Hanover New Hampshire
Old Time Music Weekend
October 18-20, 2019
Meet the Instructors
Janie Rothfield, Craig Edwards and Ken Perlman
Clawhammer Banjo and Fiddle
Janie Rothfield is an award winning clawhammer banjo player and fiddler who has been playing old-time music “forever.” She has toured professionally for over 35 years, during which she has also been a composer, recording artist, band leader, teacher, and event organizer, with fans around the world. Her clawhammer banjo style borrows heavily from both the traditional and inventive aspects of her fiddle style, and is characterized by great power, drive and in-the-pocket rhythm. Her teaching method combines an easy to learn technique that combines strategies for learning to play by ear quickly with a focus on musicality and rhythm! Janie performs with numerous old time and dance bands, and currently tours with the duo, Hen's Teeth. Her latest solo CD, “Out of Thin Air,” features 15 of her own compositions.Two of her tunes have won the Best Non-Traditional Tune at Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival! Her newest solo CD, OUT OF THIN AIR, features all of her own compositions and songs, and in 2016 she release both wonderful CD of Fiddle/Harmonica duets with harmonica master, Brendan Power called PUFNSAW, and OFF THE CUFF AND ON THE FLY with her duo Hen's Teeth (With Nathan Bontrager)! Jane performs with numerous bands, including Coracree, Hen's Teeth, The Janie Rothfield Old Time Trio and with daughter Shona Carr as Little Missy.
Janie has taught clawhammer banjo and fiddle for over 35 years, privately and at camps and festivals such as Banjo Camp North, Midwest Banjo Camp, Old Songs Summer Camps, Janie's Jumpstart, Heart of the Alleghanies Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Folk College and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, FOATMAD Weekend (Wales), in England, Scotland, Germany and the Netherlands, and Australia.
"Janie came highly recommended so I had high expectations. They were met and exceeded. I've been playing fiddle for years, trying to learn from books and the internet. After Janie showed me the proper way to hold the fiddle and bow, and proper bowing technique, all those tunes I know became so much easier to play. Then she showed me the most important thing about playing any instrument; the difference between playing notes and making music. And the whole time I never feel like I'm taking lessons. I feel like I'm just hanging out playing music and learning new things. Most importantly, I'm excited about learning because it has become fun again." Jamie McCracken- Janie's Fiddle student
“Janie has shown me how to pull the melody out of old time tunes on my banjo… to make them less busy and more musical. I had developed some poor habits throwing every banjo cliché I ever learned into each tune I played. Janie showed me how to strip out all of the unnecessary stuff… to concentrate on the melody and rhythm which ultimately “pops” the tunes and makes them more beautiful.” Tim Wade-clawhammer banjo (Doylestown, PA)
Craig Edwards plays a broad range of American roots music: traditional fiddle styles including Appalachian old-time, blues, bluegrass, Cajun, Cape Breton, Irish, and Swing, old-time 5 string banjo, flatpicking and fingerstyle guitar covering Delta and Piedmont blues, honky-tonk, rockabilly, and swing, Cajun and Zydeco accordion, and solo and group singing. Alone or with other musicians, he plays with the drive and conviction that characterize these musical traditions.
Craig first began playing music as a child growing up in Staunton, Virginia. When no one was around he’d slip his father’s fiddle out of the closet and try to coax music out of it. Singing at civil rights events his parents brought him helped form an early understanding of the deep power of traditional music. Inspired by the fertile music scene in the Shenandoah Valley, he began playing music at age eight and picked up guitar, fiddle, banjo, and later button accordion. Even in his teen rock’n’roll period he noticed that the musicians he most admired spoke of early blues and country players as inspirations.
In 1976 he attended the legendary Stompin’76 festival in Galax, Virginia, which featured many of the leading performers in what’s now called “roots music”- Doc Watson, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, David Bromberg, John Prine, John Hartford, and many others. He began spending summers learning fiddling and banjo in West Virginia from honored old timers like Ernie Carpenter and Melvin Wine, and going from one fiddler’s convention to another, immersing himself in American roots music traditions.
Craig majored in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. He studied West African drumming with Abraham Adzenyah, and traveled to Ireland, Louisiana and Nova Scotia to learn from old-timers there. His two-part thesis featured a written “Study of Four Musicians of Central West Virginia” based on his visits there, and a concert with both solo and group performances called “The Roots of Southern American String Band Music”.
After graduating, he formed a series of bands playing Old-time, Irish, Cajun, Zydeco, blues and other roots styles. He worked as a staff musician at Mystic Seaport for many years and served as director of the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival, incorporating maritime music from African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Native Alaskan, and many other cultures into the festival during his tenure there. Craig now performs solo and with several groups playing a variety of genres, teaches Traditional Fiddle Styles at Wesleyan University, and designs music installations for historic music exhibits at museums. He was named a Connecticut Master Teaching Artist by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and has won numerous fiddle and banjo contests.
Craig has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe at festivals, concerts, and other venues. He plays, records, and tours with several bands in addition to performing solo and teaching.
Ken Perlman is a pioneer of the 5-string banjo style known as melodic clawhammer; he is considered one of the top clawhammer players in the world, known in particular for his skillful adaptations of Appalachian, Celtic, & Canadian fiddle tunes to the style. He has toured throughout most of the English-speaking world and in Western-Europe, both as a soloist and – for fifteen years – in a duo with renowned Appalachian-style fiddler Alan Jabbour. An acclaimed teacher of folk-music instrumental skills, Ken has written some of the most widely respected banjo and guitar instruction books of modern times, has been a regular columnist for Banjo Newsletter for over thirty years, and has taught at prestigious teaching festivals around the world. Ken founded and also served as director for several music-instructional events, including American Banjo Camp, Midwest Banjo Camp, and Suwannee Banjo Camp. Also an independent folklorist, Ken spent close to two decades collecting tunes and oral histories from traditional fiddle players on Prince Edward Island in Eastern Canada. He’s been tapped multiple times to judge the old-time banjo contest at the Appalachian String Band Festival (better known as “Clifftop”); in 2017, he was accorded a Masters’ Workshop at Clifftop, an event set up to “showcase the legends who have dedicated their lives to the preservation and presentation of old-time music.” Ken's recordings with fiddler Alan Jabbour are Southern Summits and You Can’t Beat the Classics; his solo recordings are Frails & Frolics, Northern Banjo, Island Boy, Devil in the Kitchen, Live in the U.K. and Clawhammer Banjo & Fingerstyle Guitar Solos. His banjo books include Clawhammer Style Banjo, Melodic Clawhammer Banjo, and Everything You Wanted to Know About Clawhammer Banjo.
Suggested Youtube Clips:
“Bluegrass Unlimited: Ken Perlman is a master banjo player. A long time ago, he looked at the banjo and the perceived limitations of the instrument and proceeded to take clawhammer banjo to places no one else has gone with as much success.” Bluegrass Unlimited
"Perlman is obviously a wizard, using spells and incantations to conjure up these tunes which are too difficult for the average player to contemplate; and yet he dashes them off with verve, joie de vivre and above all, great musicality." BanjoMandolinGuitar Magazine.