Tag: history

history

The Oldest Mandolin Orchestras – Worldwide (Paul Ruppa)

Paul Ruppa has written the following article for the Mandolin Journal of the Classical Mandolin Society of America (CMSA). To make this article available for the mandolin community he asked me to publish it in my blog.


Using the internet three years ago, I began to build a list of the oldest active mandolin orchestras around the world.  Initially, because I did not know the best way to search for the relevant information, the results were not very good. Even asking friends outside the United States for the names of the oldest active orchestras in their homelands was not very successful. After several years of starts and stops in the research, the list included only about thirty names.

With some time on my hands in 2020, expanding the list of the world’s oldest mandolin orchestras seemed like a timely and important project. A motivating factor behind the project was the fact that my group, the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra was a well-documented 120 years old. It seemed unlikely that a mandolin orchestra in the Dairy State could be the home of the oldest such ensemble in the world. Thanks to generous members of the internet’s mandolin community, we now know that there are at least a half dozen similar and older groups in Europe and many others with long histories.

The project took off on the “Mandolin World” Facebook page with a call for information about active mandolin ensembles that formed prior to 1971. There were a surprising number of responses. One of the best parts of the exercise was finding how much mandolin history has been made by devoted amateur, fretted-instrument players worldwide.

There were just 33 pre-1971 entries on the list when the project went online. In a few weeks, with the help of mandolin enthusiasts on the internet, 103 qualifying mandolin organizations were identified. In an attempt to make the list more readable, I set arbitrary milestones at 100, 50 and 30 years.

  • 36 orchestras were at least 100 years old, two in that group had a tradition going backas far as 135 years.
  • 53 in the next grouping were at least 50 years old and five began as early as 1922 (99 years ago)
  • 14 active mandolin orchestras that started operating before 1971 provided start dates between 30 and 49 years ago.
Current list of the oldest 100 year old mandolin orchestras

Mandolin orchestras from sixteen different countries were represented in the results of this project.

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bandurria

Baldomero Cateura and the Spanish Mandolin

In this post I want to present a new book about mandolin history in Spain. It is the first book in a planned series of books dealing with the history of the bandurria and mandolin in Spain.


Baldomero Cateura y la Mandoline Espanola

BALDOMERO CATEURA AND THE SPANISH MANDOLIN

Biography, organology, influences, technical proposals of his method, repertoire, projection and anthology.

Author: Diego Martín Sánchez

Ediciones FEGIP. Colección Trabajos de Investigación. Nº 1

Link: https://www.mundoplectro.com/BALDOMERO-CATEURA-Y-LA-MANDOLINA-ESPANOLA

            This work deals with the life and work of one of the most popular bandurrists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Baldomero Cateura (1856-1929). The Spanish mandolin and its repertoire, the “trípode”, the strings, method and “piano-pedalier” are the main elements here treated; but, what really makes this research valuable is the Anthology by Baldomero Cateura (downloadable from the internet). In its slow and complicated elaboration, I have gathered 101 works, almost 1000 pages – some original and others adapted – most of which were given for losses. This repertoire is a valuable contribution to the repertoire of the “plucked Instruments”.

            The work is illustrated with a large number of images and abundant information extracted from newspaper library. Includes the first biography of the bandurrist Carlos Terraza de Vesga. And despite the importance of its composer, brings to light the impressive work for spanish mandolin (bandurria model Cateura) by Manuel Burgés.


Additional information

Soleá (B. Cateura) – Orquesta se plectro Torre del Alfiler

Concierto de clausura del II Festival de Plectro Ciudad de Granada celebrado en el Auditorio Manuel de Falla el día 8 de junio de 2019.
Obra: Soleá (Baldomero Cateura) – Adaptación y arreglos: Roberto Megías.
Interpreta: Orquesta de Plectro Torre del Alfiler.
Dirige: Florencio Rozi Rodríguez.

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bluegrass

Red Allen und Frank Wakefield – Bluegrass 1964

I have recently found an interview with David Grisman (Live on the Jake Feinberg Show) where he talked about the recording of the Bluegrass Album with Red Allen and Frank Wakefield in 1964. He later talks about his projects with Jerry Garcia.

This interview inspired me to look back to the early 1960s and how Bluegrass was like then.

The album was produced for Smithsonian Folkways Records. Grisman (born in 1945) was just 19 years old when he produced this record. Wakefield had a great influence to Grisman who says the he learned alle tha mandolin solos a played by Frank Wakefield.

Smithsonian Folkways about Red Allen & Frank Wakefield

Allen and Wakefield’s music ranges from strictly traditional songs like “Little Maggie” to pieces introduced by Bill Monroe to sacred material, all with their hallmark close harmonies and tight instrumental backing. Like Monroe and Roscoe Holcomb, Allen’s voice embodies the “high lonesome” sound.

Grisman had invited Red Allen and Frank Wakefield to play a concert at the Carnegie Hall before.

Bluegrass (1964) – Red Allen und Frank Wakefield

David Grisman especially was inspired by a song from the album “Mountain Music Bluegrass Style” – The White House Blues by Earl Taylor and the Stoney Mountain Boys. They had to drive to New York to buy records like this. He says abou when he listened to this song for the very first time: “That changed my life”

White House Blues

Album – Mountain Music Bluegrass Style (Smithsonian)

David Grisman Interview Live on the Jake Feinberg Show

Wikipedia about Red Allen

Red Allen – Bluegrass Hall of Fame

WDON Recordings from Frank Wakefield and Red Allen

bluegrass

Washington D.C., The Bluegrass Capitol – The Story of…

There are not so many documentations about Bluegrass available. This is a high quality  24 minute video about Bluegrass in Washington, D. C.

Washington D.C., The Bluegrass Capitol – The Story of Bluegrass in Washington, D.C.

I created this video when I was in graduate school pursuing an MFA in film. I have been working on a feature length documentary on The Seldom Scene for several years (I submitted a cut of it as my MFA thesis project) and for this project I interviewed Mike Auldridge (again), Dudley Connell (again), George McCeney, and Len Holslcaw. I will be uploading a few clips from my Seldom Scene documentary in progress over the next few days. With the recent passing of Mike Auldridge, I remembered countless conversations with Mike over the last twenty years or so and the three times I interviewed him on camera. I shot this interview with Mike in April 2004 and it is my favorite interview with Mike. He truly was what everyone has said he was– a true gentleman and a class act all the way. And thanks to Dudley Connell, Len Holsclaw and George McCeney as well.

More videos about Bluegrass History