The School of Music Presents:
Dwight Diller's Banjo Tuning w/ Tim Eriksen
at The Parlor Room
Friday, February 23
Workshop Minimum - 4 people
West Virginian Dwight Diller developed two unique styles of banjo playing based on his formative work with members of the Hammons family, local music legends who he credited with saving his life. For what is perhaps his signature sound Diller employed a tuning of his own invention that makes it possible to transfer songs directly from fiddle to banjo with minimal changes to the fingering hand while recognizing the absolute primacy of the frailing hand. For Diller, rhythm was paramount, and his deep groove is a challenge to emulate! In the mid 1990s Dwight discovered Tim’s music through a recording of shapenote music, and over the next several years the two spent a considerable amount of time together including recording two albums and touring the eastern US. Recognizing that there’s always more to learn, in this workshop Tim shares some of what he picked working so closely with Dwight.
Tim Eriksen is a musician, ethnomusicologist and songwriter in genres including
hardcore punk and shapenote harmony, and is best known as a pioneer of postpunk
American folksong. He received a PhD in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University in
2015 and has published related work on early New England music in connection to 19th
century Abolitionism, apocalyptic religion, technology and the birth of science fiction.
Since 2000 he has taught courses in songwriting, American and world music and film at
Dartmouth, Amherst, Smith and Hampshire Colleges and the University of Minnesota.
He is currently serving as musician in residence at Historic Deerfield.
Known for extensive contributions to films including the Oscar winning “Cold
Mountain” and 2023 cult horror phenomenon “The Outwaters,” his current projects
include writing songs for Alison Krauss, performing with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and
creating new works with pianist Omar Sosa for a follow-up to their twice GRAMMY
nominated 2009 collaboration “Across the Divide.” Eriksen has long been at the forefront
of an international Sacred Harp or “shape-note” singing revival, teaching workshops
across North America, Europe and Singapore. With his late wife, Bosnian ethnomusicologist Mirjana Laušević, Eriksen conducted research in the US and eastern Europe, wrote a book on Balkan music in the United States and worked closely with Target CEO Bob Ulrich to launch the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Eriksen’s undergraduate work centered on the South Indian veena, but he cut his teeth as a performer as a founding member of acclaimed bands Cordelia’s Dad (post-punk and folk), Žabe i Babe (Bosnian folk and rock) and Northampton Harmony (shape-note and early American choral music). In 2008 he made his Carnegie Hall debut as a solo vocalist in composer Evan Chambers’ symphonic song cycle The Old Burying Ground. Eriksen’s media appearances have included Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage and the Academy Awards. His shapenote compositions are sung regularly at gatherings around the world, and his song “I Wish the Wars Were All Over” was chosen by Joan Baez to be her final recorded musical statement. Eriksen’s magic lantern musical theater piece “Pumpkintown,” with percussionist/sound designer Peter Irvine and painter Susan Brearey, has been staged at venues including Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Théâtre Thénardier (Paris), Konstepidemin (Gothenburg) and throughout the UK and US. He is currently working on projects with nine-piece experimental group Batteries Die and playwright Milan Dragicevic among other collaborations.
The Parlor Room Nonprofit and School of Music's mission is to: Promote a vibrant musical community in downtown Northampton, MA for musicians of all abilities and at all stages of their career. The Parlor Room will bring nationally touring and local acts to our listening room to provide an exceptional experience for the artist and audience and guide musicians and anyone interested in a career in the music industry through our school of music. Learn more at parlorroom.org.
Date & Time
Fri, Feb 23, 2024 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM