Monday, 16 February 2015

Elmstein Pat Kelly's Summer School 2015

And again this year's summer school in Elmstein, Germany has a workshop for Irish Bouzouki as well as numerous other courses for instruments in Irish Music. It takes place from 2nd to 8th August 2015.

The tutor for the workshop for Irish Bouzouki will be Tobias Kurig, a well known Bouzouki player from Germany. He will be joined by Colman Conolly on pipes. Here's a video:

and another one:

and another one:

And finally a video from the teacher's concert 2014:

Have a look at:
for further details.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Jens Wollschläger's ABC Transposer

This is a very useful tool if you have to transpose an abc-file from one key to another. Just paste in the abc and transpose it with the buttons on the right. And by the way look at the other pages of this website, too. It's the website of the Swiss band Sláinte and they are really worth listening. Many thanks to Jens for providing us with this tool.

You can find it here:

Irish Bouzouki Method by Roger Landes

So here's a new Bouzouki Book which will help the beginner to get in touch with our beloved instrument. I ordered it via Amazon, it took some time but finally it arrived. The book has got 48 pages and no CD, therefore it's only 7,95€ which is a really fair price. But don't worry, the audio files which go along with the book can be heard and downloaded from the website of the publisher ( Just fill in the Enter Code from within the book and here you go.

The book itself is aimed to the absolute beginner. It starts with an introduction on the bouzouki, it's anatomy, playing position, left and right hand and tuning. A short introduction on music notation, tablature and time signatures. That's pages 1-12.

After that you'll find some open-string studies with different pickings and one page on the fretboard.

On page 18 you'll find an introduction to Double Jigs (6/8 time). Lots of exercises which bring the jig rhythm to the beginner, which isn't easy for them. But after all the studies you should understand the jig rhythm when finished page 21.

And off it goes with the first tune, a jig called "The Kinnegad Slashers". First you have the chance to learn to play the melody on your bouzouki. Then follows the accompaniment. I really like the way Roger develops the accompaniment. First he drones without chord changes. This gives a feeling for the melody and the changes in it. After four different sorts of Droning he starts to build up the rhythm, step by step, also only with droning. Really interesting! After you have tried 6 different rhythmic drones there comes an exercise with simple chords. And that's really simple chords. By the way - you won't learn many chords in this book. But that's ok.
Right after the chords follows the first introduction to counterpoints which leads to another simple chord progression. Two more counterpoint exercises and that's it for the first tune.

What I miss after that is a hint to other tunes which can be accompanied with the things just learned.

Second tune is a reel called "The sunny banks" and it is almost the same way of exercises.

Third tune is a slip Jig "Drops of brandy". This one is in the key of G. First without capo and then with capo on the 5th fret, now you can use everything you learned before.

The last tune is a reel in Em "Dunmore Lasses". Here only two chord exercises, that's all.

So for a very good price you get a well thought book for the absolute beginner. If you play the bouzouki for some time give it a try for the later exercises. I'm pretty sure you'll find some new thoughts on how to play the bouzouki.

All in all I really like the way Roger concentrates on the playing of the right hand. Most teachers concentrate on chords and on the left hand. If you want that buy another book or the fantastic DVD by Zan McLeod.

More information:

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Bouzouki Lessons at Irish Music School 2014

Looking for a piece of Ireland concerning music and craic in the Pfälzerwald within Germany? You are looking for the closeness to fantastic Irish traditional folk musicians, you want to learn from them and to do so you would even stay for a whole week with like-minded in a loose atmosphere of a remote guest house? This could be something for you!

You'll find courses for all the instruments used in Irish Music. Bouzouki (of course!), fiddle, flute, whistle, box, harp, bodhran, pipes, banjo and some more. Most of the teachers also offer individual lessons on an hour base in the afternoon.

The agenda for the week is now online. Look at:

More than 100 people have already enlisted. So this certainly will be a week of music and craic. And don't forget the concerts in the evening!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Crump Bouzouki for sale

Just found a nice bouzouki for sale, unfortunately I have not the money to buy it :-(
but maybe someone else is interested.

Handmade in 2005. I bought this second hand last year.
Instrument in perfect playing condition,
great intonation and tone.
Minor cosmetic issue is small pick scrapes on body at either end of the neck.
1-9/16" nut width, ~25-1/2" scale length
solid cedar top solid mahogany back and sides,
two-piece mahogany neck with center strip,
23-fret ebony fingerboard with fancy pearl and abalone inlays,
ebony bridge, maple-bound body,
abalone celtic knot rosette, cast brass tailpiece,
ebony headstock overlay with pearl and abalone celtic knot inlay,
gold Planet Waves tuners,
L.R. Baggs Dual Source pickup system installed
Included is custom heavy duty flight case.

He asks for 1.600€

 Here's a video:

The Fagans - The Long Run

The Fagans - James Fagan (vocals, bouzouki), Kate Fagan (guitar, vocals), Margaret Fagan (vocals) & Bob Fagan (guitar, vocals) - performing live at Humph Hall, Sydney, Australia in March 2011. It's a song written by John Schuman, who also wrote the song "The Diamantina Drover" which was covered by many Folk artists, such as Patrick Street. John Schuman recorded the song with his group Redgum.



Here' s a live version from Redgum recorded in 1984

And here's an acoustic version of "The Diamantina Drover" from Redgum. Unfortunately I can't find the original studio recording.

Nancy Kerr & James Fagan

I already posted some videos by Nancy and James, a fantastic Duo playing bouzouki and Fiddle.
You can find more information on their website at
it's currently under construction and leads to their Facebook profile.

This first song I first heard on the album "Broken Hearted I'll Wander" by Dolores Keane and John Faulkner. This is another fine version which shows them live at Shrewsbury Folk Festival in August 2010

Here's another video which shows Nancy Kerr and James Fagan live at Bath Folk Festival on August 17, 2013

Tyne of Harrow

I am a gallant highwayman; my name is Tyne of Harrow.
I come of poor but honest folk nigh to the hills of Yarrow.
'Twas for getting of a maid with child, to England I came over.
I left my parents and became a wild and daring rover.
And straight to London I did go where I became a soldier,
Resolved to fight Britannia's foes; no champion could be bolder.
They sailed me to a foreign land where the cannon loud did rattle.
And believe me, lads, I do not boast how I behaved in battle.
For many's the battle I was in, in Holland and French Flanders;
I always fought with a courage keen, led on by brave commanders.
But a cruel ensign called me out and I was flogged and carted;
Cruel the usage they gave me, and so I soon deserted.
And straight for England I set sail as fast as wind could heave me,
Resolved that of my liberty no man should e'er relieve me.
I slept by night in auburn fields, by all old friends forsaken,
And I dared not walk the roads by day for fear I should be taken.
But being of a courage keen and likewise able bodied,
Well, I robbed Lord Lowndes on the King's highway with my pistols heavy loaded.
I clapped my pistols to his breast which caused him for to quiver,
And five hundred pound in ready gold to me he did deliver.
With part of my new store of gold I bought a famous gelding
That could jump o'er a five-bar gate; I bought it from Ned Fielding.
Lord Arkinstone in his fine coach I robbed at Covent Garden,
And two hours later the same night I robbed the Earl of Warren.
And one night by Turnham Green I robbed a revenue collector,
And what I took form him I gave to a widow to protect her.
For I always robbed the rich and great, for to rob the poor I scorn-ed,
But now they leave me to my fate, in iron chains adorn-ed.
Yes, it's straight in Newgate I am bound and by the laws convicted.
For to hang on Tyburn tree's my fate, of which I'm much affrighted.
Farewell, my friends and countrymen and my native hills of Yarrow.
Kind providence will test the soul of Alan Tyne of Harrow.

Here are some more videos, all from Bath Folk Festival 2013:

And some videos from a performing at Humph Hall, Sydney, Australia in February 2013:

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Irish Bouzouki workshop in Elmstein, Germany

From August, 3rd until August 9th 2014 there will be a bouzouki workshop with Tobias Kurig, one of the best bouzouki players in Germany (Nua, Blue Project, Deirin De).

 If you are interested look at:
You can sign in directly on this website. You can expect a week filled with Irish music, concerts, lots of craig and beautiful people in a lovely venue and fantastic landscape. 

There will be courses for flute, fiddle, bodhran, harp, singing, whistle, guitar, accordion, ensemble etc, too, of course. So don't hesitate, bouzouki still needs 2 participants to be confirmed!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


Just got her fantastic new album. Here's a little live set from a concert at the Old  Fruitmarket, Glasgow on Jan. 22nd 2014. Eamon is playing his guitar-bouzouki. Nice set.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Friday, 25 October 2013

Aoife Scott - What you do with what you got

Fine backing for a wonderful song. Aoife Scott, born into the legendary Black Family, her mother is Frances Black, her aunt Mary. In spring she started working on her solo cd, in summer she became singer of the band "The Outside Track", a fantastic band, currently touring with the Irish Folk Festival 2013. Yesterday I saw them in Karlsruhe, fantastic show.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Gazuki (Guitar Bouzouki) for just £450

Phil Williams offers a Guitar-Bouzouki for just £450. It's called GZ6 and is a matt finish solid spruce-top instrument. Back and sides are laminated.

Sounds interesting. If you have the chance to try one please feel free to report in the comments.

Here's a link to a short introduction video

James Fagan

James Fagan plays a guitar shaped bouzouki most of the time. On the first video he plays the bouzouki of Andy Clarke, which was made by Andy Manson. On the website of his Project "The James Brothers" you can find his bio, which I include here: (I hope you don't mind, James)

 • Born Canberra 1972, son of Margaret and Bob Fagan. Younger sister is Kate Fagan. Together they are "The Fagans", one of Australia's best-known folk bands for 30 years.

 • Met Nancy Kerr in 1995 and formed a duo that has become on of the most popular and respected duos on the UK circuit, winners of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo (2003 and 2011). Together they have toured in the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

 • Main instruments - Vocals (Spiral Earth Male Vocalist of the Year in 2012). Bouzouki - James plays a Sobell guitar-shaped bouzouki.

 • Current projects: Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, The James Brothers, Melrose Quartet, Cara Dillon Band, The Fagans, Kerr Fagan Harbron, Glorystrokes

 • Record labels: Fellside (1997-2008) Navigator (2010-present) • Main musical interests: Singing, arrangement, composition, accompaniment

 • James is a sought-after session player and has appeared on albums by Martin Simpson, Eliza Carthy, Cara Dillon, Brian Finnegan, Spiers and Boden, Andy Irvine, John Kirkpatrick, Alistair Hulett. *

James teaches voice and bouzouki to undergraduate students on the Newcastle University Traditional Music Degree course.


One of his projects is the duo Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, where James sings and plays bouzouki and Nancy plays fiddle and sings, too. I post some of the many videos you can find on youtube.

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Andy Clarke - Bonny Irish Maid

I already posted a video from Andy some time ago (look here): Now he wrote me an E-Mail in which he suggested to put up his new video. So it's a pleasure for me to have it here on my blog. Fine singing and playing. Love this song.

Celtic Fonts

The website with celtic fonts I linked to some years ago is no longer available. So here is another website with lots of celtic fonts for free. Have fun!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Build any chord, anywhere

This is an interesting concept by a man called Frank Geiger. Made for instruments tuned in fifth. He writes, that it doesnt require reading music, knowledge of key signatures or chord spellings. Looks interesting. If you try it please comment, if it is useful for players of bouzouki.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Bouzouki Chord Chart and Fretboard Poster GDAD Tuning on ebay

This is what I found on ebay today. A poster containing the fretboard of a bouzouki GDAD tuning and some chords for $6.95 or 5,26€. Maybe this could be helpful to someone? In my opinion the price is much too high. Of course it is a good idea to put the info on a poster, so you can have a look at it if in doubt, especially for the fretboard. I did this for myself years ago and it still hangs on my wall. But the few chords are of no great help. In my opinion no chordchart is of any help for the bouzouki, because you seldom play full chords on the bouzouki. You need to have several different shapes for each chord and try everytime which one fits best into the structure of the other chords you play. But decide for yourself. Look at it as long as the link is valid:

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Tim O'Brien On Mandolin Warmup Exercises

Tim O'Brien speaks about Mandolin Warmup Exercises. What works on mandolin must work on bouzouki also. So have a look at it and decide for yourselves. By the way, some years ago Tim produced a DVD where he explains some of his techniques on Mandolin and Bouzouki. If you don't know it already have a look at it. I bought it some time ago and I think it's great. Introduction to his DVD

Irish Bouzouki made by Lewis Santer, played by Brendan O'Regan

Brendan O'Regan worked with the Waterboys, Mary Black, De Dannan, Mairtin O'Connor and many others.In this video he plays a  bouzouki made by Lewis Santer, Kinvara, Ireland. The back and sides are California Black Acacia, the top is Sitka spruce, the scale length is 25.4". What a fantastic musician!

DAMANTA Live - Songs on Irish Bouzouki

A man, a bouzouki and lots of great songs. Watch this and his other videos.

Here are some links to his music and his band Damanta

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Fleadh - Finest Irish Folk from Germany

No bouzouki with this band, but nevertheless worth a look at. Fleadh, in it's present line-up was formed in 2007. Now with their second CD out they have found their own way in Irish Folk.

With the recruitment of vocalist Saoirse Mhór and fiddle player Marcus Eichenlaub they received the needed 'breath of fresh air' to move the band forward.
The two Franks and Marcus are avid sessionists, regularly playing in the many Irish Pubs around the Pfalz area. Regular visits to Ireland keep them constantly in superb playing form.

Fleadh seek to combine this section of the band with the vocalist/singer approach of Saoirse. Saoirse gets around Germany too - busking on the streets and at Street Artist Festivals in major German cities.
Tommy is the heartbeating drive on guitar in Fleadh. Intricate detailed arrangements and pulsating rhythm weaving through jigs, reels and songs.

Working as an Irish Folk Band Fleadh do not wish to leave the path for Middle Age Music or the all too eminent Acid / Punk / Neo Folk. Fleadh want to retain the respect for Irish music and yet seek to mix styles and ryhthm but still stay within the boundaries of Folk. Singing and playing. That’s Fleadh!

Look at: and listen to their cds.

And finally, if you look at the tunebook section on their website you will be presented with a large numer of well known session tunes, often with chords for accompanyment.
Here's the direct link:

Members of the band are (stolen from their website ;-):
Saoirse Mhór: Gesang, Gitarre und Percussion
other projects:

Thomas Gorny: Gesang und Gitarren
other projects: Space Debris

Frank Weber: Uilleann Pipes, Whistles und Bodhrán
other projects: Rhine Valley Céilí Band, Wizard's Walk

Frank McDürschner: Gesang, Mandoline, Banjo, Harmonica
other projects: Divin' Duck, Dissetied

Marcus 'Mr. Oakleaf' Eichenlaub: Fiddle

Andy Clarke

Andy's father was a folk singer way back in the 1960s. He took his son to many folk song clubs in his native Devon. Soon Andy discovered a passion for traditional song. Later he became involved in folk bands in and around Torbay.
In recent years Andy performs as a solo artist in clubs and on festivals all around the country. In addition to his solo work he collaborated with Jackie Oates & Steve Turner (The Eelgrinders) as the trio Wistmans Wood and he plays in the Mooncoin Ceilidh Band. He also plays as a Duo with Hurdy Gurdy player Steve Tyler.
Look at:

I really love the way he plays his bouzouki.
article on his bouzouki:

Here's a video together with Steve Tyler

Wreck off Scilly

Andy solo: Hunting the hare

Ruth & Andy Clarke - Da slocket light

John Doyle - The Arabic!

While looking for John Doyle I found  another video where he plays his irish bouzouki.

This songs called The Arabic

And another song: Bound for Botany Bay

John Doyle on WTJU - 12 December 2012

John Doyle is usually known as guitarist with Solas. Here's a longer interview and a song he plays on his irish bouzouki made by Kevin Muiderman (pronounced like “Spiderman”)

He plays I know my love on bouzouki and Cold haily windy night and Silky on guitar