Recently, the Alaska String Band has been an international string band.
The family folk outfit made up of members of the Zahasky family has toured the U.S. extensively and been cruise ship entertainment staples in the past. However, in recent years, the Alaska String Band has played a handful of shows outside the U.S.
This new year will be no exception. While the Alaska String Band will take the stage in Juneau Saturday for a Gold Street Music Concert, Laura, Abigail, Paul and Melissa Zahasky are gearing up for a three-month tour of Australia.
Laura Zahasky said in a phone interview performances abroad ramped up after a 2018 trip to Juneau’s sister city Vladivostok, Russia.
“We went to Russia and since that trip, most of our tours have been international, ” Laura Zahasky said. “They’ve been at the invitation of the State Department. We’ve done several of those — China and Thailand and Russia,” Zahasky said.
However, the Australia jaunt is a more independent effort, with arrangements being handled by a Tasmania-based booking agency.
“The performance end of what we do is the same regardless of where we’re invited to,” Laura Zahasky said. “Logistics wise, it’s a little bit different. They will take care of all of the details. When you’re representing the United States, there’s always someone with you making sure you have a translator and a driver, things like that.”
Laura Zahasky said she and her family are looking forward to leaving the darkness and rain of Juneau behind for the warmer weather of the Southern Hemisphere. However, both she and her father, Paul, said ongoing wildfires do raise some concerns. However, with a few weeks to go before the tour starts, exactly how those might affect the tour is unclear.
Laura Zahasky said while in Australia,the Alaska String Band will play several shows a week and about 30 performances are already scheduled.
“We have some very exciting engagements,” Paul Zahasky said. “We’re going to be return to the National Folk Festival, which is in Canberra. It really is like our Folk Festival on steroids. We’re very excited we have the opportunity to return that.”
It’s a return since this is not the first time ASB has played in Australia. Laura Zahasky said a tour of the Land Down Under about five years ago was the family band’s first international effort.
While Laura Zahasky said she is looking forward to sunshine and surf in Australia, she shared a different recollection as her most memorable moment in Australia — the time a kangaroo bit her mother.
“We went to a wildlife park with Kangaroos all over the place,” Paul Zahasky said. “We were feeding them, and my wife, Melissa, was the only one of us that got bit.”
However, Paul and Laura Zahasky said it was not an especially bad bite.
“That was my personal highlight,” Laura Zahasky said. “Maybe not hers.”
Know & Go
What: Gold Street Music Concert
When: 7:30-10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 4.
Where: Resurrection Lutheran Church, 740 .W 10th St.
Admission: There is a $5 suggested donation at the door.