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Improvising Bluegrass Banjo with BB Bowness

Wednesday, September 8, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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This workshop is intended for intermediate and advanced banjo players.

In this class, we’ll talk about some specific ideas for unlocking easier improvisation on the banjo, including taking a few core phrases and fitting them to multiple chords and chord progressions, and harmonizing melodies and transposing them to multiple keys. Participants will also learn some licks and ideas from a few of BB’s favorite bluegrass mandolin and fiddle players and how to interpret them on the banjo. This class is geared toward intermediate and advanced players who have some experience on the instrument and want to expand their understanding of the fretboard, music theory, improvisation, and creativity.

Born in the small town of Marton, New Zealand, Catherine “BB” Bowness spent her early years working and living in her family’s fish-and-chip shop. Although an unlikely origin for a bluegrass banjo player, New Zealand would offer BB her first introduction to the instrument, sparking a lifelong love and fascination. A world away from the heart of bluegrass, BB spent much of her childhood teaching herself the instrument, and through dedication and tenacity, she became New Zealand School of Music’s first banjo student. Inspired by her New Zealand predecessors, The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, BB was always drawn to the five-piece full band, and after heading to America in 2012, she co-founded her current group, Mile Twelve. Immersing herself in the traditions of bluegrass and having studied jazz performance at university, BB’s banjo playing is an exciting synthesis of new and old ideas. “She demonstrates a command of the instrument, and plays with great rhythmic clarity both in the traditional and progressive realms. J.D. Crowe co-mingles with the future,” says Tony Trischka.  Her euphoric energy and love of the genre are readily apparent in any of her live performances. Catherine was one of the 2020 recipients of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

NOTE: This workshop will be recorded and distributed to registered attendees for use as a learning tool. A highlights video will be produced and shared to promote future workshops and events.

PineCone is committed to making our programs accessible and welcoming to all. To request accommodations (Zoom or tech help; captions; etc) for this or any upcoming PineCone events, please e-mail Jamie or call 919-664-8333 x4.  

You will receive a registration confirmation email with details for joining the workshop. Please be sure that your email address is entered correctly and check your spam or promotions folder if you do not receive the confirmation email. If you are still unable to locate the email confirmation and have not received the reminder email by 5pm the day of the workshop, please call or text Courtney at 919-516-9049.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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