about Graminy


Graminy is an award-winning ensemble that creates a unique and engaging soundscape they call “class-grass”.  They fuse components of grassroots and classical traditions, creating performances that are energetic and inquisitive, with quick changes and generous improvisation.  The group’s instrumentation blends a classical string trio (violins, viola and cello) with elements of a bluegrass rhythm section (mandolin, guitar and banjo) to create something, “…both complex and immediate, elusive and apparent.”


Graminy presents original compositions that reflect themes of environment and place.  In 2010, Sauk City’s River Arts Center commissioned them to write and record the debut album, Water-Grass-Place, whose release featured a full live performance with choir.  Two years later, Graminy wrote and recorded a concept album, Germinations: A Bluegrass Symphony in D, which was commissioned by Reedsburg’s Wormfarm Institute and premiered at their 2012 Fermentation Festival.  It received awards for “Classical Album of the Year”, and “Classical Song of the Year” at the 2014 Madison Area Music Awards, and two members received additional honors for “Specialty Instrumentalist of the Year”.


In Graminy’s recent release, Dance of the Plants, the newest generation of material is as catchy as it is complex, continuing their evolution along the class-grass spectrum.


Graminy’s music focuses on themes of ecology and place. Their name derives from the botanical term for the grass family, Gramineae, as the music draws on the family of grassroots traditions, from all places and ecologies. They also play for dances and other non-concert events under the name Thirsty Roots.

The Band


Dance of the Plants


Our newest release! Dance of the Plants highlights our compositions that fall more to the grass side of class-grass.  (Yes, the rumors are true: there is banjo on this album.  Plus some real music!)  (Hey, did you hear the one about the banjo player who…)  It includes tunes by our violist Shauncey Ali, our mandolinist Mike Bell, and tunes we wrote collaboratively – all “graminized” through our group process of arrangement and derangement.

Available now



Our 2013 release, which won the 2014 MAMA award for Classical Album of the Year.

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Graminy in concert, April 13, 2012, at the Loving of the Land Concert in Mills Hall on the University of Wiconsin campus,
performing “(A Short History of Ricky and Phyllis of) The Baraboo Hills.”

Graminy in concert, January 15, 2012, at the Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin, performing “Minikanan,” a part of our “Gatherings” suite, which will be on our forthcoming third album, Dance of the Plants.

Latest News

  • Take a Graminy workshop!

    Graminy is offering a series of workshops at the Chestnut Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 27th! All workshops are scheduled from 1:30-3:00. Call the Chestnut at 715-389-8999 to reserve your spot, or if you’re in the area stop by to register in person. STRING IMPROV......

  • Hey world, our new album is on sale now!

    Well, we’ve finally gone and done it — finished our third album, Dance of the Plants. It’s a collection of Graminy tunes more on the grassy side of class-grass.  We’re really pleased with how it turned out! Right now the album is only available at......

  • Fermentation Fest Write-up

    Madison Magazine wrote a nice piece about our up-coming performance at Fermentation Fest....

Upcoming Shows

Feb 20th, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm | Thirsty Roots contradance at Grace Episcopal Church | Madison, WI
Feb 26th, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm | Graminy Concert at Stoughton Opera House | Stoughton, WI
Feb 27th, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm | Graminy Concert at Chestnut Center for the Arts | Marshfield, WI
Mar 5th, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm | Thirsty Roots contradance at Prairie Hill Waldorf School | Pewaukee, WI
Apr 9th, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm | Loving of the Land Concert -- Graminy with the Trinity Irish Dancers at Music Hall, UW-Madison Campus | Madison, WI
May 14th, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm | Graminy Concert at Grace Episcopal Church | Madison, WI

Press Kit

Click on image for large version of the photos below. Photos by B. Tracy Madison.