The Exchange presents Damien O’Kane (IRE) & Ron Block (USA): Transatlantic banjo sessions

Date/Time Wed 01 Jul 2020 8:00 PM

Price Online - £15 + booking fee On The Door - £15


The Exchange

This concert is presented by The Exchange, 75 London Road, Twickenham, TW1 1BE

Widely regarded as two of the greatest exponents of the instrument, Coleraine’s Damien O’Kane and California’s Ron Block have collaborated to create arguably their own genre, something never heard before! Says Damien: “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”.

With two bold and acclaimed recent albums to his name – the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Album’ nominated Areas of High Traffic and follow-up Avenging and Bright, O’Kane thought it was high time to join forces with a musician he had long admired – Alison Krauss & Union Station’s banjo star and multiple award winner Block (no less than 14 Grammy Awards and six International Bluegrass Music Awards to his name for starters).

A 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.

Life-affirming, uplifting, this is a carefully cultivated collection – not music for the sake of it. More to the point they have succeeded in making two banjos subtle, awe- inspiring and majestic.

After an incredibly successful début tour of the UK in July/August 2018, finishing off at Cambridge Folk Festival, see what they’ve been saying about Damien & Ron:

TOP OF THE WORLD ALBUMS, **** Songlines Magazine October 2018

ALBUM OF THE MONTH – The Guardian, July 2018

“I was utterly blown away by these guys. Exquisite musicianship. My gig of the year.” – Ralph McTell

“Beautiful and wild, there are no boundaries here. Something I have never heard before” – Jerry Douglas

“Both incredibly acclaimed musicians in their own right.” – Mark Radcliffe BBC RADIO 2

‘An album of incredibly captivating music’ – FOLK RADIO UK

“Banjophony is the sound of summer…two master musicians” – Kate Rusby

‘A proud, stand-tall album of banjo music’ – Irish Music Magazine