Tag: mandolin


Juggling with Musical Instruments – Ukulele and Mandolin

Ukuleles and mandolins are small instruments, and they behave similar to the clubs used for juggling. So it is no surprise, that ukuleles and mandolins are used for juggling tricks.

Warning: Do not try those tricks with your expensive vintage koa ukulele – if you want to learn this you should try to get some very cheap ukuleles 😉

The German duo extra art has a very special trick with a total of 6 ukuleles. The two jugglers juggle with the ukes and at the same time play the tune Asturias on the instruments. It is almost unbelievable, but you can see it in the following video:


David Cain has made a video with some ukulele juggling trick for the Bushman Ukulele Contest:

David Cain: Ukulele Juggling Tricks

A video with a juggler using a mandolin can be found in the online archive of British Pathé:


Chart Hits Of 2014-2015 For Ukulele (Amazon partnerlink)


Hornby Blues Odyssey – with Doug Cox and Dave…

Hornby Blues Odyssey – with Doug Cox and Dave Harris

The concert is no longer available – check for other Blues and Jazz concerts on the CBC site!

Hornbey Blues Odyssey

Some time ago I have found another fantastic concert on the CBC concerts on demand site. Its the final concert of the Hornby Island Blues Workshops, the concert was named Hornby Blues Odyssey.

Doug Cox and Dave Harris played both the mandolin as well as other instruments during the concert.

Doug Cox

Doug Cox

Doug Cox plays the guitar, the dobro and also the mandolin. He is a very versatile musician and teaches regularly at seminars like the Hornby Island Blues Workshop.

Playlist Doug Cox

Dave Harris

Dave Harris

Dave Harris played for many years as a street musician, but also in different bands, before he specialized in his One Man Band. He learnd much from the blues musicians of the 20s and makes a fantastic One Man Show. On his myspace site daveharrisonemanband he has a number of videos of his performances. He also tells about the blues musicians that server him as a model for his music.

Very interesting is his fotdella (fotdella -> Wikipedia), a pedal driven bass instrument that can be seen in his One Mand Band documentary. He also uses a suitcase kick drum. Dave changes his instruments during the performance, he playes the guitar, then the fiddle, switches to mandolin and back to the guitar, he sings and plays the harmonica and drums with his suitcase kick drum and plays the bass on his fotdella. That’s really fantastic to see and hear!

My busking led me to the one man band style (no split on the take) and I’ve developed it from a simple guitar, rack harp and foot operated drums to the current show, which includes 2 steel body guitars, 12 string guitar, fotdella (foot operated bass), mandolin, banjo, 2 fiddles, harps, suitcase kick drum, high-hat and various noisemakers.

Playlist Dave Harris

Amazon recommendation (partnerlink)

Blues Dobro (Book & CD) by Doug Cox (Author)



John Adams – Gnarly Buttons – With Guitar, Mandolin,…

John Adams is one of the most important composers in the USA today. On the CBC concert on demand site I discovered a new string quartet that has been played in a concert by the St. Lawrence String Quartet

I have seen several works by John Adams, and liked all of it. Some years ago I saw a great performance of his  stage work I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky, and I do also like listening to the CD of this work.  I have also seen the opera Nixon in China.

Recently I have read the biographical book Hallelujah Junction – a book that is very interesting if you want to learn about how a contemporary composer works and lives.

The first piece by John Adams that I have heard is a piece named Gnarly Buttons, a piece for solo clarinet and an ensemble that includes a player who has to play banjo, mandolin and guitar.

And in the second movement you can hear a sampled cow (ca.3:50 min. after he beginning).

I had found a very good performance of this piece by the Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by Jonathan Nott, with Andre Trouttet on the clarinet – however those videos have been removed.

The third movement of Gnarly Buttons is my favorite! Great music!!!

Additional information John Adams

Website of John Adams: http://www.earbox.com/

John Adams about Gnarly Buttons: http://www.earbox.com/W-gnarlybuttons.html

Wikipedia: Gnarly Buttons

Videos of Gnarly Buttons

The following videos with movements of Gnarly Buttons are available at the moment:

Playlist – John Adams Gnarly Buttons

Recordings of Gnarly Buttons by John Adams

A free and complete recording of Gnarly Buttons with Sean Osborn (clarinet) is available at the following page:


John Adams: ‘Grand’ And ‘Gnarly’ In Concert

A very interesting radio feature with parts from the 60th birthday concert for John Adams with several pieces including the 2nd and 3rd movement of Gnarly Buttons is available from NPR. John Adams talks about the pieces.

China Gates

Gnarly Buttons

  • Hoe-Down (Mad Cow)
  • Put Your Loving Arms Around Me

Grand Pianola Music

  • Part 1A
  • Part 1B
  • On the Great Divide


CDs with compositions by John Adams – Amazon partnerlink:


Alexei Kofanov – Great Pieces for Mandolin, Guitar or…

Alex Kofanov is a singer, guitarist and composer from St. Petersburg in Russia. He is also a writer and has published in the “Newa” magazine.

Alex Kofanov has also published two books for the guitar. Those books should serve to learn to play the guitar from the basics, to play in many different styles and also to compose.

In his pieces you can find influences from Russian folklore, jazz, blues, bossa-nova – I like his style, and I hope that he will compose more like this.

On of my pavorite pieces by Alex Kofanov for mandolin and guitar is Hello, Gary!

Playlist Alexej Kofanov

Some titles of the pieces by Alex Kofanov:

  • Hello, Gary! (by A. Kofanov)
  • Allemande
  • Gavotte
  • SUNSET ON THE BANK – Domra und Gitarre
  • Poletschka für Olga, a funny piece with some rock and roll influences

The sheet music for the following pieces can be found on the homepage of Alex Kofanov (if you use a translation tool like google to translate this page to english you can find it easily)

Website of Alex Kofanov with free sheet music and videos.

I have compiled the direct links to the most interesting pieces:

Link collection Alex Kofanov

Attention: it might be necessary to rename the images – I could not open the images as long as they had Russian names, but I coudl open the images afte I had renamed the images to a name with the western alphabeth.

Advertisement – Amazon Partnerlink

Reminiscences of Russia

Guitar Music by Russian Composers (amazon partnerlink)