By: Dylan Lightfoot Staff Writer
October 11, 2013
Singer-songwriter and author Si Kahn returns to Ashe County Saturday with the Looping Brothers, Germany’s leading Bluegrass trio.
“It’s fair to say the Looping Brothers are the leading German Bluegrass band, I think,” said Kahn. “If there are no others, they are the leading band. If there is one other, and they’re better than them, they’re still the leading Bluegrass Band.”
Joking aside, the Looping Brothers are part of a European Bluegrass scene well known in American Bluegrass circles, Kahn said.
“The last two CD’s I recorded with the Kruger Brothers, another excellent German Bluegrass act,” he said. Banjoist Jens Kruger, of Wilkesboro, is a winner of the $50,000 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.
Kahn, who has released 18 albums in a career spanning four decades, first met Looping Brothers founding members Ulrich “Ulli” Siekter and Matthias Malcher “back in the day” at the famous but by-gone Cook Shack in Union Grove.
Siekter and Malcher have been playing together for 25 years, touring throughout Europe and the U.S.. The current line-up came together in 2011, with the addition of bass player Ralf Strotmann. The Brothers create the traditional bluegrass sound with guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle, and have their roots in the legendary European band Groundspeed — named for an Earl Scruggs tune — formed in 1980 by Siekter and several Dutch musicians.
Kahn and the Looping Brothers claimed a “Triple Crown” on the charts this year with their joint CD release Aragon Mill: The Bluegrass Sessions, the #1 CD for September 2013, on the international Folk DJ List. They were also recognized as the #1 Artists, and the CD’s title track “Aragon Mill” as the #1 song.
“We wish to thank our radio promotion specialist Kari Estrin of Kari Estrin Management and Consulting in Nashville for doing such a great job with the CD,” Kahn said. “We also want to thank Pieter Groenveld, president of Strictly Country Records, for putting out the album.”
Kahn and the Looping Brothers present an eclectic repertoire of traditional and original selections at the Ashe Civic Center 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. Reserved seating is $15 for adults and $5 for students, available at the Ashe Arts Center or by calling 336-846-2787.