Tag: mandolin


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)

mandolin ensemble

Ensemble La Volta – Plucked Instruments of the World

The La Volta ensemble has been around for more than 25 years. A concert for the 25st anniversary was given in 2009, and the videos of this concerts are now available on youtube.

On the homepage of the ensemble you can find the following text:

LA VOLTA, ein Ensemble der Musikschule Reinach/Basel-Land (CH), besteht aus 8 bis 9 Jugendlichen im Alter von ca. 10 bis18 Jahren.

Zusammen mit ihrem Leiter, Jürgen Hübscher, beherrschen sie ein vielfältiges Repertoire, das von Musik des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts über Internationale Folklore bis zur «POPulären Musik» unserer Zeit reicht.

Das Instrumentarium besteht aus Gitarren verschiedener Grössen, historischen Instrumenten wie Laute, Barockgitarre, Barockmandoline, Pandora etc., folkloristischen Zupfinstrumenten aus ganz Europa, Nordamerika und Lateinamerika, Violine, Panflöten und über dreissig Percussionsinstrumenten.

translated to English:

LA VOLTA, a group of the music school in Reinach/Basel (Switzerland) is composed of studens ot he music school aged between 10 and 18 years.

Together with the director Jürgen Hübscher they play a repertoire which contains music from the 16th to the 18th century as well as international folk music and pop songs of today.

The enseble uses different sized guitars, historical instruments like the luth, barock guitar, barock mandolin, pandora etc.,  folk instruments from all over Europe, North America and South America, violins, pan flutes and more than 30 percussion instruments.

For now 25 years Jürgen Hübscher has again and again found young students for his ensemble and prepared  interesting programs. Many times this ensemble has also been invited to other countries and made successful tours.

The instruments are used in a very creative way. In the following video folk instruments like the charango or the Puertorican cuatro are used for the barock music replacing the barock guitar, the Mexican Guitarron is used as the bass instrument.

Villan di Spagna (printed 1657)

Ensemble La Volta (Switzerland) Italian 17th Century music by Giuseppe Giamberti. Performed with “baroque Charango” (tuned like baroque guitar), Jarana Huasteca from Mexico, Pandora, Cuatro Puertorriqueño & Mexican Guitarron.

The program does also contain a Ciacona by Leopold Sylvius Weiss for soprano luth and bass luth, and a suite by Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello.

Then follows an Italian tarantella, folk dances from Greece and Bulgaria and finally dances and choros from South America.

Two well known pieces from Brazil are played in the following video:

Manha de carnaval / Brasileirinho

The ensemble La Volta has produced several CDs, they have also published some South American dances for a mixed ensemble. On the homepage of the ensemble you can find more information about CDs, sheet music and also seminars held by Jürgen Hübscher for working with mixed ensembles. You can also order a newsletter.

This is another video with Irish and American melodies, played with a lot of joy and creativity – that’s fun for the players and for the audience too.

Irish Reel – Hornpipe – Breakdown

Website La Volta: http://www.la-volta.com/

Playlist with all videos of the anniversary concert of Ensemble La Volta

Playlist from a concert given in 2011

Play by Jason Vieaux

(Amazon partnerlink)