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brian bishop
brian bishop


Browse History >
Playing Since: 1978
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

Occupation: musician, educator, producer

Gender: Male
Age: 68

My Instruments:
fiddle, clawhammer banjo, guitar, Cajun accordion

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
many many...

Classified Rating: (0)
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 1/27/2010
Last Visit 2/17/2011

A self-taught musician who chases the heritage of mountain music by studying banjo knee-to-knee with old-time legends and sharing what he's learned with audiences and students. When Mark performs it's always with a sense of where the music comes from and his role in passing it along. An interest in musical heritage led Mark to music early on. He'd always known that his grandfather played and sang old songs, but seeing his dad pull out a banjo at a party once and strum Sweet Georgia Brown left him in awe. "I was impressionable", he says, "And that spurred my interest in banjo playing." Mark taught himself to play guitar as a teenager and after several years learned to read music. He joined Western Michigan University's School of Music's education department on a dare. "I felt like I was sinking rather than swimming, and the only thing I really found any connection to was the guitar," Mark says. "I strolled in with my guitar and told them I just wanted to sing. I didn't have much previous training, and I'm not so sure I had any talent," he says. "But I had a lot of desire and they must have seen that written all over my face." Today Mark teaches music and he's still a student himself, studying knee-to-knee with old-school fiddlers whenever he�s able. For several years, he attended workshops in West Virginia and learning to play the banjo in true mountain music fashion. "I really became an old-time music player," Mark says. It might be this diversity that drives the Raisin Pickers. "We believe that if we put a different spin on something, it will stand out because it's being heard in a different way. It also gives us the chance to share the legacy of traditional music with new generations. We have a strong sense of the music we do. We have an original drive and a traditional focus."

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