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Happy Traum

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Biography

Happy Traum (b. Harry Peter Traum, May 9, 1938, The Bronx, New York City) is an American folk musician who started playing music in the Fifties.

Happy began playing guitar and 5-string banjo as a teenager. He attended the High School of Music and Art, where he took up music and was drawn into the folk music boom of the late 1950s. He is a former guitar student of the legendary folk and blues musician Brownie McGhee, for whom he later edited a blues guitar instruction guide and songbook. His group, The New World Singers, was the first to perform and record some of Bob Dylan’s earliest songs.

Happy Traum has performed as a soloist, as a duo with his brother Artie Traum, and with a number of bands, including The New World Singers and, in the mid-1960s, the Children Of Paradise. His performances have taken him throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan.

Happy Traum’s first recording was an album called “Broadside, Vol.1” recorded by Folkways Records. Also on the album were Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan (Performing as Blind Boy Grunt), Peter Lafarge, Phil Ochs, and The Freedom Singers. Happy was a neighbor of Bob Dylan, and joined him in the studio in 1971 to play on three songs for his Greatest Hits, Vol.2 release: “Down in the Flood”, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and “I Shall Be Released”.

In 1966, he wrote a book of guitar music titled “Fingerpicking Styles For Guitar,” and has subsequently written many musical instruction books primarily on folk, country, and bluegrass styles as well as a general guitar method. In 1967, he created Homespun Tapes, which is still in operation, and among the most acclaimed producers of instructional music videos and recordings.

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