Saturday, 24 February 2007

Chris Smith - Celtic Backup

Some years ago Chris Smith released his book "Celtic Back-Up For All Instrumentalists". I havn't read it until now, but on his website there are some great articles on various aspects of folk music.

You can buy the book here:

Here are some links to interesting articles on his website:

Instruction: Triplets for plucked strings

Instruction: Building chords

Instruction: Modes and modal substitutions

Instruction: Learning to accompany

Instruction: Picking jigs

Instruction: Time and technique

There are lots more tutorials on his site. Please check out for yourself.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007


A site for guitarists, but you can use the advanced guitar room for bouzouki, too. Custom tunings are possible. Look for scales, notes etc on the fretboard.

Example for Bouzouki D major scale. Now you can figure out possible chord shapes.

Celtic Fonts

You need some Celtic fonts for your website or Groups logo? Try this website with a lot of great fonts:

Capo transpose helper

Here I have a little helper for all the capo-players. Just download, cut out and find the correct chords. Please tell me if you find it useful.

You can download my helper with a cute little picture of my Stevens-Bouzouki at:

Stevens Bouzoukis at:

You can buy a professional thing at:
They have got a patent to this helper but gave me kind permission to leave it on my website if I mention the focuhl website. Thank you very much!

Acoustic Music Webtools

Mark Klan provides us with a lot of little tools to help us make our musician's life a little bit easier.

ChordSpell, NoteFind, ChordMatch and CapoCalc are the names of the tools. Have a look at them and tell me if you find it useful.

ChordSpell: If you play a chord and don't know what is ChordSpell can help you.

NoteFind: You want to know where the notes are on your fretboard?

ChordMatch: You are trying to find correct chords to a melody and stuck? Try this little helper.

CapoCalc: You have a capo on and want to calculate the chords to play?

Banshees in the Kitchen

Banshees In The Kitchen, what a name!

The Banshees are a US based all female folk trio consisting of Brenda Hunter (fiddle, hammered dulcimer, Jill Egland (flute, accordion, whistle) and Mary Tulin (six- and twelve-string guitar, bouzouki).

They play a lively mix of trad tunes and songs. Currently you can find three songs and tune on youtube. I chose the one with the bouzouki playing, of course. It's called "war hent".

The Banshees website:

Monday, 19 February 2007

Irish Bouzouki at Eurovision Song Contest 2007 (Dervish)

On this year's Eurovision Song Contest Dervish will be playing for Ireland. When I heard this first I was thinking what a great chance. One of my favourite Irish groups, this must be a killer track. But now, as I heard the nominated tracks everything's different. Apart from Cathys lovely voice and the band's great playing there is nothing left of the power of Dervish. Why not a song of a real Folk-Songwriter?

There were four songs nominated, the winning song is called "They can't stop the spring". This was by far the best of the four nominated songs, nevertheless the song is ok, but that's all. Are there no better songwriters in Ireland available? I hope they will work on the arrangement to get the best out of the song.

Here's the chance to build up your own opinion. Listen to Frank McNamara, he tells us what he thinks of the four songs at the end of the video: "Well, I really like... none of them".

You want to listen to the other three songs? Well, do you really want to hear them? Be prepared to be very disappointed:

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Convert youtube Videos to MOV or AVI

Youtube videos are flv-files, so you need to have Flash-Player installed. If you want to have the files in other formats you can do it online by using I have written a little tutorial for this procedure. It's written in German, but it is so easy that I think English speaking people will be able to understand, too.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Gerry o' Connor & Donal Lunny - Reel

Two Zouks, a banjo and a mandolin. Who are the other musicians? If you know, please let me know.

Donal Lunny & Friends - April 3rd

Great example of Donal's world music approach. You only see Donal for a very short while in this great video. But the music is so fine.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

The Bothy Band

One of the great Celtic bands. On this video they play Pretty Peg and the reel Craig's Pipes. Pure Magic.

Saturday, 10 February 2007

John McGann - Bouzouki Book

About two years ago John McGann published his book "A guide to Octave Mandolin & Bouzouki". It's a great collection of instrumental tunes arranged for these instruments. There are both melody and rhythm lines notated and recorded on the CD.

Myspace Mp3 Player, MySpace MP3 Players, Flash MP3 PlayersCheck out this MySpace MP3 Player!

Monday, 5 February 2007

Bret Blackshear

I discovered Bret Blackshear about two years ago on CD-Baby Records

On his album he mainly plays bouzouki and sings. I don't like too many songs on the album, but it's an interesting album for zouk-players, I think. Have a listen on cd-baby.

His website:

Irish Bouzouki Workshop in Bonn - Germany

For all the bouzouki players around Germany: There will be a Workshop-weekend for Irish music in Bonn from 06. - 07. 05.2007. There are many workshops planned, and one of them will be irish bouzouki.

Teacher is Michael "Lemmi" Lempelius. I must admit, I have never heard of him before. So I'm curious what information I will be able to find on the internet.

The website is:

Donal Lunny and Paul Brady

Two old heroes of mine. Donal, bouzouki player of Planxty is well known for his great rhythm playing. Together with Paul Brady they perform a track called "Nothing same story".