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This Saturday in Champaign/Urbana

Posted by Genevieve on Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fiddle, Banjo, Clogging Workshops and Concert
Garry Harrison and the New Mules!

Watch out, Central Illinois, there’s a New Mule in town! Garry Harrison and the New Mules will be leading old time fiddle, banjo, and clogging workshops, and performing in concert on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008.
Their ballads, songs, and fiddle tunes are native to the downstate Illinois home of fiddlers Garry and daughter Genevieve Harrison. This music was learned first-hand from senior players at their homes, just as those folks had learned it years before.
The music workshops and concert will take place at Techline, 24 E. Green Street, Champaign. The clogging workshop will be at the Phillips Recreation Center, 505 W. Stoughton Ave., Urbana.
Garry and Genevieve joined with clawhammer banjo player Smith Koester, guitar player Andy Gribble, and bass player/clogger Abby Ladin to form the New Mules only just over a year ago. They were invited to perform at Trad Fest, a well-known festival held at Chicago's Old Town School, in January 2008. In August, they won First Prize in the prestigious Traditional Band competition at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia.
Garry, who grew up in Charleston, Illinois, and several friends began learning fiddle tunes from senior fiddlers across downstate Illinois in the 1970’s and 1980’s. These fiddlers were among the last remaining people who learned their music directly from other local traditional musicians, before recordings became common. They had a distinctive Illinois style and many of their tunes were not found elsewhere. 
Garry and friends released some of this material in 3 recordings as the Indian Creek Delta Boys. That group was designated the Official Illinois Old-Time String Band in 1981. In 2007, Garry Harrison and Jo Burgess published “Dear Old Illinois”, the only substantial work documenting the traditional music of downstate Illinois ( This book includes 391 fiddle tunes, mostly from Harrison’s collection, and 361 songs and ballads, most of which were collected throughout southern Illinois by David S. Macintosh, between 1932 and the late 1950s. The book has a companion 3-CD set of field recordings, most of which are fiddle tunes.
The workshops will occur Saturday afternoon from 1:30-5:30 and cost $25-$35. The concert will take place at 8 pm. Concert tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Call (217) 352-5570 or visit for more details. This program has been organized by the Urbana Country Dancers and is partly for supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

6 comments on “This Saturday in Champaign/Urbana”

brya31 Says:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 @11:55:05 AM

Wish I lived a little closer to Champaign, sounds like a great time Genevieve!

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 @6:43:08 PM

Congratulations on winning first prize at Clifftop! We are proud of y'all.

Midwest_Fiddler Says:
Friday, October 31, 2008 @2:37:53 PM

Darn, I have a gig with Steve Rosen that night or I would be there. It sure was a pleasure having the Mules playing in my barn for the birthday bash! Give my fond regards to the rest of the Mules and the Chambanaites.

lg Says:
Sunday, November 2, 2008 @7:07:06 PM

Nice to have an excuse to head out of town and hang out with the Champaign-Urbana folks. Good workshop and a great concert. Y'all check them out if they come your way.

strokestyle Says:
Tuesday, November 4, 2008 @8:33:56 AM

This concert was my favorite - of all the concert we have had here at Techline! What a treat and such good people. Three cheers for the New Mules!!!

strokestyle Says:
Tuesday, November 4, 2008 @8:33:59 AM

This concert was my favorite - of all the concert we have had here at Techline! What a treat and such good people. Three cheers for the New Mules!!!

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