Berklee American Roots Weekend
June 20 – June 22, 2014
What’s the program like?
Learn from Berklee faculty and some of the world’s leading roots musicians and educators. You’ll play and explore in depth a wide variety of roots music styles, including bluegrass, blues, folk, country, acoustic jazz, etc. Through participation in ensembles, labs, and group lessons, you will be developing your improvisational and reading skills.
What’s the schedule?
Classes on Friday and Saturday will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will take the form of ensembles, master classes on instrumental proficiency, and lectures on core musical concepts from the Berklee curriculum. The evenings will feature faculty concerts and jams.
In addition to the ensemble participation, students will choose from a host of classes including Variations on a Simple Melody as an Intro to Improvisation for Folk Musicians, Country Blues Guitar, Music Theory, and Intro to Ear Training.
Who are the instructors?
Viktor Krauss was born in Champaign, IL, in 1969. His youth was spent listening to soundtracks and instrumental music, eventually leading him to the piano, trumpet and string bass. He soon played with local jazz groups and accompanying others. In high school, Krauss explored the worlds of rock, soul, and R&B and began to write material that shared these new influences, eventually leading to the study of bass, voice, composition/theory with an emphisis in electronic and tape music at the University of Illinois.
After relocating to Nashville in 1992, Krauss joined progressive bluegrass pioneer Peter Rowan & the Free Mexican Airforce, where he found himself playing for Mountain Stage, Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Prairie Home Companion. After his tenure with Rowan in 1994, he began nineteen years of work with Lyle Lovett, touring and recording with the iconic singer/songwriter, including contributing to recordings such as My Baby Don’t Tolerate, Step Inside This House, Natural Forces and his most recent Release Me. In 1995, Viktor started a long recording and touring collaboration with distinctive guitarist Bill Frisell. Such recordings with Frisell include Nashville, Gone, Just Like a Train, Floratone, East/West, Good Dog, Happy Man, Disfarmer and The Sweetest Punch. Krauss has also been seen on stage with artists such as Carly Simon, Shelby Lynne, Chet Atkins, Larry Carlton, The Chieftains, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Jewel, Melinda Doolittle and most recently a trio consisting of Jerry Douglas, Krauss and Omar Hakim. A recording featuring this trio was released early 2012 on E1 records. Learn more...
Matt Munisteri currently gets to work with a wide variety of artists at the top of their game across the jazz and American roots music spectrum, and he finds that the twin jobs of sideman and a leader only serve to complement one another. When not working on his own projects his primary sideman gigs for the last few years have been playing with violinist Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing; Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra; and with the singer Catherine Russell, for whom he also currently serves as Music Director. Though an instrumentalist of prodigious technique, and a relentless improviser, Matt has always felt a primary connection to songs, to their forms and emotional landscapes, and his skills and originality as an accompanist have lead to calls to record with some of today’s most soulful and individual singers. These include Holly Cole, Madeline Peyroux, Liz Wright, “Little” Jimmy Scott, Geoff Muldaur, Sasha Dobson, and Kat Edmondson. Outside of the jazz world, Matt was a key player on Loudon Wainwright‘s 2010 Grammy-winning CD High Wide and Handsome – The Charlie Poole Project, to which he contributed arrangements, guitar, and 5-string banjo. He is credited on over 70 CDs, including new releases by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and guitarist Howard Alden. In mainstream jazz contexts he has concertized with The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Kenny Davern; Andy Stein; Matt Glaser; Tim Kliphuis; Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks; Frank Vignola; Jon-Erik Kellso; Evan Christopher; Duke Heitger; Bob Wilbur; Bucky Pizzarelli; and Dick Hyman. With the moorings loosened he has enjoyed long and fruitful associations with like-minded free-ranging wanderers such as Rachelle Garniez, Jenny Scheinman, Gina Leishman, and Greg Cohen. As one third of The Millennial Territory Orchestra’s rhythm section (along with Ben Perowsky and Ben Allison) his versatility and electric guitar chops are regularly honed – especially when the group is augmented by guests such as Bernie Worrell, Vernon Reid. Look for a smaller offshoot of this group – with drummer Herlin Riley and Bassist Reginald Veal – to release a CD with New Orleans’ piano giant Henry Butler in 2014. Learn more...
Alison Brown has achieved success in many areas: a Harvard graduate, record label co-founder and owner, mother, and, the role that most people know her in: banjo virtuoso. An internationally recognized musician with a wide-reaching and loyal fan base, Brown first came to national prominence when she was asked by Alison Krauss to join her band Union Station in 1989. A three-year stint with Alison Krauss and Union Station and a year serving as band leader for Michelle Shocked followed as did bluegrass music’s highest accolade for an instrumentalist: the International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year in 1991. Brown tours internationally with the Alison Brown Quartet, was personally requested to play at the 2007 inauguration of Harvard’ first female president, Drew Faust, and was the 2007 recipient of Irish America Magazine’s “Stars of the South Award” for Compass Records’ efforts towards the “cultivation and preservation of Irish music.” Brown’s discography includes four releases on Vanguard Records as well as six on the Compass Records label, including The Company You Keep(March 2009). She currently lives in Nashville with her husband Garry West and their 2 children: Hannah (8) and Brendan (3).
For over 40 years, Paul Rishell has built up a stellar reputation as a torchbearer of the country blues tradition. At concerts and workshops alike, his audiences and students have been treated to his warm, resonant voice and virtuoso fingerstyle guitar, interwoven with a historical narrative of rural blues artists and recordings. A master of the guitar styles of Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Boy Fuller, Scrapper Blackwell and other innovators of early 20th century roots music, Paul was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1950. He began playing guitar at age 10, initially diving into rock ‘n’ roll until a friend played him a recording by the Delta bluesman Son House. Rishell would meet and play with Son House, Johnny Shines, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and Howlin’ Wolf after moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the early 1970s. He also became a fixture in the Boston area, both headlining and opening for his musical heroes. He paired up with harmonica virtuoso Annie Raines in 1992, and they have released six albums together, including MOVING TO THE COUNTRY (2000), the W.C.Handy Award winner for “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year,” and have performed on diverse radio and TV shows including A Prairie Home Companion, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and PBS’s Arthur. Paul recently released Talking Guitar (Mojo Rodeo, 2012), a solo CD of country blues songs featuring guest appearances by Annie Raines, and Dirt Road Blues (Truefire, 2008), an instructional video with detailed demonstrations and transcriptions of Country Blues classics. He is currently a visiting artist at Berklee College of Music. For more about Paul and Annie, visit www.paulandannie.com
The musical imagination of Mark Simos weaves a lifetime love of many traditions into innovative musical forms. As songwriter and composer, fiddler, ‘tunesmith,’ and guitar and piano accompanist, Mark draws on long apprenticeship in a wide variety of genres—Irish, Southern old-time, New England, Quebeçois, bluegrass, and Klezmer among others—creating a musical language grounded in traditional forms, yet uniquely his own.
Annie Raines was born in 1969 in Boston. She picked up the blues harp at 17 and made her stage debut a few months before her high school graduation. Enthralled by the recordings of Muddy Waters, Little Walter Jacobs, Big Walter Horton and Sonny Boy Williamson, she became a fixture at Boston area blues jams. She briefly attended Antioch College and in 1988 interned with Washington, DC homeless rights activist Mitch Snyder, who persuaded her to drop out of school to pursue her musical career. She started out playing the New England club circuit with local bands, and traveled to Chicago where she met and played with many of her musical idols including Pinetop Perkins, Louis Myers, and James Cotton. She paired up with country blues guitar master Paul Rishell in 1992, and together they have earned loyal fans around the globe. They have released six albums together, including MOVING TO THE COUNTRY (2000), the W.C.Handy Award winner for “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year,” and have performed on diverse radio and TV shows including A Prairie Home Companion, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and PBS’s Arthur. They have performed and recorded with Susan Tedeschi, John Sebastian, Pinetop Perkins, and Rory Block. Annie has been teaching harmonica for over 25 years. She has an instructional video out on Truefire called Blues Harmonica Blueprint. For more about Annie and Paul, visit www.paulandannie.com.
Maeve Gilchrist was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. Daughter to an Irish mother and Scottish father she grew up immersed in traditional folk music. At seventeen Maeve received a full scholarship from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA where she studied jazz and world music. Maeve is based in Brooklyn NY, and she tours internationally as a soloist and with various collaborations. Recent performance highlights include the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, the World Harp Congress, Celtic Connections Festival, the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival and the ICONS Irish Festival. She has collaborated with some of the most celebrated contemporary musicians on the scene today such as Darol Anger, Vardan Ovsepian, Kathy Mattea, Tony Trischka and Esperanza Spalding. Maeve released her album ‘Song of Delight’ on the Adventure Music Label in 2010 and is preparing for labels second release of ’20 Chandler st’ this coming April. Last January she self-released her debut solo harp album called ‘The Ostinato Project’. Written as a celebration and exploration of the harp, this series of compositions focuses on utilizing both hands as separate instruments.
Matt Glaser is the Artistic Director of the American Roots Music Program at the Berklee College of Music, and before that had been chairman of the String Department at Berklee for 28 years. Matt is the first and only recipient of the Stephane Grappelli Memorial Award, "In recognition of his significant contribution to the teaching and playing of improvised string music in America", presented by the American String Teachers Association with the National School Orchestra Association. He has performed widely in a variety of idioms ranging from jazz to bluegrass to early music. He has published four books on contemporary violin styles including "Jazz Violin" co-authored with the late Stephane Grappelli. He has written for many newspapers and music magazines including the Village Voice, Strings, and Acoustic Musician . He has performed with Stephane Grappelli, David Grisman, Lee Konitz, Bob Dylan, J Geils, Leo Kottke, Joe Lovano,Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Kenny Werner, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, the Waverly Consort, Fiddle Fever, and most recently with Wayfaring Strangers--a band that fuses jazz and folk music. The Boston Herald called him "possibly America's most versatile violinist."
Fiddler, composer, producer and educator, Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent. Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Anger has helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with numerous pathbreaking ensembles such as his Republic Of Strings, the TurtleIsland String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, Montreux, his Duo with Mike Marshall, and others. He has performed and taught all over the world with musicians such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Bela Fleck, Bill Evans, Edgar Meyer, Bill Frisell, Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, Anonymous 4, Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, Mark O’Connor, and Stephane Grappelli. Today Darol can be heard on NPR's "Car Talk" theme every week, along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. He was also the violinist on the phenomenally popular Sim City computer games. In addition to performing all over the world, he has recorded and produced scores of important recordings since 1977, is a MacDowell and UCross Fellow, and has received numerous composers’ residencies and grants. He has been a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks. He is an Associate Professor at the prestigious Berklee School of music. He recently began an ambitious online Fiddle School at ArtistWorks.com. His website is www.darolanger.com
Hailed by Nashville’s Music Row Magazine for his “lickety-split mandolin work” and by Vintage Guitar Magazine as “brilliant”, Portland, Maine-based Joe Walsh is emerging as one of the best mandolinists of his generation. Walsh is known for his exceptional tone and taste, and his collaborations with acoustic music luminaries including legendary fiddler Darol Anger, flatpick guitar hero Scott Nygaard, folk legend Jonathan Edwards, and pop/grass darlings Joy Kills Sorrow have taken him all over the musical and figurative map. He’s played with everyone from John Scofield to Bela Fleck to Emmylou Harris, and performed everywhere from bluegrass festivals to laundromats to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. After a number of years helping bluegrass super-group the Gibson Brothers rise to the top of the bluegrass world, Joe currently splits his time between a group with Grant Gordy and Darol Anger called Mr Sun and a trio with Brittany Haas and Owen Marshall. An avid educator, Joe is a mandolin instructor at the Berklee College of Music. He teaches regularly at music camps throughout North America and beyond, and has taught hundreds of students near his home in Portland, Maine. Joe is co-directing the Berklee American Roots Festival camp in Boston, and the Ossipee Valley String Camp.
Where will I eat and sleep?
Applicants who are 15 and older will be sent information and an application for residence hall housing once accepted to the program. Most program participants elect to stay in the Berklee residence halls; however, space is limited. To optimize your chances for on-campus housing, you must return the housing application immediately upon receiving it.
To be eligible to live in the residence hall, you must be 15 years of age by the start of the program. Residence hall housing is not offered to students younger than 15. If you apply to the program after mid-May, call the Housing Office at 617 747-2292 to find out if residence hall space is still available. Students under the age of 15 attending the program accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other family member will need to make their own housing arrangements.