Bidgood, Lee. 2017. Czech Bluegrass: Notes From The Heart Of Europe. University of Illinois Press.

                   192 pages, 6 x 9 in.  Series: Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World

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“Lee Bidgood is the first person to do a serious accounting of the forces, political and artistic, that have contributed to the popularity of this outlier music in this unlikely locale. By putting himself in the narrative, he gives us an up-close and personal sense of the various aspects of the bluegrass and old-time music wave that has swept across the Czech and Slovakian musical landscapes for years—and still counting.”

                                                            -Tony Trischka, from the foreword


 Review by Philip Nusbaum, Journal of Folklore Research, 1/2018.

 Review by Irena Přibylová, Narodopisná Revue, 2/2018

Selected Articles

Bidgood, Lee. "The Americanist Imagination and Real Imaginary Place in Czech Bluegrass Songs" Popular Music and Society, Published online 8/1/2017.  

 "Czechs have inscribed "real imaginary" elements of Americana on their landscape, articulating an imagined "Amerika" in translated, newly-created, and recontextualized bluegrass songs that reveal a playful blurring of boundaries between what is American and what is Czech."

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the journal Popular Music and Society available online:

Bidgood, Lee.  “Bill Monroe and Czech Bluegrassers: Imagination and the Production of Place in Music,” Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music: Buried Roots of Early Days [a special edition of the  International Journal of Country Music] (Winter 2016) 23-46.

"Bluegrass' appeal  ... is based in a sense of place that is to a significant degree constructed and/or imagined. In seeking to understand the connections between place and imagination, I provide an alternative to essentializing narratives of heritage and place-identity that have accrued to bluegrass in its relatively short history."

 Bidgood, Lee. "Czech Bluegrass in Play," Lide Města/Urban People 17:2 (Fall 2015).

"Much bluegrass activity thrives—as does my fieldwork—in a state of in-betweenness, in a territory that is between work and play, here and there, self and other  ... Czech bluegrass play can serve as a response to the encroachment of Americanization in economic and cultural globalization, but also a way of being 'Americanist'—and entirely Czech."

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Practice space of Czech fiddler Franta Kacafírek (1956-2016).

Practice space of Czech fiddler Franta Kacafírek (1956-2016).

Bidgood, Lee. “Czech bluegrass fiddlers and their negotiations of past and present,” The International Journal of Country Music. (2013). pp 77-96.

" Czech fiddlers are able to access more information about the variety of American fiddle styles that contribute to bluegrass sounds, they are also using these same information technologies to connect with each other. As ever, the richness of musical life still depends on personal interaction and community life, which is thriving, in new and changing ways."

Other Academic Writing

Lee Bidgood and Shara Lange filming with Czech banjoist Luboš Malina at his home in 2011.

Lee Bidgood and Shara Lange filming with Czech banjoist Luboš Malina at his home in 2011.

Bidgood, Lee.  "Collaboration, Fieldwork, and Film," Sounding Board, (7/2015)

"Meeting documentary filmmaker Shara Lange during new faculty orientation at the university where we were both newly hired led to our film Banjo Romantika (2015)—a full-length feature based on my research on bluegrass music in the Czech Republic, in which I play a key role as writer, producer, and on-screen character.  Taking part in this film project has led me to consider how film enriches relationships with field colleagues, providing new opportunities for teaching and learning."


Columbia Bijou Graphophone from United Watch & Jewelry Company catalogue, 1911.

Columbia Bijou Graphophone from United Watch & Jewelry Company catalogue, 1911.

Bidgood, Lee.  "Review of the Original Carolina Chocolate Drops: Giddons, Rhiannon. 2015. Tomorrow Is My Turn; Flemons, Dom. 2015. Prospect Hill; and Robinson, Justin. 2012. Bones For Tinder," Journal of Appalachian Studies 21:2 (Fall 2015).

"...Dom Flemons told an audience of ethnomusicologists in a conspiratorial tone that he fancied himself, like them, part of the effort to study music as culture. He is not alone as a post-Drop in linking musical efforts to larger social and aesthetic questions and concerns. Three recent albums by these musicians show concerted efforts to explore, educate, and even accuse through playful historiography and earnest musical performance."


Bidgood, Lee. "Performing Race(d) music in Central Europe: Can Bluegrass be 'Ethnically Czech'?" Lidé Města / Urban People 11 no. 2 (September 2009) : 378-384.

The “minority” rhetoric voiced by Czechs as a small part of the European community, and as members of the translocal bluegrass subculture clash with their de facto majority [ethnic] status within the bounds of the Czech state and within the bluegrass community. By describing some of the groups and events I have observed this year [2009] in the Czech Republic, I give a sense of the “Czechness” that is built into Czech performances of country and bluegrass and discuss the implications of these intersections of music, identity, and performance.

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