Wednesday, May 18, 2011

15th Annual Battle of the Jugbands Coming Soon

It's that time of year. The end of May means a lot of things for a lot of people. Memorial Day weekend, Indianapolis 500, Dylan Days (Hibbing) and Dylan Fest (Duluth), and here in the Twin Ports it's the annual Battle of the Jugbands.

Hard to believe we're seeing the fifteenth year of The Battle. Presented by Coho Hand Cream for Men and Icehouse Studios, the Battle of the Jug Bands will be held once more at the Amazing Grace Cafe in Duluth's Canal Park from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. May 29. There will also be a Jug Band Preview Jam the night before from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., so there will be plenty of music to enjoy.

The Battle was essentially the brain child of Elliot Silberman who seems to have two great passions in life, music and fishing. (He's also an artist.) Even though there is no experience required to be part of the jug band experience, Elliot probably has six decades of experience making music and is a talent musician in his own right. I would not be surprised to learn he formed his first music group before elementary school, talking his friends into playing spoons, bowls and bicycle spokes.

The invitation has gone out into the music community from Blind Willie inviting one and all to form a band to compete in the annual Battle Winner of the event will walk away with the travelling Yid-wegian Krumkake Iron, a greatly coveted prize here in the Northland. Your band will have its name engraved on this trophy, no doubt equivalent in value to having a Super Bowl ring in another well known competition.

Jugband music is essentially poor man's jazz. Instruments range from washtub bass, kazoos and spoons to saw, pots, pans and other kitchen utensils. Traditional instruments all join in accompaniment, including harmonicas, guitars, mandolin, fiddles and even an occasional clarinet or trombone. Oh yes, and of course there are the jugs.

So... spread the word. It's doesn't take much to form a band. Elliot will even furnish your band with wash tub bass, jug and washboard players. Each band will have twenty minutes to wow the crowd which assembles here like the mob that awaits Punxsutawney Phil to do his thing on groundhog day.

PHOTO Captions
Top, L to R: De Elliot Bros. in 2009 Christmas show at Amazing Grace
Left: Elliot in his Studio.
Right bottom: Elliot and Ted making some lovely sounds.

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