Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bluegrass in Siberia!

Greetings readers! Come August 10th, I will be beginning a 30 hour journey to Kyzyl, Tuva, located on the Russian/Mongolian border deep in Southern Siberia. The People's Republic of Tuva is, in fact, the geographic center of Asia. While in Tuva, I will be performing bluegrass, conducting research and competing in the 2017 Xöömei in the Center of Asia Festival. This year's festival is dedicated to the memory of the late Kongar-ool Ondar. Readers here familiar with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones will recognize Ondar's name as he frequently collaborated with Fleck. Fleck has also collaborated with another ensemble from Tuva, Alash. Ted Lehmann has graciously invited me to send in posts from each day of the festival as well as other bluegrass collaborations that may spontaneously occur.

At this point, some of you might be wondering, who I am. Well, my name is Damon Postle, I'm originally from Everett, Washington [just north of Seattle] a banjo player, throat singer, music educator and music education PhD student at the University of Georgia's Hugh Hodgson School of Music. My PhD studies revolve around teaching and training future music educators in folk music from all corners of the globe including bluegrass.

I'll close this post by saying traveling to this part of the world is not cheap and I would be remiss to thank my wife Megan for her unwavering support, both financial and emotional. I also need to thank major professor, Dr. Skip Taylor, PhD at the University of Georgia who helped not only with finding travel grants, but his constant support of my work at the university.

As they say in Tuva, "Shu-de!!!" [literally "Giddy-up!!!"]. I am excited to send in posts from the road. Until then, Tuva or bust!