Where Bluegrass Comes From (videopoem)


Watch on Vimeo.

See yesterday’s post for the text. And where did the poem come from? As I explained in the comments yesterday, I went to a multi-day bluegrass festival with my banjo-playing cousin and his family this past weekend. That’s the origin of most of the video footage. The first two sentences that I ascribe to the banjo player are in fact pretty close to what I overheard in a workshop for banjo players on Saturday. But I wrote the opening lines in response to footage of a beetle on a blade of grass, shot yesterday morning in front of my garden. So the video and the poem came along together.

I’m more of a fan of older-style Appalachian string band music, but I do enjoy bluegrass, too, when I’m in the mood. Its relentless pursuit of speed combined with its potent nostalgia for a simpler way of life strike me as quintessentially American, though I realize it’s spread all over the world now.

6 Comments


  1. The whole thing gels wonderfully!

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  2. The beetle is my favourite (that blade of grass, oh man), though bluegrass and a lady in a red dress, yup!

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    1. That lady is a great dancer, isn’t she? There were also some drunks dancing during the afternoon sets, and one of them was quite good, but she seemed totally sober (and not worried about getting sunburnt).

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  3. I love everything about this video – its quirky connections, its rhythm, the beetle and the woman dancing, making good use of gravity. Humour and gravity.

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