Thursday, March 31, 2022

Traditional Music from Bulgaria

Bulgarian folk music can be recognized as traditional Balkan music from Southeastern Europe.  Bulgarian folk music distinguishes from other Balkan music, which can be explained by its unique combination of rhythms, harmony and polyphony. Furthermore regions within Bulgaria have their own musical characteristics:

  1. Severnjaško (north): Gabrovo, Lovech, Pleven, Razgrad, Rouse, Targovište
  2. Dobrudža (north-east): Silistra, Dobrich, Varna
  3. Trakija or Thrace, and Strandža (south-east): Yambol, Plovdiv, Sliven, Stara Zagora,
  4. Bourgas
  5. Rodopes (south): Pazardjik, Smoljan, Haskovo
  6. Pirin or Bulgarian Macedonia (south-west): Blagoevgrad
  7. Šop or Šopluk (west): Kjustendil, Pernik, Sofia
  8. (north-west): Vidin, Montana, Vratsa

Bulgarian folk music is typically performed with traditional instruments like gaida (goat-skin bagpipe), kaval (end-blown flute), gadulka (string instrument), tapan (large double-headed drum), tambura (lute) and tarabuka (finger-drum). Another dimension was added to the (city) music with modern instruments like accordion, clarinet, saxophone, drum set, electric brass and electric guitar. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Romani Music: Taraf de Haidouks

 One of my favorite bands is Taraf de Haidouks.  They  are a Romanian-Romani taraf (a troupe of lăutari, traditional musicians) from Clejani, Romania, and one of the most prominent such groups in post-Communist era Romania. In the Western world they have become known by the name given to them in French-speaking areas, where they are known as Taraf de Haïdouks.

Since the release of its first album back in 1991, Taraf de Haïdouks has been considered the epitome of Romany music's vitality. Their polyphonic sound incorporates instruments such as the violin, double drum, accordion, flute, cimbalom, double bass and some wind instruments.

In 2007, the band released their album, Maskarada, in which they reinterpret and "re-gypsify" pieces by 20th-century classical composers (such as Bartók, Khachaturian and Kodály) who drew inspiration from national folklore and often borrowed from Roma styles.

Some of the core members of the group:

Nicolae Neacșu ("Culai"): violin, vocals; born 1924; died September 2002 (age 78)[2]
Dumitru Baicu ("Cacurică"): cimbalom, vocals; born 1931; died September 2007 (age 76)[3]
Ilie Iorga: vocals; actually from Mârşă, near Clejani; born 1928; died June 2012 (age 84)
Ion Manole ("Şaică" or "Boşorogu"): violin, vocals; born 1920; died May 2002 (age 82)
Gheorghe Anghel ("Caliu"): violin
Gheorghe Fălcaru ("Fluierici"): flute, double bass; born 1954; died September 2016 (age 62)
Ionică Tănase: cimbalom
Constantin Sandu ("Dinu"): cimbalom, vocals
Florea Pârvan: double bass
Marin Sandu ("Țagoe"): accordion
Paul Guiclea ("Pașalan"): voice, violin; born 28.01.1932; died September 13, 2018 (age 86)
Marin Manole ("Marius"): accordion
Constantin Lăutaru ("Costică Boieru"): violin, voice; born 26.09.1956; died 07.12.2021 (age 65)
Viorel Vlad: double bass
Robert Gheorghe: violin

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

YouTube Channel Created Playlists

Please like the videos you want to see more of and subscribe to my channel to receive regular updates.  You can register for online classes here, or by emailing

Check out my banjo playlist on YouTube:

Under the Mandolin Lessons category, I have several playlists:

I love the violin.  It's the first instrument I learned how  to play, and always dear to me.  Here's a violin playlist:

Do you like product reviews?  Who doesn't?  Check out mine:

Everything you ever wanted to know about the mandocello is here:

Interested in learning about Klezmer music?  Check it out here:

Friday, March 25, 2022

Mandolin Lesson: 4th Finger Exercises

 Recently I posted 6 videos, which are each part of a 5 part series of 4th finger #exercises. You can use these same exercises on the #mandola and Octave #mandolin

Here's a link to the playlist:

Part 1 of the series

Monday, March 21, 2022

I book gigs for musicians, ensembles and bands throughout New England and New York.

I book gigs for musicians, ensembles and bands throughout New England and New York.   I work primarily with wedding musicians and DJs.  Since 1998, I have been booking solo musicians, bands, ensembles, big bands and orchestras at area venues, bars, pubs and concert halls as well as directly to bridal parties and families that hire groups for weddings and other private events.  If you are a solo musician, part of a band or an ensemble and you would like to work with someone with significant industry experience, contact me

I will be posting all open gigs in the "Gig Listings" group on Facebook.  I set up this group to post open gigs.  Open gigs are events in need of a performer.  These are gigs where the client hasn't specified the genre, ensemble/band, or other important part of the booking process, but want to be listed anyway.  We will do our best to post all of the relevant information.  You may ask questions by using the comment section.  

To apply for the gig, you will need a contract.  If you're ready, email with  the subject "contract", the gig number and your contact information in the body of the email.

Thank you!

Friday, March 11, 2022

Celtic Fiddle Lesson: Pipe on the Hob

Celtic Fiddle Lesson: Pipe on the Hob, aka The Piper Of The Embers, Píobaire na Gríosaí.

Edited by Francis O'Neill, 1850 and composed by John Carey, a native of Limerick He is not mentioned in O'Neill's Irish Minstrels and Musicians (1913), but receives recognition in Irish Folk Music, a Fascinating Hobby (1910), where O'Neill notes he was a fiddler, "long a resident of Chicago."

Born and grown to manhood in County Limerick and brought up in the midst of a community where old ideas and customs prevailed, his memory was stored with traditional music. He numbered among his relatives many pipers and fiddlers, and being quite an expert on the violin himslef in his younger days before that arch-enemy of musicians--rheumatism-- stiffened his fingers, his settings were ideal. Gradually, from week to week, and extending into years, his slumbering memory surrendered gems of melody unknown to this generation, and not until within a few months of death did his contributions entirely cease. Even Mrs. Carey's memory yielded up a fine reel, the

"Absent-minded Woman," which her husband did not play."

Here's my version:

#celticmusic #fiddlelesson #celticfiddle #fiddle #celtic

Celtic Lesson: Carolan's Welcome

Carolan's Welcome, also known as Carden’s Welcome, Carolan’s Air, O’ Carolan’s Welcome, and composed by Turlough O'Carolan.

Turlough O'Carolan (1670 – 1738) was a blind Celtic harper, composer and singer in Ireland whose great fame is due to his gift for melodic composition.

This melody is one of the most popular #wedding #processional tunes and often requested for #ceremonies. I usually play it on the #violin, but it's gorgeous on the viola and mandocello.

Solo violin:

Duo violin/guitar:


Celtic Fiddle Lesson: Crested Hens

 Crested Hens on #Fiddle, with Adam Sweet

Also known as Cockscomb Bouree, Como Poden Per Sas Culpas, The Crested Hen, Les Poules Huppés, composed by Gillies Chabenat, a hurdy gurdy player.

Winnie Horan’s version on Solas’ cd "Solas" is a classic, powerfully simple rendition. In all fairness to Gilles, this is not a waltz but a three-time bouree. It is really in 3/8 time, and is delightful with out the downbeat effect so typical of a waltz.

Here's my version:

Les Poules huppées

CRESTED HENS, THE (Les Poules huppées). French, Bourrée à 3 temps (3/8 time). E Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). Composed in 1983 by French...