What do you get if you cross an American bluegrass banjo and an Irish tenor banjo? In the case of Damien O’Kane and Ron Block, you get a spectacular debut duo album, Banjophony, which is probably nothing like you could imagine.
With two bold and acclaimed recent albums to his name - the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Album’ nominated Areas of High Traffic and last year’s Avenging and Bright - Damien O’Kane thought it was time to join forces with a musician he had long admired – Alison Krauss & Union Station’s banjo star and multiple award winner Ron Block (no less than 14 Grammy awards and six International Bluegrass Music Awards to his name for starters).
Widely regarded as two of the greatest exponents of the instrument they have collaborated to create what is arguably their own genre.
"We coined the phrase ‘Banjophony’ meaning the wondrous sounds of the banjo and decided that described the album well. What that means lies within the virtuosity and beauty of the music"
Damien O’KaneA union of transatlantic cultures, Banjophony melds two different styles and approaches to the banjo to captivating effect. Every note is precise and in exactly the right place, rising and falling with ‘question and answer’ picking and plucking, the light perfectly balanced by the shade – the musicians demonstrating high level connectivity and empathy. The end result is a sparkling rollercoaster record which showcases an instrument that proves incredibly versatile in the right hands – both showy and subtle.
"Both incredibly acclaimed musicians in their own right."
Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
"I was utterly blown away by these guys. Exquisite musicianship. My gig of the year."
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