JEFF WARNER – FOLK ARTIST Jeff Warner is one of the USA’s foremost performer/ interpreters of traditional music. His songs from the lumber camps, fishing villages and mountain tops of America connect 21st century audiences with the everyday lives, and artistry, of 19th century Americans. He grew up listening to the songs and stories of his father, Frank Warner, and the traditional singers his parents met during their folksong collecting trips through rural America. As well as being entertaining Jeff was very informative explaining the origin of the banjo from African slaves to the American minstrel movement. He described how children growing up on farms in America used bits of cow bone to make percussion instruments that sounded like castanets. Although very simple, when he demonstrated what looked like two small shin bones,
Jeff Warner with CYM Folk Groups
UPBEAT Summer 2016
it was amazing that they were capable of producing complex and syncopated accompaniments to the songs that he sang. One of the students, Connor Moore, was particularly interested in the wooden puppet that Jeff made dance to produce an accompaniment to one of his songs. It was in the shape of a man, and the legs and feet bent to make tapping sounds on a wooden footboard. During the concert Jeff encouraged the audience to join in, teaching them several choruses to songs dating back to a couple of hundred years ago which everyone enjoyed. Jeff then spent the afternoon leading workshops with CYM’s Junior and Senior Folk groups – a unique opportunity to connect with past traditions and music with such a prominent figure on the folk scene.