• SPOTLIGHTS




    FILM AND THEATER REVIEW

    David Broza: East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem

    Film Screening, Q&A and Live Performance
    at the Museum of Tolerance - April 12, 2016

    Blessed are the peacemakers.

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    David Brazer - E. Jeruselum  W. JeruselumIt was hard to determine who David Broza’s most implacable enemy was at the screening of his 2014 film East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem last night at the Museum of Tolerance—Palestinians, or Israelis? I went back and forth, so here is a blow-by-blow account of one of the more gripping films and live performances I have encountered in my effort to cover the waterfront for FolkWorks over the past 15 years.

    Read more: DAVID BROZA: EAST JERUSALEM/WEST JERUSALEM


    CONCERT REVIEW

    Eric Andersen at McCabe’s

    A Bard by Any Other Name - April 23, 1616—April 23, 2016

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Eric Anderson“All the world’s a stage,” said William Shakespeare, but there’s only one McCabe’s. April 23, 1616, four hundred years ago tonight, Shakespeare, the greatest poet in the English language, passed away. But Eric Andersen is still here, so the English language is in good hands. He performed at McCabe’s this evening, a quarto of the best songs written over the past fifty years—including Thirsty Boots, Violets of Dawn, Amsterdam and Close the Door Lightly When You Go. It was a pleasure and an inspiration to observe the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in the company of an artist who avoids the name “singer-songwriter” in preference to a higher calling: song poet, which describes Eric Andersen to a “T.” For tonight, though, let’s just call him the bard.

    Read more: ERIC ANDERSEN AT MCCABE’S


    PASSINGS

    Pitt Kinsolving

    (September 22, 1932 - April 3, 2016)

    Pitt KinsolvingPitt Kinsolving died at 6:30am, Sunday, April 3, 2016, after a multiyear battle with cancer.

    Reprinted from PITT KINSOLVING - A FOLK HERO AND A BLUEGRASS CELEBRATION

    By Rex Mayreis

    Pitt Kinsolving, a man with a most distinguished name, is known for organizing folk music events, as well as getting musicians together to make music. While engineering sound for recordings, performances, and other live programs has been his profession, he has been an important force in bringing folk music to Southern California through his volunteer efforts in planning and promoting concerts and festivals, and in his active participation in hoots.

    Read more: Pitt Kinsolving


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: CAN’T STAY HERE THIS A-WAY

    ARTIST: BRUCE MOLSKY

    LABEL: OLD-TIME TIKI PARLOUR

    RELEASE DATE: MAY 2016

    By Pat Mac Swyney

    Bruce Molsky - Can't Stay Here This a-WayLast summer, the trailer for this latest release from the Old-Time Tiki Parlour started showing up on social media. It opens with black screen audio of Bruce Molsky blazing through the classic fiddle tune Old Sledge followed by a seemingly audacious quote from Darol Anger, a founding member and fiddler from the David Grisman Quintet; declaring Bruce Molsky to be “The Rembrandt of Appalachian Fiddle.”

    Read more: BRUCE MOLSKY - CAN’T STAY HERE THIS A-WAY


    Aritmia – A Marriage Made in Music

    By Audrey Coleman

    ARITMIA by Merima Kljuco  Miroslav TadicOn first glance, the accordion and the acoustic guitar have little in common. The first is a large, hulking affair strapped on to the musician who negotiates its keyboard or buttons to achieve various pitches and manipulates bellows to control tone, timbre, and dynamics. The guitar, on the other hand, seems to melt into the musician’s body as tones are teased out by plucking and strumming and fingers achieve dynamics and texture with direct pressure.

    Read more: ARITMIA – A MARRIAGE MADE IN MUSIC


    TITLE: L’Echo À Travers Le Clos (Echo Across the Field)

    ARTIST: Joe Fontenot

    LABEL: Old-Time Tiki Parlour

    RELEASE DATE: March 2016

    By Pat Mac Swyney

    LECHO À TRAVERS LE CLOS - JOE FONTENOTL’Echo À Travers Le Clos is southwest Louisiana native-Los Angeles transplant Joe Fontenot’s first record and a very important and an extraordinary celebration of traditional Creole music & culture.

    Some 30 years ago, I was playing locally in Irish Trad. and CowPunk bands with a button accordionist friend who turned us all on to the regional accordion music of south Texas and southwest Louisiana.

    Read more: L’ECHO À TRAVERS LE CLOS - JOE FONTENOT


    TITLE: LEMA LEMA

    ARTIST: EVA SALINA

    LABEL: VOGITON RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 11, 2016

    Eva Salina Sings Šaban Bajramović

    By Pat Mac Swyney

    EVA SALINA - LEMA LEMAI first heard Eva Salina sing over 15 years ago at Balkan Music & Dance Camp in the coastal redwood forest of west Mendocino County. I can’t imagine she was old enough to drive at the time, yet there she was, confidently and deftly belting out assorted Balkan folk songs alongside considerably more tenured singers from both the Balkans and America.

    Read more: EVA SALINA - LEMA LEMA


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    May-June 2016

    Canote Brothers

    Brother Duets from Seattle

    By Roland Sturm

    Canote Brothers 2Early country music was a simple style with sparse instrumentation. The first commercial country music recordings in 1922 and 1923 by Eck Robertson and Fiddlin’ John Carson were either solo or duo recordings by fiddlers. Duo acts performing old-time country music were common, often featuring the uniquely blended harmony singing of two brothers were a common combination. One of these early acts, the Monroe Brothers, included the future "father of Bluegrass Music," Bill Monroe. The Delmore Brothers, the McGee Brothers, and the Blue Sky Boys (Bill and Earl Bolick) were other popular brother duets performing and recording country music in the 1930s.

    Read more: CANOTE BROTHERS

    everything but ...

    THEODORE BIKEL

    (May 2, 1924 – July 21, 2015)

    THEODORE MEIR BIKEL (May 2, 1924 – July 21, 2015) was an Austrian-American Jewish actor, folk singer, musician, composer, and activist. He made his stage debut in Tevye the Milkman in Tel Aviv, Israel, when he was in his teens. He later studied acting at Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his London stage debut in 1948 and in New York in 1955. He was also a widely recognized and recorded folk singer and guitarist.

    Read more: THEODORE BIKEL


    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 5/4/16


    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    7:30pm - 11:00pm SIMI VALLEY HOOT (SONGMAKERS ) first Wednesday

    Simi Valley (Contact via Songmakers website)

    www.songmakers.org, Simi Valley, CA

    Don Newcomer 805-527-8518 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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

    Griffins Of Kinsale

    1007 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA

    626-799-0926

    Michael Kelly


    DANCE


    5:30pm - 8:00pm LAGUNA WOOD FOLK DANCERS every Wednesday

    Clubhouse 2

    24112 Moulton Pkwy., Laguna Woods, CA


    7:15pm - 9:30pm SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCE CLUB every Wednesday

    Balboa Park Club

    2150 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA

    Jean Cate 858-278-4619 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 9:30pm ANAHEIM INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS every Wednesday

    Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim

    511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA

    Ruth or Ted Shapin 714-758-1050


    7:30pm - 9:30pm CONEJO VALLEY FOLK DANCERS every Wednesday

    Hillcrest Center for the Arts (Small Rehearsal Room)

    403 West Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA

    Jill Lundgren 805-497-1957 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 10:00pm SKANDIA DANCE CLUB (SCANDINAVIAN DANCING) every Wednesday

    Lindberg Park

    5041 Rhoda Way, Culver City, CA

    Frances Sotcher 310-827-3618 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm WILD WOOD MORRIS DANCING every Wednesday

    Whaley Park

    5620 E Atherton St., Long Beach, CA

    Julie James 562-493-7151 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


CARRIE NEWCOMER
HER LEGACY OF PEACE
THROUGH MUSIC

AN INTERVIEW

By Terry Roland

CARRIE_NEWCOMER.jpg
Photo by Jim McGuire

Carrie Newcomer is not so much a hit maker as she is a legacy-maker. And it's quite a legacy she's been creating; a flow of songs that stream down from her life as a writer, philosopher, peace activist, conservationist and a silence-practicing Quaker. 'Pay attention' she says, and so doing, miracles emerge in an abundance of small ways. Her peace-activism is not about the absence of war, but the presence of a grace everyone can experience each day by practicing what she refers to as 'the greatest law, love.'

Her current tour in support of her new album, Before & After, follows a good will mission to India where she shared her music and participated in the daily life of the people there. As she spoke on the phone from her Indiana home she elaborated on her philosophy and the influences behind her legacy of songs that serve to point her audience toward a deeper appreciation of their everyday lives.

CARRIE NEWCOMER
HER LEGACY OF PEACE THROUGH MUSIC

AN INTERVIEW

By Terry Roland

Carrie Newcomer plays at McCabe's on Friday, March 12 at 8:00pm  

CARRIE_NEWCOMER.jpg
Photo by Bill McGuire

Carrie Newcomer is not so much a hit maker as she is a legacy-maker. And it's quite a legacy she's been creating; a flow of songs that stream down from her life as a writer, philosopher, peace activist, conservationist and a silence-practicing Quaker. 'Pay attention' she says, and so doing, miracles emerge in an abundance of small ways. Her peace-activism is not about the absence of war, but the presence of a grace everyone can experience each day by practicing what she refers to as 'the greatest law, love.'

Her current tour in support of her new album, Before & After, follows a good will mission to India where she shared her music and participated in the daily life of the people there. As she spoke on the phone from her Indiana home she elaborated on her philosophy and the influences behind her legacy of songs that serve to point her audience toward a deeper appreciation of their everyday lives.

TERRY: How did you get started with the music as a career?

CARRIE: I started early on. I didn't come from a musical family. There was a music/arts program in the public school where I was raised. I became a part of wave of musicians and artists during my teenage years. I fell in love with poetry as I learned to pick guitar. I wrote some awful songs, but I was always drawn to the stories in the music. I went for visual arts in college. I got a degree to go along with it. I didn't start out in music even though it was my first love. But, then I began playing at schools, in coffee houses, and bowling alleys.

TERRY: Your songs carry a literary feel to them. Also, there are spiritual overtones.

CARRIE: I am a big reader. I love to read books. I love ideas. I love beautifully written language. I always leaned into language and stories. My dad was an educator. For me, reading has really made a difference. Spiritually, I've been a life long seeker. I don't think there are a lot of easy answers. There are really good questions. But, it's the questions that sustain me. Good questions are at the heart of my life. You know, it's the realm of the poets, theologians and mystics. That's how I approach songwriting.

TERRY: Tell me about the new album, Before & After.

CARRIE: It's about finding something extraordinary in an ordinary day. About paying attention. The idea of being in the moment. We live such busy lives. Someone once said we don't remember days, we remember moments. We remember songs.

TERRY: In one song you refer to religious cornflakes. What is that?

CARRIE: (Laughs) It's a metaphor for the packaged religion of today. The superficial. You know, it's like fast-food. It doesn't sustain you for very long. I have a spiritual current running through my work. But it's not exclusive, it's inclusive. I don't want to put the Sacred in a box.

TERRY: You identify yourself as Quaker.

CARRIE: I didn't grow up Quaker. I discovered it later. What drew me in was the silence. I've been attending a silent meeting for over 20 years. It's funny because people will say, ‘you're a woman whose life is in sound!' But, it's a balance. Some of my best language comes out of silence. It is actually really understandable.

TERRY: The silence-meditative place inspires music?

CARRIE: Yes. Taking time to be quiet, to reflect. Being a writer is a very solitary profession. You're alone a lot. You're committed to sitting down and showing up for work. You really have to sit down and be with the practice of writing. It's been said, writers get to live their lives twice. You live it, then you write it. There's a song on the album, I Meant To Do My Work Today. It's about that idea. We're so busy and there are all of these things we need to do. But, there are times when we're called to do nothing. We're a busy culture. Doing is everything. You know, I'm a proponent of doing. I love engaging. But there's a balance between being engaged and being quiet.

TERRY: Some of this sounds a bit like Zen.

CARRIE: I've heard Quakers called Zen-Christians. Some Quakers don't call themselves Christians. But, I've heard the term and it makes sense. There's a place for the contemplative, for the practice of meditation on the simplicity of the moment. You know, the Dali Lama always stops in our little town in southern Indiana. He has a brother who lives there. It's funny to read his itinerary....New York, Chicago, Bloomington, Indiana...(we both laugh). But there's a vibrant Buddhist community in the area.

TERRY: Do you take your songs beyond the spiritual, philosophical themes?

CARRIE: As a student of philosophy and religion there's a lot in the songs about my own exploration. I find wonderful truth there. The songs then become inclusive, compelling. It's a tricky thing to have universal themes. You can't write about world peace all the time. It's just too big to get your arms around. But, you can write about things that happen everyday. I can tell a story with particular human details.

TERRY: That's illustrated in the song, I Do Not Know Its Name, the story about meeting the man on the airport shuttle.

CARRIE: It's a true story. The title comes from the saying....'the name that can be named is not the Tao.' We just experience these moments of transcendence, these moments when we feel larger than ourselves. Maybe it can be found in some formal spiritual practice. But it's there in the little moments. I was on this shuttle early when this wonderful man just started singing and he told me he sang in a gospel choir. He finished the song, the doors opened and I never saw him again. I never forgot it. These are the moments we remember. Life is a series of these moments.

TERRY: How do you deal with conversation with the larger ‘Christian' community?

CARRIE: We talk in metaphor. As soon as you start to talk this way and people take it for something literal, it stops being a metaphor. People take it for something solid. This puts the Sacred into a very small container. I think it's interesting now. There's a spiritual movement everywhere. There's a rumble out there. People are really interested in spiritual conversation. They're not looking for easy answers, but authentic spiritual conversation. They sometimes find their way to my work. Putting ideas into action, making a difference. You know, the greatest law is love, but what does that mean? I had a conversation about this with author, Parker Palmer. He's a Mennonite. I love his work. It was this idea that we may not see the fruit of the seeds we plant but it's no less important to drop the seeds. Like the ripple in water from a small stone. But, this is not always encouraged in our culture. This is in the song, Stones in the River.

TERRY: Are there any other themes running through Before and After?

CARRIE: The title song is about moments that have changed me. They could be large or they could be very small moments. Once a friend read me a Mary Oliver poem over breakfast. I was never the same. Sometimes, it's just a friend who sits down with you. And I think, ‘how did she know what I needed most was someone to sit down and say it'll be okay?' The song Before and After is also about forgiveness, which begins with self-forgiveness. We have to give up all hope that we can ever change the past. Nothing can change what has happened. You get this loop in your head, how things might have turned out different. It takes forgiveness to step beyond that. I forgive myself, then I can forgive others. So, the songs on this album are universal themes written in a personal way.

TERRY: One of the most engaging songs on the album is Do No Harm.

CARRIE: It was inspired by a story by Scott Russell Sanders. It's from a collection of short stories, Wilderness Plots: Tales About the Settlement of the American Land taken from stories and incidents he encountered. It's funny, tragic, bewildering. This particular story was called Savages. He had read about this part of the country that was being settled by a man from the east. He was establishing a Utopian society where native Americans and white settlers could live and work together. It worked for ten years. Eventually, others came and it ended. But, the song is about trying to hold the balance with the best of our human nature. We've seen the worst, but we're quite capable of the best. We can achieve this. There is a violent side to human nature and those who don't get the idea of the greatest law, love. Look what happened in this story. We hold the tension between the worst and the very best of our nature.

TERRY: Tell me about your influences.

CARRIE: I have to say I was inspired early on by the singing poets with beautiful, interesting lyrics and poetry. Early on it was Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. That vein of songwriter and they still come out with amazing writing. Also, high on my influences list is a local songwriting group in Bloomington. There are five of us. We bring songs to the group. We give each other challenges. We push our edges. I've been part of this group for 8 years now. It's really a wonderful experience. One of the members is Krista Detor. She's so good. A good writer and singer. She sings harmony on Do No Harm. She has this beautiful low voice in the tenor range. Like Mary Chapin. It's so fun to sing with her. You don't usually hear two women with low voices. Singing together, we strike this sound. It works quite well.

TERRY: Who influences the ideas that come out of your songs?

CARRIE: Authors like Russell Sanders. I've worked with Barbara Kingsolver. Also Philip Gulley. I've really admired their work. It all works together.

TERRY: I heard you called If Not Now your first real folk song.

CARRIE: (laughs) Well, it's my first sing-along. It's a group song in the spirit of We Shall Overcome. It was written for a specific purpose. But, I hope it wouldn't be for just one thing but would reach across to all kinds of issues that need our attention, like health care. When do we start taking care of the least of these. When do we give our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters full legal rights? It can be used in a variety of ways. It's a song of hope.

TERRY: From the album, you have some really fine musicians featured.

CARRIE: Yes. There's Gary Walters on piano. He's worked with me for five or six years now. He's a wonderful pianist. He's with me on the album tour. I occasionally work with a band. A cellist and violinist. I love the musicians on this new album. They are a great combination of musicians. They're elegant players. Everyone on this album is masters of their instruments. It's not about how many notes they play, but that the right notes are placed perfectly, uncluttered. It's all about the song. That's what makes this work.

TERRY: There's a phrase which seems to sum up a lot of your philosophy. It's on the album, something about the center.

CARRIE: Yes. If holy is a sphere that cannot be rendered, / There is no middle place because all of it is center. It's inspired by a concept in physics.

TERRY: It strikes me as the inclusive/universal theme you've emphasized on Before and After and much of your previous work. I look forward to hearing the songs live. See you at McCabe's on March 12!

Terry Roland is an English teacher, freelance writer, occasional poet, songwriter and folk and country enthusiast. The music has been in his blood since being raised in Texas. He came to California where he was taught to say ‘dude' at an early age.