I just wanted to send a quick reminder about this weekend's show at Empty Sea, and a personal note.
Tomorrow at the studio, we're welcoming Californian banjo player Bill Evans, who is presenting a fascinating program on the history and evolution of the banjo. The concert, entitled "Bill Evans' Banjo In America," traces the history of the banjo from its West African predecessor to its participation in several genres of American folk music. Bill is bringing a number of unique instruments to the show, and it promises to be a fascinating concert. We're also webcasting this one, so if you can't make it in person, please try and tune in through Empty Sea Television. I'm particularly excited about this one because of how Bill is combining a serious history lesson along with an entertaining evening -- I think it'll be a great evening. Read below for details about the show.
One more thing: I don't feel like I can finish this newsletter without acknowledging a dark shadow that this week has brought: as many of you already know, yesterday a series of shootings in Seattle took the lives of five people in our community, several of whom were musicians and at least two of whom performed at Empty Sea in the past. I don't have words for what has happened, but I am drawing a little comfort from a beautiful piece of writing by Steven Arntson called "Grief Music", written in the aftermath of yesterday's events. If you're interested, take a look here.
Bill Evans is an internationally known five-string banjo life force. As a performer, teacher, writer, scholar and composer, he brings a deep knowledge, intense virtuosity and contagious passion to all things banjo, with thousands of music fans and banjo students from all over the world in a career that spans over thirty-five years.
Tracing the banjo from its West African roots to the New World, Evans performs musical examples from the 1700's to the present day on a variety of vintage instruments, ranging from an African ekonting to a mid-19th century minstrel banjo, a modern bluegrass banjo and even an electric banjo. From an 18th century African dance tune to the music of the Civil War, and from early 20th century ragtime to folk and bluegrass banjo styles to Bill's own incredible original music, Bill's performances illuminate as well as entertain, exposing audiences to over 200 years of American music.
Bill is the author of Banjo For Dummies, the most popular banjo book in the world and has been a Banjo Newsletter columnist for over fifteen years. He has performed with acoustic luminaries David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Tony Trischka and Maria Muldaur, among many others. His recordings Native and Fine and Bill Evans Plays Banjo highlight innovative compositions which blend jazz, classical, folk and world music influences. His 2012 CD In Good Company features over 26 musicians, including the Infamous Stringdusters, Tim O'Brien, and Joy Kills Sorrow.
Evans has presented The Banjo In America at Kobe Shoin Women's University, Kobe, Japan; the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; Carleton College, Northfield, MN; Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; Clarion Music Center, San Francisco, CA; Border Folk Festival, El Paso, TX; Columbia Gorge Mixed Bag Music Festival, Stevenson, WA; the Maryland Banjo Academy, Buckeystown, MD; South Plains College, Levelland, TX; the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Gettysburg, PA; the Mid-Winter Bluegrass Festival, Denver, CO and Wintergrass, Tacoma, WA. The Banjo in America was developed with the support of a grant from the Kentucky Humanities Council.
Bill has a Master's Degree in Music from the University of California, Berkeley with a specialization in American music history and he has been a scholar/artist in residence at many universities across the United States. He has served as a consultant to the National Endowment for the Arts and is the former Associate Director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owenboro, Kentucky.
You can learn more about Bill by visiting www.billevansbanjo.com.
Imagine hearing world-class acoustic musicians perform just a few feet away from you. Imagine no espresso machine steaming away, no loud conversations at the bar drowning out the details - just dead silence, the artist, and the music.
That's the experience you get at a listening room. And that's what we do at Empty Sea.
Empty Sea is an all-ages, family friendly listening environment. We were originally alcohol-free but have since been granted a Snack Bar license to serve bottled beer along with our large assortment of non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. However, the studio is definitely not a bar environment!
What to expect at a concert:
Empty Sea shows aren't quite like shows at bars, coffeeshops, or private homes. Here's what to expect:
Shows start at the posted time - that is, for an 8.00 show, the artist or opening act will be performing by 8.05 or so. If you arrive late, expect some dirty looks as the only way into the venue is directly through everyone's line of sight!
The venue is small and sells out easily. We always recommend purchasing advance tickets if you intend to come to a show. Tickets remain on sale until an hour before showtime, so availability even early on the day of a concert doesn't mean that there will still be tickets left by showtime.
Come ready to listen. The quiet, pin-drop environment of Empty Sea makes for an amazing listening experience, but can be hard for children and other folks who need to make noise! Bear this in mind.
There are snacks! We have an assortment of local and national craft beers, soft drinks including Mexican Coke, ginger beer, Frappucinos, the San Pellegrino Aranciata and Limonata, and some other odds and ends. Plus more chocolate truffles than you can shake a stick at.