Fragment, one of the most popular central European bluegrass bands ever, is celebrating their 30th anniversary by doing a reunion tour. Bass player and vocalist Jana Mougin is chronicling their tour for us at Bluegrass Today.
Day 2 Sunday Nov. 24, Neudrossenfeld, Germany
After a warm welcome at the Festival “Malinkej” in Vlckovice, Czech Republic last night, a few hours of sleep in a local inn, where coffee wasn’t available, we jumped in the car desperately looking for a place where we could score some caffeine. As it turned out (and I totally forgot about this after seven years of living in the USA), finding decent breakfast on Sunday morning can be tricky. Czech and Slovak families traditionally cook a big lunch at home on Sunday, so many restaurants are closed. Sadly, we ended up at McDonalds, but on the upside, coffee at McCafe in Europe is really, really delicious, just like from a nice coffee shop in the USA.
We traveled approximately five hours, crossed the borders with Germany and arrived to Neudrossenfeld. First, we met our wonderful hosts Herta and Thomas Karner. (Thomas is a bass player, actively playing with many German acoustic bands. Bluegrass fans may remember him from the band Fox Tower Bluegrass that toured in the USA a few years ago.) They awaited us with a delicious homemade cake, coffee and tea, and later on took us to a beautifully renovated old brewery, Drossenfelder Brauwerck, where the concert was held. The Brewery is locally owned and was just reopened a couple of weeks ago. It was great to hear about their plans to have concerts of various genres in the future.
The boys unloaded and set up the sound system and after the sound check it was just about time to start. I was impressed with the quietly listening audience, who rewarded us with an enthusiastic applause and enjoyed every song. After two encores we talked to a few fans and as it turned out, some of the people have never heard of bluegrass, or have never been to a bluegrass concert. It was nice to meet and talk to an American cardiologist from Virginia, who moved to Germany in the sixties. He told me, he was pleased to hear our rendition of Shenandoah Valley Waltz.
After the show and a few very tasty locally brewed beers, the boys went to the hotel. I stayed with our hosts Herta and Thomas. We talked about the bluegrass scene in Europe and even remembered our first meeting 18 years ago when Fragment opened a concert for Bluegrass Etc. not too far from here.