• FEATURE ARTICLE

    LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULIER!

    SIMI CAJUN & BLUES FESTIVAL

    By Karen Redding

    Simi Cajun - Blues Festival

    Forget the beach, the mountains, and Las Vegas. Camping? Who cares? Southern California's 26th Annual Simi Cajun & Blues Festival is the only place to be for Memorial weekend. With the most spectacular lineup of Blues, Cajun and Zydeco music in its 26 year history, there's no better option for entertainment for this All-American holiday. The festival is held on Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and May 24. Hours are 12:00pm-7:30pm both days.

    Read more: LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULIER - SIMI CAJUN & BLUES FESTIVAL


    SPOTLIGHT

    simi cajun blues festival detail

    Read more: SIMI VALLEY CAJUN & BLUES MUSIC FESTIVAL


    PASSINGS

    MY KIND OF GUY - GUY CARAWAN

    (JULY 27, 1927 - MAY 2, 2015)

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Guy CarawanGuy Carawan passed away at his home in New Market Tennessee last Saturday, May 2, 2015, sandwiched in between May Day and Pete Seeger’s birthday. He was 87 years old. He would have appreciated the perfect placement in terms of the musical world he represented. Guy and his wife and musical partner Candie lived nearby the extraordinary school where he served as Music Director—Highlander Folk School (its original name) since the passing of founder Myles Horton’s wife Zilphia Horton. Both Guy and Zilphia’s (their original Music Director) names are on the copyright of their crowning achievement—We Shall Overcome. Having roots in African American hymns from the early 20th century, Zilphia had brought the song back from a tobacco workers’ strike in South Carolina in 1946 and she and Guy shaped it into the civil rights anthem we know today.

    Read more: MY KIND OF GUY - GUY CARAWAN


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: KEEPING UP WITH THE HEARD

    ARTIST: THE MACMAMMALS

    LABEL: SELF

    RELEASE DATE: MAY 2015

    By Jackie Morris

    macmammals - keeping up with the heardFor those of us whose first musical love was traditional and neo-traditional folk ballads, the brand new debut album by The MacMammals provides a welcome, refreshing return to the simple beauty of this genre. Garnering songs from Ireland, Scotland, England and North America, Keeping Up with the Heard is authentic, acoustic, and moving; a collection of wonderful songs, tastefully arranged, while still achieving a very full, satisfying sound.

    Read more: THE MACMAMMALS - KEEPING UP WITH THE HEARD


    TITLE: DEVIL IN THE SEAT

    ARTIST: THE FOGHORN STRINGBAND

    LABEL: FOGHORN MUSIC

    RELEASE DATE: MARCH, 2015

    By Steve Goldfield

    DEVIL IN THE SEAT - FOGHORNThe Foghorn Stringband began as five guys playing hard-driving old-time music. Two of them, Caleb Klauder and Sammy Lind, formed the Foghorn Duo. Nadine Landry then joined on vocals and bass to make them a trio. Reeb Willms added her guitar and voice to make the Foghorn Stringband what it is today. All four sing powerfully, and they play hard-driving music featuring Sammy's fiddle and Caleb's mandolin, among other combinations. This is the eighth Foghorn release, and it certainly lives up to the standards the band has set for itself. It was recorded in Hawaii, but it's full of hard-driving music and edgy singing.

    Read more: FOGHORN STRINGBAND - DEVIL IN THE SEAT


    TITLE: BALAS Y CHOCOLATE

    ARTIST: LILA DOWNS

    LABEL: RCA RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: MARCH 24, 2015

    By Jonathan Shifflet

    BALAS Y CHOCOLATEHeadlines about the recent violence in Mexico only tell half of the story. In Lila Downs’ most recent album Balas y Chocolate (bullets and chocolate), the other half is given a voice. 

    Using her signature silky register and an arsenal of regional styles, Downs uses Spanish and indigenous Mixtec words to describe the history of violence toward students and journalists. Using the themes and symbols of the Day of the Dead, she creates an allegory for the misdeeds while capturing the feelings of foreboding that follow from such violence and manipulation. The opening line of track one prepares the listener to hear the sounds of radio Mictlan – the radio of the underworld.

    Read more: LILA DOWNS - BALAS Y CHOCOLATE


    TITLE: THE WIDENING GYRE

    ARTIST: ALTAN

    LABEL: COMPASS RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 20, 2015

    By Anya Sturm

    Altan - The Widening GyreAltan’s new CD The Widening Gyre is a fantastic collection of traditional Gaelic songs mixed in with Irish jam regulars. The band is joined by many special guests in this collection of upbeat lively jam tunes as well as slower songs sung by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh.

    Altan is a traditional Irish band— arguably the most famous one currently playing. It was started in 1987 by Mairéad (rhymes with parade) and her late husband Frankie Kennedy. Mairéad is the daughter of Proinsias Ó Maonaigh, or Francie Moony who also contributed to traditional Irish fiddling.

    Read more: ALTAN - THE WIDENING GYRE


    TITLE: NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL

    ARTIST: SUSIE GLAZE & THE HILONESOME BAND

    LABEL: HILONESOME MUSIC

    RELEASE DATE: MARCH 2015

    By Jackie Morris

    notthatkindofgirlcoverarthi-resAfter three critically acclaimed CDs in the past 5 years, it is not surprising that Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band have created yet another memorable album. But Not That Kind of Girl is more than just “another.” It is, I believe, their best album yet...in part because this group keeps pushing their own boundaries...challenging themselves in terms of musical diversity, original songs and fresh interpretations.

    Read more: SUSIE GLAZE - NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL


    TITLE: DAN GELLERT DVD & CD SET

    ARTIST: DAN GELLERT

    LABEL: THE OLD-TIME TIKI PARLOUR

    RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 2015

    By Steve Goldfield

    Dan Gellert DVD-CD coverSome of Dan Gellert's early recordings seemed to have trouble capturing his unique sound and approach to old-time music. The late Ray Alden told me that he had to use two microphones, one in front and one behind Dan's banjo, to do it. This new recording from David Bragger's Old-Time Tiki Parlour succeeds on multiple levels: it has excellent sound and also comes on both a DVD where you can watch Dan play banjo and fiddle and sing and an audio CD of the same material. David told me that everyone associated in any way with its production is an old-time musician. 

    Read more: DAN GELLERT DVD & CD SET


    BLOG

    May 20, 2015

    Larry WinesFolkWorks extends a big hand to all the participants of the 2015 Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest. It was a perfect day. Click the read more for 2015 Contestant Winners.

    Congratulations to Larry Wines who was this years Legend Award Winner.

    Read more: Blog Entry May 20, 2015


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 5/24/15


    fwpick

    9:30am-5:30pm SCOTTISH FEST

    With Neil O’Neill, Bad Haggis, Highland Way, Sligo Rags, Wicked Tinkers, The Ploughboys,
    Christopher Yates, Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles

    Orange County Fair and Event Center

    88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626


    10:00am-7:00pm TOPANGA DAYS FESTIVAL

    Topanga Community Club

    1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290

    310-455-1980 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    fwpick

    10:30am – 8:00pm SIMI VALLEY CAJUN & BLUES FESTIVAL

    Featuring Canned Heat, Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers,
    Andre Theirry & Zydeco Magic, The Magnolia Sisters, Yardbirds. The Magnolia Sisters
    Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience, Candye Kane, Guitar Shorty,
    Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys and more

    Rancho Santa Susana Community Park

    5005 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley, CA 93063

    805-517-9000


    Noon – 5:00pm VIN FIZ FLYER / DARREN LONGMAN / TIM TEDROW

    Adams’ Pack Station

    Chantry Flat Rd, Arcadia, CA 91006

    626-447-7356


    fwpick

    4:00pm BEVERLY SMITH & JOHN GRIMM

    Old Time Music

    Deep End Ranch

    Santa Paula, CA

    David Bunn This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Presented by Deep End Sessions


    fwpick

    7:00pm BURNING HEART BLUEGRASS

    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.


    7:30pm CHAD & JEREMY

    Laura R. Charles Theater, Sweetwater High School

    2900 Highland Ave., National City, CA 91950

    Presented by AMSD Concerts


    FULL ONGOING MUSIC click here

    TODAY'S ONGOING MUSIC 5/24/15

    Ongoing Music


    8:00am - 1:00pm FAIR MARKET BAND every Sunday

    Hollywood Farmers Market

    Ivar Ave. & Selma Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028


    1:00pm - 5:00pm BASC BLUEGRASS JAM fourth Sunday

    West Valley Music Center

    24424 Vanowen Street, West Hills, CA 91307

    818-992-4142


    1:30pm - 4:30pm SAN DIEGO FOLK SONG SOCIETY fourth Sunday

    Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa Branch Library

    9005 Aero Dr, San Diego, CA


    3:00pm - 5:30pm WILDE THISTLE IRISH SESSION every Sunday

    Wilde Thistle

    3456 Motor Ave., Los Angeles, CA

    310-730-6208 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    4:00pm - 7:00pm AULD DUBLINER TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC SESSION every Sunday

    Auld Dubliner

    71 S Pine Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802

    562-437-8300


    5:00pm - 9:00pm WEST L.A. HOOT & POTLUCK (SONGMAKERS) fourth Sunday

    West L.A. (Contact via email or website)

    www.songmakers.org, West L.A. , CA 90025

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


    5:30pm - 9:00pm THE GRAND OLE ECHO every Sunday

    The Echo

    1822 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026

    213-413-8200


    7:30pm - 11:00pm O'BRIEN'S IRISH MUSIC SESSION every Sunday

    O'Brien's Irish Pub and Restaurant

    2226 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403

    310-829-5303 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    9:00pm KEN O'MALLEY every Sunday

    O'Brien's Irish Pub & Restaurant

    2941 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    May-June 2015

    THE MANY FACES OF THE MUSIC CENTER

    By Audrey Coleman

    Media-C2 World City-1415-Season-Gamelan-Sekar-Jaya2Ah, the Music Center. That bastion of high culture for the City of Angels. As a subscriber to L.A. Opera, I have strolled beneath the bands of shimmering crystal that drip from the ceilings of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. At the Ahmanson Theater, I have patronized Broadway musicals (Les Miserables twice). At the Taper I’ve sat, enthralled, as gifted and often renowned actors inhabited raw emotional terrain. Clearly the Music Center is a gift from the County of Los Angeles to the audiences for high culture. To those with the means to buy the tickets, that is.

    Hello! Roll back the tape, please! The above assessment is terribly out of date. Terribly! Like about a dozen years.

    Read more: THE MANY FACES OF THE MUSIC CENTER

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.