Sturm, Twang and the Imaginary Wild West in Europe
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Upcoming Bluegrass Fest in Bratislava
(Czech band Relief performing in 2007. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber.)
There are DOZENS of bluegrass and country music festivals, big and small, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia each year....the two Czech festivals I attended last month in the towns of Frydek Mistek and Chotebor were on the small or smallish side.
A more major festival, whose line up looks great, is coming up next month in Bratislava, the Slovak capital.
The third Bratislava Bluegrass Fest will feature top Czech and Slovak artists such as Monogram, Garcia, Peter Dula, Relief, Alan Mikusek, etc etc etc.
The web site includes clips of songs from each artist.
For several years I've been exploring the imaginary wild west in contemporary Europe -- observing and experiencing the many ways that Europeans embrace the mythology of the American Frontier to enhance, imbue or create their own identities. (Or, indeed, just have fun.) On this blog I will post pictures, stories and links relating to this multi-faceted subculture, from European country music to rodeos, theme parks, round-ups and saloons....
I'm an American writer, photographer, and public speaker long based in Europe. I've chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues for more than 20 years and currently coordinate the web site www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu. My latest books are "National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe," published in 2007, and "Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere)," published in 2008.
I also am working on "Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys: Imaginary Wild Wests in Contemporary Europe," an exploration of the American West in the European imagination for which I won a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH summer stipend grant. In 2015 I was the Distinguished Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston, SC.