The Handmade Music School offers unique learning experiences in music, history, and dance with master teachers. Events offer high quality instruction and performances from local and global master artists and are focused on preserving, sharing, and celebrating the musical traditions of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Events are held online, at The Floyd Country Store, and at local venues in Floyd, Virginia. Register today for a workshop, class, lecture, performance, or a multi-day camp!

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The Handmade Music School presents Clawhammer Banjo with Nora Brown on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 3:00 EDT. The workshop will be presented via Crowdcast as part of our Handmade at Home online series. Cost is $1 to $100 (suggested donation of $15).

In this workshop I’ll be teaching a great clawhammer tune, Will Davenport’s Tune. I first heard this from Joseph Decosimo, and there are many versions out there but the true source would be Clyde Davenport. There’s actually a VIDEO recording of Clyde playing this tune, which is pretty rare to come across in old-time/traditional music, and I have attached it here. Note that my version of the tune is considerably different from his. This is a great workshop for you if you’re interested in adding to your clawhammer repertoire, and will be best for folks who are in the intermediate to advanced range around the clawhammer style.

About Nora

Nora Brown started learning music at the age of 6 from the late Shlomo Pestcoe. From his studio apartment in Brooklyn, Pestcoe instilled in her the belief that music is meant to be shared. Nora plays old-time traditional music with a particular interest in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee banjo playing. Along with the banjo she’s interested in techniques of unaccompanied ballads form the Southeast region of the United States. She has played at numerous venues and festivals on the East Coast including TED salon in NYC, Joe’s Pub, the Floyd Radio Show, Washington Square Park Folk Festival, Brooklyn Folk Festival, Brooklyn Americana Festival, Oldtone Roots Music Festival, Irvington Folk Festival, Summer & Winter Hoots at the Ashokan Center, and has had multiple month long residencies at famed Barbès in Brooklyn NY.

Nora has taught both beginning and advanced banjo classes at the Ashokan Center’s long standing old-time camp known as Southern Week in Olivebridge, NY. Nora continues to travel and learn from old masters and has taken regular trips to eastern Kentucky to visit with 90 year old master banjo player and former coal miner Lee Sexton and master banjo player and historian George Gibson.

Nora has won numerous banjo and folk song competitions at various fiddlers conventions including the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Music Festival and Grayson County Old-time and Bluegrass Fiddlers Convention. In October 2019 Jalopy Records released Nora’s first album of 11 traditional songs and tunes called Cinnamon Tree. It was produced by the legendary Alice Gerrard and pressed by Third Man Pressing in Detroit. It’s only available on limited edition vinyl with a digital download and liner notes. Cinnamon Tree landed #7 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts the 2nd week of its release.


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