Jutta and the Hi-Dukes (tm)
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Jutta and the Hi-Dukes (tm)

Evanston, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1990

Evanston, Illinois, United States
Established on Jan, 1990
Band World Folk




"Touhill hosts high times with the Hi-Dukes"

By Bob White, staff writer

The five piece band gave a groovy Greek performance. ... The first set was a concert. Cultural influences were on full display in these pieces. ... There were seemingly endless instruments: a mandolin, a violin, an acoustic bass, a Greek baglama, a Bulgarian flute, guitars, drums, and tambourines.

... Without prompting from the band ... almost all audience members sang along....

The second set was a celebration. Before the intermission, Terran asked the audience how many people wanted to dance on stage. ... the Hi-Dukes gauged what to play based off the vibe and recommendations of the audience and dancers.

The Office of International Studies and Programs presented Jutta and the Hi-Dukes as part of the International Performing Arts Series. - The Current, University of Missouri - St. Louis

"'On the World Beat': Jutta and the Hi-Dukes"

BY NATALIE WAINWRIGHT - November 23, 2011

Evanston’s own world music band Jutta and the Hi-Dukes’ newly released CD, “On the World Beat,” is an exciting and varied collection, spiced with a Balkan flavor. The CD, from the Earwig Music label, contains 12 songs that represent the repertoires of the five bands of which Jutta Distler, Terran Doehrer and their daughter Zoï form the kernel. ... Between them, the family has more than 60 years of music experience, and on their CD it shows. The music is exciting, and listeners will find it hard to keep from leaping up to dance. ... “On the World Beat” is an exceptionally interesting and enjoyable CD. For all the different origins of its songs, one attribute stands out: All of them insist that their listeners start toe-tapping, hand-clapping or finger-snapping, and finally, that they get up and dance. - Evanston Round Table


On the World Beat” - CD6901 Earwig Music Company, 2011



In 1990, Jutta & the Hi-Dukes (tm) evolved out of the Balkan Rhythm Band (tm) which leader, Terran Doehrer, founded in 1980. The BRB, which appeared at the 1985 Winnipeg Folk Fest on the strength of the band's N.A.I.R.D. award-winning Flying Fish Records LP (FF314), combined American jazz improvisation concepts with the songs, rhythms, and scales of Balkan music. Changing the BRB's name to the Hi-Dukes allows the exploration of a much wider range of musical styles and for the band's approach to be more traditional and even more dance-oriented.

The Hi-Dukes' latest CD was released by Earwig Music Company (Roots-Blues). Jutta & the Hi-Dukes is the label's first World Music band. Earwig's owner, Michael Frank, said, "Their enthusiastic and authoritative approach to music convinced me to sign them to the Earwig Music label."

The Hi-Dukes does everything it can to get its listeners as excited about the music as the band is and to transform their awareness of the world. The group's unique multi-ethnic repertoire, engaging way of playing, cultural and musical knowledge, and years of experience entertaining all combine to give audiences a foundational insight into many different cultures as well as inspiring them to boogie to a Balkan beat.

"We want to share this all with as many folks as is possible," says Terran. "We feel everyone can appreciate hearing a traditional Macedonian Gypsy song followed by a Swedish-styled waltz composed by Jutta or a Klezmer-inspired tune written by me, topped off by a Greek love song or a Dixieland tune recast on a Bulgarian flute."

Terran Doehrer plays kaval (Bulgarian end-blown, wooden flute), percussion, and guitar. In 1983 he started his second band, the Ensemble M'chaiya (tm), Chicagoland's first revival Klezmer band. Terran was a guest artist with the world famous Macedonian Gypsy singer, Esma Redzhepova, when her band performed for a month in Chicago on her first tour to America. She has personally continued to encourage Terran's career over the years.

Jutta Distler, the name sake of Jutta & the Hi-Dukes, plays mandolin, violin, baglama, and guitar in the band. A Danish-national, she grew up listening to Balkan music because her violin-playing father was fascinated by Gypsy music.

When Jutta and Terran met at a Balkan dance workshop held in Switzerland, they realized they had a mutual love for Balkan dance music. They soon married and their daughter, Zoi Doehrer, grew up on stage, leading dance lines by the age of six. She is the band's main percussionist.

All three sing and whenever possible, lead audiences through the fun traditional circle and line dances that fit their music.

Appearances of note include the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Earthsong Fest, Bliss Fest, Shawano Folk Fest, Taste of Chicago, and Alliance Francaise's Festival de la Francophonie. In addition to their concert and festival work, the band presents educational programs (assemblies, workshops, and residencies in ethnic music and dance) in schools and master class lecture demonstrations at universities, as well as playing at private parties and corporate events.

When a larger ensemble is needed, the Hi-Dukes adds on extra musicians such as Bulgarian accordionist Velizar Shumanov who has played with the band since the late 90s. Other musicians include Bluegrass bassist Marc Edelstein (who plays in the Broadway hit play, "Million Dollar Quartet"); Bulgarian drummer George Petrov (who toured and recorded with Gypsy saxophonist Yuri Yunakov); Armenian oud master Marc Gavoor; and American jazz guitarist Donovan Mixon who learned to love Balkan music while living in Turkey for 10 years.

“They have an amazing repertoire … they have that authentic chutzpah that makes the music come alive … This band knows how to reach everyone, regardless of age or background.” -- Michigan’s BlissFest's brochure blurb on the band's third time there.

A Hi-Dukes concert will transport your audience across many lands, get their feet moving to a Balkan beat, their hearts swaying to a Sephardic love song, and their imagination floating to a medieval Danish song.

Band Members