|Photo supplied by Bill Stock.|
What a picture!
And here is a wonderful April 2015 video filmed by the great digitalalexa of 'Albanie and her Fellas' playing in Royal Street, New Orleans. You could hardly have a better introduction to her: CLICK HERE.
With the help of YouTube, I had found that Albanie played in The Thrift Set Orchestra in Austin, Texas, with such fine musicians as Jonathan Doyle, Hal Smith, David Jellema and Westen Borghesi. Here's an example: CLICK HERE TO VIEW.
There is also a video of Albanie playing with Tuba Skinny at a French Quarter Festival.
So for months Albanie has been one of my favourites.
Now imagine my joy when I visited New Orleans in April 2015 and suddenly noticed in Royal Street a young lady who looked exactly like the Albanie on YouTube. She had a guitar strapped to her back. 'Are you the famous Albanie?' I asked. 'Well, my name's Albanie,' she replied.
I found her just as sweet and charming as she appears in those videos. Albanie told me she came from Austin, where she started to teach herself to play the guitar at an early age. She has a good ear and usually has no trouble in working out the chords for a tune. She 'dropped out of high school' and took to busking and playing wherever she could. She has mastered her instrument to a high degree and sings very pleasantly.
I later discovered Albanie is highly respected by the entire community of New Orleans musicians. Dividing her time between Austin and New Orleans, she gets to play in many different groups.
Now that she is internationally famous and has reached a high level of proficiency, we might think she would be satisfied with her achievements. But Albanie surprised me by saying she still hoped one day to go to college and study music academically.
How modest these great young musicians on the New Orleans French Quarter scene always are!
I have two precious photo souvenirs. Here's a picture my friend Bill Stock from Essex, England, took of Albanie a few moments before I arrived. (Bill also happens to be the cameraman who made the video on the bank of the Mississippi - the video I mentioned at the top of this article.)