The Folknik September/October 2003
(Volume XXXIX, Number 5)
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.
Time once again to register for SFFMC's annual New Year's bash known as Camp Harmony. This 5-day music/dance/tribal meeting/party for Club members and their immediate families is brought to you by you and me and everyone who participates: first-timers, old-timers, old pros, rank beginners, little kids, old geezers, singers, musicians and dancers.
If you've never experienced this camp, maybe this is the year to try it out. If you have been to camp before, we're sure you're already gently peeling your label from the back of this Folknik and sticking it to your registration form.
When & Where and How: 2:00 pm Tuesday, Dec 30, 2003 to 2:00 pm Sunday, Jan 4, 2004 at Camps Campbell and Harmon on Hwy 9 in the Santa Cruz mountains near Boulder Creek (a map will arrive with your acceptance letter). Facilities include heated cabins for 8-16 people each, many with indoor plumbing, and your registration includes 3 full meals in the dining hall every day.
To register, you must be a current SFFMC member. Early bird registrants whose membership was current on Sept 1 get first priority. Early registrations from those who did not have a current membership on Sept 1, but who joined or rejoined after that date, are priority 2. All members' registrations postmarked after Nov 1 are priority 3. Applications are sorted by postmark date within each priority. All Priority 1 registrations are accepted before any Priority 2s and so on.
Moral: Be a member and register early; however, for the last several years, we have been able to accept everyone who has wanted to come to camp.
Cost: Registrations postmarked on or before Nov 1 qualify for the Early Bird price. The Early Bird special price for the entire camp is $260 for adults, $135 for children 3-12. The Early Bird rate for 1-4 days is $55 for adults per day, $29 per day for children. After Nov 1, the price is on a daily basis only (2:00 pm to the next 2:00 pm - 1 day), and is $61 per day for adults and $32 per day per child.
Every camper age 6-100 is expected to do one chore for every day registered as part of their payment for camp. Giving a workshop does not count as a chore. On-site registration (also known as Drop In) is $43 per day for adults, $25 per day for children, plus one chore, but does not include any meals. Some meals may be available for purchase from other campers.
Financial Assistance: Camperships are available for those who need them. The limited funds are allocated first-come, first served, so again, register early. If you are flush this year, please consider adding something to the campership fund: it's tax deductible! We reduced prices for children this year to make camp more affordable for families. Families are still eligible to take additional campership funds, if necessary. Those who need financial assistance are encouraged to register early to take advantage of the reduced price and to endure that campership funds have not run out.
Workshops: There are many places around camp for workshops and all campers are invited to share their favorite activities by leading a workshop. All songs, crafts, dance, dance calling, jams, music, stories, instrument techniques, etc., are welcome and open to all. Sign-ups for workshop times and spaces will be posted at camp, but if you have something you already want to present, contact Katie Grist at (510) 548-4727, email@example.com for pre-camp scheduling. Contact Joan Feinberg at (510) 451-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org if you can offer a beginning workshop in any instrument or if you can loan an instrument for beginners to try at camp.
Special Needs: For concerns about health, diet restrictions, or limited access, contact Ray Frank (530) 756-7089 email@example.com. Families are welcome! Please contact Mary Luckhardt (510) 233-5065, firstname.lastname@example.org, to find out about special housing arrangements.
About those Chores: Camp Harmony is a community-organized and volunteer effort. This means so that camp can happen, every attendee over age 6 must commit to doing one organized chore for every day registered. e have even designed some special chores for campers aged 6-11. Most adult chores require a one-hour commitment, but some chores (such as coffee making) cover a longer period of time and allow more flexibility. Some of the more onerous chores, such as parking lot duty and end of camp cleanup, count for more than one chore slot. Staying late on the last day of camp to help with clean up for 2-3 hours will fulfill your full-camp chore requirement. Contact Mary Luckhardt (510) 233-5065, email@example.com, to reserve one of these special chore slots!
The Rules: As usual, NO PETS are allowed at camp. In keeping with all SFFMC events, computers, cell phones, beeping watches and other electronic noisemakers are strongly discouraged at camp. Help keep camp beep-free. Please don't save beds or cabins for folks arriving later. All camp activities are open to all campers, so please don't teach activates which exclude anyone. No outdoor shoes on the dance floor, please.
Button Making: Start Harmony early. Come to Mary Luckhardt's house in Richmond (510) 233-5065, , on Tuesday, Dec 2 for the pot-luck button making party. Make a custom name button for yourself, and help produce the 400 buttons we need for camp.
Finally: Please join us for a wonderful camp and a joyous beginning to the New Year.
The more, the merrier to help with the Folknik, enjoy a meal afterwards, and to make music. Bring a potluck dish and instruments.
Calling All Songwriters: Members of the SFFMC have been cordially invited to enter the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. The contest started in 1997 and welcomes original entries in twelve different genres by both amateur and professional songwriters. Prizes include cash, equipment and contracts and there will be a total of 120 winners.
Visit the contest website, www.jlsc.com, for more information on the contest and to download an application (or upload your entry as an MP3 file). The deadline to enter is September 28, 2003.
“There is no standard set for the singing here, but we set a very high standard in listening.”
-- motto of the Góilín Traditional Singer's Club, Dublin, Ireland
NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN: Noon, Sunday, Oct 26, at the home of Abe & Joan Feinberg.
Eskenazi, one of our folknik song editors, has just published
a beautiful book of rounds from four centuries and half a dozen regions:
“Pass it Around! Rounds from the Soul of the World.”For
more information see www.PassItAround.org or email songbook@PassItAround.org.
Wikner sends greetings from Portland—see his letter on
page 3. Also on that page, see Julie Bidoux’s article on The Raging Grannies of the East Bay, who are
looking for singers and an accompanist.
To announce a marriage, a baby, a new CD, special gigs or events, instruments for sale, or other similar news, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In May 2003 we visited six folk clubs in Cornwall and Devon, England, and on two previous trips we went to several clubs in London and other parts of England. Folk clubs in England are as varied as they are in the U.S., with some specializing in blues or bluegrass and others restricted to traditional English music. Many of them meet every week, and some every other week or once a month. They almost invariably meet in the back room or upstairs in a pub and beer is plentiful, but non-alcoholic drinks are also commonly consumed. This year we noted that most clubs do not permit smoking or at least separate smokers from non-smokers.
Many clubs have
guests either all the time or some of the time. When there is a guest,
it is a concert situation, usually consisting of two sets with a short
break in between for filling glasses and emptying bladders. Each set
is usually introduced by a few songs from club regulars called residents
or from floor singers who have arranged with the club leader to perform.
One night we went to the Bodmin Folk Club to see a concert by Ryburn 3 Step, which consists of six people who play more instruments than the average music store contains. Before the concert and during the break, some of the performers were on the small stage jamming with anyone who cared to join in.
There were almost
always some people who sang unaccompanied and others who accom-panied
themselves or played tunes.
In England, folk
clubs are easy to find. Go to your favorite search engine and type in
“folk club” followed by the name of an English county such
as Cornwall. Many clubs have their own web sites, and there are lists
of clubs, such as:
You can also inquire
on the Mudcat discussion group at www.mudcat.org/threads.cfm.
I was reading through
the online folknik and saw
the staff listing. It's been quite a while. How are things going down
Decided recently to get back to playing music, so I dusted off the dulcimer, guitar, 12-string, and autoharp. Even started a little didgeridoo, pennywhistle, mandolin, keyboard, etc. A bit rusty, but I've been able to bumble through a song or two.
To get more involved with local music, I joined the board of the Portland Folklore Society, and in January (2003) took on editing our newsletter Local Lore, a bimonthly like the folknik. Am really enjoying working on it.
The online version
of the folknik is great. Appreciated the notice on "Woodsongs Old-Time Radio", which
I had never heard of before. Watched their terrific 90-minute video
with Jean Ritchie. (Hooray for broadband Internet!!) Noticed that one
of our Music Page editors (Barbara Millikan) also edits music for folknik.
Small world. Barbara also knows a lot of the usual suspects in California,
having lived down there herself for a time.
If you’re looking for authentic folk music collected in California, try “California Gold” at the Library of Congress, on the web at memory.loc.gov/ammem/afccchtml/cowhome.html. Here are more than 800 songs collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell, a San Francisco native who worked with Charles Seeger, John A. Lomax and Frank C. Brown, and returned in 1938 to document the music of California for the Work Projects Administration.
The result is a collection you can browse for hours: sound recordings, transcriptions of songs, and photographs and even mechanical drawings of instruments of a dozen ethnic groups, collected all over the Bay Area and the Central Valley.
The now-forming Raging Grannies of the East Bay are looking for singers and an accompanist who plays guitar, accordion or some other supporting instrument. The Raging Grannies are part of an international group, started in Canada, now with a growing number of chapters in the US and Europe, who sing new words with political content to well-known old melodies urging people to vote (we also have a voter registration crew) and to work for peace, justice and positive action.We write our own words, sometimes think-tank style, dress up in long skirts and beflowered hats, and sing at festivals, flea markets, on the street, anywhere we can, and also have fun!
Meetings are held at the Gray Panther office, 1403 Addison Street, Berkeley (near Sacramento—the entrance is in the parking lot behind Andronico's).You don’t have to be a real granny! Call Julie Bidoux at (510) 845-5183. --Julie Bidoux
If any of these items are yours, contact Ed Hilton, (510) 523-6533.
Oud: Syrian-made oud by Georgie Nahat 1958, $500. Call Victor at Cafe Kaldi in San Rafael at (415) 457-6562.
Harp: Stoney End brand portable floor harp. Approximately 4 feet tall, 39 strings. Model is Lorraine, with custom sharping levers for C-F-G; $999 cash (includes padded carrying case). Call Merilee in San Rafael at (415) 258-9257.
San Francisco's Maritime National Historic Park presents its annual Sea Music Concert Series at Hyde Street Pier. Experience rare evenings of sailor's songs, sweet ballads and working chanteys, all reverberating from the wooden decks of an historic vessel. A vital and vibrant San Francisco traditional music celebration, the 15th annual Sea Music Concert Series presents a line-up of renowned sea music musicians and vocalists.
September 27: Tom Lewis. A 24-year veteran of the British Submarine Service, he brings a wealth of experience and authenticity to traditional chanteys and songs out of his own seafaring background. Born in Northern Ireland and now living in British Columbia, he accompanies himself on button accordion and ukulele.
October 18: Mystic Seaport Forebitter. Craig Edwards, Geoff Kaufman, and Rick Spencer blend intricate harmonies, a cappella singing, banjo, concertina, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, whistles and percussion into a fun and lively evening.
November 15: William Pint and Felicia Dale. They perform traditional and modern music and "songs reflecting the immense vitality of those who live and work on the sea." The energetic couple captivates audiences with vocals and guitar, mandola, Irish pennywhistles, percussion and the hurdy gurdy.
December 12: Alasdair Fraser. His richly expressive playing ranges from haunting laments from the Gaelic tradition to classically styled airs, raucous dance tunes and improvisations based on traditional themes. His repertoire spans several centuries of Scottish music and includes his own compositions.
Concerts take place aboard the pier's historic vessels at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $12 to $14, with season tickets for $40 each. Seating is limited and purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. For tickets, please call 415-561-6662. Tickets are also available at the Maritime Store, 2905 Hyde Street, 415-775-2665. More information at www.nps.gov.safr.concert.html.
Local folksinger and autoharp Adam Miller presents two free family concerts of traditional and not-so-traditional Halloween songs. The concerts are presented by libraries for the general public. Bring the kids and come sing along.
Tues., Oct 28, 7:30pm,
San Carlos Library, 610 Elm Street, San Carlos, CA 94070, (650) 591-0341
Golden Apple Design of Amsterdam recently launched a new website, www.samhinton.org, devoted to the career of folksinger, folklorist, aquariologist, educator and author Sam Hinton. Hinton, 86, a longtime resident of La Jolla, California, is one of the most respected folk singers in the world and has recorded some 12 albums.
www.samhinton.org contains vintage photos, biographical information and a discography of Hinton's recording, as well as information on how to order albums still in print. Cooper (website designer and husband of Hinton's granddaughter, Katrina Hinton-Cooper) explains "I want to include absolutely everything I can that relates to Sam's career. Every day we receive letters from people who have just visited the site and they all pretty much say the same thing: that Sam has had a profound positive effect on their lives." Fans and friends and invited to contribute photographs, stories, drawings, and songs. Send submissions to email@example.com
Announcing the Berkeley Farmer's Market String Band Convention on Sept. 27, 11am to 3pm! It features the contest and community dance with caller Evie Ladin.
Musicians of all
ages and both old-time and bluegrass string bands are encouraged to enter
the contest. Teachers are encouraged to bring students to perform as a
group. Registration begins at 10:30am and the contest runs from 11am to
about 2:30, and the dance runs from 2:30 to 3:00. The Saturday Berkeley
Farmer's Market takes place in the Civic Center Park on Center Street
between Milvia and MLK Jr Way. It's one block from the downtown Berkeley
BART station, and easily accessible by bus. There is no entry fee, but
the contest is limited to 15 bands. Bands can enter via email, snail mail,
or during registration time on the contest day. Prizes go to the first
three placeholders and all participants receive a souvenir Berkeley Farmer's
Market pint glass; judges will also award certificates of encouragement
to young contestants.
For information and
contest rules call: (510) 548-2220, ext. 227.
Check out the lineup
at the world famous Otter Opry in Santa Cruz. It offers regular concerts
of world class bluegrass from all over. Concerts take place at the United
Methodist Church, 250 California Street in Santa Cruz. The next few are:
Reviews of things other than CDs, along with rants about anything that bugs you about publishing and the music biz these days, we welcome all that too!
How Music came to the World and Other Stories.
When 12 very talented storytellers from the Vancouver area encounter an equal number of excellent musicians whose musical roots, sources, and traditions are as diverse as the world itself, the result, both thematic andconceptual, is quite intriguing. This 3-CD recording features a dozen traditional tales in which music plays a central role in the story's plot and presentation. The stories come from the southern US, west Africa, ancient Mexico, Scotland, France, Persia, India, Japan, China, Vietnam, and Canada (one from the Cree people of the far north, and one from the French-Canadian tradition). They show off the talents of some of Vancouver's best storytellers, among them Tony Montague, Yvon Chasrtrandk, Ann Gregory, Ginger Mullen, Melanie Ray, Yokiko Tosa, and Sudnya Naik. The musical instruments employed in these tales also cover a wide spectrum-from the familiar fiddle and Celtic harp, through the French vielle (hurdy-gurdy) and Ara-bic oud, to such exotic instruments as the West African balafon (jegbak), the Chinese lute-like pipa, the Japanese taiko (large drum), and the Vietnamese zither-like Dan Bau. Sheila Allen's incredible fiddle is a marvel to hear on the French-Canadian story of the insidious devil's magic fiddle.
Three of the stories are "why" stories: how music came into the world from the Aztecs of Mexico, the origin of the hand drum from the Cree of Canada, and the origin of the jegbak from the Senoufo of the Ivory Coast of Africa. Ginger Mullen's retelling of the Two Sisters from Scotland, accompanied by Mary Murphy on harp, is pure aural magic. Music plays many roles: it can help save a community from destruction (a 16th century Japanese legend); it teaches humility and artistic worth (a tale from Persia); it brings hope of freedom during slavery times (a tale from the US south); and it can right a wrong and bring justice to a poor woman (a tale from China). This recording will be a real treat to lovers of music and fans of the spoken word. Plus, the accompanying booklet gives detailed backgrounds of the various tales, tellers, and musical in-struments; and tells the story of this whole project. Very highly recommended. Robert Rodriquez
AND ALLAN MACLEOD: Winter In The Wood.
AND BILL DEMPSEY: The Waves We Left Behind.
This is Bill and Connie's first recording together, but it's a string of gems from beginning to end. There's a home-spun feel to it, but the production values are high; the material is a magical blend of originals, standards, and traditional songs and tunes; and the sound is totally their own. Connie plays several different mountain dulcimers (including the banjomer) and has a pleasing (albeit occasionally saccharine) contralto voice, while Bill plays guitar and banjo and has a down-home country baritone voice. Harmonies and balance are all there. Connie's original songs run the gamut from the genealogical (but slightly altered) Eleanor Cutler, through the humorous (and autobiographical, she claims) By the Seat of His Pants) and Sailor Jack to the tear-jerker Christmas on a Train. Traditional numbers include Buckdancer's Choice (instrumental), Jubilee, Oh California, and Cowboy Waltz (medlied here with Bill Monroe's Sittin' Alone in the Moonlight). Standards include Midnight on the Water, Back Home in Indiana, Blues for Dixie, and What a Wonderful World. Along the way, you also get to hear Ian Benzie's Wife in Every Port, Phil Cunningham's beautiful air Miss Rowan Davies, and the "bonus cut" a rollicking, kazoo-extravaganza version of San Francisco Bay Blues. What more could one want? Highly recommended. - Kathryn LaMar
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Autoharp Legacy.
Three-CD set available for $20 plus shipping from <www.AutoharpLegacy.com> [Editor's Note: This "review," headlined "The Greatest Autoharp Record Ever Recorded!" came from one of the participants, but, hey, we're allowed some editorial discretion here! Sounds like the bargain of the century!] Last February, California autoharpists Tina Louise Barr, Evo Bluestein, Carey Dubbert, and Adam Miller joined other stellar autoharpists (including Bryan Bowers, Mike Seeger, John McCutcheon, Tom Chapin, Janette Carter, Patsy Stoneman, and David Holt) and legendary Nashville sidemen for this historic Autoharp Legacy recording project. The 64-song set is truly the greatest autoharp album of all time - over three hours of the best performances from 55 of the greatest living autoharp players. Pro-ducers Ron Wall, Mark Howard, and Bryan Bowers have created a surprisingly listenable and enjoyable album of autoharp songs, solos, duets and small-band arrangements that encompass a vast assemblage of musical styles and selections from South American waltzes to Celtic pieces, to old time country tunes, to Carter family songs and popular standards. Listeners may well be amazed to hear the many different ways in which the autoharp is played. The project is a comprehensive, soundscape album high-lighting both the evolution of this 125-year old instrument and the recent renaissance of the autoharp. This beautifully packaged album is available from the above website, which also features some great photos taken during the recording session. - Adam Miller