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The next Charlotte Folk Society Gathering on Friday, April 12th, features a cross-over concert, Bluegrass Meets Bolero. Presented in partnership with Levine Museum of the New South, the music gets underway at 7:30 PM. Tom Hanchett, the museum's staff historian, will host the evening. It's part of the monthly Gathering series presented by CFS at the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in the edge of uptown Charlotte. The beautifully restored century-old church reminds concert-goers of the Grand Ole Opry's Ryman Auditorium. Doors open at 7 PM; we recommend early arrival.
Gatherings are family-friendly, open to the public, and free. Donations are greatly appreciated and essential to supporting the concert series in the Stella Center. Free parking is available in an adjacent deck; exit without paying after 8 PM. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground-floor door on the parking lot side of the building. Drivers with guests needing accessible entry may park temporarily in designated drop-off spaces opposite the side door.
Visitors are invited to come to the downstairs Café after the concert to enjoy refreshments. A song circle, informal jam sessions, and a Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club meeting follow. The Dulcimer Club makes available loaner instruments to visitors interested in "taking a test drive". Both listeners and participants are welcome to all these activities.
Close harmonies and fine guitar work mark the sound of bolero. No relation to the dance of the same name,bolero originated in Cuba and swept Latin America in the mid 20th century. In Charlotte, the family trio Los Morales carries on that tradition.
Musical sparks will fly when Los Morales meet the bluegrass trio led by Charlotte fiddler Glen Alexander, winner at the prestigious Galax festival in 2012. You'll want to mark your calendar for this unique concert!
Bluegrass fans will connect with the virtuoso instrumental playing that characterizes bolero. The guitar, born in Spain, became a favorite throughout Latin America. Many specialized guitars developed -- you may remember the guitar-like vihuela played by Los Gavilanes at our Bluegrass Meets Mariachi concert back in 2010. Bolero musicians use a soprano guitar called the requinto to provide their top instrumental voice. The lower, richer sound of the more familiar classical guitar anchors the music. And congas and other percussion set up a dance beat.
Grupo Los Morales features guitarist Jesus Morales with son Alberto Morales on percussion, plus Erick Vasquez playing the requinto. Jesus and Alberto hail from Tampico, Mexico, while Vasquez comes from El Salvador -- a mix that reflects the widespread popularity of bolero across Latin America. They've released four CDs and recently contributed three original tracks to the 2010 film Blood and Honey by director Rodrigo Dorfman. In addition to fine instrumental work, they are noted for warm harmony singing. Check out Grupo Los Morales online: www.grupolosmorales.com. Contact the band at 704-831-8049.
Bluegrass developed in the American South in the 1940s and '50s. It took the region's old-time fiddle-and-banjo dance music and updated it with hot instrumental solos that owed at least a little bit to jazz. The guitar became a lead instrument, as well as supporting the fiddle, banjo, and often a small guitar-relative called the mandolin.
Glen Alexander is arguably the premier fiddler in the Charlotte region. Three-time winner of the bluegrass fiddle first-place ribbon at the Old Fiddler's Convention in Galax, Virginia, he has also been Fiddler of the Festival at Union Grove. He'll join with a couple of long-time picking buddies from the Galax area. Greg Wilson on guitar is a multi-year solo winner at the Galax festival. He makes his home in Fries, Virginia. Hailing from Mt. Airy, John Boulding on banjo has toured with Wyatt Rice and the Shady Grove Band. All three love jazz, so don't be surprised to hear some stringband-swing in the mix. Daytimes you can find Glen Alexander at The Violin Shoppe, 2112 East Seventh Street (Monroe Road) in Charlotte's Elizabeth neighborhood. Visit online at www.theviolinshoppe.net or call 704-373-0551.
CFS Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from
the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts
Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and
the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great
nation deserves great art.