefox youtube playlists

Tunefox Website

Tunefox Blog

Tunefox Camp

singer / songwriter

Iona Fyfe – Scots Singer of the Year

In one of the recent episodes of the Folk Radio Podcast – Folk Radio Episode 51 – I have discovered a song that I did like immediately – especially because I could recognize a nicely played mandolin. This way I have discovered the music of Scottish singer Iona Fyfe.

The song Swing and Turn is taken from the new album Dark Turn of Mind which got a review by Folk Radio. Folk Radio writes about Swing and Turn: 
„As for those iconic tradition-bearers mentioned earlier – Jean Ritchie was the source for the lively, upbeat Swing and Turn. Iona was inspired to take on this song after seeing it performed by Boston singer/fiddler Laura Cortese at the Orkney Folk Festival, and her own arrangement seems to celebrate the host of links between Scottish and Appalachian traditions. „

Guise of Tough – Celtic Connections 2018

On this video you can see the mandolin player Graham Rorie together with Iona Fyfe:

Iona Five has just got an award at the SCOTS Trad Music Awards 2018: Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year Sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association – Iona Fyfe

Playlist Iona Fyfe

Website Iona Fyfe

Website Graham Rorie

composer

Frank Zappa – The Yellow Shark

On April 7, 2019 I was at a concert of the SWR Sinfonie Orchester in Freiburg. The program was composed of works by Frank Zappa. It began with three pieces from the Yellow Shark project. In 1992 Frank Zappa worked together with the Ensemble Moderne to produce a concert with his works played by a classical orchestra.

Concert of the SWR Sinfonieorchester – Frank Zappa Program April 2019

The mandolin player in Freiburg was Denise Wambsgans.

The world premiere of Yellow Shark took place at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt on Sept. 17, 1992. The recording of this concert is now available at youtube.

The World premiere took place on Sept. 17, 1992

Video – The Yellow Shark 1992

The mandolin player in 1992 was Detlef Tewes. I have made some screenshots from the video showing Detlef Tewes with his mandolin and with Frank Zappa. Jürgen Ruck played guitar and banjo. This concert is really enjoyable and has some great moments, especially in the second part of the concert.

Additional information

Wikipedia about The Yellow Shark

Website Denise Wambsganß

Website Detlef Tewes

Mandolin

Dave Apollon – The Mandolin Virtuoso – Short Movies

Dave Apollon was one of the most successful mandolin players in the 1930s. He produced many shows, and luckily some of his performances were also filmed and survived until today. So it is now possible to watch this great mandolin player. I have compiled some recent resources with films and music by Dave Apollon.

Dave Apollon – The Wishing Stone

Short film in good quality

7 Short Films

Compilation of 7 short films – poor image quality, but the sound is good.

LP & Laundry – Dave Apollon – Mandolins! Mandolins! Mandolins! Mandolins!

Listen to side one of the LP Mandolins! Mandolins!
Mandolins! Mandolins!

Playlist – Dave Apollon – Mandolins! Mandolins! Mandolins! Mandolins!

The LP “Mandolins! Mandolins! Mandolins! Mandolins!” was released in 1960 (find more at discogs here) – you can find it at youtube now:

Additional Information

I have collected newspaper clippings from the 1930s and 1940s – you can find it here: Dave Apollon Mandolin Virtuoso

Biography of Dave Apollon (acoustic disc)