• SPOTLIGHT

    Levitt Pavilion Pasadena Weekly Back Cover Ad

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    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    July-August 2015

    OLD-TIME MUSIC IN LOS ANGELES

    By David Bragger

    old time tiki 3Old-Time music in Los Angeles has a long and wonderful history. It is a genre and culture that really thrives here. I’m often asked by musicians and newbies what it’s like out here in the West. I’ll often cite the names of great SoCal musicians who have had a huge influence in the area such as Earl Collins, Mel Durham, Tom Sauber, Ed Lowe and others. Lately, an 81-year old Cajun/Creole accordion player, Mr. Joe Fontenot, has swept many of us off our feet (literally) and is inspiring local Cajun players and novices, myself included!

    Read more: OLD-TIME MUSIC IN LOS ANGELES

    PASSINGS

    SUNRISE, SUNSET: THEODORE BIKEL RIP

    (MAY 2, 1924-JULY 21, 2015)

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Theodore BikelLet others write about his versatility, his songs in 21 languages, his character actor roles from all over the globe, and his celebrated beginnings as Captain Von Trapp—the role he created for the original stage production of The Sound of Music.

    To me Theo Bikel will always be Tevye—the put-upon dairyman from Fiddler On the Roof, a part he played for an epic 2,000 performances. And first and foremost he will always be the quintessential Jewish folk singer. Theodore Bikel died last night in Los Angeles at 91 years old—a world away from Vienna, Austria where he was born May 2, 1924—and which he always disowned for their “shameful treatment of my people.”

    Read more: SUNRISE, SUNSET: THEODORE BIKEL RIP


    TRIPLE CROWN: A LONG STRANGE WEEK FOR FOLK MUSIC

    RIP: WILL HOLT (APRIL 30, 1929 – MAY 31, 2015), 
    JEAN RITCHIE (DECEMBER 8, 1922 – JUNE 1, 2015), 
    AND RONNIE GILBERT (SEPTEMBER 7, 1926 – JUNE 6, 2015)

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Will Holt

    Jean Ritchie Ronnie Gilbert

    American Pharoah wasn’t the only Triple Crown winner last Saturday, June 6, D-Day. God took home the Belmont when he crowned the Weavers Ronnie Gilbert and gave her an angel’s wings; she already had an angel’s voice. What a long strange week it has been.

    The gods of folk music, as if in a conspiracy of malevolent intent, have robbed us of three of our most significant and distinctive voices—like a destruction myth parody of Genesis: In the beginning God took home the songwriter and popular folk musician Will Holt, who wrote Lemon Tree; and on the 2nd day God took home the singing family of the Cumberlands’ Jean Ritchie, who wrote Black Waters and The L & N Don’t Stop Here Anymore; and even on the 7th day God did not rest—He sent his henchmen to take the gorgeous alto of The Weavers, Ronnie Gilbert, whose clarion voice soared high above Pete Seeger, Lee Hayes and Fred Hellerman—raising them to the skies.

    Read more: TRIPLE CROWN: A LONG STRANGE WEEK FOR FOLK MUSIC


    FEATURE ARTICLE

    THE WOODY GUTHRIE PRIZE:

    WHAT IS IT AND HOW DO YOU GET IT?

    A FOLKWORKS COMMENTARY

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Woody Guthrie PrizeI had no problem with the first recipient of the “Woody Guthrie Prize,” which was awarded to Pete Seeger last year. With Pete’s name on it you could count on a little press.

    Unfortunately, between the time the prize was announced, and the time Pete was to receive it at an event in New York City co-sponsored by the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles—and for which Arlo was to serenade Pete as the highlight of the ceremony—Pete—whose timing was usually impeccable—passed away. Kind of took the wind out of the Clearwater’s sails. Nonetheless, they went ahead with the ceremony and it became one of hundreds of memorials for America’s Tuning Fork, albeit with a lot more cachet due to Arlo. But all in all it was not an auspicious beginning for the “Woody Guthrie Prize” to be bestowed upon a dead man. If it was to amount to anything they would have to be very careful on whom they bestowed it the second time around.

    Read more: THE WOODY GUTHRIE PRIZE


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: I CAN SWING FOREVER

    ARTISTS: TRACY NEWMAN / CHARLOTTE DEAN

    LABEL: KABEAUTY MUSIC

    RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 12, 2014

    By Stefani Rosenberg

    TRACY NEWMAN - I CAN SWING FOREVERToday, many artists feel the need to record only the music that they have composed; for many, this works. The same holds true in the world of children's music. For every CD that stands out, there are two that are just mediocre.

    Among the best we have Malvina Reynolds, Ella Jenkins, Jose-Luis Orozco, Suni Paz, Marcia Berman, Patty Zeitlen, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and “Uncle Ruthie” Buell. Their music and stories have withstood the test of time.

    Read more: TRACY NEWMAN / CHARLOTTE DEAN - I CAN SWING FOREVER


    TITLE: CHEMISTRY

    ARTIST: LESLIE BEAUVAIS

    LABEL: LESLIE BEAUVAIS

    RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 15, 2014

    By Ron Sarfaty

    Leslie Beauvais - ChemistryI first received my copy of Leslie Beauvais 's new CD Chemistry about 2 weeks before it was officially released. I had heard Leslie sing backup vocals for Severin Browne and a few times with Jaynee Thorne at John Zipperer and Friends concerts.

    My first impression of her voice was very positive. Although I mostly heard harmony, she had good breath control and a pretty good range - Alto to High Soprano. When I heard that she was working with Ed Tree to produce her new CD, I was an instant fan and preordered through her social fundraising attempt.

    Read more: LESLIE BEAUVAIS - CHEMISTRY


    TITLE: YOU’RE HOME NOW

    ARTIST: RICHARD BERMAN

    LABEL: ARIES RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: 2014

    By Jackie Morris

    Youre home now  richard bermanRichard Berman is one of the great masters of the story-song. And his new seventh album, You’re Home Now, just might be his best work yet. This is no small compliment...as decades of critical acclaim, multiple awards, and Folk DJ “favorite” lists can attest to. Poetic yet always relatable – intimate, thought-provoking, and entertaining – his songs draw you in with lovely, haunting melodies and hold you with beautifully understated feeling.

    Read more: RICHARD BERMAN - YOU’RE HOME NOW


    TITLE: THE NE’ER DUWELS

    ARTIST: THE NE’ER DUWELS

    LABEL: SELF

    RELEASE DATE: JUNE, 2015

    By Mark Dresser

    Neer DuwelsThere are times when travelers on different paths meet at a crossroads and discover they have been brought together for a purpose. Connections are forged because each knows the road ahead is right and true. Such is the case with the band the Ne’er Duwels: four accomplished musicians who have joined together to create a solid recording.

    Ken O’ Malley from Dublin, Ireland, is the lead singer of the band. Ken has entertained audiences for over 30 years, and is one of the most well-known and beloved Irish folk singers working today. His rich voice and skillful guitar work are fueled by deep passion for his people and their history. Ken pours his soul into every word he sings, every measure he plays, and the music of the Ne’er Duwels laughs, breathes, and aches with his dedication.

    Read more: THE NE’ER DUWELS


    BLOG

    JULY 23RD, 2015

    RIP: THEODORE BIKEL (MAY 2, 1924-JULY 21, 2015)

    Read more: Blog Entry JULY 23RD, 2015


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 7/29/15


    fwpick

    10:00am & 11:15am YUVAL RON ENSEMBLE WITH MAYAYA

    Children’s World Music: Middle East

    Hollywood Bowl Summer Sounds

    2301 North Highland Ave., Hollywood, CA 90068

    323-850-2000 213-480-3232


    fwpick

    7:00pmLOAFERS GLORY / I SEE HAWKS IN L.A.

    House concert in South Pasadena

    415 Oaklawn Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030

    Presented by Wine & Song Series


    fwpick

    8:00pm TRACY NEWMAN / ART PODELL / JUDY MONTGOMERY

    Coffee Gallery Backstage

    2029 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 92675

    626-798-6236 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    10:00pm CORY BEERS CIMBALOM BAND

    1642

    1642 Temple Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90026

    213-989-6836


    FULL ONGOING MUSIC click here

    TODAY'S ONGOING MUSIC 7/29/15

    Ongoing Music


    8:30pm - 11:30pm IRISH SESSION every Wednesday

    Griffins Of Kinsale

    1007 Mission St, , South Pasadena, CA

    626-799-0926


ARTIST: VARIOUS

TITLE: AMY HANAIALI’I AND SLACK KEY MASTERS OF HAWAII

LABEL: PETERSON PRODUCTIONS

RELEASE: 2010

By Audrey Coleman

Amy_HanaialiiI took one look at the cover of this CD and concluded that it was a shoe-in for the 2011 Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album. After five years of awarding it to compilations of slack key guitar music, the mucky-mucks could enjoy a refreshing twist on their love affair with slack key. Celebrated vocalist, Amy Hanaiali’i, who has lost out to slack key at the Grammies more than once, had teamed up with five masters of the beloved guitar tradition: Cyril Pahinui, Sonny Lim, Dennis Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, and Chino Montero. It’s a dazzling collaboration and thoroughly enjoyable listening. Did it win the Grammy? No! This year the award for Best Hawaiian album went to a vocalist of more limited gifts than Amy and no hint of slack key guitar on the cover. Go figure! We move on...

Although it was recorded in a studio, Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii has the flavor of a live concert. The musicians each get a turn being center stage, accompanying Amy, in some cases singing with her or playing slack key with one another. Not only do they display their gifts as musicians; in some cases, they showcase their own compositions.

ARTIST: VARIOUS

TITLE: AMY HANAIALI’I AND SLACK KEY MASTERS OF HAWAII

LABEL: PETERSON PRODUCTIONS

RELEASE: 2010

By Audrey Coleman

Amy_HanaialiiI took one look at the cover of this CD and concluded that it was a shoe-in for the 2011 Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album. After five years of awarding it to compilations of slack key guitar music, the mucky-mucks could enjoy a refreshing twist on their love affair with slack key. Celebrated vocalist, Amy Hanaiali’i, who has lost out to slack key at the Grammies more than once, had teamed up with five masters of the beloved guitar tradition: Cyril Pahinui, Sonny Lim, Dennis Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, and Chino Montero. It’s a dazzling collaboration and thoroughly enjoyable listening. Did it win the Grammy? No! This year the award for Best Hawaiian album went to a vocalist of more limited gifts than Amy and no hint of slack key guitar on the cover. Go figure! We move on...

Although it was recorded in a studio, Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii has the flavor of a live concert. The musicians each get a turn being center stage, accompanying Amy, in some cases singing with her or playing slack key with one another. Not only do they display their gifts as musicians; in some cases, they showcase their own compositions.

Prolific Dennis Kamakahi sings his delightful country-style E Mau Ke Aloha in Hawaiian and English, accompanying himself on guitar with room for a guitar solo by Chino Montero. Kamakahi shines as a slack key guitarist and vocalist, his deep rich voice combining with Amy’s in a poignant song composed by Queen Kapi’olani in the late 19th century Ipo Lei Manu.

Cyril Pahinui is keeper of the slack key tradition that his father, Gabby “Pops” Pahinui revitalized and popularized. Cyril shares vocals and plays guitar in a trademark Pahinui number, Hi’ilawe with Jeff Peterson adding his own slack key sound to enrich the accompaniment. Pahinui does a lively interpretation of Miloli’i on vocals and guitar with Sonny Lim spicing up the song with well-chosen steel guitar enhancements.

Amy sings her own composition Keawa Nui with loving attention to the art of falsetto that makes it clear why the mantles of falsetto greats Lena Machado and recently-passed Genoa Keawe have easily remained on her shoulders. A ukulele solo by Jeff Peterson kicks it up a notch.

Chino Montero gets to demonstrate his male falsetto singing and solid slack key technique in Makee ‘Ailana. Dennis Kamakahi plays one of the two slack key solos in this number, enlivening it with a contrasting style. I confess I have not followed Montero’s career as I have the other participants in this album, but I think he performs at a level that is harmonious with his peers.

An all-instrumental number, Vaqueros, brings together composer Sonny Lim with Montero and Jeff Peterson for a flamenco-flavored hats-off to the cowboys who brought the guitar to Hawaii.

I would be negligent if I did not mention the way Jeff Peterson’s talents permeate this album. No fewer than six of the sixteen cuts feature his compositions. My favorite is Pukana La on which he plays solo. He creates an otherworldly feeling with unusual chord progressions, sweet-voiced picking, and sensitive rubato. We also hear Peterson’s eclectic musicianship on eleven of the numbers, mainly slack key but also including classical guitar on Vaqueros and ukulele in Keawa Nui.

In the end, this is still Amy’s album. She opens with Fields of Gold by Sting, bringing to it heartrending nuances. Nevertheless, I find the song a strange choice for an album in which she and her friends otherwise celebrate Hawaiian culture and landscape. The mention of “fields of barley” made me wince despite the added Hawaiian lyrics. Do they even grow barley in Hawaii? Shouldn’t it be “through ponds of taro (traditional Hawaiian staple crop) or to use the old Hawaiian word kalo? Hmmm. The trouble is those ponds have you thigh deep in mud. I’ve been there. As we trudge through the sludge-ponds of kalo? Definitely not as romantic as barley fields. Enough! It’s a great album!

Audrey Coleman is a journalist, educator, and passionate explorer of traditional and world music.