THE AMERICAN FOLK FESTIVAL ON THE BANGOR WATERFRONT | F R I DAY, S AT U R DAY & S U N DAY, AU G U S T 2 6 - 2 8 , 2 0 1 1
FOLK|Welcome Officials extend warm greetings to residents and visitors for the 2011 American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront
ow — 10 years! The expression of “time passes fast when you are having fun” could not be more true when you think of the American Folk Festival. Over the 10 years we have: • Presented 193 performing groups, representing over 100 different cultural traditions, on its stages. • Created an annual economic impact exceeding $9 million each year. • Gathered the resources of more than 800 volunteers each year. • Showcased diverse components of Maine’s traditional culture; Native basketmakers, coastal boatbuilders, woodcarvers and many more. • Partnered with the Maine Discovery Museum, the Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, the City of Bangor, and other community groups to ensure the Festival’s part in our community strategic growth. I’ll never forget in year one, while looking over the beautiful Penobscot River, the person next to me was doing the same “the first time.” She commented that this was such a great community and the waterfront was just perfect for the National Folk Festival. I asked where she was from expecting at least southern Maine or one of the 50 states that visit us, she said “Brewer.” I think that when it hit home that the festival allows folks right here in our region to appreciate who we are. Yes, we can’t wait to welcome people from Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon, Washington, Maine and Washington, D.C. At the same time we welcome high-school class reunions, UMaine and Husson returning students, and those now-common family reunions that all revolve around the American Folk Festival. We are constantly reminded by the founders of successful concert series like Kah-Bang and the waterfront concerts that the American Folk Festival showed that we in this area could pull this off. All of this is thanks to all of you — the volunteers, the contributors, and clearly the folks who attend year after year. It’s a fantastic event that every single one of us can take great pride in. Let’s all celebrate the great music, the food, and the dancing — and of course don’t forget those dedicated “bucket heads” let’s do $10 for 10 years and ensure that we all have another decade of the great experience of the American Folk Festival. Welcome back to the American Folk Festival — our Festival
elcome to the American Folk Festival and the 10th anniversary of this wonderful event on the Bangor Waterfront. As we mark a decade of celebrating diverse cultures, music, food, dance, and storytelling at the Festival, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Maine Discovery Museum. It is exciting to see the success and growth of both organizations! It is fitting that both are growing up together, for, at their heart, both share a commitment to discovery, exploration, and fun. As one of the founding partners of the Folk Festival, the Discovery Museum has been organizing the Children’s and Family area at the Festival each year. It is a pleasure to see children and families spending time together by the waterfront, and enjoying all that the Festival and Bangor have to offer. Now located at the confluence of the Kenduskeag and Penobscot Rivers, this “meeting place” is a perfect spot for families to come together and enjoy hands-on learning about the customs and traditions of different cultures. This year we are taking a slightly different approach to the area... featuring different “neighborhoods” within a Children’s Village that will represent some of the cultures that help compose our Maine communities. Children of all ages will be able to make a traditional craft, observe a performance, or participate in an activity associated with those cultures. Also, each child will be able to pick up their own Passport to bring around the Festival to get stamped, personalize, and keep as a reminder of their discoveries. It is their ticket to exploring the world from right here in Bangor, Maine and, as we like to say at the Discovery Museum, have “too much fun” doing it! While a great deal has changed in Bangor over the last 10 years, the generosity of its people and supporters of these organizations remains the same. We couldn’t do it without you. Congratulations to the American Folk Festival. We are happy to be turning 10 with you, and proud to be part of such a remarkable annual celebration.
Susan M. Hawes, Mayor Niles Parker Executive Director Maine Discovery Museum
Mark Your Calendars Now!
Folk Festival Events Map & Schedule/22-23 Sponsor List/21 & 24 Who’s Who at the AFF/20 Folk Info/4 Folk Music/6-31 Folk Food/34 Folk Kids/35-36 Folk Demos/37 Folk Marketplace/41-43 Feature Stories Donations Needed/4 Please, Leave Your Pets Home/5 Volunteers/5 Ten Years of the AFF/5 Ten Years of the Music/5
John Rohman AFF Board
n behalf of our City Council and citizens, welcome to Bangor. The American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront brings the world to Bangor by presenting music and dance from many cultures. Outstanding performing groups will share the traditional arts of their region and heritage on multiple stages presenting continuous music and dance. Also featured are the Folk and Traditional Arts areas where you will find exhibits, demonstrations, and discussions on various Maine Folk Art traditions, food vendors offering ethnic food and regional specialties, and a Folk and Craft marketplace offering handcrafted items for sale. First visited by Estevan Gómez, a Portuguese mariner, in 1525, Bangor was incorporated in 1791 and became a city on February 12, 1834. Our history is closely tied to the Penobscot River. By the 1850s, the port of Bangor was one of the busiest on the East Coast, shipping lumber and ice throughout the world. Today, we are transforming our waterfront from the industrial past to its future as a community focal point providing access to the river and a place to gather and celebrate. Each year, improvements have continued, and this year is no exception as we work to expand out waterfront park downriver with new features and amenities for all to enjoy. Today, Bangor remains a regional center for commerce, education, government, and the arts. From the University of Maine Museum of Art and the Maine Discovery Museum in downtown to the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the Penobscot Theatre, we offer an exciting range of cultural and artistic opportunities for both residents and visitors — all in the context of a small urban community where everyone knows your name. Whether you are in Bangor for a day, a week, or a lifetime, we urge you to sample what we offer. Enjoy your visit to Bangor and the festival.
August 24-26, 2012 and August 23-25, 2013 Bangor Waterfront, Bangor, Maine
This statewide American Folk Festival supplement was produced and published by the
Editor and Layout:David M. Fitzpatrick Copy Editing: Janine Pineo
he American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront will return to the Penobscot riverfront in August 2012 and 2013. Mark your calendars now for another fantastic weekend of music, dance, fun and food for the entire family. Both entertaining and educational, the festival is an outstanding blend of arts, music festival, hands-on activities and celebration of multiethnic heritage.
To continue The American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront as a FREE family-friendly event, sponsorships are being sought continually from public and private sources. The festival has received pledges of cash and in-kind support from many sources, but we need more to continue offering this broad array of activities and programming. For information on donating, volunteering, or getting involved with The American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, please contact: The American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront 40 Harlow Street, Bangor, ME 04401 (207) 992-2630 www.AmericanFolkFestival.com
Stories: David M. Fitzpatrick, Sheila Grant, Janine Pineo, Richard Shaw, Greg Westrich, and others. Photos: Photos from the Bangor Daily News. Many photos provided by performers and other photographers. Cover: Bob Powers Center Map: Shelley Sund, Bangor Daily News Sales: Bangor Daily News Advertising Sales staff Special Thanks to Heather McCarthy, executive director of the American Folk Festival. If you’d like to participate in next year’s AFF supplement, contact Mike Kearney at (207) 990-8212 or email@example.com. If you’d like to communicate your organization’s message to a broad audience, either locally or statewide, consider running your own custom publication.
THE AMERICAN FOLK FESTIVAL ON THE BANGOR WATERFRONT | F R I DAY, S AT U R DAY & S U N DAY, AU G U S T 2 6 - 2 8 , 2 0 1 1
COLLINS CENTER FOR THE ARTS
THE AMERICAN FOLK FESTIVAL ON THE BANGOR WATERFRONT | F R I DAY, S AT U R DAY & S U N DAY, AU G U S T 2 6 - 2 8 , 2 0 1 1
FOLK|Info What to know and where to go to enjoy the 2011 American Folk Festival
Welcome to the 2011 American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, the tenth year of an annual celebration of authentic traditional arts. We hope that you enjoy this year’s Festival, and that you’ll make your plans to experience this grand event with the help of the information in this program guide. From 2002 to 2004, the city of Bangor was host to the 64th, 65th, and 66th National Folk Festivals, celebrating traditional performing arts from cultures across the globe and entertaining tens of thousands of people each year. After a very successful three-year run, the community launched the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront in 2005, carrying on the tradition established by the National Folk Festival. The nonprofit Bangor Folk Festival produces the AFF. The production is in partnership with the city of Bangor, Eastern Maine Development Corporation, the Maine Discovery Museum, and the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine. The AFF has proven that authentic traditional arts have a long-lasting place in the heart of Bangor. This year’s American Folk Festival features 16 performing groups for your enjoyment. Plus, mark your calendars for August 24-26, 2012, for next year’s American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront.
There is no admission fee to attend any of the festival’s programs, including performances, demonstrations, and children’s activities. However, presenting the festival free-ofcharge costs nearly $1 million, and we need your help to cover these pro-
duction costs. The suggested donation is $10/day per person, $20/day per family. When you see the Donation Buckets, please consider a gift to support the event!
Bucket Volunteers The volunteers who make up the Bucket Brigade and the Donation Stations are a happy corps of community volunteers who encourage festivalgoers to support the American Folk Festival. The Donation Stations are at the two main Festival entrances (at Railroad and Washington Streets). The Bucket Brigade travels throughout the Festival site. Please drop your contribution (suggested donation: $10 per person per day) in the bucket to help cover the cost of the festival.
Festival Parking People familiar with downtown Bangor are invited to park in any street-side parking, surface lots, or the Pickering Square Parking Garage. Or you may want to use the convenient parking at the Bass Park complex off Buck Street. Parking fees are $8 per vehicle per day, or $20 per vehicle for a three-day parking pass. The Folk Festival is pleased to be working with the Anah Shrine to facilitate parking at Bass Park. One hundred percent of your parking fee supports these two Bangor area nonprofit organizations: the Second Section of Anah Shrine and the American Folk Festival. Free shuttle service will transport people from Bass Park to the Festival site on the Penobscot River waterfront.
Bicycles Free bicycle parking will be avail-
able on the Folk Festival site in a special bicycle parking area overseen by Folk Festival volunteers. Remember that Maine law requires a headlight and rear red reflectors visible from at least 500 feet when riding at night. Flashing taillights and light-colored and/or reflective clothing are highly recommended. The law requires helmets for anyone under 16 but everyone should wear a helmet to prevent head injury.
Information Booths, Festival Schedules General festival information, the schedule of performances, and area information will be available at four information booths: near the Dance Tent, near the Railroad Stage portal, near the Food Court, and near the Children’s Village.
What to Bring You may want to bring comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and sunglasses. A credit card may come in handy to buy festival memorabilia and CDs of performing artists. Collapsible chairs and a blanket would come in handy. Some stages will have seating, but others, such as the Railroad Stage, require that you bring your seating. Don’t forget your prescription medications and, just in case, bring your insurance and Medicare cards.
What if it Rains? Tents cover many festival stages and presentations. If the weather appears threatening, bring an umbrella. The show will go on, rain or shine, unless there is a concern for public safety.
Pets Please do not bring pets (other than service animals) to the American Folk Festival. The large crowds — many of whom will be seated on the ground — will appreciate your animals staying at home. Your pets will be more comfortable at home than in the midst of the Festival
crowds. Please read the pets article on the facing page.
Smoke-Free, Please You can help everyone enjoy the Folk Festival even more this year by helping to keep the air smoke-free. By not lighting up, you’ll be giving children and those with breathing difficulties a break, and you’ll be helping everyone breathe easier, including yourself. Smoking is prohibited under any Festival tent, and in the food courts and picnic areas. Throughout other areas of the Festival, please be courteous and refrain from smoking when in a crowd of people.
Medical and Emergency Services Minor medical emergencies will be treated at the First Aid Center, located on the road that leads to the Dance Tent. Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems sponsors and coordinates the First Aid Center.
Lost People Children who lose track of their caretakers should find a festival volunteer or staff member, who will contact security escort them to the First Aid Center (on the road leading down to the Dance Tent). All lost people will be directed to the First Aid Center unless their parties have made arrangements to meet else-
Restrooms Portable restroom facilities and hand-washing stations are located at numerous spots throughout the festival site. See map for facilities closest to you.
Handicapped Accommodations Handicapped parking facilities will be available at Bass Park. Several stage performances and demonstrations will be translated in American Sign Language. See the schedule in the center of this program or check at an information booth.
Baby-Changing Station The Festival’s baby-changing station is located near the Children’s Village.
Returnables For your convenience, there are bins for returnable bottles and cans (and other recyclables) placed throughout the festival.
Schedule Subject to Change Programs and performances were accurate at press time, but could change. Check at information booths for performance and scheduling updates.
DONATIONS NEEDED! BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
There’s nothing more key than donations to keep the American Folk Festival happening. In addition to the strong support from festival sponsorships that get it all rolling, the money kicked in to the on-site Bucket Brigade during the festival is vital, and AFF Executive Director Heather McCarthy said everyone attending should keep in mind just how vital it is. “It’s really important that they consider that suggested donation,” she said. “It’s the last piece of the puzzle that needs to fall into place to make
this a successful event. We’ve got the artists lined up. We’ve got the sound lined up. We’ve got the volunteers on board. We are counting so much on the festival-goers who come to the event giving us that last push of support — in the Bucket Brigade, at the T-shirt sales tent — all those places where the festival is counting on that revenue, we absolutely want to replicate the success of last year. And a lot of people helped us have that success. We just really need them to do that again.” Consider that you’ll see as many as all 16 of the performers this year. What would you pay if you saw them individually? If you spent $20 per act
— a highly unlikely low amount — you’d spend $320 per person. The AFF suggests a donation of $10 per person per day, or $20 per family. That’s an incredibly small amount for the wide variety of acts you’re going to see. If $10 went into the Bucket Brigade for every individual who attended the festival, the festival would not only pay for about two-thirds of its entire production but pay down existing debt and set things up for next year. And if every person put in $10 per day, the entire festival this year could be paid for. That’s a dream that would be neat to try to make come true.
The American Folk Festival at 10 BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
It began as three years as the National Folk Festival, spearheaded by the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and then became the American Folk Festival. And it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the first folk festival on the Bangor Waterfront, but it’s a milestone Executive Director Heather McCarthy says is happily attained. “Back in 2000, when we started talking about bringing the festival to Bangor, we had a vision that it would continue after the three years of the National,” McCarthy said. “But I don’t really think anybody knew just the impact it would have.” There have only been two weather glitches in all that time. In year two, a massive deluge hit — for about 20 minutes — then it was over. The next occurred in year eight, 2009, when an entire Saturday was rained out. The staff took emergency measures to rearrange stages, reschedule performance, and give the people their festival. It was a frightening day. In its first seven years, the festival had operated at a loss, and the organization was in debt. Sponsorships were down, and festivalgoer donations were vital. With the bulk of the festival rained out, it looked as if the chances for
that were shot. But something magical happened. That year, despite the rainout, donations from festivalgoers hit a record high. It was as if the people realized the gravity of the situation. And the following year, total donations exceeded the festival costs for the first time. The festival not only paid for itself but was able to pay down some outstanding debt. “A lot of people stepped forward to help us make it last year,” McCarthy said. “We hope that they’re going to step forward again, because this event is just as great, just as impressive, just as powerful this year as it was last year.” Quality has been the theme: quality of the artists, the diversity, the sound system, the chair layout at the dance tent, the volunteers, the information the volunteers have. It has been quality in everything little detail that has contributed towards the overall masterpiece that is the American Folk Festival. “When quality is one of those threads that runs through it all, that’s a great thing to always be coming back to,” McCarthy said. Board Chair Maria Baeza looks forward to another 10 years. “Ten years from now, if the quality of music and the celebration of community and the coming together of neighbors — if we’re still doing that, that’s as
Leave Your Pets at Home!
good as it gets,” Baeza said. “To me, the essence of music on the waterfront, eight or nine hundreds volunteers from the community, people coming together under this beautiful Bangor sky, rubbing shoulders with whoever that person is next to them, and enjoying music from all over the world — what is there to improve on, except to continue it?” Baeza, involved with the AFF since the beginning, says she hopes that the festival helps people become more relaxed and open to other cultures. “I think that, with that language of music, you get close to somebody and... you get to experience the difference, but you also get to experience the sameness.” Connecting across those different cultures is what the folk festival is all about, and Baeza hopes it has allowed people to experience the richness of other cultures. “I think out of that comes a deeper understanding,” she said. Baeza was ecstatic over last year’s financial success, because she says the festival truly belongs to the community. “Last year I felt like the community got the message: This is our festival, and we’re going to sustain it,” she said. “We’re going to sustain it with our attendance, we’re going to sustain it with our financial support. And so, to me, that was a great success, and that was wonderful to see.”
BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
The American Folk Festival wants to remind visitors that the festival is not the place to bring pets of any kind. And the festival has seen them all, including a leashed lizard one year. But, of course, dogs are the most popular pets to bring. AFF Executive Director Heather McCarthy noted that while the festival site is big, when you pack in thousands of people, it can get tight. “It’s not so big that we’ve really got room for dogs to do all the things that dogs do — with room for the humans, too,” McCarthy said.
“There’s just not a whole lot of elbow room, particularly at the stages, for the dogs to be comfortable, to be safe, and for the people around them to be safe from deposits on the ground.” There’s not just the risk of stepping in something you’d rather not; many people sit on the ground, and nobody wants to sit in dog waste, whether solid or liquid. There are also safety issues. Your dog may be absolutely fine in a less stressful or less crowded place, but for a dog, the festival is an overwhelming world of people, surprises, noises and changes. “It’s just terribly unpredictable, and it’s really not great for the dog to have to put up with that,” McCarthy said. Of course, service animals are allowed. But when it comes to pets, they just aren’t right for the situation. Other than authorized service animals, leave the pets home. McCarthy said that many people have good intentions when they decide to bring Fido along, but they often don’t consider that if problems arise, they can’t just take him indoors or send him to the doghouse. “And we certainly don’t want people showing up and then deciding to leave the dog in the car,” McCarthy said. “That’s absolutely not an option either. So please, leave the dog at home.”
All this fun requires 800+ volunteers Ten years of the great music BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
While you’re at the festival this year, you’ll see volunteers everywhere. You’ll be able to identify them by their festival Tshirts. They might be carrying buckets as part of the donationseeking Bucket Brigade, working the various booths selling hats and T-shirts and bottled water, or working the stages to help the crowds and the performers. But what you might not realize is just how many of them there are, and just what it takes to pull this incredible festival off — and that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of
800 to 900 volunteers. “We have hundreds of volunteers contributing their time and their skills and their talent to making this festival happen in so many different ways,” said AFF Executive Director Heather McCarthy. “They’re all getting excited, they’re all geared up, and they’re all coming together festival week and festival weekend to make this thing happen. We appreciate every single member of that team.” Mary Turner, who has been the volunteer coordinator since the second year, got involved the first year, and worked the Bucket Brigade. “I was very nervous about it,” she recalled. “I wanted to do a really good job, and I wasn’t even really sure what a good job was with it, because it was our first year and we didn’t really know what to expect.” She was told the Bucket Brigade goal was $12,000 — which worried her. “I was like scared to death like I can’t even tell you,” she said. “Before the next day, we had surpassed that, and I was over the moon. People that come here are very generous, too — that come to watch it. It’s awesome. It’s an awesome thing.” Last year, the donations — collected by the Bucket Brigade and in the Super Buckets — topped $100,000. That’s the level of support the festival needs to see every
year. It all comes down to volunteers, Turner says, and it takes 800 to 900 people who give their time. “We could not do it without them,” she said. “And we have a great return — these people come back year after year after year. They love it, they have a great time, and… they really are the faces of the festival.” One thing you’ll notice at the AFF is that all the festivalgoers seem to be having a good time. But the same is true of the volunteers who are working the festival, who are also enjoying it just as much. These folks don’t have to give up their time to volunteer; they could still attend and enjoy the festival without working it. That’s what has impressed Turner so much for 10 years. “I am very amazed by the way that this runs,” she said. “We have a great team of volunteer leaders that come back year after year after year, and that is immensely valued. And they’re willing to do just about anything to make this thing go. They’re just remarkable. “They come because they love it, and they want it to be successful — they own it,” she said. “I’ve learned that just about anybody can help, and that there’s something for everybody to do. I think if you get the right base of people to get it started and you have enthusiasm, it’s contagious. And it just spreads.”
BY JANINE PINEO BANGOR DAILY NEWS
It all comes back to the music. No matter the language, custom or instrument, no matter whether it rains or shines, no matter if you shop or eat, our folk festival revolves around the sounds. This is the 10th festival here on the evolving Bangor Waterfront, and I have attended each one, marveling at the sheer ingenuity we humans have if we nurture talents and respect cultures. That first year of the National Folk Festival in 2002 was a curiosity for me. I had no idea what to expect when I marched down Main Street and then along a rough and bumpy waterfront to find a swelling crowd at the Heritage Stage. I found myself front and center in the audience and sat enthralled as the first performer, Bill Kirchen, launched into “dieselbilly,” a rockin’, riffed-filled show that set the bar of excellence we’ve come to expect. The fun continued with The Papantla Flyers, who flung themselves off an 80-foot pole
to twirl and spin their way down to the ground — all set to religious music based on Aztec culture. At the end of the first wildly successful festival, I found myself shouting “zydeco” to the infectious music of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas. I still hear it in my head. When the second festival rolled out along the waterfront in 2003, I discovered I had a thing for French-influenced song, loving the Acadian group Barachois and reveling in Cajun with the teenage band La Bande Feufollet. I also felt the blues up and down my spine with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. And I fell in love with a cowboy. Not just any cowboy, but a lanky, Wrangler-wearing, bespectacled, yodeling cowboy. Wylie Gustafson sang his way into my heart. He called me ma’am when I bumped into him (I swear it was an accident), I introduced myself and we talked. I went to all his performances I could manage over three days
See MUSIC, Page 32
WERU to broadcast the Festival on the radio If you just can’t get to the festival, WERU at 89.9 in Blue Hill and 99.9 in Bangor will be broadcasting from the Penobscot Stage, as it has for years. “WERU-FM Community Radio is very excited to broadcast and stream live the American Folk Festival once again,” said General Manager Matt Murphy. “This year we’ll continue to transmit the music of the Penobscot stage over the airwaves and Internet. The tremendous musical and cultural diversity is always a major summer highlight for the radio station and our audience, and our partnership with the American Folk Festival is indeed a special one.”
FOLK|Music The American Folk Festival presents a diverse mix of artists performing song and dance The American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront celebrates the rich traditional folk, ethnic and tribal cultures of the people of Maine and the United States. The nation’s earliest immigrants and settlers brought the music, arts and customs of their countries of origin
with them to their new homeland, where they encountered the land’s First Nations. These peoples worked to maintain their unique traditions while at the same time adapting to new conditions and a rich confluence of cultures. Those musical traditions that
Séamus Connolly Irish North Yarmouth, Maine
Saturday: 1:15 p.m. (Railroad); 4:15 p.m. (Two Rivers, Violin Traditions, Connolly and Dolan). Sunday: 3 p.m. (Two Rivers); 5:15 p.m. (Penobscot) BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
So you like fiddling music, huh? You’ve probably never heard it played like this. Séamus Connolly, a master Irish folk fiddler living in North Yarmouth, Maine, transcends just playing Irish folk. There’s a deep, multilayered backstory behind what Connolly does that goes beyond the marvelous tunes you’ll hear him play in Bangor. Watching him, you cannot help being amazed. He makes it look so easy, but the complexity of what you hear says otherwise. Connolly is fully involved; his hands move like lightning, his body rocks to the tune, and his foot keeps time. He works his bow in a mindbending variety of ways, weaving together countless styles into one brilliant performance. And when he plays, his face seems to convey the entire folk history of Ireland — whether he’s seriously immersed in a classic piece or smiling as he belts out a jig that makes you want to leap up and dance. His performance evokes images of the Emerald Isle — of cas-
“I “I feel feel like like it it belongs belongs to to me me and and II belong belong to to it.” it.” —Eden —Eden Brent, Brent, on on her her music music
we think of as quintessentially “American”— jazz, blues, gospel, bluegrass, old-time, Tex-Mex, Cajun, zydeco, cowboy, and others—spring from the interaction and intertwining of these varied cultural roots. Today, renewed immigration from an even wider range of nations
tles and rolling hills, or rockbound coasts and pastoral scenes, of hard-working men and beautiful Gaelic lasses. All that’s not bad for a guy who’s deaf in his left ear — his fiddle ear. He has to turn his head differently these days so he’s able to properly hear what he’s playing. It doesn’t slow him down. “I had a friend who was blind — a great musician, a great flute player, a great singer and whistle player,” Connolly recalled. “I asked him one time what it was like being blind. And he said to me, ‘Séamus, wouldn’t it be worse if I was deaf ? I couldn’t hear the music.’”
brings new sounds, dances, foods and customs to enrich our American cultural landscape. The American Folk Festival celebrates this diversity through performances by our nation’s finest traditional artists.
“My riches are what’s in my heart from the music.” —Séamus Connolly
2011 Index of Performers Bing Xia Chinese Guzheng Page 26 The Brotherhood Singers African-American a cappella Gospel Page 30 Eden Brent Blues and Boogie-Woogie Piano Page 6 Hot Club of Cowtown Western Swing Page 18 Leroy Thomas and The Zydeoc Roadrunners Zydeco Page 15
Growing Up in Ireland That makes sense to Connolly, who learned to play by ear while growing up in Killaloe, County Clare. Connolly came from a musical home; his father played the flute and the whistle, and his mother the accordion and piano; she could also “scratch a few tunes on the fiddle.” But he primarily learned by listening to 78-rpm records of fiddle masters, but slowed down so he could try to visualize what the fiddler was doing with his bow and his fingers. After 10 months of earnest work, Connolly thought he’d gotten pretty good. He had, but when he played for a fiddler at his uncle’s barber shop, he discovered he was doing it all wrong. “I thought that I didn’t have to use my little
Los Tres reyes Mexican Trio Romantico Page 27 Nunamta Yup’ik Eskimo Singers and Dancers Native American Central Yup’ik Page 16 Pedrito Martinez Group Afro-Cuban Page 29 Réveillons! Québécois Page 14
See CONNOLLY, Page 9
Eden Brent Blues and Boogie-Woogie Piano Greenville, Miss. Friday: 9:30 p.m. (Penobscot). Saturday: 4:15 p.m. (Penobscot); 5:15 p.m. (Penobscot, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning: Blues & Gospel Traditions). Sunday: 1:15 (Penobscot); 3 p.m. (Railroad). BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Listening to Eden Brent isn’t like any typical musical experience. Her versatile voice — husky, confident, and rich — grabs you fast and takes you for a ride. At times she’s breathy and sultry, evoking images of smoky bars and seductive women; at others it’s explosive and soaring, bringing to mind roaring, dancefilled juke joints. It’s full of lush, raw talent, delivered as if she’s not even trying. Imagine a mix of Norah Jones and Shemekia Copeland with a whole lot of Janis Joplin, and you’ll have a good start to what she’s about. And she’s more real, more powerful, and better than any of them. And it’s a bonus that this elegant Southern lady is drop-dead gorgeous. It isn’t just her singing, because this lady knows her way around a piano. Her elastic style changes from one song to the next, or even from verse to chorus. Brent easily encircles a host of genres in her singing and playing, and if you aren’t spellbound by her, you’re just not paying attention. It’s practically
See BRENT, Page 8
Rhythm of Rajasthan Rajasthani Music & Dance Page 12 Rich In Tradition Traditional Bluegrass Page 10 Samba Ngo Congolese Page 31 Séamus Connolly with Damien Connolly, Felix Dolan, and Kevin Doyle
Irish Page 6 Stooges Brass Band New Orleans Parade Band Page 11 Super Chikan Blues Page 28 Zikrayat Egyptian Music Page 25
If our landscapes aren’t painted, If our stories aren’t told, If our dramas aren’t expressed, If our music isn’t heard, what good is having money?
Bangor Savings Bank is proud to sponsor the American Folk Festival. The creativity and spirit of Maine’s musicians, performers, and artists transcends economic benefit to Maine. It makes us feel good. And proud to be from Maine. And that’s worth a lot.
Brent Continued from Page 6 impossible not to succumb to the infectious experience that is Eden Brent. If her latest album, “Ain’t Got No Troubles,” of which she wrote eight of 12 tracks, is any indication, her performance at the American Folk Festival will shine. She’ll hook you with real stories in many styles, from classic blues in “Blues All Over” to the bittersweet ballad of love’s end in “Leave Me Alone.” There’s a powerful tale of deep and beautiful optimism in “Beyond My Broken Dreams,” while the iconic “Let’s Boogie-Woogie” may just qualify as the official theme song of boogie-woogie music. We can only hope she’ll belt that one out on the Bangor Waterfront. (She takes requests from the audience. I highly recommend asking for it… or anything off this album.) Whether melancholy blues or toetapping jazz, deep soul or snappy pop, Brent does them all with her unique brand of performing. She brings her talents formidably to bear and makes sure you get a dose of what life in her world is like, just north of Greenville, Miss., along Highway 1 in a bend of the Mississippi River. That’s a few hundred miles from New Orleans, but with her voice, at times it seems much closer. Brent began her career through
kitchen-table sing-alongs with a family steeped in music. Her father was into country, a big fan of the likes of Hank Williams and Marty Robbins. Her mother was a big-band singer in the Fifties. “There was a good bit of music history to explore,” Brent recalled. “Daddy had a background in country… and Mom knew all the classic jazz tunes.” Although her father was a huge fan of blues great Big Bill Broonzy, the family didn’t get much into blues. That was okay. “When you consider the classic and traditional stuff, there’s a good bit of crossover with early country music and early blues music,” Brent said. Brent’s family was fairly well-off; her grandfather had started a business in the 1950s that became one of the largest privately owned rivertransportation companies in the country. Their decent financial means that enabled young Eden to take piano lessons and go off to North Texas State at age 17. She had no specific designs to be an entertainer, perhaps going into music teaching — but fate had other plans in the form of her partnership with bluesman Abie “Booglaoo” Ames. Boogaloo, born sometime by 1921 (nobody knows for sure), first made his mark in Detroit from the 1930s until the 1960s, including early recordings at Motown Records. He eventually followed his love, Gracie, to Mississippi, and after her death in the 1980s settled in Greenville, where he became a local legend.
Brent saw him perform at various venues, including her sister’s wedding reception. And in 1984, after one semester in college, she realized she needed more than just an academic music education — she needed to immerse herself in real experience. Boogaloo was her first thought, even though she’d never considered it before. “As youngster, it probably never occurred to me to ever ask him,” she said. “I held him in a certain high esteem, and would have been intimidated to even inquire.” She wanted a one-on-one apprenticeship, and she got it. “Boogaloo was able to take that academic education I was getting and put a practical application to it, which made more sense to me,” she said, noting that the two forms complemented each other perfectly, and shaped her into the artist she is today. It was the best of both worlds, and “I feel really fortunate to have had that,” she said. She worked with Boogaloo while home from college on breaks, whenever she could get with him. After college, she returned to Mississippi, and they worked together steadily and soon began performing together. The two formed a powerful bond that transcended teacher and student and went beyond fellow musicians. “Music school taught me to think,” Brent said, “but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie.” He was always teaching her. There was always a moment during a show when he’d require her to do something by herself. That was part of the
“Music school taught me to think, but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie.”
Photos courtsy of Eden Brent master/pupil relationship, and she needed that — but Boogaloo, she said, needed it, too. With no children to whom he could pass on his knowledge, and no students who had stuck around beyond a few lessons, he took his protégé’s dedication seriously. Brent also became his caretaker — helping secure higher fees for Boogaloo’s appearances, take care of his finances, and just get around. “I looked out for his basic needs: food, shelter, and plenty of whiskey — and sometimes the whiskey came first,” she said with a laugh. Boogaloo’s death in February 2002, after 16 years with him, was very difficult for her, but she saw the silver lining in that dark cloud. “Boogaloo was preparing me to continue without him, I’m just sure of that,” she said. “It was emotionally difficult, but he had prepared me — and, in a way, I had prepared myself.” Shortly before his death, the pair worked together on a South Africanproduced documentary about the Mississippi Delta, which helped immortalize him. “He didn’t just fade away,” she said. “He went out being celebrated, which was important to me… I wanted him to be celebrated and recognized for the great musician and the great person that he was.” Despite all she learned from him, and her reverence for the man, her aim is to not be a carbon copy of Boogaloo but to take what she had learned and continue it, with her
unique style, into the 21st century — not mimicking what he was, but giving her the tools to apply her unique style and make the music her own. “I feel like it belongs to me and I belong to it,” she said. “It’s a way to express myself and hopefully express something that the audience needs or wants to hear… Music is about sharing — it’s much more of a conversation when I’m performing than a monologue. If the audience is not with me, if they’re not participating, then I’m not enjoying it in quite the same way.” Brent has performed across the country and around the world. In 2006, the Blues Foundation named her the winner of the International Blues Challenge. She visited Maine’s Midcoast in 2009 when she played at the North Atlantic Blues Festival, and she’s excited about returning to the Pine Tree State. “I love Maine… It’s beautiful, and it really has just some of the nicest, most down-to-Earth people — especially that deep in Yankee country!” she said with a laugh. “I’m really looking forward to coming to Bangor.”
For more about Eden, visit www.EdenBrent.com. To learn more about her and Boogaloo, check out the 1999 PBS documentary “Boogaloo & Eden: Sustaining the Sound” and the 2002 production “Forty Days in the Delta,” by viewing clips on YouTube from Boogaloo & Eden Sustaining the Sound.
Connolly Continued from Page 6 finger when I played, and of course the little finger’s a big part of playing the music, so I had to start all over again,” he said. “I also had the fiddle tuned in fourths instead of fifths.” This minor setback didn’t slow him down. Before his 13th birthday, Connolly entered his first Irish National Fiddle Championship — and won. He later won nine more in various categories, including two senior titles, a feat unmatched by anyone before or since. He also won the coveted Fiddler of Dooney title, a competition named for a poem by famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats. His success solidified him as one of Ireland’s premiere fiddlers, and was able to meet and play with many of his musical heroes. “It was an exciting time,” he said. “But for me it wasn’t just about winning competitions. For me it was about learning and meeting fiddlers and other musicians from around the country… It was about learning more about the tradition.” He worked hard to learn all he could. He brought a reel-to-reel recorder to the competitions so he could listen to the players later, and in fact still has those recordings today — and they’re important, because they reach back to earlier generations. One woman he recorded, a fiddler named Nell Galvin, had been born in 1887; his recordings feature her playing slow airs, jigs, and reels. Another, Mary Ann Daly, was born in 1866 and sung many songs. She lived in his hometown, and she was 90 years old when he recorded her. Some of those songs are unknown today; others are known but with verses otherwise lost to history. (More on that later.) His playing emulated the great musicians he heard on his records, such as Paddy Killoran, James Morrison, and Michael Coleman. Like
Connolly, other Irish fiddlers emulated these masters, which kept the music alive but caused regional styles to fade. Connolly endeavored to learn many styles, and to try to keep them alive through his playing, adapting many different bowing styles instead of working with just one. But when he was growing up, folk music wasn’t a popular thing. “I wouldn’t be seen with a fiddle in my hand. I’ve have it under my overcoat,” he recalled. “It was almost like we were ashamed to play.” Tough treatment for what some of the higher-class folks called “bog music.” But as embarrassed as young Séamus was, it didn’t slow him down, because he was hungry for it. “That’s what I wanted to do — that’s what I’ve been doing,” he said. “I love it. Now I’m teaching it, passing it on, so that’s what I enjoy.”
Coming to America Connolly came to America in 1972 on an Irish musical tour and met his uncle, who had immigrated here in 1954, and learned some tunes from him. He liked the country so much he decided to apply for immigration. He immigrated in 1976, and eventually became a U.S. citizen. In 1988 and 1989, he participated in the National Council for the Traditional Arts’ “Masters of the Folk Violin” tours, touring with such folks as Kenny Baker, Josh Graves, Claude Williams, and the now-famous Allison Krauss. But it was at the first year of the folk festival in Lowell, Mass. in 1986 when he met a lovely young woman named Chrysandra Walter. She was the superintendent at the Lowell National Historical Park, and she was instrumental in getting the Lowell festival started. She was totally enamored with folk music and, at the time, another musician — but, in the end, Connolly got the girl. He and “Sandy” were together for 24 years, but soon after she retired as deputy director for the National Parks Service in the Northeast in 2006, and they moved to Maine. She
had been diagnosed with cancer in 2002, and her condition deteriorated slowly over the following years. Sandy died in March 2011, leaving a gaping hole in Connolly’s life. “When we met, she said, ‘Baby, all you have to do when you’re with me is breathe,’” he said. “She did everything for me. I miss her so much.” In the old days in Ireland, when someone passed, loved ones would mourn for a whole year, but Sandy wouldn’t want him to do that. “She’d be mad if I didn’t play,” he said. “When times are rough, there’ll be the music that brings you into a whole new place in your life, even if it’s only for an hour. You go up to your room and you play, and you take your fiddle out, or you put on a recording. It takes you away from what you’re thinking when things are kind of tough. The music is great. It’s great for the soul.” He did a festival in Montana in early July, and is eager to meet the audiences in Bangor. “She’d be after me to get out there and play and teach,” he said. “She was a great educator and she always wanted me to teach these kids, teach these people, pass on what you know. And so I’m ready to go again.” Today, he’s the director of the Boston College Irish Studies Music, Song and Dance Program, an Adjunct Professor in the Music Department, and the director of the Gaelic Roots Music, Song, Dance and Lecture Series. But his commitment to Irish folk music goes beyond his
performances and teachings. And remember all those recordings he made as a youth? He’s working on an ambitious project to collect recordings with music notation and the history of the tunes and songs to assemble perhaps the most authoritative collection on Irish traditional music ever. It will feature digital recordings of many of the bestknown musicians and singers in the genre. It’s still in the planning stages — interested publishers, take note — but he views it as a vital project to carve those traditions in stone, and perhaps generate scholarship money for eager students of Irish music. “I love what I do,” Connolly said. “I get enjoyment out of what I do. It puts me in a different place. I love Ireland, I love the people from whom I learned it, and I wanted to be able to pass that along through my teaching — and I think that’s important.”
Visiting Bangor Connolly will be joined in Bangor with his nephew, accordionist Damien Connolly. Damien’s father, Connolly’s brother, is a renowned accordion maker in Ireland, and Damien has become quite a musician. Damien lives in Connecticut and also teaches. Felix Dolan of New York City will join the pair on piano — another childhood hero of young Séamus Connolly. “Felix is probably the most respected piano player in the country for piano accompaniment with Irish traditional musicians,” Connolly
said, calling Dolan ‘the Great Gentleman of the Piano.’ And dancer Kevin Doyle will also be there to round out the Irish performance. “[He’s] a wonderful Irish dancer with old and new dance steps,” Connolly said. “He is steeped in tradition. He learned his dancing from his Irish mother. The audience will love him.” Connolly is excited about coming to Bangor, and hopes everyone enjoys the jigs, the reels, the hornpipes, the slow pieces, and the airs. “I’d like them to get a feeling for what the traditional music is about, and maybe if they can get enjoyment from at least one of the tunes, I’d be happy,” he said. “If there’s one piece that we play that they [say] — ‘Oh, my God, that was beautiful, where can I hear that again?’ — that’s what I would like. “I want them maybe to say ‘Oh, that was different than what I thought Irish music was,’” he continued. “It’s not all rowdy music and sitting with pints in your hand... it’s a music of the people. There’s a great respect for it; it should be respected.” There’s a quote by John Adams that Connolly displays in his North Yarmouth home: “Think of no other greatness than that of the soul. No other riches but those of the heart.” “That means a lot to me for the music that I have, and the people from whom I got it,” he said. “It’s great, isn’t it? My riches are what’s in my heart, because of the music.”
REMEMBER... When you’re at the Festival, don’t forget to kick in to the Bucket Brigade! Your donations help keep the Festival free.
Husson University Celebrates the
American Folk Festival 2011 www.husson.edu
Husson offers graduate and undergraduate programs in business, health, education, pharmacy, and science and humanities. Husson is also home to the Bangor Theological Seminary and the New England School of Communications.
Rich In Tradition Traditional Bluegrass North Carolina Friday: 7:30 p.m. (Railroad). Saturday: Noon (Penobscot, Guitar Slingers & Song Singers - Mickey Galyean); 2:15 p.m. (Two Rivers); 4:15 p.m. (Two Rivers, Violin Traditions - Jordan Blevins). Sunday: Noon (Penobscot, World Strings - Jay Adams [banjo]and Greg Jones [mandolin]); 4 p.m. (Railroad). BY RICHARD R. SHAW BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Audiences who like their bluegrass music pure and powerful will be thrilled to learn who’s appearing at this year’s American Folk Festival. Rich In Tradition, a fivemember band from the heart of North Carolina’s bluegrass country, is making its first New England appearance. Three performances in three days, with a couple workshops tossed in, should keep the boys busy and their fans satisfied. “We work really hard on getting accurate harmonies,”
said banjo player Jay Adams. “We don’t rely on studio tricks; it’s the real thing up there on stage. We love the music. Bluegrass musicians strive to make the music the best it can possibly be.” Straight, tight and rocking are some of the superlatives critics have used to describe the band’s latest CD, Black Mountain Special. The song titles say it all: “Lost, Heartbroke and Lonesone,” “Now I’m Losing You,” “Weather’s Got To Change.” The quintet’s Christian influences are reflected in “Preachin’, Prayin’, Singin’” and “I’ve Just Seen the Rock of Ages.” All five musicians are Bible-believing Christians. Adams is active in a Baptist church near his Pine Hall home, serving as deacon and adult Sunday-school teacher. He and his family perform there and many of Rich In Tradition’s five monthly appearances are in churches. “I came up with the band’s name,” Adams said. “Me and Greg Jones, the mandolin player, guitarist Mickey Galyean, bassist Brad Hiatt and fiddle player Tim Martin founded the group in the spring of 2006. We threw the band together at a school.” A biblical quotation on the Rich In Tradition Web site explains the name’s meaning. It’s 2 Thessalonians 2:15,
See RICH, Page 16
Stooges Brass Band New Orleans Parade Band New Orleans Friday: 6:30 p.m., opening parade from West Market Square to Railroad Stage. Saturday: 3:30 p.m. (Dance Pavilion); 6:45 p.m. (from Heritage to Railroad). Sunday: 2 p.m. (Railroad). BY SHEILA GRANT BANGOR DAILY NEWS
The Stooges Brass Band aims to be the life of the party at the American Folk Festival. “We don’t know how to perform without having fun,” said Walter “Whoadie” Ramsey, founder and leader of the Stooges Brass Band. “We live up to the name. We create a fun atmosphere for the audience to be part of. We want people in Bangor to say, ‘Whatever is going on in my life today, I’m going to go have fun with the Stooges.’ We’re a very entertaining band, and we’re good at it.” The group comes by its playful nature honestly. Ramsey and fellow founding member Ersell Bogan attended high school together in New Orleans. “One of the band members chose the name, but we all have lived up to it,” said Ramsey. “We clowned around a lot in school. When people come out to see us, we are like a bunch of comedians.”
Stooges Brass Band current members are trombonists Alfred Growe and Ersell Bogan; trumpeters Chris Cotton, Glenn Preston, and Eric Gordon; Antoine Coleman on snare; Thaddeus Ramsey on bass drum; John Dotson on percussion; and Clifford Smith and Walter Ramsey on sousaphones. Ramsey also plays trombone, and while he doesn’t remember a time in his life when he didn’t love the music of New Orleans, he does remember the moment he felt it call to him. “When I was a baby, they must have had me sitting by the radio,” he said, laughing. Ramsey’s grandfather played in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Ramsey’s father was president of a New Orleans social club that hired brass bands. One day Ramsey, who had not yet learned to play an instrument at the age of nine, heard the Rebirth Brass Band play at his elementary school — and the brass bug bit him, too. “After I saw them, my parents got me a trombone, and I went to school carrying that big old horn every day,” Ramsey said. Most of the band members grew up in New Orleans, but because they attended different high schools and colleges, and played in marching bands for their alma maters, there is some good-natured competition that raises the bar for their music. While the Stooges do play traditional New Orleans big-brass sounds, they are
also known for blending hip hop into those traditional tunes, and Ramsey says, “We play all genres of music, a little bit of all kinds of things. “We grew up in the era of hip hop, so we take that and put it into the music,” he said. “But our hip hop music is nice, not like hard, cold gangster rap. It’s feel-good music. And don’t be surprised if you see us down in the audience with our horns.” The Stooges are proud that they have sent many former members on to success. “The Stooges is like Brass Band 101, a mentorship of brass band and the culture,” said Ramsey. “We’ve been around for 15 years, and for the last 12 years we’ve been getting different individuals in, and as they want to venture out on their own or want their own band, we help them.” Stooges alumni include Sam Williams, frontman for Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, who Ramsey proclaims is “a phenomenal musician.” The most recent fledgling is Eric Gordon, who started the band Eric G and the Lazy Boys. “It becomes one of those bands where we help, we teach, and hopefully they grow successful,” said Ramsey. Members of the Stooges have enjoyed a good portion of success already. The band has toured throughout the United States, Asia,
“Working in studios is something we love, but performing in front of people is the thing we most love to do.” —Walter “Whoadie” Ramsey Europe and South America. The Stooges have performed with singer Jessica Simpson and rapper Jadakiss. In April, the Stooges were awarded the title of Best Contemporary Brass Band at the Big Easy Music Awards. Last fall, the band battled for the title of Red Bull Street Kings and came out on top, winning
an all-expenses-paid recording and mentorship with a producer at Red Bull Studios in California. They’ll go to L.A. for that in September. “Winning that was pretty good,” said Ramsey. “So far, so good – I’m one of the music ambassadors for Red Bull now, and it’s been a good
See STOOGES, Page 14
Rhythm of Rajasthan Rajasthani Music & Dance Rajasthan, India
Saturday: 9:45 p.m. (Penobscot). Sunday: Noon (Penobscot, World Percussion Traditions - Faqir Khan on dholak); 2 p.m. (Two Rivers); 4:15 p.m. (Penobscot) BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
It’s hot in the Thar Desert, most of which falls within the region of Rajasthan — arid, expansive, and burning. But don’t let the desolation and remoteness fool you — there’s a rich folk tradition found here, and it’s one of the most dynamic in the world. There is a song and a story for every event, from tales of love and loss to those of war and peace, and for every emotion. The Rajasthani people celebrate them all, perhaps finding refuge from the challenges of the desert, and happily keeping their traditions alive. Thanks to that, we’ll all be able to enjoy Rhythm of Rajasthan when the group performs
here at the Festival. “In Rajasthan, the folk arts are still flourishing and surviving because of the constant attention from particular communities,” said Rhythm of Rajasthan founder and promoter Nitin Harsh. “There’s a very interesting combination of the arts in any community… In every occasion it is a matter of pride for them. If they are not, it is very bad for them.” In Rajasthani communities, the groups often perform for leaders and at religious ceremonies, so their work is highly revered and very important. “For 500 years, this is very important for them, so that’s why this music still continues on,” Harsh said. Just a few moments of listening to Rhythm of Rajasthan singing and playing Rajasthani folk music is enough to pull you in. Their soulful voices, often soaring, sometimes reserved, are always full and mesmerizing. They bring their instruments to life with energy and enthusiasm, and the performance evokes powerful emotions within you — without you even knowing why. And when you think it can’t get
any more entrancing, the dancer appears. She epitomizes grace and beauty, elegance and allure, in her colorful outfits and skillful movements as she moves and sways, turns and spins, bends and dances. The dancer, Dhapu, began learning the intricate and coordinated movements at age 8. She’s quite acrobatic, able to bend over backwards and pick up small items in her teeth, and she’s extremely talented at balancing things on her head. In one performance, she balanced a stack of baskets nearly her height, all while moving around. At the end of one performance, when she breaks out the speed and spins like a cyclone, you can’t help but wonder how she does it all without getting dizzy. “That’s interesting to see the first time, the instrumental music and techniques,” Harsh said. “And to experience the dance — that creates magic. You will se a lot of tricks and balancing — she is whirling like dervish from Turkey.” The outfits are colorful and intricate, and Rajasthani music includes more than 100 instruments; there is meaning behind everything. “Intricate” takes on a whole new meaning with Rajasthani culture, with every detail in the outfits to every note and word in the songs having deep meaning. “Rajasthani is one of the richest folk-music traditions,” Harsh said. When talking about how Rajasthani music has been exposed to the Western world, Harsh said proper credit must be given the late Padam Bhushan Komal Kolthari, a legendary folklorist from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, who was a pioneer in the study of Indian folklore — in particular that of the Rajasthan region, and how it was connected to its
music and instruments. In 1960, Kolthari co-founded the Rupayan Sansthan to document the folklore, music, art, puppetry, oral, and other traditions of Rajasthan. His work, and his dedication to recording these traditions, is primarily responsible for why it’s so widely known outside India today, as he presented more than 300 Rajasthani artists to the Western world. Kolthari died of cancer in 2004. Harsh began as a documentary filmmaker, but has had the pleasure of working with Rhythm of Rajasthan to help spread this unique and exciting music and dance around the world. He conceived of Rhythm of Rajasthan to collaborate with the Rajasthani folk performing artists, and he’s done so with over 100 of them in the past 10 years. Harsh worked with Kolthari and has continued the man’s mission, creating a juggernaut of folk power featuring the top artists, who have dedicated
their lives to their art, performing on an international stage. His documentary filmmaking has helped in his preservation endeavor. His first film, “Rajasthan: A Folk Music Journey” (2006) served as a tribute to Kolthari, and he’s since produced a series of documentaries about Rajasthani folklore and culture. His latest film, “Colors of Rajasthan,” covers the folklore of the Manganiar (meaning “those who ask for alms”) and Langa (meaning “music giver”), Muslim communities in Rajasthan, and their unique traditions. Rhythm of Rajasthan first performed in the U.S. in 1990 at Carnegie Hall, and later appeared at the Kennedy Center for a celebration of Indian music. The closest they’ve come to Bangor, Maine has been Boston, but Harsh said every new venue is a welcome event.
See RAJASTHAN, Page 14
Réveillons! Québécois Quebec
Friday: 8:30 p.m. (Penobscot). Saturday: 12:30 p.m. (Dance Pavilion); 4:15 p.m. (Two Rivers, Violin Traditions - Richard Forest); 8:30 p.m. (Railroad). Sunday: Noon (Penobscot, World Percussion Traditions Jean-Francois Berthiaume); 2 p.m. (Dance Pavilion) BY JANINE PINEO BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Québécois should come with a warning when played by the quartet Réveillons! from Montreal. “Beware,” says David Berthiaume, “Quebec traditional music has many side effects, including causing happiness and contagious feet tapping. “The public may feel an irresistible need to tap their feet on the floor (even if it’s a grass floor), swing their partner aside (even if it’s a stranger), or respond to the singer in French (even if they don’t speak French),” he wrote in an email interview. Berthiaume is a founding member of Réveillons!, whose name means “wake up.” He and his brother, Jean-François, the other founder, come from Laval, the biggest suburb of Montreal. “Like many suburbs, Laval is a sleepy city where all the houses look about the same; there are many swimming pools, many barbecues, but little culture,” Berthiaume said. “Traditional music looks like a very strange animal there. We wanted to reawaken the tradition and culture that lie dormant within each citizen. We wanted to shake their body and open their mind on traditional music. We wanted them to know that traditional music is a modern music. We wanted to say: ‘Wake up!’” When asked to describe Québécois, Berthiaume said that it is one of the strangest Celtic genres. “You can compare with Irish and Cajun music, but it is really not the same,” he said. “Jean-François always says that it is like a big bubble gum: You mix the French song flavor with the Irish reel flavor and the Scottish 6/8 [time] flavor, you chew all that for a very long time and then, suddenly, you taste more than three flavors in your mouth. Everything is mixed up and you have Québécois flavor.” And for Berthiaume, Québécois is “a unique big bubble gum that I just can’t stop chewing.” Réveillons! is powered by four men with varied music influences. David and Jean-François were raised in traditional music, inspired by their father and grandfather. Their father, a singer and accordion player, was called the “singing man” because he always sang while
Stooges Continued from Page 11 thing for the Stooges. We’re excited about the trip. We are music producers, too. We’ve done a lot of work for ESPN and other stations. We own our own studio. Working in studios is something we love, but performing in front of people is the thing we most love to do.” The Stooges Brass Band members have never been to Maine. The closest they’ve come have been performances in Boston. And Ramsey, who grew
working. Their grandfather, a singer and fiddler, was known for his big repertoire and sense of party. “I remember singing my first drinking song at the age of 5,” Berthiaume said. “My mother didn’t seem to worry. Each family reunion brought a load of songs and reels. If my father played Beethoven and Debussy on the piano every Sunday, we would be more into classical music. Traditional music is floating in our veins!” The brothers carry on those traditions. David sings, with a voice described in one article as “marinated in hooch.” He also plays the mouth harp and the concertina. “The concertina is very unusual in the Québécois sound,” Berthiaume said. “I play it simply because I like its sweet tone and also because I like the idea that it came just a little after the accordion, when the Ursuline Nuns of Quebec City imported some from England in the late 19th century.” The mouth harp, also known as a Jew’s harp, is a better known instrument in Quebec, Berthiaume said. “It came in traditional music with the fiddle at the same time in the beginning of the 17th century. It became very popular because of its cheap price because people that couldn’t afford a fiddle used to play it at dance evenings as a soloist instrument.” Jean-François is the percussionist of the group. He is known for his enthusiastic stepdancing, which is just as much a percussive instrument as any other. He also plays the bodhran and a suitcase, neither of which is an obvious Québécois instrument. “The bodhran came specifically in the region of Portneuf, near Quebec City,” Berthiaume said. “It was first brought by the Irish who immigrated, but then some French-Canadians of Portneuf started to make their own and to
Richard Forest, Marc Maziad, David Berthiaume, and Jean-Francois Berthiaume formed. Marc Maziade, who sings and plays guitar and banjo, was a friend of the Berthiaumes’ younger brother. They heard he was studying jazz guitar at Concordia University in Montreal and thought he could give a modern touch to the group’s songs. “Marc is much more in the present,” Berthiaume said, “inspired by composers like John Zorn and Béla Fleck.” The addition of the banjo is yet another difference in the sound from Réveillons! “The banjo is maybe a common instrument in the U.S., but it is quite new in Quebec traditional music,” Berthiaume said. “It is a great influence brought by the FrenchCanadians who went working in the U.S.A.” The fourth member, Richard Forest, was a well-known Québécois fiddler and had worked with the Berthiaumes’ dance troupe before joining Réveillons! Richard is also the elder statesman of the four. “When Richard began the fiddle, JeanFrançois was too young to walk and Marc was not even in the mind of his father,” Berthiaume said. “Richard was himself our spirit master before he was part of the group, with many of his compositions already part of our repertoire.” They asked Richard if one of his fiddle students wanted to join the brothers when they were forming the band, Berthiaume said. “And when the student went on a trip to Europe, we asked Richard to replace her. The student never came back in the band.” Richard’s inspiration comes from two famous Québécois fiddlers, Isidore Soucy and Jos Bouchard, along with Philippe Bruneau, an
“Beware... Quebec traditional music has many side effects, including causing happiness and contagious feet tapping. —David Berthiaume integrate it in their music with a different style.” As for the suitcase as a percussive tool, it was a happy accident. “One night at a jam, Jean-François had forgotten his bodhran and had only his suitcase where he put his shoes,” Berthiaume said. “He took his suitcase as if it was his bodhran and started to play. What was suppose to be a good joke became a good idea.” The other two members of the group joined the brothers a few years after Réveillons!
up in swampland, has an image of the Pine Tree State stuck in his head from a movie he once saw — “Lake Placid,” which featured a giant crocodile hiding out in a northern lake and eating clueless Mainers. Ramsey said he doesn’t really expect to see a crocodile during his visit, but he would love to see his first moose. “We’re tourists,” he said, laughing. “We’re going to be there a few days and we’re looking to see what’s happening, and what does the city have. Besides the American Folk Festival, we want to experience something that we can’t here in our own city. Every gig is a new and different adventure.”
Rajasthan Continued from Page 12 “It is always interesting to see the new places and the new audience,” Harsh said. “We performed in the Midwest — the audience was so new for us, and they had never seen this kind of tradition before. We are hoping we will get the same response [in Bangor] like we had there… Wherever we go, it’s very interesting to get the reaction from those who have never seen it before.” We’ll be treated to some familiar
accordion virtuoso with whom he learned the fiddle repertoire. Réveillons! has released only two albums, each taking five years to record. Berthiaume said that this is because they search the family repertoire and university archive collections for “pieces that are ready to be forgotten.” “When we found something,” Berthiaume said, “we put it into the Réveillons! machine and look how many miles we can walk with it.” The choices, like the instruments, often are just a little bit different than what other Québécois groups might play. “Personally, the quadrille is a type a piece that speaks a lot to me,” Berthiaume said. “The rhythm gives another feeling of the Québécois music. We feel more the spirit of the French side of our music with its rich melody. “If reels are generally right into the feet of everyone in the public, the quadrille goes more into the shoulder,” he said. “Unfortunately, many fiddlers put away this repertoire because it is not as energetic as a reel, but I think it is another kind of energy. We are lucky: Richard feels the same.” The group, which had long heard about the American Folk Festival from French-Canadian bands who had been here in years past, is looking forward to its performances in Bangor. “It seems that it is the best place to be on this weekend,” Berthiaume said. “It’s been a while that we wanted to come to the festival. We are very excited to be there this year, at the biggest folk festival of Maine.” Just be prepared for the real sound of Québécois, Berthiaume says, authentic traditional music before it was “sanded and polished … with no sugar added.”
instruments, but some that are not. The morchang, for instance, is a type of mouth harp, but has a very different style and sound. Meanwhile, the khartaal, a hand castanet, will seem very different to us. “To a skillful percussionist, it’s something magical,” Harsh said. The Rajasthani songs are epic storytelling traditions; Harsh introduces the songs, and explains to the audience what each instrument is and the techniques used to play it. But it doesn’t need too much introduction; once they start playing, it’s easy to understand the joy and intensity of the stories being played. “It is always interesting to see; in
every performance, it’s something new,” Harsh said. “That’s why we keep balancing dance with song... It is so energetic.” In Bangor, Rhythm of Rajasthan will include Faqir Khan Manganiar (percussionist with the dholak, a double-headed hand drum); Asin Khan Langa (the stringed sindhi sarangi); Shakoor Khan Langa (the aerophonic algoja wind instrument, the morchang wind percussion instrument, and the khartaal (a kind of castanet made of teak, a tropical hardwood, and its name means “hand rhythm”); Zakab Khan Manganiar (vocalist); Mehboob Khan Langa (vocalist); and Dhapu (dancer).
Leroy Thomas and The Zydeco Roadrunners Zydeco Louisiana and Texas
Friday: 9:15 p.m. (Dane Pavilion). Saturday: 2 p.m. (Dance Pavilion); 4:45 p.m. (Railroad). BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Get ready for the get-up-and-move zydeco sounds of Leroy Thomas, who the New York Times called “the Jewel of the Bayou,” and his group, The Zydeco Roadrunners, who will entrance the crowds with accordion sounds that will transport you to another musical world. Leroy Thomas’ musical talents go beyond just zydeco, as he’s just as at home playing Cajun, blues, R&B, and even country. “I do it all,” he said. “I kind of adjust to the crowd. Whatever they getting into the most, I keep it at that level.” For instance, when he moved to Houston about 10 years ago, he frequently played at a club that was extremely popular and jam-packed on Thursday nights. While the crowd enjoyed a little zydeco, country was preferred. Thomas was happy to accommodate. But zydeco in all its varied forms is what Thomas is really all about, and you can expect a crowd-rocking zydeco showcase at the American Folk Festival.
If you’re not familiar with zydeco, Thomas sums it up pretty well: “I try to tell ‘em it’s probably like rock-and-roll, reggae-type music with an accordion in it,” he said. A lot of rock and roll, in fact. Clifton Chenier, a French-speaking Creole, first brought the unique sounds of zydeco to the masses in the 1950s, with a style of zydeco heavily influenced by Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley but sung in French. Despite this fairly recent exposure, the musical form dates back to the early 19th century, when rural Cajuns and Creoles rocked the country porches with fiddles and accordions. The music was influenced by many things, from the Louisiana Purchase bringing American settlers to the region to the abolition of slavery. In the 20th century, other musical forms became entwined in zydeco, including blues, jazz, and various African-American and Afro-Caribbean styles. But the word “zydeco” didn’t originate until Chenier’s era, a dialectal pronunciation of the French phrase “les haricots” as “le-zy-dee-co.” That came from the phrase “Les haricots sont pas salés,” which meant “the snap beans ain’t salty” from Chenier’s popular tune of the same name — referring to Chenier being so poor he couldn’t afford salt pork to season his beans. Thanks to Chenier, zydeco was introduced into the popular mainstream of
“I “I try try to to tell tell ‘em ‘em it’s it’s probably probably like like rock-and-roll, rock-and-roll, reggae-type reggae-type music music with with an an accordion accordion in in it.” it.”
—Leroy —Leroy Thomas Thomas
See THOMAS, page 17
Proud sponsor and fan of the American Folk Festival. Well see you there. Member FDIC
Nunamta Yup’ik Eskimo Singers and Dancers Native American Central Yup’ik Eskimo From the Village of Eek, Alaska Saturday: 1:15 p.m. (Two Rivers); 3:15 p.m. (Penobscot). Sunday: 3:15 p.m. (Penobscot).
BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Maine has its own rich Native American heritage, but at the Festival we’ll welcome a different dialect of Native American culture. Renowned performer Chuna McIntyre will bring the 3,000-year-old culture of the Yup’ik Eskimos of the village of Eek, Alaska to the Bangor Waterfront, to immerse us in thirty centuries of folklore in the form of stories, music, and dance. As a society without written records, the stories, songs, dances, artifacts, and costumes are the means by which the Yup’ik (meaning “real people”) have kept their culture and folklore alive, always passing it on to the next generation. Thanks to those like McIntyre, some work to convey it to others outside Yup’ik culture, such as they’ll do in Bangor. The Yup’ik ancestral lands range from the Aleutian headlands all the way up to Norton Sound in Alaska. McIntyre technically comes from the mainland group called Central Yup’ik. In his village, with its culture of hunting, fishing, and gathering, there were about 150 people when he was a child, and closer to 300 now. “I grew up on the Bering Sea, and it was at the edge of the known universe, at the time — it still is,” McIntyre said. “It’s quite different from the rest of the continental U.S. We are very remote. Remoteness actually has helped to ensure the survival of Yup’ik culture.” Outsiders were uncommon in Eek, but one of them was his Scottish grandfather, bestowing upon McIntyre two vastly different heritages. “It’s a incredible mix,” he said, although as a youngster he had no exposure to his Gaelic side. “But my grandfather… was totally immersed in Yup’ik. By the time I was born, he was no longer living, and I grew up speaking Yup’ik. It was all very much Yup’ik.” His grandmother, who lived next door and was key to his upbringing, set forth to instill the importance of Yup’ik culture in young Chuna, from the stories and dances to more mundane things like sewing — a vital skill to have when one’s clothing is torn and it’s 50
Rich Continued from Page 10 and it says “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions, which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Maine’s bluegrass festivals have exposed audiences to traditional bands and some that like to experiment with the genre. But when Rich In Tradition performs on the Railroad and Two Rivers stages, a unique sound will fill the air. “Something special that our band’s got that not a lot of bands have got is everybody can sing almost every part,” said Galyean. “So you can do a lot of mixtures on the vocals, and then everybody can about play every instrument … and know what’s going on.” Galyean’s music pedigree is impressive. The son of gifted bluegrass musician Cullen Galyean, he began playing rock and country at
below zero. It wasn’t until he was attending two years of high school in Vermont that he realized that his heritage was going to become the central focus of his life. After beginning in med school, he switched to major in studio art, with a minor in Native American studies, at Sonoma State University in California. He later taught the Central Yup’ik language at Stanford, and today spends a great deal of time traveling with his dedicated Yup’ik troupe, exposing others to his wondrous culture. McIntyre says he and the troupe often introduce their performances to their audiences. For example, their outfits aren’t just for show; they’re often very elaborate, and things like the colors and the numbers of tassels have cultural meaning. “So we will explain certain things as well as we can, and then we take it from there and the songs just carry the day,” he said. “It usually all speaks for itself. It’s usually very evident — the emotions and the dances become
On performing the traditions:
“It means the connection to the ancestors. We do it for them.” On what festivalgoers can expect:
“They should expect to see our joy in dance and song — the joy, it’s wonderful! It’s the joy. They should expect to see the joy.” evident. I think it’s because our troupe, we have the passion for it.” His performance, deeply spiritual and reverently respectful, is sure to impress. “What you see is pretty much ancient Yup’ik, and we make no bones about that,” he said. “Because we are still very much connected; that tether never was broken for us. First of all, we still live in our homeland. Our village — we’ve lived in one spot for thirty centuries.” And the meaning of the songs, dances, and stories transcend entertainment or even folklore. “It means the connection to the ancestors,” McIntyre said. “We do it for them.” The production has meaning on every level, starting with those costumes. For example, one garment might take eight months to produce, not to mention having gathered the material and preparing for assembling it. “We still have
age 13. Mickey and Cullen went on to form a bluegrass band, but after four years, they put it on hold because of Cullen’s health problems. That’s when Jones, mandolin player for the Bluegrassers, asked Mickey to help Adams, Martin and himself put a band together. It became Rich In Tradition. Hiatt, who began playing banjo at age 9, later played electric guitar and acoustic bass. His addition to Rich In Tradition made for a more complete sound. Jordan Blevins, a gifted fiddle player, recently joined the band after Martin left because of family reasons. The five-man, all-acoustic lineup, steeped in pure North Carolina tradition, has made for a sweet sound. The band’s YouTube performance clips are legendary, as are their church and festival performances. A highlight of the band’s career to date was a visit to the 2007 University of Chicago Folk Festival. Five country boys wowed the Windy City with concert hall performances and
the wherewithal to bring you not only just the songs and the dances and the way of being Yup’ik, but also the material culture as part of it,” McIntyre said. “It’s a whole package.” A costume often involves trapping many animals to use in its creation: bird feet; skins from calf and seal; hair from caribou and rabbit; and fur from arctic squirrel, land otter, wolf, and wolverine. It is then embellished with ivory, trade beads, and jewelry, and decorated with symbols and designs using earth paint. Every part is connected to nature, and great care is exacted in creating a costume. Similar care is taken with headdresses, masks, and other things. Using a drum made with a large hoop covered in seal or walrus skin, McIntyre and his troupe will perform traditional dances accompanied by a regular, 2/4-beat meter, beat with the hand or a thin, wooden wand. The singing is done in unison with the drumming, while a song leader acts as a prompter, calling out words. Dancers often remain in place, with lots of hand and arm movement, waving of fans, body movement. However a dance is done, it is key to telling the story. In Yup’ik culture, people danced for two reasons. One is recreational; they do it for pleasure, as in any culture. The other is ceremonial, for communicating with the spirits of nature and their ancestors. Ceremonial dances take place during religious festivals. Dancing usually occurred in an underground communal dwelling called a qasgiq, which was domed aboveground with driftwood logs and covered with sod. Here, men gathered, enjoyed steam baths, or used it as a studio or workshop. They also taught boys hunting and survival skills, how to make tools and kayaks, and other important life lessons. Similar things for women were in a neighboring house, often connected to the qasgiq, called an ena, where girls learned to cook, sew, and weave. But for a time during the winter, the boys and girls switched, so the boys would learn skills from the women and the girls from the men. The songs and dances in the qasgiq were central to the community. There was no formal dancing education; members of the tribe learned by watching others, and everyone was encouraged to participate. We won’t have to travel to Alaska and gather in a qasgiq — although, after immersion in the Yup’ik folklore in Bangor, many of us will probably be eager for such an experience. According to McIntyre, it should be a very special experience. “They should expect to see our joy in dance
workshops where audience members took notes. “Everyone was so excited to be there,” reads the band’s blog. “We even had an encore. ... It was a nice crowd; the room was full. The folks that attended were so interested in the music and had so many questions. It really made us feel good.” Rich experiences like these help to sustain the band, who support their families with an array of day jobs. “There’s no money in playing bluegrass, but we love it,” said Adams with a chuckle. In July, Adams agreed to a phone interview after working in heat exceeding 100 degrees. Since 1986 he has been employed as a lineman for Energy United. Blevins is a ranger at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. Hiatt owns a lawn and landscaping business. Jones works for North Carolina Foam Industries. Galyean is employed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways. “Mickey is really the heart and
PHOTO BY EDWARD R. CURTIS
and song — the joy, it’s wonderful!” he said. “It’s the joy. They should expect to see the joy.” Aside from his performances, much of McIntyre’s time is spent working with museums, such as the Smithsonian in Washington; the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, where he co-curated a permanent Eskimo-Inuit exhibit; and he restored a mask at the groundbreaking “Infinity of Nations” 10-year exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian. He’s the founder and director of the Nunamta Yup’ik Eskimo Dancers (“nunamta” means “of our land”; so they are “dancers of our land”) and organized the Tuma Theatre (“tuma” means “footprints”), a dance and drama group, at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. He’s also a graphic artist and master craftsman, and has performed at the Kennedy Center, and around the world from France to Russia to New Zealand to Siberia. It’s been many years since McIntyre visited Maine, and this will be his first trip to Bangor. Festivalgoers will see him and three members of his troupe, whom he holds in the highest regard. “I’m very proud of my troupe for being very passionate about keeping the Yup’ik culture alive and sharing it throughout the world,” he said. Chuna will appear in Bangor with drummer Vernon Chimegalrea and Josephine Aloralrea and Tatiana Andrew, dancers and singers.
soul of what we do,” said Jones. “Traditional bluegrass just runs through his veins. When he sings, it just comes out straight down the line — traditional, driving, really solid, singing and playing.” Jones added, “Jay really keeps the drive in what we do. The banjo is the driving force in a lot of what goes on in bluegrass because of the way Bill Monroe put together the Bluegrass Boys.” Adams said it’s not North Carolina’s air or water that has turned out so many fine bluegrass bands. It’s more a matter of geography and migration. “In the early days, when immigrants from Ireland and Scotland were moving west, some of them stayed in North Carolina and played their music,” he said. “A lot of people settled in the mountains here. That music became part of bluegrass. It reminded them of their homes. Bill Monroe said there are a lot of Irish and Scottish influences in bluegrass.” It also doesn’t hurt to have great
band mates and enough back-porch picking to fill a thousand record albums. That’s a North Carolina tradition, known to fans of “The Andy Griffith Show,” inspired by the band’s home base of Mount Airy. Adams’ grandfather, Jim Robertson, grew up in Spray, N.C., now Eden, and lived near Charlie Poole, a country music pioneer who had gold records when other musicians were struggling. This influence rubbed off on Adams and other family members and continues to drive and inspire them. “My other influences were Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Del McCoury, Jim Mills, Ron Stewart,” Adams said. “I like experimental styles and we do some of that. Bands take stuff, they blend it, and it becomes their style.” Rich In Tradition is looking forward to bringing their own style of bluegrass to the American Folk Festival. Among the blues, Congolese and Québécois stylists, the band should hold their own with music that is dear to their hearts.
Thomas Continued from Page 15 American culture. Its style varies greatly depending on who’s playing, but the one common element is the presence of a button or piano accordion. And thanks to the surprise revelation that a young Louisiana boy, who’d previously ignored a family strength with the accordion in favor of drums, had an astonishing natural talent, we’ll get to enjoy an exciting mix of Chenier-inspired, rock-and-roll-influenced zydeco on the Bangor Waterfront. Leroy Thomas was born in Lake Charles, La., and raised in Elton, and music ran strong in his family —particularly the preponderance of the accordion. Keith Frank, his mother’s second cousin, played accordion, drums, bass, guitar, and “Just about everything,” according to Thomas. Geno Delafose, his father’s second cousin, played accordion and drums, and Brian Terry, his father’s cousin, played accordion. With all that accordion talent, it was only natural that young Leroy would become enamored with the instrument. Except that isn’t how it happened. In fact, Thomas barely gave the accordion a second look. He was starry-eyed over another instrument: the drums. And with good reason; his father Leo “the Bull” Thomas was a drummer, renowned as the only musician to lead a zydeco band from the drums. Drums are usually in the back, regardless of musical genre, but his father was up front and to the side. Thomas wanted to be a drummer like his dad, but he was too afraid of getting caught playing his
dad’s drums without permission. So, at age 8, he and his brother made drums out of five-gallon paint buckets, using tree branches as drumsticks and cardboard tube as a microphone. Soon, Leo gave his son some proper drum instruction, and the boy was hooked. Then came the day that someone in town had an old button accordion for sale. Thomas and his brother traded one of their father’s old cassette recorders for it, and on the walk home, his brother and some of their friends took
showed him some pointers, but mostly he continued to teach himself by watching and listening. That first old button accordion was soon replaced when Thomas bought a piano accordion. He bought Clifton Chenier videos so he could watch the master at work, and learn how he worked his fingers. Thomas began playing with his father’s band at age 18 and did so for 15 years, touring the world together. His first album appearance was with his father in 1997, and the following year
“It’s to get them all interested. I don’t just play for me and the band — I play for the crowd... I would hope they would probably go out spreading the word about zydeco music, and letting everybody know how much fun they had.” —Leroy Thomas turns with the squeeze box. They made a lot of noise, none of it good, but it looked as if the accordion would be a fun novelty with which to pass the time. “Then I took a turn,” Thomas recalled. “I sat on the step and pretty much played it immediately.” Years of ignoring the accordion masters around him paid off; apparently, he’d been paying more attention than he’d realized. Right out of the gate, young Leroy was a natural. “That’s when I started saying, ‘You know what? I like music,” he said. “I wanted to learn from that point on.” Over the years, he paid more attention to accordionists, and occasionally a few folks
he formed The Zydeco Roadrunners and launched his own label, Thomas Records. The group has since performed in 48 states and around the world and released eight albums. His lifetime of practice has resulted in Thomas being one of the signature zydeco accordionists playing today. He still drums on occasion when his drummer takes a break to play the accordion. And at age 45, Thomas is learning to play guitar and bass — always eager to learn new musical things, just as he always has been, just as he’s learned to play in a wide variety of musical styles. Luckily, playing the accordion is pretty much the same no matter the style of music, according to Thomas; it’s just the music you play
that’s different. “You adapt,” he said. “You add what you want when you want, as long as it sounds good… I always did it like James Brown always said... ‘Does it sound good?’” He’s been to Maine before, having often played in Portland through the Center for Cultural Exchange, but this will be his first trip to Bangor, and he’s eager for it. “I’m very happy, man, very happy,” he said. “I hear there’s going to be a lot of people there, too. We’re ready for them.” He says the crowd can expect to have fun, and he’ll probably get them involved in singing some of the songs. “It’s to get them all interested,” he said. “I don’t just play for me and the band — I play for the crowd.” For his beloved genre, Thomas hopes people will learn about zydeco, especially if they’re excited by something they’ve never experienced. “I would hope they would probably go out spreading the word about zydeco music, and letting everybody know how much fun they had,” he said. While he always injects his own style into his performances, Thomas favors “old-school zydeco,” to keep the Louisiana tradition “alive and flowing.” In Bangor, he’ll likely play his father’s signature song, “Why You Wanna Make Me Cry,” which is reportedly the most frequently repeated and covered zydeco for over 27 years. The Zydeco Roadrunners, who will appear with Thomas in Bangor, are Raymond Bilbo on bass, Gerard St. Julien on drums, James Compton on guitar, and Tommy Robinson on the scrub-board, a type of wash-board.
To learn more about Leroy Thomas and The Zydeco Roadrunners, visit www.ZydecoRoadrunners.com.
“Ours is not a big band with swing, but a smaller, scrappy group.”
Hot Club of Cowtown Western Swing Austin, Texas Friday: 8 p.m. (Dance Pavilion). Saturday: Noon (Penobscot, Guitar Slingers & Song Singers – Whit Smith); 2:15 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. (Railroad); 4:15 p.m. (Two Rivers, Violin Traditions – Elana James).
BY RICHARD R. SHAW BANGOR DAILY NEWS
“We’re playing what knocked us out about Western swing in the first place — the early fiery energy and jazzy improvisations.”
Somewhere in cowboy heaven, Bob Wills will smile down on this year’s American Folk Festival and welcome Hot Club of Cowtown, the scrappy Western swing trio that is keeping his music alive. Fiddler Elana James, guitarist Whit Smith and bassist Jake Erwin were kids when Wills, granddaddy of the fiddle-based country-pop genre, died in 1975. But after savoring his recordings and hanging out with musicians who toured with Wills and His Texas Playboys, they’ve performed his songs since Hot Club launched in 1998. Audiences can expect to hear spine-tingling performances. Many of the songs will be from last year’s CD, “What Makes Bob Holler,” a pairing of some of Wills’ most popular work with more obscure B-sides. “Stay a Little Longer” and “Big Balls in Cowtown” are crowd favorites, along with other possible performances of traditional hoedowns like “Cherokee Shuffle” and “Orange Blossom Special.” “We’re playing what knocked us out about Western swing in the first place — the early fiery energy and jazzy improvisations,” James said.
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After Hot Club toured the U.K. last year, the Sunday Times of London lauded the trio as “... the world’s most engaging Western swing band — their shows are all about energy and joie de vivre ... the devilmay-care style that combined the rigor of jazz with the down-home sentiment of country and earthiness of the blues —- it is as a live act that they have made their greatest impact.” “We go back to the Western swing of the 1920s and ‘30s, straight out of Texas,” said James during a July interview from JFK International Airport, waiting to board a flight for the Sultanate of Oman, where Hot Club performed courtesy of the U.S. State Department. After World War II, Bob Wills started putting out more polished commercial records, but Hot Club wanted to do the earlier songs.” “There are lots of influences in Western swing like fiddle tunes, pop standards from the American songbook, blues and jazz,” James said. “We play standards, traditional, eccentric, fiddle-centric music. I’d be hard-pressed to hear Western swing without a fiddle, but guitar and bass are also important. Ours is not a big band with swing, but a smaller, scrappy group.” Now based in Austin, Texas, Hot Club’s roots extend to other states. James grew up in Prairie Village, Kan., the daughter of a classical violinist. Erwin came from Tulsa, Okla. Smith, the only New Englander, grew up in Cape Cod and Connecticut. Smith and James originally met through a classified ad in The Village Voice and performed together in New York City before moving to San Diego in 1997, where they played for tips. Soon after relocating to Austin in 1998, they added Erwin, finalizing Hot
See COWTOWN, Page 25
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Egyptian Music New York City
Continued from Page 18 Club’s lineup. “Whit came up with the band’s name; he’s the title guy,” James said. “I’m definitely the wordsmith. I write the blogs. We do write songs together sometimes, though, and we each write our own songs as well.” The group is here to stay, but James admitted the name often confuses new audiences. Perhaps they expect to see musicians dressed in overalls, but what’s up with “Hot Club”? It’s from the hot jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephanie Grappelli’s Hot Club of France, and “Cowtown” comes from the Western swing influence of Wills and His Texas Playboys. Eccentric names and song arrangements have gained the band an international cult following, having opened stadium shows for Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. They have played at a National Folk Festival in Australia but, according to James, have never performed in Bangor. “I think maybe we’ve played in Maine somewhere — I know we played a wedding here many years ago. But I’m well acquainted with Maine,” James said. “When I was 10, my mom and my sister and I visited Vinalhaven, where my grandparents used to vacation. I remember being thrilled by riding my moped around the island.” Don’t expect to see lots of electronic equipment and high-tech visuals. Staying true to their roots, James, Smith and Erwin travel about as basic as Wills and his band did decades ago. Their instruments are purely acoustic, and Smith travels with an amplifier made in 1936. Their sound, heard on their numerous CDs, DVDs and Web-site clips, is unmistakably traditional and could be mistaken for a 1936 dance hall in Paris, Texas, or Paris, France. The band likes to preserve cowboy culture and bristles when people suggest doing otherwise, especially by slashing federal funding. In April, James fired off a letter to The New York Times defending funding of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev. “[This funding] helps encourage a generation of young people to become interested in and take respon-
Saturday: 12:15 p.m. (Railroad); 3:15 p.m. (Two Rivers); 4:15 p.m. (Two Rivers, Violin Traditions - Sami Shumays). Sunday: Noon (Penobscot, World Percussion Traditions - Faisal Zedan); Noon (Two Rivers, World Strings - Tareq Abboushi on bouzuk); 2:15 p.m. (Penobscot). BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
“I’m well acquainted with Maine. When I was 10, my mom and my sister and I visited Vinalhaven, where my grandparents used to vacation. I remember being thrilled by riding my moped around the island.” -Elana James sibility for the legacy of the unique art, music, stories and culture of the American West,” she said. In an interview, James said, “When all the petroleum is gone, and people are hoeing their own potatoes, there will be acoustic music. It will last. Music is very, very important to hold on to. One thing I love about our band is that we can do this without electricity or effects — in that sense it is timeless. We all really value that organic quality.” The band’s future could hold more tributes and interpretations of Wills’ music as well as a DVD of fiddle tunes that James hopes to sell sneak previews of in Bangor. And touring, always touring. Hot Club will follow the American Folk Festival with dates in California, Kansas, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Texas, and in November will return to the U.K. before coming back to the U.S. and Canada into 2012. Dubbed the most globe-trotting, hardest-swinging Western swing trio on the planet, Hot Club may take a breather someday.
“We won’t continue this crazy pace forever,” James said. They wouldn’t want to end up like a fiddler in Wills’ band who was picked up in California and by the time the band had driven through ice and snow to the Midwest, he was dead, having spent too much time on a freezing bus with no real food. Nobody ever knew his name. “They pried his rigor mortised body off of the bus and left him under a lamppost somewhere in Kansas,” James said. “It was a different time. These guys were pretty hardcore.” So, keeping true to Western swing’s spirit and energy, getting audiences out of their seats and dancing will be Hot Club’s mission in Bangor. The band never uses set lists. What they have is more like a menu, depending on what they’re hungry for that night. No two performances are ever the same. Bob Wills would be proud. Anticipating Hot Club’s Maine visit, he might say, in his famous words, “Aaaaaaaaaaah Haaaaaaaaah!”
Are you a fan of old films? How about old musical films? How about old Egyptian musical films? Even if you never gave Egyptian musical films a second thought — and most of us here probably haven’t — you’re about to get schooled on this wonderfully entertaining classic Arab cinema when New York Citybased Zikrayat fills us in on the Bangor Waterfront. Festival-goers will experience what Arabs call taarab, which means “musical ecstasy” — so prepare to be immersed in a whole lot of fun. Zikrayat (meaning “memories”) is inspired by the Golden Age of Egyptian musical cinema, which began its
rise in popularity in the 1930s, peaked in the 1940s and 1950s, and continued through to the early 1970s. During this time, most of the major Egyptian dancers and musicians worked in film, so this enormously popular medium resulted in a fantastic repertoire of songs and dance pieces. Yet for many, the films have faded into obscurity; while many of the classic songs that are familiar to Egyptians, they often aren’t aware of their origins. What Zikrayat does is play those classic songs, and sometimes incorporates the dances. Some of the songs are still popular tunes, while others are not. “We play some of those standards, but we also like to find and play some of those pieces that are not as well recognized by Arabians — or anyone else for that matter,” said founder Sami Shumays. It all started in 2005, when Shumays and his new bride, now a dancer with the group, were on their honeymoon in Egypt. They picked up a stack of old movies to watch, and it changed their lives. “We said, “Wow, we really have to do some of this repertoire, we’ve never heard that song, and we’ve
See ZIKRAYAT, Page 29
Bing Xia Chinese guzheng Washington, D.C.
Saturday: 12:15 p.m. (Two Rivers); 2:15 p.m. (Penobscot). Sunday: Noon (Two Rivers, World Strings); 1 p.m. (Two Rivers) BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
The Chinese guzheng looks a bit like horizontal or lap guitar, but it’s unlike anything we’re familiar with. It has a broad range of sounds that makes it as acoustically versatile as you might imagine for having 21 strings. At times, it sounds like a guitar; at others, a harp. It seems capable of sounding like any stringed instrument, yet in the hands of a master like Bing Xia, it has a sound and a feel all its own. Entrancing one moment, haunting the next, uplifting or billowing in sound and feeling another, Bing’s music is immersive and evokes deeply emotional responses, even if you don’t know why. The guzheng is a type of Chinese zither, with analogous instruments throughout the Asian world: the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum, and the Vietnamese àn tranh. The various techniques of playing the guzheng result in its impressive range, emulating the feeling of everything from idyllic settings such as waterfalls or pas-
toral realms to the pounding of horse hooves or thunder from the heavens. And for Bing, this magic spell of sound is one of dedication and joy as she conveys the folk stories of her Chinese heritage. “This music is part of my life,” Bing said. “Since I was very young, I started to learn this. I still practice and play almost every day.” Bing was 8 years old when her parents asked her to take guzheng lessons. At that time, the guzheng wasn’t favored by Chinese children (although today it is second only to the piano in popularity). But when she heard the instrument, it was easy for her to say yes. “When I first came to hear this instrument, the sound was very beautiful to me,” she said. “The songs are very beautiful; I think that’s why I liked it. But even though I liked it, I didn’t want to practice a lot when I was very young.” Daily lessons for any 8-year-old girl are certainly challenging, but Bing stuck with it. Yet it wasn’t until she was in high school that she realized what the guzheng and her music meant to her. Beyond playing it, she grew closer to the folklore and traditions of the songs — the real meaning behind the music. “As I remember, when I went to high school, I came to very much like this instrument,” she recalled. “Maybe as I got older, I [gained a] kind of a feeling of this music, and
also I was interested about the background of each piece. So I wanted to learn a lot.” In 1985, she attended Nanjing Normal University, where she majored in guzheng performance under virtuoso Professor Yan AiHua. She went on to advanced guzheng studies in 1995 at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where she studied under Professor He Baoquan. Her professional career began in Xuzhou, China, with the city’s Song and Dance Ensemble, and by 1996 she was nationally honored as a guzheng teacher. When Bing’s husband took a job in the U.S. in 1999, she moved to the Washington, D.C. area. Within six months, she began performing there for enthusiastic audiences. “I think most American people, they don’t know about the guzheng,” she said. “But every time after my performance, they were interested … and they asked me lots of questions about the instrument.” She performed at the Washington Millennium Celebration in 2000, and in that year founded the Washington Guzheng Society, with a mission to teach the guzheng. That summer, she was the featured performer in the “Music in the Age of Confucius” program presented by the Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. She’s gone on to great acclaim, featured at the Kennedy Center in 2003’s “Asian Song Revival” and at
“When you play the music, don’t only play the note — use your heart to play the music.” —Bing Xia
the Smithsonian in 2009 supported by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Her music has been broadcast by both National Public Radio and Voice of America nationwide, and her many appearances are too numerous to list. Today, she lives in the Washington, D.C. area, where she’s a wellknown soloist and guzheng instructor. She and her students at the
Washington Guzheng Society have won awards in many national guzheng competitions. “In the Washington, D.C. area we have a lot of opportunities to perform, to show the different culture to the audiences,” Bing said. “I think it’s the reason I can introduce these instruments to American people.”
See BING XIA, Page 28
Los Tres Reyes Mexican Trio Romantico
San Antonio, Texas
Saturday: Noon (Penobscot, Guitar Slingers & Song Singers); 1:15 p.m. (Penobscot). Sunday: 1 p.m. (Railroad); 4 p.m. (Two Rivers) BY GREG WESTRICH BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Los Tres Reyes (meaning “The Three Kings”) bring their traditional trio romantico music to the American Folk Festival for the first time this year. The trio is twin brothers Gilberto and Raul Puente with Gilberto’s sonin-law Bebo Cardenas. They have never been closer to Maine than New York, but Gilberto says they are “very excited about coming — very happy.” At the same time, “I am worried because I don’t know how people will respond, but I am very excited to play at the festival.” Gilberto explains that the trio is more used to Spanish-speaking audiences that already know the conventions of the trio romantico genre. The trio romantico form — sometimes called Spanish romantic music — evolved in Mexico in the 1950s. A trio consists of two guitars and a requinto. The requinto is the smaller guitar that may be familiar to some people from mariachi music; it looks like a guitar, but it’s tuned differently. And in trio romantico, the requinto is usually played in the classic bolero style of fast, melodic hand-picking. As Gilberto puts it, “The requinto is our father.” Gilberto is an
undisputed master of the instrument. A trio generally has a lead singer, but also sing in harmony as well. You might think the mournful romantic singing wouldn’t work with the technically difficult bolero requinto, but somehow the whole is more emotionally evocative than either of its parts. The songs have the timeless quality of life remembered in hindsight. Even without understanding the lyrics, the songs speak to something within all of us. They often sound like 1950s cowboy music — which actually makes sense because cowboy music, like most cowboy culture, was influenced by the cowboy music from south of the border. The Puente brothers began performing this style of music in 1947 as the duo Los Cuates Puente in Neuvo Loredo along the Texas border. At age 15, they made their first recordings for the Mexican division of CBS, and were one of the trios that helped popularize and conventionalize the form after moving to Mexico City. In 1958, with Hernando Aviles, they became Los Tres Reyes. Through the early 1960s the trios dominated the pop charts in Mexico, spreading throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas. But by 1966, when Los Tres Reyes disbanded, “Rock kind of displaced the trios,” lamented Gilberto. The brothers went their separate ways, pursuing solo careers. Gilberto is best known in the U.S. for the work he did with Linda Ronstadt on her 1987 album Canciones de mi Padre, brought into the project by Ronstadt’s musical director, Ruben Fuentes, who had been Gilberto’s guitar teacher in Mexico City in the 1950s. That album remains the best selling non-English record in American history, and Gilberto
“All my life has been music. From ten in the morning until the afternoon. Every day.” —Gilberto Puente played on the two follow-up albums as well. Outside the U.S., Gilberto’s seven solo records are still widely available. By the 1990s the trio romantico style was again popular in Latin America and, perhaps
surprisingly, Europe — particularly Spain and Ireland. The brothers reformed Los Tres Reyes with Luis Villa, from another classic-era trio. They released one album, El Retorno de Los
See REYES, Page 28
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James “Super Chikan” Johnson
Blues Clarksdale, Miss.
Friday: 8:30 p.m. (Railroad). Saturday: 5:15 p.m. (Penobscot, Saturday Night: Sunday Morning Blues & Gospel Traditions); 7:45 p.m. (Dance Pavilion). Sunday: 12:30 p.m. (Dance Pavilion); 5 p.m. (Railroad).
BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
First of all, let’s clear this up: It’s spelled “Chikan” but it’s pronounced “chicken.” Second of all, an explanation of that. When James Johnson was a boy, working with his family from plantation to plantation, he took quite a liking to the chickens on the farms — and they to him. “They would call my name and they would talk,” Johnson said. “I was so imaginative — it sounded like they were saying things. I’d talk, and they’d respond.” His friends called him “Chikan Boy,” and the childhood misspelling took its place as his official moniker. But that had nothing to do with his music at first, which began when he was just 6 years old. He made his first diddley bow — a one-stringed instrument that was basically a piece of baling wire on a board, not an uncommon hobby in the Mississippi Delta. But
become such an astonishing musician in so brief a time. Robert died when he was allegedly poisoned with a bottle of strychnine-laced whiskey. Johnson’s grandfather had some of the family talent, and in fact played with Robert. More importantly, he filled the role of father figure in young “Chikan Boy” Johnson’s life. But one day, in a fit of rage, he came after his wife with a knife. “Chikan Boy” was there when it happened, and saw his grandmother defend herself with a gun. She told his grandfather not to come any closer, but he attacked her. She shot him in the head. “He was dead, and I looked into his eyes,” Johnson recalled. “He looked me right in the eyes, and I stared in those eyes for two or three minutes. I guess I felt some kind of sensation; now I realize it was a spell. My granddad was an evil man. I’ve had the blues ever since, and I had it real strong... I think the spell of Robert Johnson was handed down to me,” Johnson said. “I’ve been living the Robert Johnson style of life, and the hellhounds are still on my trail.” If that wouldn’t give a guy the blues, nothing would. Johnson found his first guitar at the Salvation Army. It had just two intact strings, but he learned to play those two strings before he could afford to add more. After all, two strings was twice as many as his diddley bow, and he’d done all right with that.
Blues Music Award for Traditional Blues Album, and he’s racked up plenty of awards. When you hear him play, you’ll see why. Listening to Super Chikan sing is like listening to the blues for the first time all over again,
it.” Each of his guitars is unique in appearance and sound, and might not even look much like a typical guitar when you see him playing it, but he’ll make it sing beautifully no matter what it looks like. He typically brings several guitars with him (as well as his six-string diddley bow), often changing guitars for particular songs. They’re quite popular; Steven Seagal, whose band Johnson toured the U.K. with, owns five. And he brings seven or eight to Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero club, where he’s reportedly Freeman’s favorite performer. Johnson has performed around the world — Africa, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, and the U.K. — not to mention all over the U.S., including for the U.S. president. He’s returning to Maine for the first time since the 2009 North Atlantic Blues Festival, and brings his all-woman band, The Fighting Cocks, with him. The band includes his 25-yearold daughter, who has played since she was 12 and was on the road at 15. The awards and accolades keep coming, and Johnson keeps playing. With influences such as Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters, Johnson manages to meld them all and still put that Super Chikan twist to make it all his own.
“I guess I felt some kind of sensation; now I realize it was a spell. My granddad was an evil man. I’ve had the blues ever since, and I had it real strong... I think the spell of Robert Johnson was handed down to me. I’ve been living the Robert Johnson style of life, and the hellhounds are still on my trail.”
Johnson had a hunger for music that transcended a hobby. Johnson would take his homemade diddley bow and crawl under the porches where the old folks were gathered and playing their instruments, and he’d play with them. They couldn’t hear his strumming but, to that little boy, he was playing the blues. But blues is more than playing; you have to know what it means to have the blues. And maybe few people know what it’s like more than Johnson. His grandfather was first cousin to legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, the charismatic and versatile musician who was reputed to have made a deal with the devil to
Reyes Continued from Page 27 Tres Reyes, in 2001. Today the singer is cuban-born Bebo Cardenas, who performed with a number of trios in Puerto Rico and Cuba before being asked to join Los Tres Reyes in 2004. He remains a member of Dos mas Dos in Cuba. The brothers settled in San Antonio to be together as a family, and because of the city’s vibrant music scene. San Antonio is only a few hours north of Nuevo Loredo where the brothers grew up and began their careers. Gilberto and his wife Eva’s two sons live in Monterrey — one a lawyer, the other an engineer. “All my life has been music,” Gilberto said. “From 10 in the morning until the afternoon. Every day.” Even though none of their children play professionally, all are musical like their father and uncle, although their sons don’t prefer to perform publicly. Today in Latin America, especial-
He worked a number of jobs as an adult, and wound up driving tractor trailers, and he always played his guitar and composed songs. One day, while driving his truck, he heard on the radio that songwriters made more money than most performers. He realized he could do that, but friends told him his lyrics would just be mere words to other singers, without the deep meaning they held for Johnson. They convinced him to record his own music. So in 1997, at age 46, James “Super Chikan” Johnson released his first album. He was nominated for his first award a year later, and has become a blues sensation. He’s released four more albums since; his latest won the 2010
ly Central America and Columbia, there are music festivals dedicated to the trio romantico form. Los Tres Reyes’ appearances are much anticipated. Gilberto says that the festivals are not only popular with folks who remember the golden age of the genre, but the form has become alive again for all ages. It is now a traditional folk music of the region. Gilberto and Los Tres Reyes are as much teachers and keepers of tradition as they are entertainers, and they’re often emulated; there are even trios performing their songs in Japan and Ireland. Last year Los Tres Reyes played at the National Folk Festival, in Butte, Mont. This summer they have played around Mexico and in several Latin American countries, and look forward to bringing their traditional music to a new audience in Bangor. They will play many of the old songs, but may throw in a few new ones — even something American. Gilberto and the trio hope that we enjoy their music as much as they do.
rediscovering a powerful musical genre done like nobody else does it. His vocals are deep and real, relaxed and powerful, and no matter what he plays, his guitar work is awesome. And he plays many, since he custom-makes his guitars out of anything he can find that would make a good guitar — a cigar box, a gas can, a bike tank, a jewelry box — or even an old ceiling fan that had died, and he thought he deserved more mileage out of it. That was a function of how he was raised. “I took a liking to making things and collecting things,” he said. “We were recycling before we knew what recycling was. Every time we threw something away, we took a second look at
Bing Xia Continued from Page 26 And with May being Asian-Pacific Heritage Month in Washington, “I have a lot of opportunity to show our culture,” she said. Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week originated through a congressional bill in 1977; President Jimmy Carter signed it into law in 1978, and President George H.W. Bush extended it to the entire month in 1992. May was chosen to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and the mark the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869, work done mostly by Chinese immigrants. The celebration is supported by the Web site www.AsianPacificHeritage.gov, a joint project of the Library of Congress and many other organizations. Today, Bing is focused on moving forward into a new era, defining guzheng music for future generations. “We are not only playing the traditional music; we also compose some modern music,” she said. Traditionally, guzheng uses the traditional Chinese pentatonic scale, meaning five notes per octave — as compared to the seven-note heptatonic most Americans are familiar with. But now Bing and her students are expanding their music to cover modern genres, and that means adapting their playing styles.
“I heard music you don’t hear today,” he said. “I kept that style and those songs and it kinda stuck with me. I created my own music from it… This is an old food with a new flavor. “I’m a country boy,” Johnson said. “If you want the real Mississippi Delta blues, here I am. No training, no schooling, straight from the shoulder and the heart… When I walk on the stage, what you see is what you get — some country-fried Chikan. I got to keep ‘em happy and satisfied. I got to bring ‘em down with a smile. I have to entertain. I’m not the president... I’m just like one of them, I come there to party with them and have fun with them, so I have fun and get with the crowd.”
“Right now we compose a lot of modern guzheng music, and also we break out these traditional tuning scales,” she said. “We can use any scale that we want.” The guzheng is very versatile, evoking sounds of everything from waterfalls to thunderstorms. Bing says guzheng players can even simulate drum sounds. So what is the secret to producing such a wide variety of sounds with the guzheng? “When you play the music, don’t only play the note — use your heart to play the music,” Bing said. “Maybe that’s the secret.” Bing has never been to Maine, but she’s excited about her upcoming visit. Luckily, folk festivals are nothing new to her, but she’s eager to play before the festivalgoers on the Bangor Waterfront. She’ll bring her apprentice Rujia Teng with her, and the pair will tell us their musical stories in duets and solos. “I am always telling the story of every piece I perform,” Bing said, although sometimes there’s no story but just beautiful music to be absorbed into. “Some pieces we just tell the story — maybe introduce some beautiful places. But most of pieces we tell the story from ancient tales.” For Americans unfamiliar with old stories behind classic guzheng music, Bing will sometimes introduce a story to a piece. “Then they can understand — they can imagine the story, I think,” she said.
To learn more about Bing Xia and the guzheng, visit www.GuzhengUSA.org.
Pedrito Martinez Group
New York City
Saturday: 4:45 p.m. (Dance Pavilion); 8:45 p.m. (Penobscot). Sunday: Noon (Penobscot, World Percussion Traditions); 3:15 p.m. (Dance Pavilion).
BY GREG WESTRICH BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Pedrito Martinez’ speech is punctuated with words like “awesome,” “fantastic,” and “amazing.” Not for lack of English vocabulary, but because it is how Pedrito sees life. His music is filled with that same infectious optimism. The Pedrito Martinez Group doesn’t sound like any other Afro-Cuban act; more like Afro-Cuban in a blender with funk, stirred up by Thelonious Monk. In addition to Pedrito on hand drums and vocals, the band includes percussionist Jhair Sala, bassist Alvaro Benavides, keyboardist Axel Tosca Laugart, and pianist Araicne Trujillo. Pedrito constantly updates and tweaks the band’s sound, but the danceable groove is constant. Afro-Cuban jazz has always been a conversation among various American and Caribbean genres; think Dizzy Gillespie’s classic album “Swing Low Sweet Cadillac,” for example. The Pedrito Martinez Group is keeping the conversation current and relevant. But current doesn’t mean abandoning the past; at times, the whole ensemble seems to be channeling Thelonious Monk’s percussive style and quirky playfulness. This is especially obvious in the interplay between Pedrito’s drumming and Trujillo’s piano. When you hear the band, you’ll think jazz, but your body will feel Cuba, and feel like dancing.
Pedrito’s been to Maine twice, but never to Bangor. He’s looking forward to bringing his unique AfroCuban jazz to the American Folk Festival and to having a lobster dinner with his family. Just like at the other festivals he’s played this summer, Pedrito wants his music to “make a lot of people have fun and dance. Everyone go crazy.” Born in Havana in 1973, Pedrito became a professional hand drummer at age 11, playing with a wide variety of acts. In 1988 he came to Canada to tour North America with Jane Bunnett’s jazz band. It was such a good learning experience that the 15-year-old decided to stay. Pedrito became a much-sought-after session musician, performing on more than 100 recordings for many Latin artists as well as Cassandra Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Sting. These recordings earned six Gram-
my nominations and a win for Simpático, a collaboration with Eddie Palmer and Brian Lynch. Eventually, Pedrito settled in New York City, where he still lives. In 2000 he won the first Thelonious Monk competition to feature Afro-Cuban hand drumming, cementing his reputation as one of the world’s best hand drummers. Pedrito has been able to make six or seven trips back to Cuba. Because of the Monk prize and having been featured in the documentary Calle 54, he is now famous in his homeland. “I am treated like a king,” Pedrito said with a laugh. He has
spent many years playing with and learning from a wide variety of musicians; now he is sometimes in the position of teacher as well. Pedrito is quick to point how much he still learns from what he hears and plays, though. For a number of years Pedrito played with the New York-based AfroCuban/Afro-beat fusion band Yerba Bueno. For the first time he was part of regular band: writing songs, touring the world, growing as a musician and singer. Touring with Yerba Bueno also gave Pedrito the chance to play for audiences all around the world, and to hear the local music from places like Turkey and India that continue to fascinate him. In 2005 Pedrito formed his own band with several other Latin Americans living in New York. They are the house band at Guantanamera, where they play three nights a week, and have recorded three albums. It is this band that will perform at the American Folk Festival. For Pedrito, “The beauty of New York is all the cultures and influences.” He is very curious, and into all kinds of music, but his biggest influences are what he calls African music: funk, blues, and jazz. It is illegal to play American music in Cuba, so being in New York has allowed Pedrito to explore a lot of music not available to him in his youth. “I learn so much,” Pedrito said, noting that his music comes “Fifty percent from Cuba, 50 percent from here.” His influences are many and varied, but his inspiration is his daughter Viona. She was born two years after he won the Monk award; her growth has mirrored Pedrito’s as a musician. He speaks lovingly of sitting at his drums with her, as a toddler, on his lap during recording ses-
sions. “It’s the best energy,” he said. As she grew, Pedrito included her in his band’s work, even building an entire song around her voice. Viona enables Pedrito to see “the way life gets better and better… I am very happy in my life.” Pedrito’s music is his life, but not in the sense that he is obsessed with it and neglects those around him. Rather, it is his life in that everything — his daughter, his wife, the music he hears, the experiences he has — becomes part of his music. Everything goes into that AfroCuban blender, which Thelonious Monk sits stirring, and comes out
infectiously alive. It is not possible to listen dispassionately to the Pedrito Martinez Group. At the very least, your body feels the need to move. This July his parents were able to come to New York for the first time since Pedrito left Cuba. Together they celebrated Viona’s ninth birthday. Asked what he thought about having his whole family together for the first time, Pedrito said, “Awesome, brother.” With a life this full and joyous, it’s anyone’s guess where Pedrito’s music will go next. Wherever that may be, Bangor will get a preview at this year’s American Folk Festival.
here,” Shumays said. “And also, on the other side of it, it’s a way of presenting the more intense art music in a way that has more of a fun context.” Whether Arab or American, Shumays said Zikrayat’s audiences enjoy the show. “They love it,” he said. “I think that’s partly because it’s unfamiliar stuff … You can get people interested if there’s a little bit of variety. I have really great performers, and we present a very dynamic show. We’ve gotten a very positive reaction.” Zikrayat has done many festivals, including in Lowell, Mass., but aside from a trip here for a friend’s wedding, Shumays hasn’t experienced Maine. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I always like going to new places, and I very much like bringing our music to new audiences.” Zikrayat tops out at about 14 members, including seven or eight musicians and five dancers, but Shumays rarely travels with the entire ensemble. There will be four
in Bangor: Shumays on violin, Tareq Abboushi on buzuq (a longnecked, fretted lute); Apostolos Sideris on bass; and Faisal Zedan on percussion. The group will put on a show that recalls classic performances from those films, some of them remembered and many long forgotten, bringing to us the culture and folklore of another land. The group is a mix of Americanborn Arabs, like Shumays; native Arabs living in the U.S.; and even some Americans who are not Arab at all. For example, his bass player, Apostolos Sideris, is Greek of Egyptian parents. His dancers are mostly not Arabic, as Arab women tend to not be belly dancers for cultural reasons. Coming to Bangor with Zikrayat is Youssef Kassab, a Syrian who has lived in the U.S. for nearly 40 years. “He’s really, on the East Coast, probably the greatest living master vocalist of the old style — both the Syrian and the Egyptian traditions,” said Shumays. “When we’re
doing a show with him, it’s more about him than a lot of the other stuff we do.” Kassab’s work overlaps with theirs, but he leans more toward heavier stuff but also does more light folkloric genres. Shumays says they’ll do a number of different things with Kassab in Bangor. “He really knows how to get an audience worked up and excited,” Shumays said. “He engages very well with the audience.” At 75, Kasaab still has great vocal power and the ability to capture a whole range of moods. “It’s really a lot of fun to perform with him, and I think the audiences will find him very engaging,” Shumays said. “In a sense, Youssef represents the ArabAmerican tradition… This sort of Arab-American performance has been here a long time, and he’s one of the great representatives of that.” Shumays, born and raised in New York City, says he feels a sense of pride in his Arab heritage, and a responsibility to show this particu-
lar subculture to others. “You’re always educating at the same time as you’re performing,” he said. “There’s always a little bit of cultural ambassadorship, because it’s unfamiliar audiences, and it’s nice to expose new people to it and get new people existed about something that you love.” That’s especially true recently, when there’s more positive attention on the Arab world, after a more negative view in the past 10 years. “There’s this sort of feeling that Arabs aren’t complete human beings — that Arabs are Muslims and terrorists,” said Shumays. “There’s a strong stereotype of Arabs that’s built up over the last hundred years; there’s this sort of layer of assumptions about a group of people you’re not familiar with. But when people do see that we’re doing something that, from the Arab culture, is entertaining and fun and interesting and engaging — it gives them a different picture, and that’s something good that I feel like I can do.”
“The beauty of New York is all the cultures and influences. I learn so much… [my music is] 50 percent from Cuba, 50 percent from here.”
Zikrayat Continued from Page 25 never heard that song... we have to find a way to put this together,’” Shumays recalled. He and his wife were independently working with musicians and dancers at the time, and brought them together to form Zikrayat. The group won’t be bringing dancers to Bangor, but Shumays pointed out the cultural issues of Arabic dancing. Americans view belly dancing as exotic and don’t understand that it’s an art form; yet in the Arab world, it isn’t often viewed as such, either. In those old movies, plots often oriented around female characters who were dancers, and who had difficult lives because of that, or were hiding the fact that they were dancers. “We’re trying to equalize the music and the dance artistically, both because the dance had this bad rap both in the Arab world and
The Brotherhood Singers African American a cappella Gospel Northern Kentucky
Saturday: 5:15 p.m. (Penobscot, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning: Blues & Gospel Traditions); 7:30 p.m. (Railroad). Sunday: Noon (Railroad); 5 p.m. (Two Rivers).
as if there’s no one watching...
BY SHEILA GRANT BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Gospel might be the beginning and the end for the Brotherhood Singers, an African American a cappella gospel group, but it is not the whole story. “When we come to Maine, we plan to open up into all areas of the spirit,” said Eric “Ric” Jennings, president of the group. “We normally start off with a patriotic song, and we sing gospel, and we sing that song your husband used to describe how much he loved you back when you started dating. We sing something for everyone. The reason we decided to spread out into those other areas is that some folks just aren’t comfortable with gospel and we wanted to remind folks that you can get that same spirit and same joy by approaching it from a different angle.” Jennings, who grew up in Kentucky in a family of singers and learned his vocal techniques at the knee of his parents, took a circuitous route to the stage. After high school, he went into law enforcement, spend-
“Everything we’re about is not necessarily gospel, but we it’s about feeling good, and inspiration and bringing them hope. Sometimes when ‘the word’ is spoken to you, or preached, it can’t get through, but maybe music can get through to your soul.” —Stace Darden ing two years with the U.S. Army Military Police. Returning to civilian life and work with various police forces, Jennings missed music. He joined the Ninth Street Baptist Church choir in Covington, Ky., and the church’s Brotherhood men’s group. Jennings was one of the founding members when the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers formed their group in 1988. “One thing Ric always likes to tell people is that we like to do music
that’s soothing to the taste buds of the soul,” said Stace Darden, who joined the group in 2007. “Everything we’re about is not necessarily gospel, but it’s about feeling good, and inspiration and bringing them hope. Sometimes when ‘the word’ is spoken to you, or preached, it can’t get through, but maybe music can get through to your soul.” Darden was the youngest deacon
See BROTHERHOOD, next page
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lophone; players slide thumbs or fingers of tongues that vibrate to create resonance.) He also focused on the nsambi, a instrument strung with palm fibers. The influence of these instruments helped shape Samba later as a master guitarist, with a unique style you won’t see elsewhere. Key to his musical interests was his father’s use of music. His father, an nganga healer, played the nsambi. He used chants and songs along with his herbal medicines in healing rituals, and it was through this that Samba realized the natural healing power of music. “My father used to combine the plant and the music together. Every time he used to cure, he used the music,” Samba said. “Music — because we are music, we are sound, and now using sound to talk, you and me. It is the things we are… The sound can help the healing because we are sound.” Soon, Samba accompanied his father’s healing rituals by playing the likembe. But as a young man, he knew that the people of the Congo needed more than just physical heal-
neighboring nations plagues the kingdom until civil war disrupted it Congolese from 1665-1709, but it recovered to Santa Cruz, Calif. some degree, and several other kingdoms existed. European division of Friday: 9:45 p.m. (Railroad). most of Africa in the 1880s ended the natives’ autonomous rule. Saturday: Noon (Penobscot, Guitar Slingers & The 20th century saw great Song Singers); 3:30 p.m. (Railroad); 9:15 p.m. changes, especially with the political (Dance Pavilion). crisis that began in 1960, and in 1964 Sunday: 4:30 p.m. (Dance Pavilion). young Samba moved to the Congolese city of Brazzaville to play guitar for BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK influential band Echo Noire. The BANGOR DAILY NEWS band then relocated to Paris, soon becoming well-known across Europe There’s something mesmerizing and Africa. Samba broke from Echo and infectious about listening to Noire in 1971 and founded a new Samba Ngo and watching him pergroup, M’Bamina, with Father Chrisform. You’ll find your feet unable to tian De La Bretesche and Antoinne keep still. You’ll want to get up and Nkouka, recording nine albums and move, which is why two of his shows touring the world for 14 years. at the festival will be at the Dance But Samba wanted more studio Pavilion. It looks as if the Pavilion experience, and wanted to expand his will be put to seriously good use music, so in 1986 he moved to the when Samba takes the stage. United States. Today, living in Santa “Music is the soul,” he said. “The Cruz, Calif., he often returns to spirit, for me, is only the sound Paris, where’s he’s highly revered. process.” Following the American Folk FestiSamba Ngo (pronounced “en-go”) is val, this goodwill ambassador who sure to charm audiences, as he always educates the world about his homedoes, but amidst the dancing land will return to the and fun, the audience will Congo for the first time in be introduced to Samba’s “Music is the soul. The spirit, for many years to play a series world, that of the African of concerts. me, is only the sound process.” Congo, and exposed to Today, Samba sings in Linthings of which they’re pergala, his native language, as haps unaware. And that’s well as French and English, “It’s my pleasure to share the what Samba wants to do. and there’s always powerful music. The music can make you And Samba’s music gets meaning behind his songs. dance, the music can make you cry, With 19 studio albums spanpeople dancing, and that’s what he likes to see when ning a career in Africa, the music can make you think. he performs. “It’s my pleasFrance, and the U.S., his I love the music.” ure to share the music,” he homeland’s political tursaid. “The music can make moil and societal challenges you dance, the music can are always at the forefront make you cry, the music can make ing — they needed cultural healing of his music. you think. I love the music.” amidst the political and societal tur“It’s in my body very deeply, and I Samba grew up in the village of moil that exploded in the 1960s. try to communicate that,” he said. Dibulu in the Democratic Republic of Political unrest is nothing new in “Women are still raped in the Congo; Congo, where “Life was fantastic,” the Congo, whose history and culwe need to look for better things for Samba said. “It was artistically ture stretches back 4,000 years. The ourselves. The politicians cannot do good.” Kingdom of Kongo was established this for us. We never get peace. We He was drawn to music as a young around 1400, unifying a broad region have the most poor people. So poor, age, fascinated by the likembe — a but including slavery as part of so poor… that is my struggle.” handheld “thumb piano,” usually everyday life. When the Europeans Samba loves presenting to Ameriwith 15 or 17 notes, and sometimes arrived before the turn of the next cans. He has been to Maine before, with a resonant chamber. (For the century, the region became a major but not to Bangor, and “I am really musically inclined, it’s a lamelsource of exported slaves. War with excited” to come here, he says, as he
Brotherhood Continued from previous page ordained at the New Jerusalem Baptist Church in 1999, which earned him the nickname “Babydeac.” Darden, his wife, and six children are members of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, where he has ministered on the Praise Team with the Fire Choir, and as a soloist during services. Darden also performs with the Duke Energy Choir. Being an Ohio member of a Kentucky-based group, Darden is quick to point out, “They had to come across the river to get real singers!” “If you sing, on your way to heaven you just might have to come through Kentucky,” Jennings fired back, laughing. Audiences might assume that the Brotherhood are traditional gospel singers — until they see them in person. “When they get the chance to meet these guys personally, and a chance to experience the ministry, the audience relaxes,” said Jennings. “This is a great bunch of guys who just act like themselves. They don’t pretend to be any better than anyone else.” Greg Page is another founding member of the Brotherhood and, like Jennings, served in
the U.S. Army, and joined the Ninth Street Baptist choir once he became a civilian. Before his stint in the army, Page sang with radio station WCIN with “Bugs” Scruggs. Eric Riley has been an opening act for Ray Charles, The Dixie Hummingbirds, M.C. Hammer, Ike Turner, and other artists. He has made two appearances as a background vocalist on the Bobby Jones Gospel Hour on television channel BET. When he’s not crooning with the Brotherhood, Riley enjoys teaching vocals at the Frank Duvenek Center in Covington, Ky. Demetrius “Chilly Wind” Davenport began his singing career at age 7 in front of his elementary school student body. His a cappella skills were honed under the tutelage of David Godfrey, currently of The Mistics, and the late William Godfrey, of The Original Harptones of Cincinnati. Davenport, like most of the Brotherhood, felt the call of duty to country, and served for seven years as a United States Marine. In his professional bio, Jennings mentions being thankful to the Lord for “the many prayers from families and friends even when times seem hopeless.” That, he said, refers to the early days of the group. “Some of the guys had personal matters that they were challenged with, and trying to put that together with the group schedule made for some difficult moments,” said Jennings. “We
will be able to bring his music and culture to another new land. “I think it is the way to communicate,” he said. “For me, I consider myself really the voice of those who don’t have a voice in my country. For me it’s very important for people to know exactly who we are.” Samba says all human beings are sound, and sound is what they’ll get at his performance. More than that, he hopes they hear a message in that sound. “I want them to hear about my country — something maybe some-
thought at times we might have to take a break for a while, but we stayed in prayer and turned it over to the Almighty, and when you do that you always get things done. At one time we just didn’t think we were going to be able to move forward with this group, but when we rooted ourselves in faith, it made a big difference. I mentioned the hard times because I wanted to show that you can overcome anything through Christ. Looking back now, those hard times are what helped us to grow stronger.” The Brotherhood Singers have performed in churches, secular music venues, and television spots throughout the United States, and have toured in Canada and Spain. Their fifth album is currently in production. Jennings and Darden have never been to Maine, and don’t think other Brotherhood members have, either. “I’m planning on brining some extra oxygen with me because I understand it is breathtaking up there,” said Jennings. “We are looking forward to being in the midst of you good folks.” In addition to inspiring their audiences in Bangor, Jennings and Darden are looking forward to experiencing local cuisine. Darden is a fan of “really good clam chowder” and is looking forward to trying other foods “you can only get up in Bangor, Maine.” Jennings, a fan of the Travel Channel’s show Bizarre Foods, has
body didn’t hear about the Congo and, and they think for maybe five minutes about the Congolese and the African people,” he said. But in a broader sense, “[I want] to have a better life for everybody on the Earth,” he said. “We are travelers, we are traveling; we are born and we’re going to die. And this is fantastic. That’s why it’s very good to have this artistic communication. God presented life, and life is a gift… Music is life for me — life, communication, and trying to bring that to the world.”
seen footage featuring Maine delicacies and is looking forward to sampling as many as possible — though he hasn’t managed to develop a taste for lobster despite his best efforts. Darden said the Brotherhood Singers are especially pleased that one of their performances at the American Folk Festival is the opening slot on Sunday. Jennings said the group is looking forward to being interactive with the audience, and that often someone from the crowd is selected to come up on stage and sing with them. “You can come up and sing in any key you want and these guys can pick it up immediately,” he said. “If they allow us to have cordless microphones, they may be in trouble, too, because we may be down in the crowd with them,” added Darden. It’s not all fun and games, though. “Singing a cappella is a lot like walking on a tightrope without a net,” Darden said. “We start out on a key, and once you start, that’s it. You have to go with it. We have to have a lot of faith and practice so that when it’s time to sing we hit the right note at the right time. If people notice we’re not on the right note, they may also notice that we’ll start to laugh or make faces at each other, but within a couple of bars we’re back on track. We try to have fun with it.”
Music Continued from Page 5 and got myself a signed CD and a grateful cowboy who got a newspaper clipping that he planned to give to his mother. The last year of the National in 2004 brought more than two dozen acts. I continued my French fascination with Creole and zydeco from Dexter Ardoin and Acadian from Vishten. Irish step dancing got my heart pounding with Donny Golden and Cara Butler. More blues flowed into town with Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins. And The Quebe Sisters blew everyone away with their youthful grace and Texas fiddling. Gypsy
music filled the air with the hypnotic Harmonia, and the sound of the dobro guitar from Jerry Douglas showed why he is a regular contributor to the music of Alison Krauss. I fell in love again, this time with an elegant world traveler, Ricardo Lemvo, who spoke French to me when he heard my name and signed his CD of African-Cuban music with hearts. Yes, hearts. For me. The question for 2005 was whether the first American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront would deliver the same punch as the National. It did. The Skatalites brought Jamaican ska, a music driven by the horns. And was there ever such a delightfully sultry night as when Bettye LaVette belted out the blues
with a sweet, sweet rhythm? The cool and hip sounds of Don Vappie and the Creole Jazz Serenaders made me feel like I’d been transported back in time, shooting the breeze with the gang. My favorite that year was Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, a Cajun band that rocked the dance tent and the rest of the waterfront. One never would have known from their shows that wearing on their minds was the forecasted Hurricane Katrina, which was bearing down on their home state of Louisiana. In 2006, we had the heart-thumping Japanese taiko drumming. For dancing, Grupo Fantasma made the ground shake in the dance tent. And the performance that made you shiver and marvel at the
Continued on next page
BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Wylie Gustafson wakes up the crowd with his real Western music in 2003.
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Continued from previous page same time were the Tuvan throat singers, an eerie but compelling sound made by one person voicing two or more pitches at the same time. 2007 brought klezmer and merengue and Inuit throat singing to Bangor. There were electric blues and acoustic blues, a barbershop quartet and Jamaican reggae. There was Finnish and Polish music. And it all flowed along the waterfront as natural as the Penobscot. You could do the seductive Argentine tango in 2008, or laugh to the antics of Chuck & Albert with their Acadian sensibilities. We had Moroccan, Persian and Senegalese, along with Irish, Haitian and Caribbean. And the beat went on and on with the mesmerizing Jason Samuels Smith, a tap dancer extraordinaire, and Pan-
dit Chitresh Das, a North Indian Kathak dance master, as they showed how cultures are echoes of each other because we humans have a lot in common. A cowboy named Brice Chapman, this one a trick roper, wowed the crowd in 2009, while the gentle voice and awesome imagination of Gene Tagaban, a Tlingit storyteller and musician, soothed the souls of everyone listening. There was Brazilian and Bulgarian, Ethiopian and Andean. Last year, we heard from Rahim AlHaj, who plays the Iraqi oud, with its haunting sounds. Noreum Machi delivered colorful, thumping traditional drumming and dances of Korea, while The Other Europeans brought together klezmer and gypsy music from a region where the two
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK
Rahim AlHaj entrances audiences with his lute-like oud in 2010.
cultures once lived in harmony before World War II disrupted lives. And the pure energy from the Pine Leaf Boys lit up the Queen City as they rocked the town with Cajun sounds. This is what has filled our senses the last weekend in August since 2002. Scores of performers have jour-
neyed to this city — a near-fabled destination now in folk circles according to some musicians — to bring us the world as we never would have experienced it otherwise. It has helped to transform this waterfront in ways we never would have imagined without that seed planted so many performances ago.
The words of a cowboy who played here long ago saunter through my mind at every festival because they embody what this event is. “On a summer day, under clear blue skies, my troubles flitter away like a little bird, I’m in paradise.” Welcome to our folk festival. Welcome to paradise.
FOLK|Food Dozens of dining options all across the Festival site
CHILDREN’S VILLAGE St. Johns Episcopal Church Bangor, Maine Popcorn, string cheese singles, Gogurt singles, Flavor Ice popsicles, fruit snax singles, pretzels, Nabisco cookie singles, Utz or Sun chip singles, Ritz bits, cookies, peanut butter and jelly. Oranges, apples, more.
MAIN FOOD COURT Aucoin Concessions Litchfield, Maine Lemonade, fruit smoothie, iced tea, hot chocolate.
cole slaw, brownie, ice cream, hot and iced coffee. Hampden Congregational Church Hampden, Maine Strawberry shortcake, blueberry shortcake, coffee, tea, hot chocolate.
Crescent Foods Middlebury, Vt. Vegetarian fare: burritos, quesadillas, cajun red beans and rice, portobello wrap, Szechuan noodles, salad wrap, iced chai, iced green tea, lemonade, assorted teas.
Latin Express Bangor, Maine Empanadas, tamales, salsa.
Aucoin Concessions Litchfield, Maine Lemonade, fruit smoothies, iced tea, hot chocolate.
Fair Catch Penobscot, Maine Lobster meat rolls, crabmeat rolls, Maine French fries.
Camden Doughnut Co. Lincolnville, Maine Fresh mini donuts, cold apple cider, frozen cappucino, iced and hot coffee, Klondike bars.
Fat Guys Concession Gray, Maine Sausage subs, steak subs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, kielbasa, potato chips, whoopie pies.
Mr. Jacks Catering Service Billerica, Mass. Deep-fried mac & cheese, sausage subs, hot dogs, burgers, turkey legs, hot wings, French fries, steak-tip subs, pulled-pork sandwich.
DANCE TENT FOOD COURT
CC’s Spiral Sweet Potatos Sarasota, Fla. Sweet potato chips, regular potato chips, fried pickles, lobster bisque, clam chowder, corn dogs, fried bananas foster. Siri Grill Manassas, Va. Thai grilled chicken, vegetable fried rice, vegetable fried noodles, fried plantains, vegetable eggrolls. The Paddy Wagon Presque Isle, Maine French fries, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, Italian sausage, onion rings, tenderloin clams, chicken tenders, nachos.
First Congregational Church of Brewer Brewer, Maine Handmade root-beer floats, hot and cold cider. Fruit Bouquets by Rogers Market Brewer, Maine Granny Smith apples dipped in caramel then coated with toppings and chocolate, chocolate dipped strawberries or pineapple. Hammond Street Congregational Church Bangor, Maine Bean suppah, hot dogs, beans,
Maine Falafel Company Washington, Maine Falafel flat bread sandwiches, chicken flatbread sandwiches.
Noon Family Sheep Farm Springvale, Maine Lamb: shishkebab, sausage, lamb & veggie wrap, chops, ribs.
RAILROAD BULKHEAD FOOD COURT
Orrs Island Chowder Orrs Island, Maine Orrs Island chowder.
Hammerhead Seafood St. Petersburg, Fla. Alligator bites, crawfish etouffee, bourbon chicken, shrimp creole, crab cake etouffee, crawfish, po-boys, beignets, iced tea.
Pizza Pie on the Fly Portland, Maine Gourmet wood-fired pizza
John’s Ice Cream Liberty, Maine Ice cream, sundaes.
St. George Greek Orth. Church Bangor, Maine Gyros, souvlaki, Athenian burgers, spanakopita, baklava, kourambiethes, rizogalo, lemonade, coffee.
Mainely Cookouts Newburgh, Maine Pulled-pork sandwiches.
Stone Concessions Whitefield, Maine Blooming onions. Taste of India Bangor, Maine Samosa, nan, chicken tiki masala, lamb curry, mix vegetables, aloo palak, chicken masala, mango juice, mango lassi, lassi. Three Leaf Foods Cumberland, Maine Sauteed veggie and veggie and chicken wraps. Vicky’s Concessions Skowhegan, Maine Crab rangoon, chicken satay, chicken wings, pad Thai, Thai lomien, Thai fried rice, chicken with broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, garlic chicken, noodles with vegetables. Yogi’s Traveling Kitchen Springfield, Maine Doughboys, funnel cakes.
Mainely Smoked Salmon Perry, Maine Smoked salmon sticks, smoked haddock steaks, smoked salmon dip. Nickersons Kettle Corn Newburgh, Maine Kettle corn. The Smoothie Shack Camden, Maine Sandwich wraps, smoothies.
United Cerebral Palsy of Maine Bangor, Maine Blueberry smoothies. Tim Hortons Coffee, capuccino, donuts
BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Every year, great things happen in the children’s area. But this year promises to be the greatest yet, as the children’s area, headed by the Maine Discovery Museum as it has for the previous nine years of the AFF, fully embraces the varied folk traditions of the American Folk Festival to immerse 3,000 to 4,000 kids in new cultures and great fun. The Children’s Village will feature activities and events in ethnic “neighborhoods” where children can learn about other cultures. The neighborhoods will be oriented around the Town Square, where there will be other programming. “I’m very excited that, for probably the first time in nine years, there’s more community involvement,” said Trudi Plummer, director of education at MDM. “There are other organizations and other groups that are involved in this and not just the Maine Discovery Museum… I’m really excited that it’s an authentic cul-
FOLK|Kids The American Folk Festival has activities galore for adventurous kids! tural contribution. We have groups who are really thinking about what children are doing in their cultures for crafts, and bringing it to the folk festival and teaching the children.” Of course, kids love crafts. “Every time you have a toy or something that makes noise or something that glows — the kids just love it,” Plummer said. “If it’s something that they can play with, they can play with the band, that’s just a really, really good project… If you give kids an openended project with attractive materials, they’ll run with it.” It was AFF board member Maria Baeza who first came up with the ethic-communities idea, and once she told others about it, the excitement has been building. “In Puerto Rico, every town has a plaza, a town square,” said Baeza, a Puerto Rican native. “And that’s where everyone congregates and exchanges stories and exchanges whatever. And I thought, ‘We could have a town square.’” Niles Parker, director of the Maine Discovery Museum, came up with
the idea to add a Passport for the children to bring to the various neighborhoods. The Passport will feature pages for area stamps and information, a “draw your picture” page, a place to record “My Festival Favorites,” and more. “There is no end to where we can go with this,” Baeza said. The Neighborhoods All the neighborhoods will have language lessons for kids. The kids will learn how to say basic words and phrases such as “please,” “thank you,” “hello,” “good-bye,” and “I love you” in various language. Each neighborhood will have special crafting events going on. Here’s what’s expected as of press time. The Native American neighborhood, headed by Brianne Lolar, will feature crafts making drums or rattles, as well as painting and drawing animals. The Franco-American & Acadian neighborhood, with Rhea Cote Robbins at the helm, will show children how to make spoons (as in
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK
Young volunteers help the Maine Discovery Museum in many ways, including preparing crafts for the children’s area at the American Folk Festival. Kalyn Van Valkenburgh (left), 17, of Erskine Academy, interns at Penobscot Theater, doing children’s camps in the morning and decided to volunteer at the MDM. “It’s a fun place to be,” she said. Her partner, Eva Leaden , 12, of All Saints Catholic School, said, “I just do it for the fun of it.” Kalyn is holding Latin American maracas and Franco-American paper dancing dolls, and is wearing Mexican paper flowers. Eva is holding a Chinese paper lantern with a light inside and a Native American paper-cut fish. Kids will be able to make all these and more in the Children’s Village on Saturday and Sunday. musical instruments). There will also be gigueux, paper dancing dolls known as “dancing jacks.” In the Latino neighborhood, Maria Sandweiss will help children make maracas, Mexican flowers, and yarn paintings.and papel picado, which is paper cut into intricate designs. And in the Chinese neighborhood, Bingyu Zhang will show children how to make paper lanterns, and children can play the popular Chinese children’s game of “Go Fishing” to win sticker prizes.
At Machias Savings Bank we believe in the enrichment of the communities we live in. That’s why we are proud to support The American Folk Festival, because it brings the tradition and excitement of cultures from across the world right to our own back yard.
©2011 Machias Savings Bank. Member FDIC.
Other Components to the Children’s Village Facepainting: This popular event will still occur, this time with the painters doing images and symbols suggested by the various communities. Street mosaic: Kids will be able to take chalk and create their own graf-
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK
There will still be facepainting in the Children’s Village, but in addition to the usual designs, kids will be able to get images and symbols from the various ethnic communities painted as well as they get exposed to four unique cultures: Chinese, FrancoAmerican/Acadian, Latino, and Native American.
fiti on Broad Street. Baby activity area Story time: Stories with the Raising Readers program, multi-lingual versions of Children’s stories Nursing Moms’ tent Town Square Activities The Children’s Village will feature a small stage, and things will be going on Saturday and Sunday. For times and days, check out the Children’s Village schedule on the map in the center of this supplement. Here’s what the kids will find: Merengue: Kids will learn this popular Latin American dance. Franco-American/Acadian songs with Michael Parent. Native American dancing, drumming, or chant groups. Chinese “rabbit dance” lessons
See KIDS, next page
Kids Continued from previous page Chinese dances with Jie Chen Poetry with The Sardine Project poets, Gary Lawless and Karen Spitfire “Page to Stage” with Otrude Moyo & Lulu Hawkes Sugandha Shankar will demonstrate dances from India And there will be presentations from students in the International Program at the University of Maine. Why This Is Important Baeza talks about the importance of the new Children’s Village and the various ethnic neighborhoods: “I have memories of growing up in New York and having friends from different ethnic backgrounds and visiting them, which usually meant visiting ethnic neighborhoods. I was
thinking about the Children’s Area and how to incorporate the overall experience of the American Folk Festival; i.e.; experiencing the rich traditions of diverse cultures. What if we created neighborhoods where kids had the opportunity to experience the richness of different cultures? The more we shared these ideas, the more the idea grew: let’s do passports, let’s have the face painting reflect symbols from those neighborhoods, let’s share activities that come from the traditions of these cultures. Let’s have a town square like I remembered from Puerto Rico, “una plaza,” where the people from those cultural neighborhoods gathered to share their stories, their music, their dance, their traditions with each other. What a great
Maria Baeza opportunity to have the various ethnic communities in Maine be able to share their cultures with the children of Maine. That is at the heart of the Children’s Village: a meeting place for neighbors to learn about each other, to learn how we are different and yet the same.”
The Maine Discovery Museum Children’s Village
WISH LIST THE MUSEUM NEEDS YOUR HELP! The Children’s Village is an ambitious project to serve thousands of kids. The Maine Discovery Museum needs your help with donations of crafting materials. If you, your friends, your family, or your neighbors have anything like these items around the house that you’re not using, the MDM can use them! Don’t have anything kicking around but want to help out? Visit a local dollar store, and you can come up with plenty of helpful materials for just a few bucks.
For a drum making project we need various tins and canisters: Metal coffee cans Oatmeal and breadcrumb containers Cookie tins Powdered formula containers
WE ALSO NEED:
Glue sticks Seashells Silk Flowers, even little bits and pieces Masking tape and scotch tape Ribbon and ribbon scraps Beads and Buttons Sequins and glitter Colorful yarn and Feathers Bits and pieces of costume jewelry Pipe Cleaners Left over craft supplies like glue, markers, etc. Hole punches, child proof scissors Simply drop off your bags or boxes at the front desk of the Maine Discovery Museum in downtown Bangor and let the desk staff know it’s for the American Folk Festival; leave your name and contact information if you want to. If you’re unsure whether or not your goodies can be used, please call (207) 262-7200 (Trudi Plummer) or email email@example.com.
FOLK|Demos Pages 37-40
Then handing down of Maine’s heritage
Maine Farm Traditions Visitors to the Folk and Traditional Arts Area near the Harbor Master building will learn about how Maine Farm traditions have played and continue to play an important role in Maine’s history. Maine Farmers are innovative and are working to find ways to continue to provide food security to Maine people in the future. Come by the folk and traditional arts area to meet some of today’s farmers, or learn how to keep bees, make a cold frame, create compost, or garden in containers. Learn how to save
money by making your own bread and pancake mixes, preserving garden produce safely, and making your own cheeses. Watch local chefs prepare delicious meals from farmer’s market produce. Hear farmers talk about how they are meeting today’s energy and climate change challenges, and listen to some of Maine’s farmer poets and musicians talk about how their occupation shapes their artistic creations. Come by the demonstration tent and view exhibits of Native American creations
NARRATIVE STAGE PRESENTERS NARRATIVE STAGE SCHEDULE Saturday Noon – 1 p.m. Meet Your Maine Farmers Facilitator: Gary Anderson UMaine Cooperative Extension. Panelists: Barbara Brooks, Seal Cove Farm; Jason Kafka, Checkerberry Farm; Henry Perkins, Bullridge Farm 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Food preservation Jason Bolton, UMaine Cooperative Extension 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Growing Herbs with Master Gardener Heather Gordon 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Beekeeping Dos and Donts with Carol Cottrill 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Maine Farmer Poets Facilitator: Judy Hakola Panelists: Sid and Sunny Stutzman, Patricia Ranzoni, Russell Libby
Sunday Noon – 1 p.m. Maine Farmer Poets Facilitator: Judy Hakola. Panelists: Sid and Sunny Stutzman, Patricia Ranzoni, Russell Libby 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. How to make cheese Scott Belanger of Olde Oak Farms 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. How to Make Master Mixes with Gail Lane, UM Extension 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Farmer’s market cooking competition Facilitator: Deb Averill 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Cooking competition tasting and judging
Barbara Brooks Seal Cove Farm Seal Cove Farm’s co-owner, Barbara Brooks, acquired her first goat, a Saanen doe named Jill, in 1976. Her goat herd swiftly grew, and she decided to try her hand at making cheese. She credits then-New Sharon goat farmers Camilla Stege, Doris Walker, and Penny Dunkin as her mentors and teachers. Over the years, she has honed her knowledge and techniques learning how to make tommes (small, aged disks), pyramides (both natural and ash-covered), and bricks (both aged and fresh) from a French cheese maker in Provence. Seal Cove Farm gradually grew from a kitchen operation to a licensed Grade A dairy. The goat herd, too, grew from 20 to 125. Jason and Barbara Kafka Checkerberry Farm Jason and Barbara have been on their farm for over 30 years. They began by looking for a place to raise animals and a family and found their “handyman special” in Parkman, with overgrown fields, a woodlot that had never seen a skidder, and a house and barn that needed TLC. Over the years they insulated, they renovated and farmed, working gardens and raising many animals. From a 40-acre 1860s farm that hadn’t been used much since the 1940s, they built Checkerberry Farm. Located in Parkman, Maine, population 700, the farm purchase was a quality-of-life decision and an affordable find when the Massachusetts couple began homesteading in 1981, reclaiming overgrown fields for dairy goats and Barbara’s garden. Henry Perkins Bullridge Farm Henry Perkins is an award-winning organic dairy farmer and an agricultural pioneer. His experiments with dozens of varieties of grains and oil seeds over the past decade, often under Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grants or otherwise partnered with university faculty, have informed many New England researchers as well as farmers. Henry was an organic dairy farmer for more than 30 years. Located in Albion, Maine, Bullridge Farm is a plot of land where Henry raised a herd of 70 cows and heifers and grew his own feed grains. He is concurrently the president of the Maine Organic Milk Producers and the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, and is considered to be an agricultural trailblazer with a zeal for trying unconventional ideas. Kate Fogler Fogler Farm/Stonyvale Kate Fogler of Stonyvale (also known as the Fogler Farm) is a familyowned and -operated dairy farm in Exeter, Maine. Nine family members help care for the 1,025 milking cattle and 800 youngstock. The cattle are housed in freestall barns and are milked twice daily in the farm’s parallel parlor. Stonyvale is currently a mixed herd of registered Holstein and grade cattle. The farm originally began with registered animals, and Kate would like them to continue as a part of the farm’s future. In addition to improving the genetic quality of our herd, the biosecurity of the herd has been of great importance through all herd expansions. The purchase of embryos has allowed them to improve our herd genetically and still maintain a high level of biosecurity. Beekeeping with Carol Cotrill Fox Run Farm Carol was introduced to honeybees by her beekeeper uncle when she
See NARRATIVE, Page 40
that celebrate the trees and plants; watch a Micmac basketmaker build a potato basket or learn how Passamaquoddies make herbal medicines. New this year is a farmer’s market, next to the Harbor Master Building and open Saturday and Sunday all day until 5 p.m. Also new: a fun, exciting, and tasty cooking contest on Sunday, featuring chefs from some of Bangor’s downtown restaurants and fresh farmer’s market food. Come and support our Maine farms!
DEMONSTRATION TENT EXHIBITS Folk Preservers Maine Folklife Center University of Maine The Maine Folklife Center is charged with organizing the Folk And Traditional Arts area at the festival. We are collaborating with the Hudson Museum, The Page Farm and Home Museum, and University Extension in presenting exhibits and demonstrations for this year’s program on Maine’s Farming Traditions. The mission of the Maine Folklife Center at UMaine is to enhance understanding of the folklife, folklore, and history of Maine and Atlantic Canada, to encourage appreciation of the diverse cultures and heritage of the region, and thereby to strengthen and enrich our communities. To fulfill our mission we collect — primarily through the use of recorded interviews — preserve, study, and disseminate information about the region’s history and traditional cultures. The Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History is the archival and preservation section of the Maine Folklife Center, which houses and manages all materials the Maine Folklife Center acquires. The Maine Folklife Center is the only organization in the state devoted to the documentation and study of the folklore and oral history of Maine and the Atlantic Provinces. For more information, visit: www.umaine.edu/folklife Hudson Museum University of Maine Among the collection of the Hudson Museum are Maine Indian holdings that celebrate the region’s indigenous plants and trees. Plants were revered and were used to create objects needed for everyday life, such as textiles, tools and utensils. They were gathered as important foodstuffs in the local diet, and were used for medicines for healing and well-being. Birchbark was the fabric of life in the Northeast and was used to make an extraordinary array of domestic and utilitarian objects. Etched plant designs commonly decorated these pieces. Carvings also featured plant motifs, especially rootclubs and basket splint gauges which often included chip-carved plant motifs.
See EXHIBITS, Page 40
FOLK|Demos ONGOING EXHIBITS
Proud Sponsor of the American Folk Festival since the first note.
©2011 People’s United Bank Member FDIC
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Donna Coffin “Growing Vegetables in Containers”: Raising vegetables in containers is a way to overcome impediments to gardening. Smaller families, limited time, smaller lots, and poor soil drainage have been challenges to many aspiring gardeners. We will have many containers of vegetables grown this summer for you to see. With careful attention to the type of container, soil, site, plants per container, and variety selection, you can have a successful mini-garden on your deck or front step. Donna Coffin is an Extension Professor with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. She has worked in Piscataquis County for 30 years assisting farmers and gardeners with sustainable agriculture and home horticulture questions. For the past year, she has assisted farmers in Penobscot County with their questions. She also manages Extension’s
statewide programs in beef, horses and co-leads the statewide home energy program.
Building a raised bed
Gardening in a Raised Bed Kate Garland Learn how to build a raised bed with special features to help extend the growing season. Kate will construct a raised bed and discuss crop selection, drip irrigation, and strategies for managing temperature during the early and late parts of the traditional growing season. Please bring your gardening questions. Kate Garland is the Horticulturist for University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Penobscot County. Garland has a degree in botany, a master’s in horticulture, and has 10 years of professional horticultural experience. She oversees the Master Gardener and Maine Harvest for Hunger programs and supports a number of community gardening efforts throughout Penobscot County.
Micmac Potato-Basket Making Donna Sanipass, Presque Isle Saturday and Sunday Descended from generations of Micmac basketmakers, Donna Sanipass is the daughter of Donald (19282007) and Mary Lafford Sanipass. Donna appeared at the 40th annual Smithsonian Folk Festival in 2006 with her mother. Donna and her family continue to make traditional Micmac work baskets: potato baskets, shopping baskets, packbaskets, and fishing creels. Basketmaking was one of many occupations the Sanipasses worked at to cobble together a living in Northern Maine. Passamaquoddy herbal medicine Fredda Paul, Perry Saturday Fredda Paul is a Passamaquoddy elder carrying on medicine traditions he first learned from his grandmother. His wife, Leslie Wood, is a writer and educator who grew up in Kentucky. They have been involved in a project to preserve the fast-disappearing native knowledge of healing with plants. For his dedication to keeping the medicine tradition alive, Fredda received an honorary doctorate from Unity College in Maine in 2007. There will be a display on traditional Passamaquoddy medicine plants, with 15-minute informal talks at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m. Gardening with Herbs Heather Gordon Are you interested in gardening with herbs? Are you wondering what in the world to do with them once you grow them? If so, come and learn some of the basics about herb gardening: what to grow, when to harvest, and how to use them in the kitchen, in the medicine closet, and around the house. Growing herbs is easy and fun. Heather Gordon lives in St. Albans, Maine with her husband, five children, one son-in-law, six chickens, two cats, and one dog. She is a Master Gardener Volunteer and has been gardening with herbs and using them for cooking and healing for many years.
FOLK|Demos FARMERS’ MARKETS Farmers’ markets have a long tradition in Maine, with dozens happening all across the state throughout the year. This year, the American Folk Festival will feature three farmers in a market on site at the festival, so festival-goers can see what they’re all about... and get some fresh produce! The farmers’ market are open noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday
High Lonesome Acres Harmony Linda and Nelson Bowden grow a wide variety of vegetables on eight acres, including lettuce, sweet corn, winter squash, potatoes, pumpkins, and more. They have about 80 laying hens for farm-fresh free-range eggs and honey from their bees. From their kitchen, they do homemade baked goods, jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, sauces, pickled eggs, and more.
Olde Oak Farm Maxfield Scott Belanger and Jennifer Maeverde own the farm that sits atop Bunker Hill, overlooking the Penobscot River Valley. The 93-acre farm is a state-licensed goat dairy and farmstead cheese producer. Scott and Jennifer are committed to continuing the tradition of rural family farming by educating their customers and the next generation of cheese makers and farmers. They welcome visitors to their farm year-round, and encourage visitors to learn about where their cheese comes from.
Proud sponsor of the American Folk Festival. Now serving the greater Bangor area from two convenient full-service banking locations. BANGOR 609 Broadway | 942-3146 HAMPDEN 57 Western Avenue | 862-2211
Avalon Acres Orchard & Farm Albion Although owners Wendy and Mark Sheriff met in Connecticut and married in Massachusetts, Maine has always been a special place to them. Wendy’s family, the Annises, lived in Maine for many generations dating back to the 1700s. Her father was born in Rockland. The family frequently visited a summer home in Thomaston, and Wendy loved to listen to the many stories that were told about Maine. She always wanted to move to Maine. That dream was finally made possible by a loving, hardworking husband, three great children, a supportive family, and some really great friends that have helped them to re-establish their Maine roots.
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Continuing & Distance Education dll.umaine.edu/cd
anytime...anywhere UMaine faculty, course designers, and IT professionals continue to create new learning landscapes to bring the University of Maine to you. Contact the Continuing and Distance Education Division for information about flexible university courses and programs designed to meet your diverse needs. To learn more, visit our website at
dll.umaine.edu/cd or call 207-581-3143
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Fall 2011 Semester Begins August 29
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Continued from Page 37
was very young. He showed her that the bees would not sting if she observed them quietly and moved slowly when they came near. These fascinating insects captured her interest and she hoped to someday have bees of her own. After moving to Maine, she took a beekeeping class, and has been learning about honeybees ever since. In 2005, she became Maine’s first female Master Beekeeper. Each spring she coordinates and helps teach the Bee School offered by the Western Maine Beekeepers Association. She thoroughly enjoys sharing her knowledge of bees, bee products and honey with anyone who will listen.
The Hudson Museum, located in the Collins Center for the Arts at UMaine, features the Merritt Gallery for temporary exhibits and two permanent galleries; the World Cultures Gallery; a Maine Indian Gallery; the Shoemaker Gallery; and an interactive Culture Lab. Through exhibits and programs, the Hudson Museum celebrates a world of culture and cultures of the world. The Museum’s collections include an extraordinary assemblage of pre-Columbian artifacts ranging from Olmec to Aztec (the William P. Palmer III Collection); Native American holdings from Maine, the Southwest, Northwest Coast, Arctic, and Plains; and collections from Africa, Oceania, and Asia. Visit: www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum
Master Mixes with Gail Lane Gail Lane has been a Nutrition Associate for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Nutrition Education Program for more than 10 years. She provides basic nutrition education to limitedincome people throughout Penobscot County. Gail works with eligible participants one-on-one and in small group settings. She also works in Head Starts and elementary schools in the Greater Bangor area. Jason Bolton Jason will be giving a presentation on safe home food preservation and a
short demo on proper canning techniques. Jason is from Chandler, Az., and is the Assistant Extension Professor and Statewide Food Safety Educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. He’s expected to earn his Ph.D. in Food Science and Human Nutrition December 2011, having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Food Science at University of Maine. Jason is the co-founder and president of Yo Bon, whose product, Yo Bon Blueberry Bites, won the IFT’s Product Development Competition in 2006. From 2005-20010 Jason was part of the University of Maine’s NSF GK-12 teaching fellowship, where he worked with local middle schools to inspire students in the areas of food science.
Farmer Poets Judy Hakola The granddaughter of a small-scale dairy farmer in western Connecticut, Judy took to Maine as an adult because it reminded her so much of the farming and small-town way of life that was a key to her childhood. Teaching courses in Maine literature at the University of Maine for the past decade has enabled her to combine this background and her academic field for both personal satisfaction and — she hopes — her students’ increased appreciation and respect for Maine’s rural heritage. Russell Libby Russell Libby serves on the Board of Directors of the Maine Organic
Farmers and Gardeners Association. He writes poetry in his spare time, and his first book, Balance: A Late Pastoral, was published in 2007. Patricia Ranzoni For centuries, the people of mixedblood Yankee Pat Smith Ranzoni have worked the land in what became Maine and Canada, passing down local knowledge in rhymes, work chants, music and other natural arts. From infancy she learned the rich love of poetic sounds from poor hardworking parents and to read from books hand-sewn by her mother. Her unschooled documentary poems have been published across the country and abroad and she has authored seven books, two hand-sewn. Bedding Vows: Love Poems from Outback Maine is forthcoming from North Country Press. Sid and Sunny Stutzman For more than 40 years, singer/songwriter Sid Stutzman has created a rich history deeply rooted in the music scene of Maine. Sid’s son, Sunny Skies Stutzman, has been his band mate since Sunny was 10. Sid’s writing reflects a deep love for the land and the people, making up what he calls “The Maine Experience.” Being a farmer most of his life has given him a unique opportunity to observe the personalities of native animals, many of which will be found in his songs. His songs also reflect his farming traditions as well. For example, Sid wrote the song “Pass It Down” about his father leaving him the farm upon his death in the fall of 1978.
Page Farm and Home Museum University of Maine Beekeeping played an important role in the development of agriculture in America; however, the honeybee is not native to the Western Hemisphere. Honeybees provided early colonial settlers with nutritious honey and crop pollination; today, beekeeping is as important for farmers as it was in the 1600s. The museum’s exhibit showcases artifacts from early beekeeping methods, as well as pieces from many other farming endeavors and rural traditions. The Page Farm and Home Museum showcases agricultural and domestic life of Maine from 1865
to 1940. The museum is located on the UMaine campus in Orono, within the historic 1833 White Farm Barn, an 1855 schoolhouse, a carriage house, blacksmith shop, and heirloom gardens. The museum venerates Maine heritage by cultivating awareness and appreciation of the state’s rural history. Thousands of patrons, many of them schoolchildren, visit each year to learn about the industry, agriculture, economy, and home life of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Museum also upholds the University’s educational mission through its public events, lecture series, curriculum-intensive school programs, and outreach services. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
FOLK STORIES Recording Maine Farm Lore In the office trailer marked “Mainers Speak” we are collecting and recording the stories of Mainers experiences of farming for future generations. Volunteers will record on digital recordings and these recordings will be preserved in the archives of the Maine Folklife Center for present and future students, researchers or the interested public. If you have a story to tell, stop by and sign up for a time and our students will be happy to hear and record you. We will also provide you with a copy for yourself if you leave your name and address so that we can send it to you.
Celebrating fabulous, fun-filled years of music at the American Folk Festival!
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK
44 Central Street Bangor, Maine 04401 207-947-4511
Under the name “StoryBank,” the folk-stories project has collected stories from people about Maine for the past few years. This year, it’s called “Mainers Speak,” and will encourage Mainers, and those from away with Maine experiences, to record their stories. In this photo, a Mainer relates a tale in the audio booth.
FOLK|Marketplace Pages xx-xx
The place to find the best American goods... made right here in New England
The Folk Arts Marketplace features dozens of artisans who sell hand-crafted items, ranging from wool and knitted items to leatherwork, woodcarving, and jewelry. We encourage you to browse, talk with the artisans, and find a finely crafted treasure to take home. Just Kim Kim Pauley Portland, Maine Handmade bags reversible bags in different sizes and styles, yoga mat bags, wine bags, pouches, key chains, scarves, belts, Christmas stockings, hats, back packs, placemats.
CERAMICS/ POTTERY S Designs Richard & Sharon Sleeper Brewer, Maine Hand-thrown, hand-painted cut flower vases, matching platters and dip bowls.
MoonCrazy Fibre Arts Diantha Turner Houlton, Maine Felted soaps, cat toys, handknit items, felted bags, stitch markers, handspun yarn, soap dishes.
DIVERSE MEDIA Caricatures by PJ Paula Carter Belfast, Maine Caricatures (humorous cartoon portraits). Collette King Studio Collette King Brewer, Maine Note cards, slate magnets, matted prints, small framed prints, wooden cut-outs of Bangor and Maine designs, hand-painted slate pieces. Leatherworkers Bob & Anne Dickens Ellsworth, Maine Hand-cut and -tooled leather items: belts, bags, wallets, sheepskin slippers, sheepskin and leather hats.
Maine Balsam Fir Products Wendy & Jack Newmeyer West Paris, Maine Balsam, balsam oil, balsamfilled pillows, trivets, neck rolls, draft stoppers, pillows and door stops, catnip toys, knit hats, quilts, birch-bark items. Maine Concrete Designs Rosaire Veilleux Bangor, Maine Eco-friendly concrete products: sinks, tables, birdbaths, vanities.
Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm Robin Fowler & Corry Pratt Unity, Maine Raw alpaca fiber, alpaca roving, alpaca yarn and alpaca/wood blend yarn,
handmade alpaca items. Rose Whitehead Fiber Fabrication Rose Whitehead Waldo, Maine Custom-made, hand-dyed clothing, accessories, and wall hangings. Simply Prudence Creations Prudence Simmons Bangor, Maine Hand-sewn catcher bags. True Blue TC Collection Shengzhu & Gene Bernardin Torrington, Conn. All-natural indigo-dyed fab-
ric creations: hangs, purses, tablecloths, placemats, clothes.
HERBAL/ PERSONAL CARE Common Folk Farm Herbs Betsey-Ann & Dale Golon Naples, Maine Fresh herbal garden wreaths, ornaments, potpourri, and sachets. Lavender items, Catnip items. Herbal tea blends, seasonings and culinary products. Gardenrelated items, tea-time accessories.
See MARKET, page 42
Dream Big. Plan Ahead.
Slonina Photography John Slonina North Grafton, Maine Matted wildlife and landscape photos: framed and unframed, photos on gallerywrapped canvas. Timberstone Rustic Arts Mark Guido Montville, Maine Natural stone items for kitchen and home.
A horse from the Painted Pony Shop. Top left: pottery from Homeport Pottery Studio. Top middle: jewelry from YIKES! Studio.
Vance Guitars & Ukuleles Vance Peters Bucksport, Maine Custom koa-wood guitars and ukuleles.
HELP MAKE THE DREAM A REALITY! Plan for tomorrow by investing today in the NextGen College Investing Plan . ®
Ask your Maine bank, financial advisor, or FAME about Maine benefits.
1-800-228-3734 or FAMEmaine.com NextGen is a Section 529 plan administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Before you invest in NextGen, request a NextGen Program Description from your Maine bank or financial advisor, or call FAME at 1-800-228-3734 and read it carefully. The Program Description contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in NextGen, which you should carefully consider before investing. You also should consider whether your home state or your designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s 529 plan. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker-dealer, member SIPC, is the program manager and underwriter.
Continued from Page 41 Fields of Dreams Soaps Charles Ouillette Scarborough, Maine Olive-oil-based soaps. Glendarragh Farm Lavender Lorie Costigan Appleton, Maine Lavender lotion, body butter, sachets, soaps, felted soap skins, bunches. Maine Coast Herbals Mary Joan Mondello Corinth, Maine Medicinal skin-care products, facial and body soaps, herbal supplements, tinctures and teas, essential and mas-
Adornments by Lisa Bess Lisa Bess Portland, Maine Hand-etched and -painted recycled copper earrings, brooches, vista necklaces, earrings, eyeglass and badge holders. Hand-designed pewter castings.
sage oils, herbal pet products. Mountain Mama of Maine Janet Edwards Anson, Maine Herbal personal care: salves, spritzers, moisturizers, tinctures, oils, tonics.
Naturally Bee-Ewe-Tiful Sandra Hare Linneus, Maine Beeswax-based skin-care products: lip balm, lotions, hand and foot creams, deodorant, shaving balm, sea-salt scrubs, insect repellent, baby shampoo, dog
Affinity 2 Marlene Reali Scarborough, Maine Hand-fabricated metalsmith and silversmith work: earrings, necklaces, rings, barrettes, pins. Hand-painted Japanese rice-paper jewelry. Beach Worn Jewelry Marie Katherine Devine Sorrento, Maine
Sea-glass jewelry: earrings, bracelets, pendants, necklaces, rings. Finesse Nancy Marshall Madison, Maine Beaded earrings, beaded necklaces, gemstone earrings and necklaces, 14k-gold and sterling-silver designs, wirewrapped designs, gemstone rings. Green Mountain Enamel Works Michael Entriken W. Danville, Vt. Enamel-on-metal jewelry, metal dishes and metal boxes. Hand Knotted Linen Jewelry Rosemarie DiLernia Brooks, Maine Hand-knotted jewelry: neck-
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Top to bottom: Caricatures by PJ; bag by Just Kim; and jewelry by Glass Orchids.
Continued from previous page laces, watch bands, bracelets, earrings. Lee Art Glass Studio Gouldsboro, Maine Glass art. Molten Mama Lampwork Beads Lisa Cooley Jackson, Maine Handmade glass bead jewelry: earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, bracelet kits, and single beads. Olivia’s Journee Barnett Degen Manchester, Maine Metalsmith specializing in hair accessories: barrettes, ponytail holders, eyeglass/badge holders, bookmarks, pins, earrings, pendants. Seamack Design Colleen Macklin South Portland, Maine Sterling-silver earrings; necklaces with or without semiprecious stones; chainmail bracelets, earrings, and necklaces; rings; pendants; crocheted necklaces and bracelets; ankle bracelets; chakra pendants; healing angels; charms; earrings.
drums. Mic Mac Indian Crafts Stanley Sayers Jonesport, Maine Turtle-shell clocks and bags, horn rattles, antler buttons, chokers, bracelets, fans, dream catchers, clubs, rattles, silver jewelry, hair clips and ties, decorative headdresses and breast plates. Native Arts Gallery Jean Seronde Bar Harbor, Maine Native jewelry: sterling silver with semi-precious stones.
POTTERY Down to Earth Pottery Keith Herklotz Blue Hill, Maine Oven-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe lead-free pottery. Homeport Pottery Studio Cathie Cantara Kennebunkport, Maine Stoneware pottery: tableware, cookware, accessories, art pottery.
TASTE OF MAINE
YIKES! Studio Suzanne Anderson Dedham, Maine Colorful contemporary jewelry made with polymer and sterling silver.
Better Than Average LLC Shannon Bissonnette Mechanic Falls, Maine Jams, jellies, and sauces — fruit, pepper, BBQ.
Bouchard Family Farm Janice Bouchard Fort Kent, Maine Ploye mix, blueberry topping, Maine maple syrup, gift boxes.
Drums of the Flicker Robert Muise Presque Isle, Maine Native American hand
Fieldstone Farms David & Brenda Jones Bangor, Maine Gourmet fruit spreads, dip mixes, baking mixes, soup mixes, snack and trail mix. Fudgin’ It Fred Merrill & Marilyn Lord East Livermore, Maine Homemade gourmet fudge. Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants Rick & Christine Suydam Dresden, Maine Herbs, spices, custom culinary blends, and gourmet salts.
Irish Daisy Bakery James & Sarah Campbell Hermon, Maine Allergy-friendly, vegan baked goods: muffins, cook-
ies, cupcakes, whoopie pies, truffles, breads.
wood, magnets, ornaments, free-standing birds, bookends.
Jacks Pickles Johnny Kelley North Monmouth, Maine Pickles, relishes, jams, jellies, salsa.
Messier Studios Tim Messier Lee, Maine Free-form burl bowls, moose-antler jars, spoons, clocks, jars, bottle stoppers, compasses.
New England Cupboard Jim Collins Bangor, Maine Dry baking good mixes: pancake, muffin, scone, bread, dips and spice rubs. Worcester’s Wild Blueberries Lee & Everett Worcester Orneville, Maine Jams, jellies, blueberry juice, blueberry vinaigrette, pie filling, chutney.
WOODWORKING Fish River Crafts Mark Aman Fort Kent, Maine Wooden marionettes in 12 different styles. Maine Bird Carvings Gary Poisson Eddington, Maine Bird carvings: decorative decoys, bird carvings on drift-
Norumbega Woodcarvers Edward Harrow Dedham, Maine Woodcarvings of Maine flora, fauna, scenes, and landscapes. Painted Pony Shop Emmaline Sullivan Holden, Maine Hand-crafted hobby horses, do-it-yourself stick-horse kits, prints of original equine artwork, handcrafted accessories, hand-crafted finger puppets, gift certificates. Pastor Chuck Orchards Charles Waite Maclin Portland, Maine Organic applesauce, apple butter, apple
salsa. Peterson Woodworking Jeff Peterson Harrison, Maine Woodenware: spoons and other kitchen utensils, bowls, pepper mills, etc. Shipwreck Coffee Company Patricia Carlson Manchester, Maine Fresh-roasted coffee. Sugah Shack Sandra Sisco Seboeis Plt, Maine Organic maple-syrup products: syrup, hard candy, maple cream, maple sugar. Blueberry-pancake mix, sugah sax.
HOLLY WOOD brings
Motor Booty Affair • Saturday, August 27 at 9pm The Sound Stage Lounge Come join the grooviest disco party this side of the 70’s featuring Motor Booty Affair live at The Sound Stage Lounge. Shake your booty to all the funkiest songs from the dancing-est decade ever.
5 0 0 M a i n S t . # B a n g o r, M E 0 4 4 0 1 # I - 9 5 E x i t 1 8 2 A # 8 7 7 - 7 7 9 - 7 7 7 1 # h o l l y w o o d s l o t s . c o m Persons under 21 years of age may not enter the slot machine area unless licensed employees. Do you or anyone you know have a gambling problem? For help, services, & counseling please call 1-800-522-4700. ©2011 Penn National Gaming, Inc.
Published on Aug 13, 2011
Get ready for the 2011 American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront. This year marks the tenth of a festival on the waterfront, and it pr...