Concerts overview

American Roots Weekend - Friday Night

Intro ballads West-Virginia, Docu, Intro Sacred Harp & Jam session
Friday 24 March 2023 - 20h00
Molière Theatre - Galerie de la Porte de Namur, 3 Square du Bastion, 1050 Bruxelles
FRI 24/03

Long before country and bluegrass conquered the world, the music of small communities of farmers and miners in the eastern United States already made people dance and dream. This rural music entered the airwaves in the early twentieth century under the name Hillbilly Music and later “old-time”. Its origins can be traced back to European and African folk traditions from which various dances and ballads and other songs arose. For several years now, a new generation of old time musicians has been developing in the United States and now also in Western Europe. The style is also due for a revival in our country and a Belgian scene has emerged, with exchanges across borders.

During this weekend you can not only learn all the tricks of the old time through stages of guitar, mandolin, vocals, banjo, violin and square dance and flat foot, but on Friday you will also receive a beautiful documentary about the legendary old time revival band, the Highwood Stringband, an initiation into the vocal traditions, followed by a sacred harp session.

On Friday you will be immersed in the singing styles of the old time and with Dance All Night you will see the story of a legendary old time revival band.

In the 1970s, the Highwoods Stringband enthused tens of thousands of listeners for traditional old time with their unique blend of musical genius, exuberance, humor and an eclectic repertoire. That resulted in Grammy nominations. The band played major folk festivals in the US and toured Latin America and Europe. They also inspired countless other musicians and their influence on the music can still be heard today. Combining rare performance footage, photographs, sound recordings and interviews, this colorful film by Larry Edelman captures the spirit of the times as well as the band’s joy and excitement.

Sacred Harp is a style of a cappella choral music that was developed in the 18th century in the US. It is considered one of the earliest styles of American music and has remained popular to this day. Sacred Harp is characterized by complex harmonies and a unique method of musical notation that uses geometric shapes to represent notes in a way that makes it accessible to everyone. Leo Divary will present this technique and give the audience the chance to try it out for themselves: excitement guaranteed.

We end the evening with a Sacred Harp session in the foyer, followed by an old time jam session.

On Saturday there is a teacher’s concert in the foyer, followed by an old time ball.
Workshops related to American Roots music will take place throughout the whole weekend. More information about the workshops can be found here.

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