22 May 2013

Post 83: ALBANIE FALLETTA

Photo supplied by Bill Stock.
What a picture!

I first came across the guitarist and singer Albanie Falletta in this delightful video, where, on the north bank of the Mississippi in New Orleans, with two string-playing friends, she performs I'll See You in My Dreams: CLICK HERE TO VIEW. I was immediately charmed.

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.

She also turns up on YouTube in both Texas and Louisiana with her band 'Albanie And Her Fellas'. For example, you can catch her singing When It's Sleepy Time Down South BY CLICKING HERE. Or watch them busking in New Orleans BY CLICKING HERE, where the 'Fellas' happen to include Jonathan Doyle, Todd Burdick, David Jellema and Robin Rapuzzi.

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.)

And here she is with me:
Blogger Ivan Meets One Of His Idols
FOOTNOTE

Reader Phil has identified the bass player in the video on the bank of the Mississippi as Jeff Moran, leader of The California Feetwarmers, and has commented: Trivial perhaps but still interesting to me how musicians travel and learn from each other...Jeff was busking on the street in California with Chloe Feoranzo when Chloe was still a teenager. You can see the video Phil is referring to if you CLICK HERE.