Banjo strummer livens New Year's festivities

January 03, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Rudy's 2900 Restaurant in Finksburg featured international music along with its international cuisine on New Year's Eve.

Thanks to the banjo tunes provided gratis by Baltimore radio personality Dr. James F. "Jim" Dasinger, the Route 140 restaurant was humming and strumming all evening.

Dr. Dasinger said the songfest is a New Year's tradition he has observed since Rudy's opened several years ago.

"I guess it's been at least eight years that I have played at Rudy's on New Year's Eve," he said. "I gave Rudy an awful fit last year when a wedding in Canada forced me to cancel."

Dr. Dasinger was right back in fine banjo Thursday night, though. Once his favorite entree was finished, he felt in the mood to voice his pleasure. The plates were barely cleared from the table when he pulled out his banjo and began strumming tunes for a captive audience of diners.

The doctor, who often inserts musical messages into his motivational and radio talks, worked his way through school to a doctorate in clinical psychology with his banjo on his knee.

Along the way, he amassed a repertoire of 3,000 tunes in seven languages. Since his songs delivered a message, he called himself the "Slightly Fabulous Courier." He performed several originals for Rudy's patrons.

"I do the only banjo and kazoo rendition in the world of Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,' " he said.

"We sing in German, yodel in Swiss, and chant in Swahili. We even do the Swedish National Anthem." A friend accompanied him on New Year's Eve.

Words from "I Love to Go A-wandering" went with him from table to table. As usual, many diners sang along and some joined in the wandering from room to room.

"We mostly had fun," he said. "Lively fun."

Before the three-hour songfest concluded, Dr. Dasinger had passed out kazoos, maracas, bongos and tambourines, and toasted everyone's heath with his bubbly melodies.

"Nothing quite relieves stress and livens a room like a good banjo tune," he said.

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