the folknik May/June 2004
(Volume XL, Number 3)
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.
The SFFMC campout
will once again be at Boulder Creek Scout Reservation, near Boulder
Creek (off Hwy. 9, south of Big Basin State Park), on Bear Creek Rd.
It's the same place as last year's July 4 and Labor Day campouts.
Other ways volunteers can help: early arrivals (check in is 2:00 pm the first day) can help post signs, register and direct parking.
We would like to have volunteers in advance for the following jobs. To sign up, email
Registration supervisors: preferably people who have done registration before. Involves setting up the registration table and information at start of day, occasionally helping volunteers at registration and ensuring that the cash box and cash are safe at end of day. This can be divided into two or more blocks of time per day.
preferably someone who has done cleanup before. Involves going to the
dining hall on the last day and delegating the cleanup chores to volunteers
on the lists. Also involves ensuring the kitchen is locked at the end
You may store your potluck food in the refrigerator or freezer in the kitchen until the dinner. Label your food, and please do not leave anything in the refrigerator or freezer when you leave camp. The deadline by which you must retrieve food will be posted-it's usually noonish on the last day.
We can use the stoves, pots and pans, serving dishes and utensils, etc. in the kitchen. Bring your own plates and silverware; disposable is suggested. Sorry, there's no dish washing machine.
It's time once again for the San Francisco Folk Music Club's annual gift to its home town, the S. F. Free Folk Festival: June 26-27 at Roosevelt School, 460 Arguello at Geary. Noon-11:00 pm (ish) both days. Dozens of free workshops, concerts and dances. See enclosed flyer for more info. or go to www.sffolkfest.org.
We are still in need of workshop leaders. Please email if you can help.We also need as many people as possible to help for an hour or two during the weekend on various jobs. Please email if you can help.
The festival is completely free and volunteer-run, so any help is greatly appreciated. We can't run the festival without YOU. Good with kids? We need you especially! back to top
The fold-in is
at noon, Sunday, June 20, at the home of Marian Gade: 136 Highland Blvd,
Kensington, (510) 524-9815.
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
NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN: Sunday, June 20 at Marian Gade's house
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.
Phil Morgan's house
Faith will be away in late June at the Old Songs Festival in upstate New York and in July at the Oregon Country Fair and traveling with the Chautauqua performing troupe in the Northwest. The rest of us will be at the San Francisco Free Folk Music Festival, June 26 and 27 at Roosevelt Middle School, 460 Arguello (at Geary) in San Francisco, from noon to around 11 p.m.
The Board has raised Club dues to $10 a year to cover increased expenses for camps and folknik printing.
Vicki Burns, Julie Paris and Ellen Robinson take turns hosting the Vocal Showcase at The Beat Lounge, 501 Broadway (at Kearney) in San Francisco the first and third Mondays of each month. The evening includes an open mike and vocalists of all styles are encouraged to come (www.sfjitneys.com).
Ramblin’ Man, The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie, a new book by Ed Cray, has received a very favorable review in the San Francisco Chronicle. Among items to be learned from the book is the source of the word "hootenanny": it is an Indiana expression for a "loose, unplanned party."
Betty Cutter shares these excerpts from a note from Sam Hinton, folklorist, friend and mentor: "[A]dvancing age and some concomitant infirmities have forced me to give up most traveling and all public performing. I am nevertheless a very contented man of 86, for Leslie, my dear wife of more than 63 years, takes very good care of me and is assisting in my current project--the writing out of words and music, and recording on digital audio tapes, all of the more than 1600 Songs I Know . . . . This project will keep me out of mischief for several years to come!
"Our daughter Leanne Hinton is Professor and Department Chair of Linguistics at UC Berkeley, where she specializes in the languages and music of American Indians. Our son Matt lives in Trinidad, California, and is an announcer, writer and photographer for English-style horse shows all over the country. My granddaughter Katrina Cooper of Amsterdam created and maintains my website."
John Barger's death in early February has deprived us of one of the oldest, most loved and faithful members of the Club. While a supervisor at one of the San Francisco Water Department’s plants, John hired enough Club musicians to create the "Sludge Band,"which rehearsed noon hours at the plant and played at the Free Folk Festival. For years John nurtured the Marin Folk Club (which meets alternate Fridays from SFFMC).
For some, our memories center on John’s introduction of "Waltz Across Texas"to our community singing sessions. New verses, one including his name, were added by us and recorded by Debby McClatchy on "Lady Luck." It pleased John to be asked, "Are you THAT John Barger?" He was indeed, and much more, a friend and mentor sorely missed.
Chuck Poling adds: "John was a kind soul who in his subtle way had a profound influence on me as a musician. I first met him about 30 years ago when he worked with my father at the Southeast Sewage Treatment Plant in San Francisco, along with other Club stalwarts Peter Kessler, Alan McLeod and Van Rozay. Through this connection I enjoyed several of their lunchtime jams and also learned about the Club.
"I was only 15 years old and had been playing guitar for a couple years, but had no idea how to jam or perform. John helped me by clueing me in on jam etiquette and emphasizing that jamming was about sharing songs and having fun.
"I try to keep in mind the things I learned from John: have fun, share and keep at it."
Merritt Herring died April 5 at home in Portland, Oregon, surrounded by family and friends, and the music that he loved. He was 71. All are invited to attend a celebration and remembrance at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar St. (at Bonita) in Berkeley. Barbara Millikan writes: "Many of us came to know and love him for his enthusiasm for traditional music. He was unstinting in his kindness and encouragement for others who enjoyed the same.
was singing until a few days before he died, including one of his favorite
hymns, ‘Who Will Sing For Me?’, and many friends came to
sit at his bedside and do just that. He rewrote the last verse to read:
singing for your friends,
"Sing one for me, Merritt."
Bob Copper, patriarch of South England’s Copper Family, died peacefully at home in Sussex March 29. He left behind many songbooks and recordings, and a family continuing its centuries-old tradition of singing.
The Club received a substantial donation from a member who asked to remain anonymous, and wrote: "The donation is insignificant to me in comparison to the fun, music, great companionship, love, and deep friendships that I have found through SFFMC."
Having a hoot, a wedding, or a baby? Have a new CD or website? Looking to buy or sell an instrument? Email the Club News editor: . back to top
The May 8th Hootenanny is shaping up to be one of best shows of the year. 5 of the Bay Area's best bluegrass/roots bands take the stage all for a good cause: to raise money for the AIDS Foundation.
Though the Hootenannies are usually free, this one time only we will ask for a donation of $10 at the door. All $10 donors will qualify for a chance to win prizes which we will raffle off throughout the evening.
For info about the Hootenanny Fundraising campaign, visit the web site at www.aidsmarathon.com/participant.asp?runner=SF-2057. back to top
Every month the Club presents a free music showcase and jam called Hootenanny Night. It’s a great place to hear club favorites, as well as young up and comers. After two years of doing this show. I can tell you that folk music is alive and well and popular with the younger generation. The shows featuring our younger performers draw some of our biggest crowds.
The new technologies
allow unprecedented access to new untried performers who are (in theory,
at least) unburdened by commercial constraints. This is good news to
folk and roots performers who don’t have to cater to Top 40 radio
or MTV. One of our aims at the Hoot is bring a greater audience to these
folks. Be sure to check out our website, www.sfhootenanny.homestead.com,
and click on the performers’ web sites. You can often listen to
samples and buy CDs on line. That’s how I’ve come across
some of my favorite music lately. Also, check out the music on the Hootenanny
Hit Parade. Most of these songs are available online.
Gayle Schmidt: Singing your foot-tapping folk and old country favorites.
Shut Ins: The high energy Kings of Hulabilly and longtime Hoot favorites (www.theshutins.com).
Sibling Brothers: Longtime Bay Area bluegrass favorites. Their Hootenanny debut! (www.siblingbrothers.com).
Kerr: One of our favorite local roots performers returns to the
Hootenanny stage (www.jennykerr.com).
Last of the Blacksmiths: Dark, evocative old-time folk filtered through a college radio mentality (www.lastoftheblacksmiths.com).
El Capitan: California mountain music. Nice guitar work and harmonies from the new folk generation.
Beth Kotkin: Lovely vocals from a longtime Club favorite.
John Heiden: Urbane country blues in a Leon Redbone vein.
July's lineup will include Eric Thompson and the Wet Mountain Boys; Trusting Lucy; Nino Moschella; Sonya Greta; and Salty Walt and the Rattlin’ Ratlines (rated "Arr").
For more information,
email me at
or call me at (415) 775-0221.
Richard Rice back to
The Mountain Valley Arts Council announces that the 2004 MOVA Arts Festival International Songwriters and Composers Competition is accepting submissions. The competition gives songwriters and composers an opportunity to perform their work before a panel of music professionals and compete for awards of cash, merchandise, recording time and booking opportunities. The competition, a component of the MOVA Arts Festival, is held in September in Guntersville, Alabama.
All songwriters are invited to enter. Entries can be on CDs or cassettes, and songwriters can enter as many songs as they wish. The early bird deadline is May 15; the final deadline is June 15.
There are so many, we have to fit them in where we can:
On my way to Camp Harmony, I felt a bit anxious about showing up with my anemic guitar skills, limited folk song knowledge, and outsider status; I figured I could leave early if it wasn’t working out.
Walking into the registration room I was greeted by the music going strong, instrument cases piled high, and several smiling people, immediately making it obvious that this was a very special place to be. The rest of my too-short stay was continuing variations on that theme and left me trying to figure out a way to stay longer.
I really felt like
I was basking in the community spirit you all have cultivated, and I
hope I can contribute to it in the future!
From the column "Legal Affairs on Folk Music, Copyright, and the Public Domain," by Peter Irvine in the Folk Alliance Newsletter of May/June 2003. Used by permission.
In 1991 the singer Enya was sued for copyright infringement after including a version of "How Can I Keep from Singing" on the album Shepherd Moons. Apparently, she assumed that the song was a traditional Shaker Hymn failing to realize that not only was it not Shaker, but one of the verses was composed in the 1950s.
The origins of "How Can I Keep from Singing" are, like so many traditional songs, murky. Pete Seeger made it his signature closing song in the 1960s and 1970s. He learned his version from Doris Plenn in 1956. Plenn had learned it from her grandmother, who claimed it had been written in the early days of the Quaker church, 250 years before. Others, however, credit the words to Robert Lowry, who lived in Philadelphia and New Jersey from 1826-1899.
Whatever the truth is, words published before 1923 are in the public domain. Enya was free to modify those older verses. The trouble sprang from an additional new verse written by Plenn in the 1950s. Enya used it as her final stanza.
The court decided in Enya's favor saying that Plenn lost her copyright for failure to follow the rules under the Copyright Act of the time. This is no longer true, but before 1989 copyright notice had to be placed on works to protect the owner's rights.
After learning the song from Plenn and receiving her blessing to promulgate it, Seeger published the song. He described the entire song as traditional and left off the copyright notice. Because Seeger presented the new verse as being public domain, the court decided that Plenn had lost her rights and Enya could use the verse without paying royalties. back to top
Pete Seeger's profound impact on American and world music, and his ongoing efforts to bring peace, social and economic justice, and true equality throughout the world have been the stuff of legend for well over half a century. This most intriguing volume showcases See-ger's talent as master storyteller and spinner of yarns of all types. Anyone who has ever seen him in concert knows of his grand talent as a raconteur extraordinaire.
The six general categories of tales presented here are (1) stories Seeger learned from his father; (2) old favorites and classics retold; (3) stories based on songs, lullabies, and rounds; (4) stories from American history; (5) Seeger's own personally crafted tales; and (6) "story beginnings." And what a truly diverse variety of tales he has included: allegorical fables, Biblical tales, world folk-tales, cante-fables with musical interludes, personal family narratives, and biographical sketches from history. Here are beloved Seeger classics (Abiyoyo, The Foolish Frog, and The Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase), as well as more recent gems (Abiyoyo's Return, The Magic Thinner, and The Intelligent Light Bulbs).
As a long-time history teacher, I was particularly taken with Seeger's stories taken from American history: the Down-rent wars from upstate New York during the early 1840s, the King of America (taken from the life of George Washington), and the Coal Creek Rebellion in Tennessee during the early 1890s. You won't find these in any conventional or mainstream history textbook, but in Seeger's skillful narrative hands, each tale is magically brought to life. Even golden chestnuts are worth the hearing and become fresh and innovative. Each tale is accompanied by Seeger's insightful comments and observations regarding how they are relevant to the problems faced in today's often uncertain and troublesome world. This book will enchant children aged from 3 to 103 and beyond. It will truly delight parents, other adults, teachers, story-tellers, lovers, and explorers everywhere. This is a wondrous gift from Pete Seeger to all the world, and we are all the better off for it being with us. - Robert Rodriquez back to top
In this beautiful and evocative book, Berkeley-based storyteller Joel Ben Izzy uses the framework of the Beggar King (a tale from ancient Israel) to tell his own story especially of a one-year period during which, because of throat cancer, he lost his voice and livelihood and undertook a life-changing journey into wisdom and the spirit. Within this tale of joy and sadness, darkness and light, Ben Izzy embeds a number of traditional tales from places as diverse as Japan, the U.S., Finland, Turkey, India, the Czech Republic, and Austria. The book is filled with Jewish humor, Zen and Sufi wisdom, and the art of a master raconteur, sharing with all readers a wondrous journey spanning time, tradition, and the entire world.
Throughout the narrative hangs an ongoing concept: man makes plans and God laughs. Tales beginning each of the 14 chapters are magically interwoven into Ben Izzy's story. This book will move the heart and spirit and bring tears of sadness and laughter to the eyes of those who come within its magical narrative umbrella. It is a joy of perfect measure, and a narrative testament of courage, love, faith, and a sense of true triumph in the face of adversity of the darkest kind. Perhaps the best way to sum up the joy and wonder of this book is by stating an old Jewish proverb, which states: "When the heart overflows, it comes out through the mouth." - Robert Rodriquez back to top
This album highlights the career of the 38-gun frigate USS Constellation, the first major warship commissioned for the fledgling United States Navy and launched at Baltimore in 1797. It served against the Barbary pirates of North Africa and helped defend Norfolk, Virginia from British attack in the War of 1812. Worn out by 1853, the frigate was broken up at Gosport, Virginia while a faster, bigger sloop-of-war of the same name was built in a nearby shed. This new USS Constellation was the last all-sail warship built for the US Navy and served three years in the Mediterranean. On the eve of the US Civil War, she was the flagship of the African Squadronin pursuit of illegal slave ships off the Congo River. Presented by the Navy to the City of Baltimore in 1955, Constellation was completely restored during 1996-1999. Today the ship is the centerpiece of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, a living monument to the sailors who have served throughout America's wars.
I met Hank Cramer at last year's Festival of Sea Music at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. His powerful baritone voice was a fine addition to the festival. This CD, a collection of shanties, songs, and instrumental tunes that tell USS Constellation's history, is a well put together and thoroughly enjoyable recording. Hank's voice is equally effective in a loud driving shanty as it is in a quiet ballad - his rendition of Shenandoah is especially moving. All the songs are traditional and performed with some very nice vocal arrangements. In addition, Hank surrounds himself with some very fine musicians and singers. Now a traveling musician, Hank served as shantyman aboard the brig Lady Washington, replica of the first American ship to sail into Northwest waters in the 1780s. He has given concerts at leading nautical museums around the natio. Hank hopes that this CD will heighten listeners' awareness of the role of the Constellation in American history and contribute financially to the preservation of the ship. - Richard Adrianowicz back to top
This is Waterbound's first recording. Malcolm Rigby (vocals and concertina), Jessica Bryan (vocals and guitar) and Tom Clunie (vocals, banjo, bouzouki, and guitar) are all fine musicians but their trio is, as they say, better than the sum of its parts. Fine instrumental work and outstanding vocal harmony and lead singing highlight this album of songs from England, Scotland, Ireland and America.
I first came in contact with Malcolm Rigby at the monthly shanty sings at Hyde Street Pier. What a fine singer and concertina player he is. He knows all the regular shanties and always seems to have some rare version or some unusual song that he pulls out of his sleeve like some magician. At last year's Free Folk Festival, Malcolm led a workshop on mining songs, describing the songs and their history and talk-ing about beginning his working life in the coal mines of Lancashire, England. I remember thinking - hey, this guy is the real deal and not just someone who likes mining songs.
Jessica Bryan adds
to the group one of those voices that immediately grab you - incredibly
powerful and full but not overly sweet and syrupy. It's a voice that
can cut through anything yet when she's singing a harmony part she holds
back so all three voices can blend. Nice. Tom Clunie's solid singing
and instrumental work fill out Waterbound's sound. Any of these musicians
could easily be a solo act. Together they make one of the best new folk
bands to come along recently.- Richard Adrianowicz back
Santa Cruz Bluegrass Faire May 22
Folk Festival June 4-6
Celtic Festival June 12
Music Festival June 18-20
Folklore Camp June 19-26
Music, Dance & Storytelling Festival June 25-27
Memorial Music Festival June 25-27
Free Folk Festival June 26-27
& Dance Workshop June 26-July 3
Dance Week July 3-10
of American Fiddle Tunes July 4-11
Fashioned Bluegrass Festival July 9-11
Coast Music Camp July 11-17, 18-24
Week July 10-17
Worldfest July 15-18
Folk Music Festival July 16-18
Folk Dance Camp July 18-24, 25-31
Music And Dance Camp July 22-25
Valley Autoharp Gathering July 30-Aug 1
Lark In The
Morning Camp July 30-Aug 7
Folk Festival Aug 7-8