the folknik March/April 2004
(Volume XL, Number 2)
the San Francisco Folk Music Club
(click here for membership info)
Francisco Folk Music Club is a nonprofit corporation
dedicated to the enjoyment, preservation and promotion of
acoustic music in individual, family, and community life.
This Memorial Day campout is at a new park: Samuel P. Taylor State Park in Marin County. It's a beautiful, creekside setting of redwoods and other trees.
is in the Madrone group area. We are very close to another camp and
will have to observe the 10:00 p.m. curfew. The site holds 25 people
and 10 vehicles up to 24 feet long. Parking areas are a short walk down
from our campsite.
SFFMC's annual General Meeting was held at Camp Harmony at noon on January 2, 2004. Discussion centered on Camp Harmony and its future. Due to reduced attendance, there is an anticipated loss of approx. $5000 this year on a total budget of about $60,000.
[N.B. As of 1/14/04, figures show there may be little or no deficit this year due to the number no-shows who have not requested a refund, as well as a high number of drop-ins. However, the general trend is down.]
Possibilities to alleviate future deficits were laid out: encouraging more people to attend, fund-raising, running a smaller camp (i.e. Camp Campbell without Camp Harmon), making camp one day less, or using a less expensive location. Several suggestions for other locations, for outreach, and for fund development were discussed.
It was decided to form three new subcommittees of the Camp Harmony Committee: Site Search, Fund Raising and Outreach and Publicity.
of Camp Harmony logistics (starting time of concert, reduced fees for
families, extending definition of folk music to include more of interest
to the TV generation, etc.) as well as some specific suggestions for
fund-raising and outreach.
The fold-in is
at noon, Sunday, April 25, at the home of Abe & Joan Feinberg.
Musical meetings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club are held every other Friday at 885 Clayton Street, between Carl and Parnassus Streets in San Francisco. Singing and jamming in three separate rooms start at 8:00 p.m. Snacks are provided through $1 food kitty donations or finger food contributions. Guests are always welcome, no one is expected to "perform", and there is no charge.
is no standard set for the singing here, but we set a very high standard
The SFFMC board
meets on the second Tuesday of each month-potluck at 6:30 p.m., meeting
at 8:00 p.m. All Club members are welcome to attend the potluck dinner
and the Board meeting.
Peter Kasin, Ranger at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, reminds us that chantey sings on the historic square-rigged ship Balclutha, at the Hyde Street Pier, are the first Saturday of each month, 8 p.m. to midnight. Free, but to get in phone (415) 556-6435 or with your name and the size of your party. All are welcome to lead or sing along.
Senior musicians and singers meet Tuesdays 3:00-4:30 p.m. at the Rossmoor Hillside Clubhouse in Rossmoor. This is a gated senior community but younger folks are welcome; to find out more, phone Bob or Marcet Tuttle at (925) 256-6376 or .
Lu Cordova, now in Boulder, Colorado, is putting together house concerts and would love to have visitors and musicians come and play. Contact , with a cc to , phone Lu at 303-545.2279 or write 6301 Willow Lane, Boulder CO 80303. So go now and play in Boulder!
Adam Miller, folksinger and autoharp virtuoso (www.folksinging.org) leads a workshop Sunday, March 7 at 20111 West Ridge Ct., Unit 10, Castro Valley, 1-3 p.m. Contact Sally Schneider at (510) 690-1775, , to register ($25). All are welcome to join in a potluck from 4-5 p.m. followed by a jam session.
Kerry Parker, longtime member and Membership Secretary, offers beginning and intermediate fiddle and mandolin lessons to children and adults at her Noe Valley Studio: Irish, Old-time and Bluegrass by ear or by reading. She's studied with Katie Wreede (of the Turtle Island String Quartet) and Radim Zenkl (modern mando-monster) and wants to start you on a lifetime of joy through music! She's at (415) 282-5868.
Riggy Rackin has a Lowden S-10 guitar for sale at $1500. Call him at (707) 829-7182 or .
Judy Fjell's Wo-Ma-Mu (Women Making Music) spring camp is at The Bishop's Ranch near Healdsburg April 2-5. Classes in guitar, vocal, harmonica, mandolin and dancing. Scholarships and work exchanges available. Details ; (541) 245-9540; fax (541) 245-9570.
Jillian Tallmer leads Yiddish Sing-Alongs the second Sunday of each month (except May, when it's the fourth Sunday) 2-4 p.m. at the Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis, San Francisco. Everyone welcome, no previous familiarity required. Jillian's also with The Loose Canons, singing April 24 and 25 in Pleasant Hill and San Francisco; see the Calendar for details.
hosts an open mike for poetry and songwriters 8 p.m. Wednesdays at Brainwash,
1126 Folsom, San Francisco,. where his son Ubi hosts a blues jam 8 p.m.
Mondays. Dave can also put you on radio live at 3 p.m. Thursdays on
KPOO. There is also an open mike at the Dennis Kucinich campaign headquarters,
13th and Mission, San Francisco, Saturday nights until election day.
Call Dave at (415) 440-5530 for more information on any of these.
The Club rang in 2004 in a joyous celebration at Camp Harmony, continuing our tradition of a great many years. And despite our predictions of doom, we made a little money for the folk club, but I'll have more on that in the next issue. Though our attendance was a little down, we had a great camp. Here are a few of the people that made Harmony 03/04 what it was: Charlie Fenton, the Committee Chair, Camp Liaison, Board Rep, Setup Supervisor, and the guy who makes it all happen; Mary Luckhardt, Committee Secretary-Treasurer and Registrar.
Our local committee members Ray Frank, Phillip Garrison, David Luckhardt, Trish Waldon and Katie Grist, who come to meetings, and Robert Reed and Laurie Vela, who live too far away, but participate electronically. Ray is our Health and Safety Officer, Kitchen Advisor and Crew Chief, and Concert Coordinator; Robert is the Parking Czar; and Laurie organizes Arts and Crafts and the Kids Chorus. Phillip keeps us sane and organizes our equipment rental, David heads the Take Down crew and Katie organized the prescheduled workshops and put up all the camp signs this year.
Miriam Sundheim organized family housing, Jane Doyle organized special needs housing. Joan Hall-Feinberg recruited workshops leaders and loaner instruments. Elizabeth Douglas organized the evening dances, and Adam Cavan organized Swing Nite. Maxine Gerber and Brendan Doyle organize the supplies, know where everything is and who's bringing it next year. Arlene Immerman was our On Site Registrar and the Daily Supervisor every day. John Gregorin designed the buttons. David and Mary took home and recorded all the Lost and Found.
In the Kitchen this year, working with our fabulous chef Debby McClatchy, were Merilee Buster, Cass and Quena Crain, Sharyn Dimmick, Anselm Engle, Dan Engle, Erik Hoffman, Linnet Millikan, Joe Offer, Charlotte Patterson, Ed Silberman, and Rory Solomon. Debbie Grainger of Camp Harmon cooked breakfast. Tim Hudson did all the recycling. Bettine Wallin organized the hot drinks in the Reg Room and Rachel Levin brought all the Rent-a-Mugs. Also in the Reg Room was Carol Chapman, who brings Arts and Crafts to all of us with box making, and this year magnet making. We thank Carol also for being available as a backup Registration resource, ready to answer questions or help sort out problems at the Reg Desk.
Let's not forget
the workshop leaders who fill the schedule with songs, jams, dance lessons,
music theory and instrumental sessions (and yoga, massage and arts and
crafts, too!). Since we are a do-it-yourself camp, these folks give
their time and expertise to all of us without even a chore credit! Many
thanks to all these folks for making this year's Camp Harmony so wonderful.
If you missed it, too bad. Watch this space in September for YOUR application!
Lost: Jim Saxe's
black rubber boots.
A new online group
has been created as a tool to promote and improve Camp Harmony. Formed
at the request of the Camp Meeting this past year, the group is focused
on organizing general Camp improvements as well as being a discussion
list and tool for the new sub-committees formed at the meeting (Outreach,
Site-search, and Fundraising).
No folk music programming
on San Francisco's cable Channel 29? There could be. We got this response
from Doug Wilcox:
The 28th Annual San Francisco Free Folk Festival will take place on June 26 - 27, 2004 at Roosevelt Middle School. Join us for two days of dances, workshops, concerts, an open mic, a music & craft marketplace, food and continual fun featuring all styles of music.
The festival is for everyone who wants to smile a lot, make new friends, and be surrounded by music, dance and a wonderful community! Admission is (yup) free. The festival is easy to reach by MUNI lines 1, 2, 4 or 38. On-site parking is limited but street parking is available within walking distance. The event is wheelchair accessible.Starting in late March, the festival web page at www.sffolkfest.org is updated continually with performers and workshop leaders. And right now you can check out last year's page!
Be A Star! Volunteer!
The FFF Committee
Our Teens And
Ellen Robinson who currently performs with the nationally acclaimed women's a cappella sextet Vocolot is also the director of the Anything Goes Chorus and the Swingshift Singers in San Francisco and Oakland. She sent us information and invites us to join the fun.
The Anything Goes Chorus, a mixed chorus for men and women, started in 1980 and is still going strong today. Her choristers say: "It's fun! Singing in a group can give great pleasure even to someone who has less than a great voice. Harmonizing in song lends harmony to my whole life." The chorus is open to anyone with a desire to sing, a sense of humor, and a willingness to interact with others.
Anything Goes meets in San Francisco, at the Community Music Center, 544 Capp St., in the Mission (415-647-6015) and in Oakland at the First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison Street (27th and Harrison) (510-482-9520). There are two levels of groups.
Beginning in SF meets Thursdays 5:00 - 6:00 PM. All voices welcome. Learn basic vocal technique and music reading skills, how to sing in unison and rounds, how to harmonize in 2 and 3 parts. New songs taught each week: folk, pop, jazz.
Intermediate/Advanced in SF meets Thursdays 6:10 - 7:50 PM and in Oakland on Wednesdays 7:30 - 9:30 PM. Students need to be able to sing in tune, hold their own while singing in 4 part harmony, and have basic music reading skills. Learn better vocal technique, how to harmonize in different musical styles and improve your music reading skills. New songs taught each week: jazz, popular, Broadway, a cappella, oldies. Annual show.
Swingshift Singers is a daytime women's chorus for all women who want music in their lives. Like a girls' night out...in the morning. Learn to sing freely, read music and harmonize in different styles: folk, pop, oldies, show tunes. Treat yourself to good music, good folks, good fun. All voices are welcome.
Swingshift singers meets Thursdays 10:00 - 11:30 AM in Oakland in the Pilgrim Fellowship Room of the First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison St. (27th & Harrison) (510-482-9520). For more information please contact Ellen at www.ellenrobinson.com.
The San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers, led by world-renowned fiddler Alasdair Fraser, return to the Bay Area for another unforgettable concert tour. Come hear fiddle tunes, song and dance with 60 or more fiddlers plus guest soloists, piano, drums, guitars, and more: www.sfscottishfiddlers.org/pr_sheet.html
April 30 8:00pm
May 1, 7:30 pm
May 2, 3pm matinee
County Storytelling Festival March 12 - 14
Bluegrass Festival March 12 - 14
Calaveras Celtic Faire March 13 - 14
Temecula Bluegrass Festival March 20 - 21
Jewish Music Festival March 20 - 27
Workshops March - October
April 2 - 4
Spring Camp Out April 16 - 18
Two Day Town
April 23 - 25
Adams Avenue Roots Fest May 1 - 2
Spring Folk Festival May 1 - 2
Autoharp GatheringMay 14 - 16
and Fiddle Festival May 16
Music Camp May 29 - 31
Sprung Floor Dance FestMay 29 - 30
Cajun Creole Music Festival May 29 - 30
Blues Festival May 29 - 30
Mendocino June 12 - 19
Annual Music Camp June 13 - 16
Day Weekend Bluegrass Festival June 17 - 20
Country & Bluegrass Jubilee June 18 - 20
Gatherings June 18 - July 31
June 20 - 25
2003 June 21 - 25
Silent Night is the well-documented story of the spontaneous truce (memorialized in John McCutcheon's moving song Christmas in the Trenches) between German, British, French, and other troops that occurred in December 1914 in numerous places along the front. In many places, the truce was initiated by German soldiers singing Stille Nacht and placing small Christmas trees on top of the parapets, which was followed by carol-swapping from the safety of the trenches; burial of the dead in No-Man's Land; and finally the trading and sharing of sweets, spirits, family pictures, and soccer games. At one place, the Germans even sang a song beginning, "Es ist sehr weit zu Tipperary"! Two pages of the book discuss McCutcheon's song, quoting lines such as the one asking "whose family" would be fixed in the sights of a gun, and "The ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame, and on each end of the rifle we're the same." Weintraub, a professional historian specializing in military history, concludes that, "However erroneous the song's specifics were, the conclusions were not." Weintraub also discusses the story of a supposed court martial/death sentence/pardon by King George V told by McCutcheon. According to Weintraub's documented sources, Captain Sir Iain Colquhoun was indeed court-martialed in January 1916 for a brief reprise of the truce on Christmas 1915, but the proceedings resulted in a reprimand, the "mildest punishment possible," which was "promptly remitted by General Haig."
Silent Night describes events leading up to and after the "massive truce," explains why similar truces did not occur later in the war, and offers fascinating insight into life in the trenches. The first chapter had me squirming, as I read of the cold, the knee-deep mud, rats, fleas, and constant fear of snipers. Several poignant photos of soldiers fraternizing in No Man's Land left me wondering whether they survived the war. Silent Night is not an easy read, but you won't soon forget it. - Peter Ross
Cruel Lullaby. Solid Frog Productions
Carol Denney has never made things easy for us, and we are all the better for it. During the 30 years I have known her, I've been constantly astonished and moved by her genius (per Webster, "a peculiar, distinctive, or identifying character or spirit; extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity"). Cruel Lullaby is by far Carol's best work to date. Everything Carol does is genuine and original. Her voice is her own, and her unique guitar style works. On this recording, Carol integrates her English concertina into many of the songs. Rob Sherman, Frank Buffum, Mark Lemaire, Jim Nelson, John Wetzel, and Radim Zenkyl add banjo, mandolin, bass, and vocals.
With perfectly crafted lyrics and moving melodies, Carol guides us into dark places we're afraid to enter alone. Ready for Christmas looks at how we treat the homeless; Don't Cry For The Tinman puts a sensible, positive spin on being romance-free (" it muddied up his thinking / it tracked up all his time / the Tinman gave his heart back / and now he's doing fine"); and The Next Time I'm Young comments on the wisdom we gain with age and the lessons we learn too late ("the next time I'm young / I'll do it all different / I'll make the right moves and I'll make the right plans"). There's a hilarious, caustic commentary on recent PG&E shenanigans: Write The Check and Shut Up, and a call to rebel against junk radio (" screw the FCC, set your radio free"). I weep every time I hear Carol sing the haunting Who Built This House? The brilliant, dark, and compelling title track, Cruel Lullaby - which should come with a warning label - is Carol's answer to those who think they know about the afterlife. My favorite, though - the cut that best sums up Carol Denny - is Raised to be a Lady, a clever blues that turns up its nose at snobbery, and in the process, makes it clear that Carol doesn't really care what we think about her: " some of us are ladies / so delightful, so refined / some of us are ladies / and some of us are better undefined." - Beryl Schwartz
Hot, Sweet and Wild
Bay Area Balkan music accordionist Nada Lewis's first solo recording is a gem. Nada has played in folk-dance ensembles for years; she's a fine accordion player with taste and imagination. This CD pulls together 16 interesting and enjoyable tune sets, mostly eastern European, with smatterings of Klezmer, Greek, and Ukrainian thrown in. The arrangements are simple, often comprised of only her accordion accompanied by a string bass, a clarinet, or Robin Petrie's sweet hammered dulcimer harmonies and backups. No overproduction or overinstrumentation here! Throughout, the form of every tune is extraordinarily true to its own tradition and feeling, although tempos my be slower and instrument combinations may seem unusual. This is an album to listen to over and over again-sure to please Balkan enthusiasts, accordion enthusiasts, and even those new to Balkan music. All around, a great job. - Mitch Gordon
Four years after their debut recording, Stumptail Dog has released another, nearly 61 minutes in length, for the enjoyment of all. Stumptail Dog consists of Ray Frank on guitar and tunesmith extraordinaire Dan Engle on fiddle, banjo, mandolin and octave mandolin; on this outing they are joined by special guest Paul Donnelly on bodhran, vocal percussion, and yidiki (didgeridoo). While their first recording favored traditional tunes, this one (16 tracks in all-six single tunes and 10 medleys) contains a majority of original tunes, all but one of which are Engle compositions. Tunes range the literal landscape from Cape Breton to the southern US to the Shetland Islands. Engle's compositions often border on the dreamlike, surreal, and mystical, especially The Sieve of Gondor and the Ride of the Ring Wraiths, with their obvious references to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. From the hauntingly poignant Lament for Susan Tuchel, composed in memory of the mother of one of Engle's fiddle students, to Lullaby for a Weary Child (a banjo waltz composed after a dream involving a child orphaned by the horror of war and brutality), the images evoked by the music on this CD are wondrous and joyful. The final cut, Tapas (a Sanskrit word meaning heat) is most intriguing, with a hard-driving rhythm bordering on the musically primordial. This is surely musical noise at its very best! - Robert Rodriguez