Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ken Waldman

In this day and age of overproduced music, it’s good to hear someone who isn’t part of the “commercial pop” aspect of music, but who is out there making a living playing music the old fashioned way, with fiddle, mandolin guitar, and banjo. I just happened to meet someone like this the other day at work. I received a phone call from one of the music professors saying that this guy who was on campus speaking to classes and performing, would stop over to talk to me about some books and CDs he has out that might be of interest to the library. Well, in comes Ken Waldman carrying a fiddle case and a big bag over his shoulder. We get to talking, and had an interesting hour or so discussion on music, poetry, Alaska, the life of a touring musician/poet, and other stuff. Being a “musical instrument junkie” I asked what all he had and he pulled a mandolin and banjo out of his bag, and a fiddle. We noodled around a little bit on the banjo and mandolin, and then Ken played some of his tunes on the fiddle. Later that night, I took my family over to see the show, and had a really enjoyable time. In his show, Ken, who bills himself as an Alaskan Fiddling Poet, plays old-time fiddle tunes—both traditional, and ones that he has composed. Along with the music, Ken tells stories about his life in Alaska, and recites his poems. On the night that I saw him, he had other musicians with him: the Druckenmillers, who played fiddle, guitar mandolin and banjo; and Mark Tamsula who played banjo, fiddle, and guitar. All five of them played together, then they played some tunes in smaller groups of two and three. It was a really good show, and just reminds me that there’s more to music than what you hear on the radio. Good music is out there and sometimes you have to hunt it down, but other times it finds you.
 Check out some videos

And here's a video I took of Ken and Mark playing Miss Renee's Waltz (well the last minute of the tune)

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