Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Brooklyn Folk Festival 2017!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The Jalopy Theatre & School of Music, together with Down Home Radio is proud to announce the 2017 Brooklyn Folk Festival!

Get your ticket now! at: www.brooklynfolkfest.com/tickets

We have a great festival coming up for you this year.
For more information visit: www.BrooklynFolkFest.com

Here is the schedule:

Friday April 28th

Main Stage
8pm – Ukrainian Village Voices – Rural Ukrainian vocal music
8:45pm – Jim Kweskin – Jug band, blues and folk songs
9:30pm – Thunderbird American Indian Dancers – Songs and dances from the Mohawk, Hopi, Winnebago and other traditions.
10:15pm – Anna & Elizabeth – Old time songs and ballads
11pm – Feral Foster – Original and folk songs
11:45pm – Tennessee Stiff Legs – Western swing band, from Tennessee! First time in NY!

Parish Hall Stage
8:45pm – Ethan Leinwand – Barrelhouse blues piano from St. Louis, MO
9:30pm – Cole Quest & the City Pickers – Bluegrass songs and tunes
10:15pm – The Freakniks – Original and traditional music, from LA, CA!
11pm – Skalopy – Jalopy’s in-house ska band!

Workshop Room
9pm – Topical Songs and Ballads

Saturday April 29th

Afternoon Concerts

Main Stage
Noon – Jalopy Jr. Recital
12:45pm – Fada – Traditional French music from the Occitan region
1:30pm – Martha Burns – Old time songs and ballads, from the mountains and range!
2:15pm – Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues
3pm – Spitzer Space Telescope – original and traditional old-time fiddle tunes, English/Irish ballads and sea shanties.
3:45pm – Peter Stampfel & the Ether Frolic Mob – “Paleo Hillbilly Rock meets Great American Songbook and does dirty things together”
4:30 – Pat Conte – Blues, gospel and old time songs and tunes
5:15pm – Bill & the Belles – Oldtime, early Country and popular songs and tunes!
6pm – Amythyst Kiah – Traditional and original blues and folk songs from Johnson City, TN, first NY appearance!

Parish Hall Stage
Noon – Old Time Slow Jam with Hilary Hawke
1:30pm – Ethan Leinwand – Barrelhouse blues piano from St. Louis, MO
2:15pm – The Hay Rollers – Bluegrass songs and tunes!
4:30 – “Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People” with Mat Callahan & Yvonne Moore – Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication or Lomax, Seeger and Guthrie influential and classic book!
5:30 – Ethan Leinwand – Barrelhouse blues piano from St. Louis, MO
6pm – Harmonica Contest – Who is the best harp player in NYC!?!?

Workshop Room

2pm – DIY Instrument building
3pm – FILM: The Mountain Music Project – Exploring similarities between Southern Appalachians music and that of the Nepali musician caste in the Himalayas.
4pm – Panel discussion TBA
5pm – Old time banjo workshop with Hilary Hawke
6pm – Puppet show!

Evening Concerts

Main Stage
7:15pm – Thomas McCarthy – Traditional songs and ballads from the Irish Traveler community. First American festival appearance!
8pm – Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton – Blues, old time and folk songs on guitar, banjo and fiddle
8:45pm – Willie Watson – Folk songs and ballads on guitar and banjo
9:30pm – Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir – Wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters and Earth loving evangelist sermonizing.
10:45pm TBA

Parish Hall Stage
7pm – Main Squeeze Orchestra – All female accordion orchestra!
8pm – Salsa Dance with the Willy Martinez Band

Sunday April 30th

Afternoon Concerts

Main Stage
2pm – Family Sing-a-long
2:30pm – Deedle Deedle Dees – Fun kids music, with themes from history!!
3:15pm – Preachin’ in the Wilderness – Blues and folk songs
4pm – The Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen – Old time string band
4:45pm – Meredith Axelrod – Blues and folk songs
5:30pm – Queen Esther – Traditional and original songs
6:15pm – Locust Honey String Band – String band, all the way from Tennessee!

Parish Hall Stage
2pm – Old Time Jam Session with Hilary Hawke
3:15pm – Gotham Jazzmen – Traditional Jazz
4:30pm – The Jalopy Choir – Singing Balkan vocal music!
5:30pm – Square Dance with the 5-Mile String Band!
6:30pm – The Whiskey Spitters – Jalopy’s own in-house string band!

Workshop Room
3pm – Harmonica workshop with Seth Shumate (all the way from Arkansas!)
4pm – FILM: Shake ‘Em On Down – Documentary film about legendary blues musician Mississippi Fred McDowell, includes Q&A with filmmaker Scott Baretta.
5:30pm – 10pm – Special art installation and performance with Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Tim Eriksen.

1PM SPECIAL EVENT: THE BANJO TOSS

This event is held off-site.
Please assemble at the corner of Smith and 9th Street at 1pm, we will then have a parade to the banjo tossing arena!

Evening Concerts

Main Stage
7:15pm – TBA
8pm – The Last Poets – Radical poetry with music, the roots of rap from NYC
8:45pm – Jay Gandhi – Indian classical and folk music
9:30pm – Eva Salina & Peter Stan – Balkan music
10:15pm – TBA

Parish Hall Stage
7:15pm – The Horse-Eyed Men – Original and traditional songs

Workshop Room
5:30pm – 10pm – Special art installation and performance with Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Tim Eriksen.

Washington Square Park Folk Festival – Comin’ Up!

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Look out for the Washington Square Park Folk Festival! Comin’ up!  Free and open to the public!
www.WSPFolkFest.com

Saturday Sept. 24th

1pm Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues
1:45pm Ali Dineen
2:30pm Feral Foster
3:15pm The Tillers
4pm Bulla en el Barrio

Sunday Sept. 25th

1pm The Freakniks
1:45pm Kenny Kosek
2:30pm Julia Patinella
3:15pm The Down Hill Strugglers w/ John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers
4pm Square Dance w/ Alex Kramer Calling

Hope to see you there!
– Eli

Short Film: The 78s That Saved Folk Music

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016


“Eli Smith, founder of the Brooklyn Folk Festival, sits down with record collector John Heneghan to discuss an eccentric experimental filmmaker named Harry Smith whose obsession with 78 rpm records helped save American folk music.”

Here is a new short film, “The 78s That Saved Folk Music”, that Charlie Hoxie of Brooklyn cable channel BRIC TV made with me a few months ago, exploring the legacy of the Anthology of American Folk Music, compiled by Harry Smith and released on Folkways Records back in 1952.  While “folk music” does not need saving necessarily, and Harry Smith is only one part of that story, his Anthology remains so good! and so important as a part of history and as a resource today.

Check it out!!

(more…)

8th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival: April 8th-10th, 2016!

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

The 8th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival is almost here!
40+ great bands and performances!
Get your tickets now!!
www.BrooklynFolkFest.com

SCHEDULE
Friday Evening Concerts
8:00PM Meredith Axelrod – Blues, Ragtime and Country music
8:45PM The Four o’clock Flowers – Blues, Folk, Gospel and early Jazz
9:30PM Michael Hurley – Legendary folk musician, needs no introduction!
10:15PM Frank Fairfield and Tom Marion – American and Italian string music and songs
11:00PM Extra Special Guest!!!  Who will it be?
11:45PM Clifton Hicks– Old time banjo and ballads from Georgia!
 
Saturday Afternoon Concerts
12:45PM Pistol Packin’ Mamas – String band blues and rags from Tennessee to the Tex- Mex border. Comin’ all the way from New Orleans, LA!
1:30PM Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – Jug band music, original and traditional
2:15PM Happy Valley Pals – Oldtime string band from Durham, NC
3:00PM Willy Gantrim – Blues, Folk, Country and original songs
3:45PM Rafe & Clelia Stefanini – Fiddle and banjo music
4:30PM Rayna Gellert (of Uncle Earl) – Old time songs and tunes, original songs
5:15PM Piedmont Bluz – Country Blues guitar, harmonica, washboard
6:00PM Mick & Evan Kinney- Amazing old time string band from the great state of Georgia!
6:45PM Gaida– Syrian vocalist with her band, traditional Arabic maqams and  more
 
Saturday Evening Concerts
7:45PM Ed Sanders & Steve Taylor (of the Fugs) – Songs and poems with music
8:30PM Feral Foster – Original and Folk songs
9:15PM Spirit Family Reunion – Original and Folk songs
10:00PM Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton – Blues, Old Time and Ragtime Music
10:45PM Roy Williams & The Human Hands – Gypsy jazz, country and more!
11:30PM Radio Jarocho – Son Jarocho from Veracruz, Mexico
 
Saturday
WORKSHOPS AND ACTIVITIES:

Parish Hall:
3:00PM New Topical Songs performance (Songs from the News!)
4:00PM Oldtime Jam Session
5:00PM Lariat Tricks and Cowboy Songs with Cowboy Ernie Sites!
6:00PM Harmonica Contest!!! (more…)

Re-Start Jalopy Records! Lost Train Blues!

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Please help us out by supporting the Kickstarter fundraising campaign!  Before November 13th!!
CLICK HERE to donate!

JALOPY RECORDS PARTNERS WITH MISSISSIPPI RECORDS TO RELEASE “Lost Train Blues” – CELEBRATING ALAN LOMAX’S 100TH BIRTHDAY WITH NEVER BEFORE ISSUED FIELD RECORDINGS

Brooklyn’s Jalopy Records has rebooted their homegrown folk music record label with a brand new release, “Lost Train Blues: John & Alan Lomax and the Early Folk Music Collections at the Library of Congress.” Help us produce and manufacture this album AND get the ball rolling on a bright, new future for the Jalopy Records label!

Jalopy Records has partnered with well known Oregon based vinyl label Mississippi Records to manufacture and distribute this and future releases. Jalopy Records is the record label of the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, a grass roots cultural center for traditional music, located in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The record features 22 selections from the vast holdings of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, 13 of them have never been issued before. The record includes work songs, ballads, blues, political and union songs, guitar, banjo and fiddle music and Native American vocal music. These recordings were made between 1933 and 1950 and represent the birth of the folk music collections at the Library of Congress, now the largest repository of folk and enthographic holdings in the world. The record demonstrates the groundbreaking work of Alan Lomax and his father John Lomax, but also places them with the context of other important early field workers.

The deluxe record includes liner notes by Alan Lomax archive curator Nathan Salsburg, as well as a 14 page booklet with photographs and original research about each song, artist and folklorist. The cover features an original lithograph by artist Jeff Tocci. Each selection has been retransferred from original discs and tapes at the Library of Congress and has been carefully remastered by sound engineer Don Fierro making for the best possible audio fidelity.

5th Annual Washington Square Park Folk Festival!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

The Washington Square Park Folk Festival is coming’ right up!  It’s free and open to the public and should be once again a wonderful event in out in the park.  Come if you can!  www.WSPFolkFest.com for more information!

7th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival: April 17th-19th, 2015!

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Hey folks – The 7th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival is on it’s way!  Get your tickets now!

 

April 17th-19th at our amazing new venue, St. Ann’s Church, centrally located in Brooklyn Heights!  Here’s a photo of the venue:

Complete 30 band lineup below! PLUS! Workshops, film screenings, and the BANJO TOSS competition!


CLICK HERE for tickets
, or visit www.BrooklynFolkFest.com

Brought to you by Down Home Radio Show and the Jalopy Theatre…

SCHEDULE

Friday April 17th:

8:00PM Jackson Lynch – Blues guitar, old time fiddle and banjo breakdowns, songs and ballads
8:45PM Horse Eyed Men – Original folk/country outer-space music
9:30PM Michael Hurley – Legendary folk musician, needs no introduction!
10:15PM Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton – Country blues, fiddle and banjo
11:00PM Terry Waldo’s Rum House Band – Legendary early Jazz and Ragtime pianist with his band
11:45PM Feral Foster and His Band – Excellent songwriting based solidly in Blues, Folk, Gospel and Balkan music

Saturday April 18th: Afternoon Concerts (more…)

4th Annual Washington Square Park Folk Festival

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Hello everybody – come on out to the Washington Square Park Folk Festival that I’ve been putting together the last few years, if ya can!  – Eli

Schedule:

1pm – The Down Hill Strugglers
1:45pm – Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton
2:30pm – Lightning in the East
3:15pm – Radio Jarocho
4pm – Square Dance!  with David Harvey of NYC Barn Dance

Organizers are happy to announce the upcoming 4th Annual Washington Square Park Folk Festival.  This festival is free and open to the public and is set for Sunday Sept. 14th, from 1-5pm.  The festival stage is located by the Garibaldi statue on the East side of Washington Square Park, seating will be provided.

This year the festival will feature blues music from Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton, two old time string bands; the Down Hill Strugglers, recently featured on the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and Lightning in the East, featuring banjoist Steve Arkin, and Radio Jarocho playing Son Jarocho style music from the Veracruz region of Mexico.  The festival will close with a community square dance!  The dance is always great fun, and will be called by David Harvey of NYC Barn Dance.

The festival celebrates and continues the long tradition of folk music performance in Washington Square Park. This tradition goes all the way back to the 1940’s and the birth of Folk music in New York City, with the likes of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger coming together on Sunday afternoons to play music and socialize in the park.  This tradition continued up through the 1960’s where the park welcomed a young Bob Dylan to the folk music scene in the city, and it continues up until today.  The Washington Square Park Folk Festival is the first formal festival presentation of Folk music in Washington Square Park’s history and we are proud to see the festival enter its 4th successful year.

The Brooklyn Folk Festival: April 18th-20th, 2014…

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

The Brooklyn Folk Festival, a co-production of Down Home Radio and the Jalopy Theatre, is almost here!  It’s gonna be an incredible event! – with 30 bands, film screenings, workshops, jam sessions and contests!  Coming up April 18th – 20th, 2014 at the Bell House, a great venue here in Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Folk Festival is now going into its 6th successful year.  This year’s festival will focus on Old Time String Band music from the United States and will feature a number of traditional groups and musicians coming to the city from various parts of the South, representing their local traditions, as well as a number of great groups from right here in New York.  We will also have Indonesian Gamelan gong music, Andean music from regions of the old Inca empire, Balkan music, jug bands, blues, jazz, songwriters and more… a huge wealth of talent!

The festival will feature Frank Fairfield and Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton, Dom Flemons and Hubby Jenkins of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, R. Crumb with the East River Stringband, as well as 25 other bands and performers.  The Brooklyn Folk Festival is modeled on the early days of the Newport and University of Chicago folk festivals and seeks to present an authentic folk festival experience, with a diversity of traditional music, as well as contemporary songwriters, plus workshops, jam sessions, film screenings and the famous Banjo Toss contest!  There will also be a very nice tribute to Pete Seeger with group singing and a family friendly square dance.

Its gonna be fun!  Get your tickets right away!.. visit the festival website at: www.BrooklynFolkFest.com for the compete schedule and ticket information.

– Eli

Turn, Turn, Turn – Pete Seeger Is Gone

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

justpete

Today we honor Pete Seeger, the first and greatest of modern folk musicians. Pete did it all. What great talent and vision. We won’t see his like again.  Included here are a few film clips of him over the years that I think are really good.  Click Here to hear an interview I did with Pete in 2007 for Down Home Radio.

Pete Seeger invented being an urban folk singer in its modern incarnation.  All the strands that we see around us today he in a lot of ways did first, the traditional, the popular and progressive sounds, the political.  Pete was among the very first (maybe first?) people in the modern era from outside the tradition to learn thoroughly very traditional banjo playing and ballads from records, field recordings and firsthand sources in the South, and although initially an outsider ultimately give back to the tradition. He also played popular and classical music on the banjo and was very well versed in African-American music and 12-string guitar playing learned directly from Leadbelly among other sources.   He built on his experience of Woody Guthrie’s songs and style to make his own protest songs in an early modern singer-songwriter style which he invented and which also paved the way for later “Folk-Rock” stylings.  And as he broke through into the mass media with his band The Weavers and as a solo performer, Pete really invented the genre of “Folk Music” as a category within the field of Popular Music as a whole.  In fact, Pete’s father Charles Seeger, a founder of the field of Ethnomusicology, wrote on the subject, saying that in the modern era, folk and popular music would meld as isolated, local and traditional communities were brought under the influence of mass communication and rapid transit.

In the many pieces now being written in the press about Pete I often see it said that he “was a champion of justice, civil rights and the environment.”  That is very true, in addition to and in conjunction with music he was a committed and extraordinary social activist.  He was also a life long socialist, and someone who had a deep sense of compassion, fairness and respect for all people and communities.

His activities in the Civil Rights Movement, Peace Movement and Environmental Movement I have seen widely discussed.  But a major part of Pete Seeger’s legacy and the foundation of his identity as a musician and cultural worker, is his crucial involvement in and commitment to folk music.  Somehow this aspect of his life, which was of a piece with his other convictions, seems to be poorly understood in the mass media and is somehow always mentioned only in passing.  Pete Seeger CARED about folk music – music with a long history, made and perpetuated by regular rural people, played in a rough style and dealing with topics and gritty realities that pop music would never touch.

[“To Hear Your Banjo Play” – 1947 – narrated by Alan Lomax and featuring a young Pete Seeger and the only footage of Woody Guthrie in his prime.]

Pete Seeger personally did the fundamental work that popularized the repertoire and created the social context for folk music to persist in our modern mass culture society. For instance, in 1939 Pete operated the recording machine for Alan Lomax as he recorded the great banjo player Wade Ward, absolute bedrock recordings for anyone interested in playing real traditional old time banjo music.  But its much more than that…

First off, Pete Seeger invented the concept of “pop-folk,” with his band the Weavers, teaming up on their early records with producer Gordon Jenkins (who also worked with Frank Sinatra, etc… for Decca Records) to create a hybrid music of songs from the folk repertoire in a pop style that was usable by the mass culture industry of the time and became extremely popular. And secondly he pioneered the idea of mass group singing at concert events.  Pete literally sang together with millions of people over the course of his career.

Pete did the hard touring, taking him away from his wife Toshi and family, starting in the 1940’s and continuing for decades, that created from scratch the audience for Folk Music in modern post WWII America. Much of his work over the many years has been with children, at schools and summer camps, a field which few popular entertainers particularly in the early days, would touch.  These children grew up and became the folk music audience and folk musicians of the 1950’s, 60’s and on…

Urbanized or suburbanized people were and are used to experiencing music passively as commercial consumers of CDs, radio, etc.  Pete’s mass group singing at his concerts gave people who had lost a personal connection to making and experiencing music, a way to connect, feel good about their musical selves and be a part of a community.  He gave back to so many people, at least on a basic level, the chance to sing and make music together, a vital part of being human, even as “progress” has worked to alienate and isolate us.  Most were content to sing with Pete at the concerts but many many people also went home and picked up instruments and pursued making music themselves more proactively at different levels.


[Pete sings out against the Vietnam War on the Johnny Cash show with his song “Bring ‘Em Home.”]

What a talent.  That was what allowed him to breakthrough and operate in the visionary way that he did.  Pete Seeger had so much talent it was stunning.  He was completely unlike any other figure or “entertainer” in the field of American popular music.  He was and is the only person in the popular consciousness who cared about folk music, really knew what he was talking about in a very serious way and took that understanding to the stage in his performances.  He played at colleges, summer camps, big venues, benefit concerts, radio and television, everywhere.  Pete Seeger was also a founder of the Newport Folk Festival that presented so many great traditional artists and is also inextricably linked to the first and greatest independent record company devoted to American Folk Music, Moe Asch’s Folkways Records.  Without Pete, who knows if Folkways could have survived all these years?  He recorded dozens and dozens of albums for them, which remain among their biggest sellers, and have given them so much needed revenue over the years when most of their amazing recordings did not.

Pete was an intellectual and a theorist, as was his father, and was very widely read.  He also made films, field recordings and started the magazines People’s Songs and then its successor Sing Out! where he wrote columns, published songs and engaged in dialogue and journalism for years.  He produced and hosted the amazing television program “Rainbow Quest” and has also written several books, song books and banjo and guitar instructional manuals.

Pete Seeger is much more than a protest singer, although he was certainly that and in great form.  He was incredibly proactive and prolific.  When did he sleep?  In the few times that I got to meet and spend some time with him I found him totally unassuming, uninterested in stardom in anyway, without ego and yet extremely charming and compelling.  He was indeed very tall and slim, he had small eyes, a ready crooked smile, he drank buttermilk and even at an advanced age seemed youthful in a way.  You realized immediately upon talking with him that he was extremely smart, focused but also a serious dreamer, whose ideas many felt were impractical!  But a lot of them caught on in big ways… I think its possible to say that without Pete those of us working in the field of folk music today might not be here at all.  If folk music means something to you, then Pete Seeger lives on.

Here is a very good article that is worth reading from the New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/arts/music/a-folk-revivalist-who-used-his-voice-to-bring-out-a-nations.html?_r=0

Here is a photo of Pete Seeger with Geoff and Lynette Wiley, owners of the Jalopy Theatre, New York’s best folk music venue, and myself at a Woody Guthrie tribute event at Brooklyn College in 2012.


Here is an excellent interview with Pete Seeger on the news program Democracy Now!

Here’s  a very nice piece about Pete Seeger written by Jeff Place, the archivist at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings: http://www.folkways.si.edu/PeteSeeger


Jon Pareles wrote two very nice pieces for the New York Times:
Using His Voice to Bring Out a Nation’s
Pete Seeger, Champion of Folk Music and Social Change, Dies at 94

And here is a good piece on the origins of the song, “We Shall Overcome,” which was another one of Pete Seeger’s great gifts to us all: https://portside.org/2014-01-29/we-shall-overcome-honoring-pete-seeger