• Mr. Kruger, I Presume?

    Hearing Bluegrass in Switzerland wasn't exactly what I was expecting while studying abroad in 1983. But that's what I found one summer day on the streets of Lucerne, when I encountered a Bluegrass group of musicians far from Appalacia or anywhere else its side of the pond. And they were good too, especially the banjo player.

    I approached them after they had picked a couple of tunes, expecting to be conversing in English to a group of Americans like myself. To my surprise, they were all speaking German! After talking to the banjo player for a bit, one of the other players spoke up and informed me: "He played with Bill Monroe!," which I could easily believe.

    I took a couple of photos of the group, but never completely forgot the encounter.

    Jens Kruger on banjo, Fin Bodenmann on guitar, Christoph Kämpf on fiddle and Lorenz Gerber on bass playing bluegrass on the street in Lucerne, Switzerland, 1983.


    Jens Kruger on banjo, Fin Bodenmann on guitar, Christoph Kämpf on fiddle and Lorenz Gerber on bass playing bluegrass on the street in Lucerne, Switzerland, 1983.


    Years later — long after I had forgotten even the first name of the banjo player whom I had met that day — it occurred to me that Jens Kruger might know him. And then it occurred to me: Jens might even be that young banjo player. (Even he had to have been young once, right?)

    Jens has confirmed it. At the Anaheim, Calif. NAMM Show this past January where we approached Jens with the photos, the Kruger Brothers all enjoyed a moment seeing him in a long forgotten moment playing music on the street. Jens' daughter, also in attendance at the show, particularly enjoyed seeing a younger version of her father.

    By email Jens sent the following note for this article:

    "Nice to hear from you and to talk to you at NAMM. The other musicians in the picture are Fin Bodenmann on guitar, Christoph Kämpf on fiddle and Lorenz Gerber on bass. I can find out how to get in touch with Fin and Christoph as I'm sure they'll enjoy seeing this picture. Lorenz had passed on a few years ago."


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