The Ukrainians Are Coming!

…to the Gathering, that is!  And they’re bringing harp guitars.  Yes, the harp guitar continues its global expansion and eventual world domination.

An unusual collaboration began a year or so ago, when Las Vegas multi-instrumentalist Jay Buckey sent the Dyer plans over to his friends in Kiev who operate a small factory making banduras and guitars.

They successfully built Jay the first-ever Ukraine-built harp guitar, asking Jay to come to in person to inspect and receive it.

These photos are from that visit.  The accomplishment was unique enough that it received a local write-up, and also an extended television interview.  Jay says “It was presented at the King’s Palace, Lviv, to the local businessmen and politicians.  I had the help of a local singer, Alla in the presentation.  The next day, my harp guitar was presented on the Ukrainian version of “Good Morning America”. “

A 1999 3rd place Winfield Fingerstyle winner, Jay seems comfortable making his public harp guitar debut with virtually no experience!  Back home, he quickly adapted, and even created this first introductory teaching video (he is keenly interested in creating teaching opportunities for this new instrument in his bluegrass/fingerstyle arsenal).

And no sooner had he gotten comfortable with it then he gave it up. He recently shipped it to me, as a donation to the Harp Guitar Foundation.  What a nice show of appreciation!  Like the Holloway, even this prototype greatly surpasses the old Lark in the Morning instrument.  It is made of Carpathian spruce and maple (Ukraine local woods).  We’ll have it at the Gathering for anyone to try out and are planning on a special way to find it a new home that weekend.

Meanwhile, the factory is making two more for Jay (in different finishes), and plan to bring them to the Gathering, which they are very excited about attending.

Actually, only one person is now able to come (as Jay’s guest):  Volodymyr (“Vladimir”) Kuzemsky – co-owner of the Trembita Guitars factory (the English-speaking son of factory head Myron, both seen in the photo above and the video).  As you can see in the video, the Kuzemskys are excited about this new instrument, and, beyond Jay’s prospects, are wondering if they could perhaps turn it into a new, popular Ukrainian folk instrument.  Why not?!  Jay is so far supplying them only with my Stephen Bennett sub-bass sets…if the “Ukrainian Dyer-reproduction Harp Guitar” takes off, could “SB tuning” become the next major U.S. export?

I’m sure all of you attending HGG9 will join us in extending a hearty American welcome to our new overseas “harp guitar brother.”

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