Colloquium by Lee Bidgood and Shara Lange on Banjo Romantika

November 8, 2013 - 3:30pm
107 Old Cabell Hall

This informal presentation will include discussion with the filmmakers about the background and production of the film "Banjo Romantika," as well as sneak peeks at a selection of key scenes from the film.

Lee Bidgood is a musician and scholar, performing and researching musics ranging from congregational singing to bluegrass, old time, country, and early modern music.?He received his PhD in 2010 from the Critical and Comparative Studies in Music program at the University of Virginia with a dissertation titled "Performing Americanness, Locating Identity: Bluegrass and Ethnography in the Czech Republic." Assistant professor at ETSU, he teaches applied music and history courses in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies, and graduate courses in Appalachian Studies.  Lee has performed on mandolin and fiddle with North Carolina bands the Steep Canyon Rangers and Big Fat Gap, and has learned and worked with a variety of other instruments and styles that run the gamut from renaissance to klezmer.

Shara Lange is founder and director of Light Projects: Documentary/Art/Community and Assistant Professor and Radio/TV/Film Program Head at East Tennessee State University. She completed her MFA in film production at the University of Texas with emphases on documentary and experimental film.  Her thesis documentary about North African immigrant women in southern France, The Way North, premiered at the Arab Film Festval in San Francisco in 2008 and is distributed by Third World Newsreel. In 2007, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study Arabic and to make the documentary, The Dressmakers, in Morocco.  She has previously worked as Associate Producer on a documentary series about declining marine fisheries, Empty Oceans, Empty Nets, and on Steven Okazaki’s HBO documentary, Rehab and taught at UDEM in Monterrey, Mexico from 2009-2010.

Czechs first heard bluegrass during World War II when the Armed Forces Network broadcast American music for soldiers. Succeeding generations have melded the past, the political and the present in their imaginative re-creations of bluegrass music and the banjo. Though Czech bluegrass projects are far removed from their roots in rural American locales, these sounds find resonance in handmade instruments and the hearts of Czech musicians and audiences.

With concert footage of groups like Druhá Tráva and Reliéf, interviews with banjo innovator Marko ?ermák and luthier Zden?k Roh, as well as informal pub jams and a visit to a Czech bluegrass festival, the sounds and stories in this film allow us to consider where music belongs and how it can connect us in ways that we might not expect.

Co-Producer Dr. Lee Bidgood began his research on Czech bluegrass during his time as a doctoral student in music at UVA; He and director Shara Lange are both on the faculty of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN.

For tickets, visit the Virginia Film Festival website or the UVA Arts Box Office website.

More information about the film:


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176