Community Notes and Miscellany

From The Folknik Jan/Feb 1998

Honoring Our Own Roots - Ed Silberman

One day it struck me that I sing, tell tales, and know something of thefolklore of almost every part of the English-speaking world but the one I was raised in ("New Jersey"). Correcting that has proven to be very rewarding on a variety of levels. It has given me a renewed sense of pride in my homestate, deepened my sense of connection to my place of birth and youth, and challenged me to find material from a place not usually thought of as one of the classic folklore regions.

In planning a workshop of New Jersey folklore for Camp Harmony, I realized that New Jersey is not the only under-recognized place in the folk revival, and that other people might enjoy learning a song or a tune from their own homestates. Therefore, I'm inviting one and all to join me in putting together a workshop of homestate material for the Berkeley and San Francisco Free Folk Festivals. The more people involved, the more varied a program we can present, and the less each person has to do. You won't know the joy of learning a song or a story collected within miles of your own hometown until you try!

If this excites you. or you just want to ask a question about it, please give me a call at 510-644-1875

News Of Clubs and Such

The Four Directions Dulcimer Kindred of the San Francisco Bay Area has been meeting for 6 months now. Starting in January (January 10, February 14, and March 14), beginners are invited to come an hour early (12 noon) for a "Jump- Start" session to learn such things as tunings, using noters and picks, rhythm, and tablature and music reading. When the more "advanced" players arrive at 1 PM, beginners are welcome to stay and try out their new skill. Call Kathryn LaMar at 510-733-0425 for directions or more information.

Paul Barnett informed us recently that the Mt. View Old-Time Jams have expanded. He writes "Art Friedman, Elliot Krause, and I were packing up after Monday night's (November 17) jam and wondering why we needed to wait a whole month to play some more old time tunes. We asked Pat, the proprietor of Cuppa Joe's, about an additional Monday night each month, and she said it would be fine. So, the Mt. View Old-Time jam now occurs on both the first and the third Monday of each month--still at 8 p.m. at Cuppa-Joe's, 194 Castro St., Mountain View. We'll play again on Monday, January 5. I hope to see you at the Mountain View Old-Time Jam!"

And Jan Seifert writes that The Circle Folk Music Club has been enjoyed by 7 or 8 people for the past year and a half. However, the club members have decided to discontinue using the Grace North Church in Berkeley. For information about future meetings of the club, phone Jan at 510-528-9112.

Community Notes

Club old-timers will be sorry to learn of the death of Roy Winnie on October 26 of heart failure at the age of 87. Roy was active at club meetings and campouts in the 70s and later became the "Ralph" of the East Bay Folk Music Club. He also led hikes and trail maintenance work parties with the Sierra Club for many years.

Joel Koosed announced the release of his CD, "On the LamSwith Joel Koosed." The recording, which includes "A Song for Ewe," about Dolly the cloned sheep, is alroel Kooseady being played on more than 50 radio stations nationwide, only two months after being released. Joel will send you a copy for $10 plus postage if you call him at 510-525-6207 or send email to:

FREE to those owning a copy of the "Unofficial Set of Additional Rounds" (150): You can acquire updated pages and the new alphabetical index by sending a stamped self addressed business-size envelope to Sol "Roundman" Weber, 25-1437th St., Astoria, NY 11103.

International Folk Dance at City College, 50 Phelan St, SF 94112, starts Tueday, January 20. Beginning classes teach 25 partner and non-partner dances from 5:30 to 7PM. Intermediate and production classes are 7 to 8 PM with students learning and performing Romanian, Austrian, Russian, and other dances. One unit of academic credit; current fee is $13 per unit. Information: Gail Barton, 415- 239-3419 #6, or registration office 415-239-3285.

The Adams Avenue Roots Festival in San Diego is slated for the last weekend in April. Artists booked so far are John Jackson, Pop Wagner, Utah Phillips, Balkan Kafe Orchestra, and others. Free admission! 619-282-7833

Gleanings From The Internet

These messages came via the "Sweet Music" e-mail list.


Daniel Partner wrote" This week the poet William Matthews died in New York City. In his book "Time & Money: New Poems" (1995) he wrote about the jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus like this:

You have to pick up The Bass, as
        Mingus called
his, with audible capitals, and
        think of the slow years
the wood spent as a tree, which
        might well have been
enough for wood, and think of the
        skill the bassmaker
carried without great thought of it
        from home
to the shop and back for decades,
        and know
what bassists before you have
        played, and know
how much of this is stored in The
        Bass like energy
in a spring and know how much
        you must coax out.
How easy it would be, instead, to
        pull a sword
from a stone. But what's inside the
        bass wants out.

And as part of the same digest, Dan House sent this little gem . . .

What Kind Of Dulcimer Do You Play?

There seems to still be a large portion of the general population that remains unclear as to the differences between a mountain (or Appalachian) dulcimer, and a "lap" dulcimer. While very similar in physical appearance, the lap dulcimer comes from a distinctly different background and has it's own distinct repertoire. This instrument was developed in northern Finland by the reindeer. They were looking for a way to recycle the broken snowshoes and skis the Lapp herdsmen had discarded. Using their innate reindeer intelligence, they fabricated instruments that they played during the long arctic nights to calm the herdsmen patrolling the herds and keep them from running away. They had learned the value of these herdsmen as sacrificial decoys to distract the packs of hungry wolves that were always present.

Over the years, a distinct set of tunes became popular that prompted the famous Finnish composer, Jan Sibelius-- in collaboration with P.D.Q. Bach--to compose a concerto for "Lapp" dulcimer and Danish Swine Horn based upon this tradition. The entire concerto contains several passages you would recognize in today's popular music from such tunes as RUDOLPH THE RED NOSE REINDEER, SINGING IN THE REINDEER, and (my personal favorite) REINDEER KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD. MUSIC FUNNIES

Also passed on by Dan House:

From the "outtakes" of the lastest edition of the Harvard Dictionary of Music for my musically-oriented friends:

Accidentals: The wrong notes.

Audition: The act of putting oneself under extreme duress to satisfy the sadistic intentions of someone who has already made up his mind. Accelerando: What happens when drummers have to keep a steady beat

Conductor: An ignorable figure capable of following numerous individuals at once.

Cut time: When you suddenly realize that everyone else is playing twice as fast as you are.

Crescendo: A reminder to the performer that he has been playing too loud.

Cymbals: Percussion instrument to be dropped while the band plays pianissimo

Fermata: A chance for the conductor to catch his breath while attempting to make his wind players pass out.

Glissando: The way string players play difficult runs

Key change: A change in the main pitch or "tonal center" which takes full effect three to five bars after it is noted in the music.

Page turn: A good way to avoid playing the hard parts

Practice: Don't worry about it. Musicians never do it anyway.

Rallentando: What never seems to happen during the technical passages

Ritard: The idiot behind the stick

Tempo change: Signal for the musicians to ignore the conductor.

Unison: See "minor second."

Vibrato: A way for musicians to hide the fact that they are on the wrong pitch.

An Evolving New Festival

Also from the Internet, Roger Landes is putting together a Bouzouki Festival in Weston Missouri for Cybercitternists and other interested parties. This festival/camp for makers and players of "C-BOMs" (citterns, bouzoukis, and octave mandolins) will be run in tandem with the GAL convention, and probable teachers and luthiers include Zan McLeod, Stephen Owsley Smith, and Bill Peterson. "ZoukFest" will happen July 13-19, 1998. Current plans are to have daytime classes on July 13 through July 17, with workshops, performances, open- mic, and sessions Mon.-Thurs. evenings; plus a weekend conference July 17-19, with a performance on Fri. evening, workshops through Sat., a festival-style concert on Sat. evening, and more workshops Sun. afternoon.

The venue will be O'Malley's Pub in Weston, most of which "lies underground in the form of three former beer cellars with arched stone ceilings--each is on a different level and has its own bar. The cellars will accommodate 65, 60, and 125 people, respectively." On the ground level there is a restaurant and a patio area with a large yard that would be great for an outdoor concert.

For more information, and to get put on a snail-mail list for the final registration package, contact Roger in any of the following ways: Roger Landes, Ranger Music, PO Box 205, Weston, MO 64098-0205 USA; Phone: 816-640-2564; Fax: 816-386-2574; Email:; Web Page:

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