Wednesday, March 23, 2011

music issue 2011 - Barefoot Best Friends

From the Chieftains to the Pogues, Celtic folk music has often been seen as a rugged, manly musical genre. Songs about the potato famine and The Troubles depict a rough life in a beautiful land.

Though La Grange is a lovely town in Oldham County, there’s little that is rough, rugged or manly about the Barefoot Best Friends. Louisville’s youngest group plays a lively, mostly instrumental strain of the music which reveals its role as a progenitor of Bluegrass music. The all-female members – Christina, Isabelle, Emmaly, Ellie, Lily and Jessie - range in age from 10 to 17.

The BBF girls, hailing from four families, have been BFFs for several years. They began playing together while working on a project for disability awareness in school, said Patti Beth Miller, mother of Ellie and Jessie.

“Three summers ago,” Miller said, “I was selling flowers at the La Grange Farmers Market. I suggested that if they played there next to me, they might get tips. So they started looking for music that they would all enjoy playing together.”

The girls share an appreciation for Celtic and mountain music, and are generally uninterested in pop music. “Barefoot Best Friends is fiddle music, more like dance music,” relates 13-year-old Emmaly, a violinist. During the nice months, they continue to perform at the Farmers Market, in addition to other performances around the region.

Several of the parents are musicians, and often played public radio while driving the girls around. “I heard banjo on the radio, and I asked my dad what it was,” said her 10-year-old sister Christina. What she heard was “Snowden’s Jig,” a old-timey string song by the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

“I decided I was going to learn, so I got lessons. “ Initially trained on piano, she also plays accordion, washboard and now, “banjo is pretty easy,” she said. “I have the hang of it. I try to practice every day, but it doesn't always work out that way.”

As to what the future might bring, the younger girls have voted to bring in a new member. The 16-year-old family friend, who also plays violin, is a boy.

Ten-year-old Christina mused, “I don't know if I'll make a career out of it, but I'll keep on playing as long as I can.”

c. 2011 Velocity Weekly

No comments: