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2021 events are listed below

(either page down or click on specific event for more detail)

Second Sunday ‘odd’ months – Old Time Jam Session and clawhammer banjo workshop
Second Sunday ‘even’ months – Bluegrass Jam Session and bluegrass banjo workshop

16th April –  Annette Esquenet
11th April –  BB and Alex banjo and guitar workshops
10th April –  BB and Alex
19th March –  a Blackboard Concert
27th February –  Maven Ravens
19th February –  The Madillionaires
13th February –  You Me Everybody
15th January –  The Melling Station Boys



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Second Sunday each ‘odd’ month –  Old Time Music Jam Session and clawhammer banjo workshop



This is a new venture for the WBS, having come together after years in the making.

It will be held on the second Sunday afternoon of each ‘odd’ month (Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sept,Nov) between 2pm and 4pm at the Petone Community Centre.

Over many years the WBS has organised Old-time banjo camps, then Old-time music camps and many Old-time instrument and Bluegrass workshops. There has been a calling for jam sessions to also be held.

Embrace this opportunity and the jam session will flourish accordingly.  For this year, Bluegrass jam sessions are on “even” months, and Old-time Music jam sessions are on “odd” months.

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Second Sunday each ‘even’ month –  Bluegrass Music Jam Session and bluegrass banjo workshop



This is a new venture for the WBS, having come together after years in the making.

It will be held on the second Sunday afternoon of each ‘even’ (Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec) month between 2pm and 4pm at the Petone Community Centre.

Over many years the WBS has organised Old-time banjo camps, then Old-time music camps and many Old-time instrument and Bluegrass workshops. There has been a calling for jam sessions to also be held.

Embrace this opportunity and the jam session will flourish accordingly.  For this year, Bluegrass jam sessions are on “even” months, and Old-time Music jam sessions are on “odd” months.

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Friday 16th April – society night – Annette Esquenet


Kapiti based singer-songwriter Annette Esquenet grew up in the UK, then spent her early adult life in France, arriving in New Zealand in 2002.

Annette began song writing in 2012, her songwriting heroes include Joan Armatrading, Paul Simon, Paul Williams, French singer-songwriters Francis Cabrel and Renan Luce. By far her greatest inspirations are the many local singer-songwriters she is lucky enough to count as her friends. She meets regularly with some of them at a songwriting circle which she has been part of for several years.

More recently she has integrated the Weissenborn into her music, on the advice of her friend and mentor Tim L. Brown of Caramello’s fame. There is a perceptible influence of Caramello Blues in some of her latest songs, but she retains her own style.

“Sensitive, heartfelt lyrics to interesting melodies with her own style of picking and strumming on guitar. All uniquely hers. Beautiful.”

– Lisa Beech

“When Kapiti singer-songwriter Annette Esquenet sings, time seems to stand still. Her voice is clear, crystalline and like a soothing balm at the end of a weary day. Her songs are full of soft-spoken wisdom and often about love, world peace and understanding, the types of things that we realise are missing in this world. A very talented multi-instrumentalist, she accompanies herself at various times on guitar, Weissenborn and piano.”
– Vince Cabrera

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Sunday 11th April – banjo and guitar workshops – BB and Alex

Sunday 11th April 12:00-2:00pm

BB’s bluegrass banjo workshop

This two hour workshop will take a deep dive into the fundamentals of three finger bluegrass style banjo playing. It is suitable for intermediate banjo players who have had some experience playing but would like to develop their skill further.

We will cover:
+ movable chord and scale shapes
+ common Scruggs style vocabulary
+ practicing efficiently
+ metronome tips
+ learning by ear

Alex’s bluegrass guitar workshop

Alex’s workshop will be for players of all skill levels but will focus specifically on flatpicking and bluegrass rhythm playing. Everyone’s technique is a little different and there are several schools of thought, this workshop will cover some important and universal lessons for the right and left hand, specifically in a bluegrass context.

Topics to be covered include:
+ right hand technique and picks
+ melodic and riff-based improvisation
+ learning the neck
+ how to get the most out of whatever practice time you have

Students are encouraged to bring a recording device to the workshop.

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Saturday 10th April – concert – BB and Alex

Born and raised on the other ends of the earth, Alex Rubin and Catherine “BB” Bowness were brought together by a shared love of traditional acoustic and roots music. Though they would take strikingly different paths, the two ultimately ended up finding each other along with a love of traditional and more progressive folk music.

Born in the small town of Marton, New Zealand, BB spent her early years working and living in her family’s Fish-and-Chip shop. New Zealand would offer BB her first introduction to the banjo, 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 became New Zealand School of Music’s first banjo student and graduate.

Meanwhile, Alex was raised near Boston, USA, attending Cornell University on a neurobiology degree, but teaching himself acoustic guitar all the while, inspired by his father’s love of traditional American folk and bluegrass music. After university, Alex toured as a sideman and as a full-time band member of the April Verch Band, an old-time Canadian trio.

When BB headed to America in 2012 to co-found her current bluegrass band, Mile Twelve, the two met while immersing themselves in the vibrant Boston roots music scene, jamming and striking up a musical friendship and a marriage. Although, they maintain extensive individual touring schedules as members of different bands, they perform and tour as a duo whenever they can in the Northeastern USA.

Currently they live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Alex has toured extensively both at home and internationally, including performances in 49 states and a number of countries including Canada, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand. BB’s band, Mile Twelve, have won numerous International Bluegrass Music Association awards, including 2020 New Artists of the Year and 2017 Momentum Band of the Year. BB won the 2015 Freshgrass Banjo contest and was a winner of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize in 2020.

For this concert they will present an array of mostly traditional, mostly American style folk and progressive bluegrass music. As their interests have expanded over the years, so too has their repertoire and you will hear classics from the American pantheon as well as some classical music, world music, and other varieties.

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Friday 19th March – society night – a Blackboard Concert

 

A blackboard concert is an evening of floorspots, i.e. where anyone can come along and perform two numbers – bluegrass, old time, country or Americana.

Each act must come up with a special name for the night – one they haven’t used before, and not your own personal name. If anyone is unable to come up with a name, the audience will be consulted for suggestions.

Note:
1. Two numbers per act
2. bluegrass, old time, country or Americana
3. every act must come up with a name, one they haven’t used before

Doors open at 7:30 pm

now free for anyone performing a floor spot!   Followed by a jam session.

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Saturday 27th February – concert and album launch – Raven Mavens Quartette


The Raven Mavens Quartette is the brainchild of Wellington singer songwriter Cindy Muggeridge, following her dream of forming an all female band. The journey began in 2011 with the Raven Mavens duo, with Cindy on boogie and blues piano and Marian Carter adding soulful clarinet. The duo became a trio when they added Anje Glindemann on drums, with her sometimes light, sometimes rocking, but always solid feel. Then the trio became a quartet with the addition of multi instrumental virtuoso Kate Marshall on accordion, flute and violin. Each of these women is a musician and a singer, worth hearing in her own right, but when they get together there is a unique and beautiful synergy.

To add to the magic of the musical lineup, Cindy has written a collection of original songs for the Quartette, featuring each band member in turn as the lead singer. Recording the songs was a natural step in refining the arrangements and on Saturday 27th February the band launches the Raven Mavens Quartette CD, live in concert, at the Wellington Bluegrass Society.

Expect this talented combination of women to dish up a variety of voices, instruments and styles, as they deliver Cindy’s engaging and provocative songs. They will also be throwing in some of their favourite covers, drawing from great divas including Bessie Smith, Katie Webster and Nina Simone. The mood will range from sensitive to burlesque, with a bit of story telling and hilarity on the side.

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Friday 19th February – society night – The Madillionaires


The Madillionaires are Peter Madill, Jude Madill and Joseph Coleman, three generations of the same family, plus Jenny Kilpatrick, original Madillionaires’ band member and kazoo soloist extraordinaire. Combining dynamic and diverse musical styles with strong vocal harmonies they perform original songs as well as a wide range of music from elsewhere.

As well as having four vocalists, The Madillionaires play guitars, fiddle, accordion, banjo, octave mandolin, bass and attitude.

The Madillionaires will entertain you with songs of heroism and hardship, murder and survival, loves lost and won. You will be regaled with re-imagined ballads of yesteryear and hear tell of more recent times as well.

Disclosure statement: there may be traces of country; alt-country; folk in this music.

Peter Madill, renowned luthier and musician, has been playing and singing since the late 60s, starting in the Dunedin folk scene, then moving to Auckland in the 1970s. He has performed with a number of successful bands over the years including Gentle Annie and Late Harvest. He has been a member of The Madillionaires since the band began in around 2014, although being resident in the South Island for a time meant he couldn’t make it to every gig. Now living in Levin, Peter has once again joined the lineup on a more permanent basis.

Jude, the next generation Madill, plays and sings with great feel and an equal enthusiasm and love for music. Living in Wellington since 1990, she has played both solo and in groups around the local acoustic, folk and Americana scenes for several years now. Jude also writes her own material, most of which falls somewhere in the folk/alt-country box. A couple of her original songs will be presented in their set at the WBS.

Joseph Coleman, the most recent band member, is the third generation of ‘Madill’ and as such could not avoid joining the band. Still in his early teens, he hasn’t been playing and singing for long enough to be written about in length but already has a few gigs under his belt. As well as being an integral part of The Madillionaires with his intuitive backing on accordion and harmony singing, Joseph has played a few festival blackboard spots, The Interislander, and a gig in a bookshop with Jude (his Mum) as Madillionette.

Jenny Kilpatrick, an original Madillionaire and kazoo soloist, has stuck with the many and various band lineups over the years. She has been part of the folk music scene in New Zealand since going to festivals as a teenager. As a Madillionaire, Jenny adds her fabulous voice to the mix and keeps the band grounded on bass. She is also a member of duos The PJs and Portable Panic, singing and playing around the Wellington folk scene.

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Saturday 13th February – concert – You Me Everybody

You Me Everybody are a collection of superb New Zealand acoustic instrumentalists who are searching for a new, dynamic sound that showcases the best of Americana in Aotearoa.

Formed by brothers Laurence and Sam Frangos-Rhodes, who are best known for their contributions to family band RhodeWorks, You Me Everybody pushes the boundaries of what New Zealand knows of a genre, that was formed on tradition and rules, to create progressive bluegrass. Whilst upbeat bangers are part of their repertoire, this is no pub band.

Upon their inception, they performed their first live gig as openers for well known US group The Felice Brothers, as part of the 2019 Americana Fest at the Tuning Fork in Auckland. A week later they recorded their EP and in February 2020, You Me Everybody released this self-titled debut EP, which reached number 13 in the New Zealand album charts.

Laurence plays and builds beautiful guitars and his songwriting crosses boundaries of effortless yet mature in the same breath. Sam oozes musicality; he will pick up a mandolin, fiddle or the double bass in a nonchalant manner but his talent quietly shatters the illusion of his youth. In 2020, Sam and Laurence were chosen as two of 16 musicians aged under 22 to participate in the Acoustic Music Seminar for the Savannah Music Festival in Georgia, USA.

Nat Torkington is constantly pushing boundaries for himself as well as his instrument, whilst also encouraging other musicians to explore and challenge the bluegrass form. James Geluk is a graduate of the NZ School of Music and is noted for his work with the Frank Burkitt Band, who recently won a Tui for the Best NZ folk album, is a bass player who brings his jazz education to bluegrass. Kim Bonnington has a heart of the pure country. She is as comfortable at centre stage as she is a backing vocalist and is known for her work as a solo singer, as one half of Kim and Dusty and for providing harmonies for a range of NZ acts.

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Friday 15th January – society night – The Melling Station Boys

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come and see this rare appearance by Wellington’s only bluegrass band!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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