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Band Category: Americana

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    Darol Anger helped found the David Grisman Quintet in 1975, with David Grisman and Tony Rice. The appeal and challenge of traditional American music stems from the way it melds other countries’ musical styles, said Anger, recounting how Grisman listened to music from around the world and wove it into the group’s work. Feeling this was the music he was born to play, Anger strove for symphonic, orchestral sounds in his own compositions, writing increasingly complex and difficult music as he integrated jazz and classical elements. Anger went on to found the legendary Turtle Island String Quartet, and sold over two hundred thousand records in the 80’s on the Windham Hill label, with his various influential bands. He still tours and is now a professor at the prestigious Berklee College in Boston.

    Six years ago, he encountered someone with the opposite approach while at a fiddle camp. The mother of a young cellist -Mila Phelps-Friedl- sat down with a guitar and sang a simple, perfect song, instantly drawing people into her music – including Anger. That woman was Emy Phelps.

    “My emphasis is on making music accessible to everyone, to make it inviting and fun, and to have children and adults want to participate,” said Phelps, who had no formal training at that time but has been writing songs for more than 35 years. “I hope people are humming before the end of the song.”
    Phelps soon left the West Coast and moved in with Anger, where each could hear everything the other was playing.

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