THE BLACK Walnut Boys are a highlight of this year's festival.
photo: Courtesy of Dobrofest
The 11th annual festival is dedicated to the memory of John Dopyera, who invented the distinctive resonating guitar. The word Dobro, deduced from şDOpyera BROthersş, not only means 'good' in Slovak, but is also the name of the instrument itself.
The guitar is considered to be an original American folk instrument and only a few people today know that its inventor and original constructor was Slovak. John Dopyera, originally called Ján Dopjera, emigrated from the Trnava region to California in 1908.
"The musicians are proud - it is an honour for them to play on an instrument that was invented by John Dopyera. He gave them a livelihood," says Peter Radványi, executive director of the festival.
During the last week in August, Trnava offers music by excellent artists from all over the world. "This year we expect to have bands from eight countries, but over the entire history of Dobrofest, we have already had bands from 16 countries. We are very lucky, because we have the best Dobro players playing at the festival so far," says Radványi.
One of the main attractions is "The Black Walnut Boys" (BWB) band, an American acoustic trio mixing country, folk, blues, and jazz, which has reunited for the festival after a long break.
One of the band members, Bruce Lewis (47), was invited to Dobrofest as a solo bluesman in 2001. "I fell in love with the festival and the people, and I quickly told my musical companions about it. The result promises to be a very special evening as BWB celebrate their 25th anniversary as a band," continues Lewis, who arranged the reunion.
Henry Hipkens, BWB's guitarist and singer is also very much looking forward to playing at the festival. "I am very interested in travelling to Slovakia, because I have never been to central Europe. When I talked to several Dobro players who have played at the festival, they told me that the people were wonderful and very friendly," says Hipkens.
While Kentucky is where all the members lived when they formed BWB, they are currently scattered around the globe, with Bruce Lewis in Budapest, Henry Hipkens in Nashville, and double bass player Stewart Miller - one of Chicago's most wanted players .
The group members stay in touch a lot and are thinking about doing more gigs in the future. "The world needs us now," laughs Lewis.
Aug 27-Sep 1, Trojičné námestie (Trinity Square), Trnava.
The Black Walnut Boys:
Aug 28 at 20:00, Dom kultúry, Hlohovec, admission: Sk80.
Aug 29 at 13:30, Dom hudby, Trnava, admission: free.
Aug 30 at 19:00, Dom kultúry, Trnava, admission: Sk150.
For more information call: 033/551-1000 or visit www.dobrofest.sk.