Fiddle me this: New Orleans music festival invites you to jam

Brooklyn Daily
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It’s the music festival that asks its audience to join the band.

This year’s Bayou n’ Brooklyn Music Festival is hosting jam sessions attendees can join as a part of the celebration of music traditions of New Orleans.

“It’s different than other jams. There is no strict protocol,” said Deborah Monlux, the festival’s producer. “It’s very accessible for a player of any ability range to join in, even if they’re just playing a pair of spoons.”

If joining in seems intimidating, the festival’s headlining acts will teach workshops in a variety of instruments.

Christine Balfa, the daughter of famous fiddler Dewey Balfa, will be teaching a beginning guitar and French-Creole song workshop. Ed Poullard, a fiddler and accordian player, will be teaching beginner classes in both. Megan Brown, a singer-guitarist from Lousiana, will be teaching an easier, “from scratch,” class in guitar-playing and singing.

“The nice thing about Creole and Cajun fiddling is that you don’t need to be an accomplished player because the Creole fiddle can be a rhythm instrument, with just a base note,” Monlux, a fiddler herself, said. “Or it can play melody, which is more difficult.”

The Jalopy Theatre, which is hosting the festival on its third year, will provide fiddles for rent, and possibly guitars, Monlux said.

How’s that for Southern hospitality?

“Bayou n’ Brooklyn Music Festival” at Jalopy Theatre and School of Music [315 Columbia Street near Woodhull Street in Red Hook, (718) 395–3214,]. May 10–12. $40 for all three days, or $15-20 for single day pass.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 5:21 pm, July 9, 2018
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