Oct. 2 11:00 a.m.
Happy Oktoberfest! Celebrating Oktoberfest usually involves a polka band, but last night we were treated to Banjofest!
My husband, a houseguest and I had dinner at Harry’s Hofbrau, a popular local eatery, and while we dined on non-German food, we enjoyed the music of a group called “Happy Banjos.” Although I am not a big fan of the banjo (too happy for me; I prefer more morose sounding instruments like the oboe), I really enjoyed the music and watching the band members have so much fun.
The members of Happy Banjos were all senior citizens (averaging around 75 or so) and the band consisted of about a dozen banjo players, three bass players (one electric bass, two washtub basses) and a female singer. There was one lead banjo and the gentleman playing the lead was a very accomplished “banjoist” with great picking skills. All of the other banjo players were strumming most of the time (basic rhythm) but they were very serious and played well.
I loved watching the two washtub bass players (upper left in photo below) who had such different styles — one woman played very stoically while the other woman bopped along with the music while plucking her bass with gusto.
Harry’s was really crowded. Apparently, Happy Banjos plays every Tuesday night and the restaurant is always packed full of their elderly fans. I have never seen so much blue hair in my life (including my own).
The lead singer was excellent. She had a very low, husky voice and when she was done with her last song, I approached her to let her know how much I enjoyed her singing and her unique voice. I told her “You have such a sultry, low singing voice – very sexy, kind of like Marlene Dietrich.”
She smiled and replied “Thank you so much, but I don’t know who Marlene Dietrich is – I’ll have to get on the internet and Google her.”
I was shocked that she didn’t know who Marlene Dietrich was but then it occurred to me that I might be older than her.
I wonder if Happy Banjos might need another “senior” banjo player. Maybe I better start practicing.