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High Lonesome Below Sea Level

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High Lonesome Below Sea LevelCultural scholar Loes van Schaijk and photographer Marieke Odekerken have joined forces in making a book that will portray a very specific genre of music, which came into being in the United States of America in the 1940’s and found its way to the Netherlands about ten years later: bluegrass.

Over a period of four months, Loes and Marieke will visit people who have somehow been captivated by this style of acoustic music which distinguishes itself by the combination of stringed instruments, breakneck speed, virtuoso solos, harmony vocals and “high lonesome” singing.

Inspired by Jim McGuires iconic "Nashville Portraits", cultural researcher Loes van Schaijk has teamed up with photographer Marieke Odekerken for a special project. Over a period of 3 months, they will travel around the Netherlands to visit people who are, in one way or another, "faces of Dutch bluegrass music".

We aim to make a product which is equally interesting for people who have personal ties to the history of bluegrass music in the Netherlands as for an audience that is drawn to the aesthetics of black and white portraiture.

An advance on the costs will be made by Loes and Marieke. As soon as most of the photos have been made and the texts are written, Loes and Marieke will start a crowdfunding campaign and it will be possible to pre-order the book. The book will be released at a fitting occasion around June 2015.

The pictures and interviews will feature musicians, bookers and builders; amateurs and professionals; pioneers and rookies; wallflowers, hillbillies and hardrockers; traditionalists, purists and people who are always looking for the cross-over with other styles. Apart from their shared love of bluegrass music, the only thing these people have in common is their opinion that they don’t need to have anything in common. The book is a report of human individuality: fifty colorful characters in black and white.


  • From August till November 2014, Loes and Marieke will work on text and images.
  • From November 2014, presale and crowdfunding will start.

If funding turns out to be succesful, the book can be prepared for official release in June 2015.

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