Thursday, April 17, 2008

TTU Celtic Ensemble Wed Apr 23 8pm Hemmle

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vernacular Music Center Concert Series Oct 8 8pm HRH: The Janissary Stomp (world music)

For immediate release. Please feel free to download, forward, and post. Apologies for any cross-postings.

Vernacular Music Center Concert Series Oct 8 8pm HRH: The Janissary Stomp (world music)

On Saturday, October 6 at 8pm in Hemmle Recital Hall on the TTU campus, bouzouki virtuosos Roger Landes and Chipper Thompson present The Janissary Stomp, a duet program of ancient and modern, original and traditional musics of the Mediterranean and Near East. The event is co-sponsored by the TTU Vernacular Music Center, the School of Music, and the Caprock Celtic Association. Tickets are $7 to the general public and available through Select-A-Seat.

About the musicians:

Roger Landes was introduced to the bouzouki through his interest in Celtic music in 1981, and has been exploring the frontiers of the instrument ever since. He played in the popular Kansas City-based Celtic group Scartaglen, recording several CDs with the band and contributing a cut to the best-selling Narada compilation Celtic Odyssey. He has continued to perform on the bouzouki, in a duo with fellow Scartaglen alumnus Connie Dover, and since recently moving to Taos, New Mexico, has continued to expand the possibilities of his chosen instrument, particularly adding a taste of the desert Southwest to his playing since discovering jarocho music from Veracruz.

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chipper Thompson has been stirring an intoxicating brew of roots-based music for several years from his home in Taos, New Mexico. A relative latecomer to the bouzouki, Chipper took up the instrument after hearing its use in Irish music, and after meeting Roger through Taos-based bouzouki builder Stephen Owsley Smith. He has quickly developed one of the most original voices on the instrument, incorporating Appalachian, Blues, Celtic, Rockabilly and Middle Eastern influences into a seamless and articulate personal expression.

About the music:

The origin of the term janissary is as a label for the elite shock troops of the Ottoman Empire, who were responsible for introducing everything from coffee to croissants to cymbals to the Western world. The CD The Janissary Stomp is Roger Landes and Chipper Thompson’s exploration of the expressive possibilities of the bouzouki, a double-strung instrument originating in the East but now played in a wide variety of world musical traditions. Combining medieval, Near Eastern, Balkan, Mediterranean, and original musics, the Stomp is a unique and engrossing musical experience, suitable for all ages and audiences.

Roger Landes and Chipper Thompson “are exploring uncharted territory with their original compositions for two bouzoukis. Drawing on a wealth of musical influences, they are creating a new style for the instrument in which innovation flourishes while remaining true to the spirit of the Middle-Eastern and Celtic cultures which molded the bouzouki. Arabic taqsims meet Mississippi Delta Blues; a Greek rembetika meets a New Mexican Hispanic waltz; while African, Celtic, Spanish and Balkan strains compete for the ear’s attention.

Review excerpt: “But even more unique is the music, a global ethnic folk, Appalachian folk, Celtic, and early music merging experience. And boy does it work!...The soundscapes heard will take you on an audio journey to Ireland, Scotland, Celtic Brittany, Mexico, medieval Spain, Europe of the middle ages, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Appalachians, and the sun soaked mountains and deserts of New Mexico. It is a beautiful celebration of our global folk heritages.” –Dennis Stone

Roger Landes instrument gallery here: Original Chipper Thompson poster art here:

You can read more about, and see images and hear clips from, The Janissary Stomp at . Sample below:


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

O'Flaherty Irish Music retreat, Dallas, Oct 07

[Folks: Passing on an invitation from Dallas's Ken Fleming (banjo and box) I have heard nothing but good things about this event, now in its 4th year. Ken is Good People and the instructors they've laid on are top-notch. Well worth the investment of time and money. cjs]

Just wanted to pass on some information about a traditional Irish music camp in Texas called the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat that is getting great reviews by instructors and students. Here are some of the details:

This year’s retreat is October 26-28 at the Hoblitzelle Camp and Conference Center in Midlothian, Texas, about 30 minutes south of Dallas. Classes begin Friday morning and the retreat ends Sunday night. Each day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) there will be three 90-minute classes and one 60-minute workshop. There’s a superb lineup of instructors this year, including such wonderful players as Matt Cranitch (fiddle), Patrick Ourceau (fiddle), Mickey Dunne (uilleann pipes), Tommy O’Sullivan (guitar/singing), Catherine McEvoy (flute/whistle), Pat Broaders (bouzouki/singing), Mark Stone (bodhran), Therese Honey (harp), and many more. Each night there will be instructor concerts and sessions. On the final night, there will be a “Singers Scramble” and “Texas Tune Tussle” which features a friendly competition among ensembles that are formed at the retreat during the weekend followed by a farewell concert. Lodging on campus will be available from Thursday evening through Sunday night with check out by 11 a.m. on Monday the 29th. Meals will be offered Thursday dinner through Monday breakfast. There will be a shuttle to and from DFW and Love Field Airports and the camp.

Costs are $150 for tuition, $80 for youth 18 and under and seniors 65 and older. Meals, lodging and shuttle service can be reserved separately. If you’re interested, visit the retreat’s website at or call the retreat office at (972) 238-8724. This is a great way to spend a three-day weekend being saturated in Irish trad music with a community of players.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Coyotebanjo Irish slow session (teaching session)


Just an announcement that the Coyotebanjo Irish slow session (teaching session), open to all interested in learning and playing Irish traditional music, will resume in new digs at J&B Coffee back room (26th & Boston, Lubbock TX USA), beginning Aug 18. Meets weekly 4-6pm, admission is free, and all are welcome. Please pass the word!

See poster: feel free to download, print, forward, and post.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lubbock retail culture and demographics

[cross-posted from]

Coffeeshop of the local yuppie (Texas-owned) grocery chain.

Lubbock's demographic is changing, despite the know-nothing head-in-the-sand "we're-still-a-small-town" public postures and policies of its governing bodies (especially City Council, and to a lesser extent the mayor's office). They are still beholden to a Club for Growth ranching/mineral rights/real-estate development model, and can't get their brains around the fact that both the profile of the city's population, and the places the city needs to go in order to survive in a very different economic climate, are both very different than those described above.

I once wrote a painstaking report for a City arts advisory board, based upon Richard Florida's "Creative Class" model--essentially, arguing that good benchmarks for the economic viability of a city in the Information Age have to do not with development, the construction of stadia, or a rise in the cost of living, but rather with the receptivity of a community to those arts-aware, typically young, college-educated, patent-holding, information-processing, disposable-income-spending persons who make the street / neighborhood / loft / arts culture of Austin, San Fran, Ann Arbor, Cambridge, Amherst, Oxford, and other "hippie arts towns" both possible and lucrative.

These bozos want Austin's "Sixth Street" culture (really, now, just a dump for drunken frat kids and aggressive panhandlers) but they don't want to create a welcome to the demographic that makes arts culture possible. Florida argues that college degrees-per-thousand, patents-per-thousand, and even presence/absence of a gay community, are all better indicators of the human and creative resources that make for economically-viable, livable 21st century cities, of both small-, medium-, and large-population size. [By the way, I had to demand my name be removed from the report, because the night before it was to be presented to the City Council, the committee chair called me and said "I had to edit your report--I took out all the references to the gays"; she claimed that the Council would instantly discard the report if such references were included. Flabbergasted, I told her to take my name off the report, and the Council discarded it anyway. I later resigned from the committee when in the monthly meeting the Chair categorically denied that she'd ever had that conversation with me.]

Our old friend Ben Bagby, probably the greatest solo performer of medieval music of the past century, gave us a thumbnail version of the same thing, when we were agonizing over whether to move to Lubbock in 2000. Ben, who's American-born but has lived in Europe (Cologne and Paris) ever since the '70s. He said to Dharmonia, "Look for a gay community. If they're visible, then the place will have an arts scene, decent restaurants, music or theatre, clubs--it'll be basically livable." It was good advice (though Lubbock's LGBTS scene is pretty much underground and persecuted, except for the relatively safe haven of the campus).

Anyway, this is the local yuppie/progressive grocery chain. Family-owned, Christian-identified, but "good Christians" the way that some Texans can be: e.g., they actually fuckin' put into practice the idea of "doing good in the world." They employ a lot of kids and retired folks, but there are always enough staff, the staff most always seem happy to be there, they have a clear holiday policy, closing on certain days specifically so that their staff can spend time with family, and so on.

When this place opened in 2001, Dharmonia, who was not yet working on campus, called me from the store on opening day, saying "You gotta get down here! They have a deli! And a salad bar! And a natural-foods section!" Even as recently as 7 years ago, those were all Major Developments, and indicative of this business's awareness, anyway, that the demographic was shifting: from a ranching, development, small-town demographic, to an Information Age demographic. And everything from their stock choices, to the combination of "Texas comfort foods" (fried chicken, biscuits-and-gravy, string beans with fried onions) and "healthy foods" (sushi, salads, blackened tofu) at the deli, to the very good artisan coffee in the coffeeshop, to the numerous family and domestic-skills events they offer free, reflects their awareness of the changing demographic.

This place is also the scene of the infamous Bob Knight/David Smith salad-throwing incident, that cost Smith his (spurious) credibility, demonstrated Knight's instantaneous chokehold on the University's Board of Regents, and added another chapter to the saga of administratively-enabled Knight tantrums.

Lubbock will never have a Whole Foods (another Austin-based corporation) until they pry loose the draconian "dry-county" liquor laws from the clutches of the restaurateurs and fundamentalist Christians, and re-written the laws so that WF can include the organic wines and beers that are part of their corporate model. But in the meantime, this ain't bad.

Actually a good place for lunch meetings: the food is quite varied, fresh, and cheap; coffee is excellent; there's easy and proximate parking (an essential part of any West Texas business meeting), and there' s almost never a wait.

And, in the meantime, the free wireless in the coffeeshop is a nice perk.

Playing when published: NRBQ, "Get Rhythm"

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


From the Avalanche-Journal:

Formed specifically in response to new bond issue proposed by City Council. Salient worthy goal:

The largest proposal of the package is an $85 million renovation of the Memorial Civic Center. Also proposed are demolishing the City Bank Auditorium and Coliseum and building a new performing arts center for $55 million, and upgrading a hodgepodge of streets and facilities.
Let your reps know!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Link to Lubbock craigslist

Useful, searchable, free online "classified ads" resource.