Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Skiffle Off to Buffalo

Skiffle Minstrels - 26, 2010

In Buffalo, you expect polkas. You expect German Dätschers or Patschers. You expect all the other kinds of indigenous dances that are the remnants of Buffalo’s various immigrant communities.

What you don’t expect to encounter in Buffalo is rockabilly and Zydeco. But when I was visiting Buffalo recently my sister insisted that we go downtown to the Taste of Buffalo to hear the Skiffle Minstrels, a group that describes itself as “an eccentric bunch of Buffalo musicians…who play country-western and Cajun standards as well as upbeat originals with a swinging beat that gets ‘em on the floor.”

The Minstrels were performing on an outdoor stage as part of The Taste of Buffalo, an outdoor food festival held downtown on city streets. There were all kinds of food being sold at Taste, including local favorites hot wings and beef on weck.

Skiffle Minstrels - 34, 2010

I didn’t taste any of this. I didn’t buy a brat or even so much as a beer or soft drink. But I did enjoy listening to The Skiffle Minstrels. The founding member of the group was a high school classmate of my nephew. (Which just goes to show you that if starring in Fiddler on the Roof in high school ignites your performance genes, there’s a good chance you’ll be so smitten that you'll willingly end up busking on the street or playing bars and street festivals later on.) The girl singer/fiddler is an acquaintance of my sister.

The Skiffle Minstrels are reminiscent of groups like BR549. They play all the Hanks—Williams, Penny and Snow—with confidence and gusto. You can’t sit still when Pal Todaro starts tugging on the standing bass.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Buffalo.

Skiffle Minstrels - 24, 2010


  1. Oh, they do sound like they'd be fun. Joe has one daughter who is very musically inclined, and she plays cello and violin, etc. She also conducts and plays in a really cool international music group called "Tin Roof Tango." They remind me of this group you describe here.

  2. The only side of Buffalo I've ever seen has nothing to do with live music or anything remotely interesting like this. Dan often accuses me of "hating" Buffalo, but I have to remind him I've never even SEEN Buffalo. All I've seen is the inside of every hockey rink in the area. This sounds like a Buffalo I would like!

  3. thank you from PT and the SMs