• SPOTLIGHTS

    JOHN GORKA

    John GorkaJohn Gorka was born in Edison, New Jersey. He received his first guitar as a Christmas gift, though Gorka alleges that his older brother stole it from him shortly thereafter. He eventually learned, instead, to play the banjo, and began performing in a folk music group at his church.




    WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017 - 7:00PM

     with THE CAIRO GANG 

    Tales from the Tavern -Maverick Saloon

    3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, CA 93460

    805-686-4785

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    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017 - 8:00PM

    McCabe’s Guitar Shop

    3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

    310-828-4497

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    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2017 - 7:30PM

    Laura R. Charles Theater, Sweetwater High School

    2900 Highland Ave., National City, CA 91950

    829-303-8176

    Presented by AMSD Concerts

    Read more: JOHN GORKA


    GLOBAL CURRENTS

    Global CurrentsCelebrating World Cultures  & Earth's Shared Resources

    Six Los Angeles ensembles representing six regions of the world

    Brazil — Ballet Folclorico do Brasil

    West Africa — Futa Toro West African Drummers & Dancers

    Hawaii — Halau Keali’i O Nalani

    Mexico — Las Colibri

    Japan — On Ensemble

    Middle East — Yuval Ron Ensemble

    Special appearance by The Nile Project with L.A. ensemble master artists

    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2017 - 1:00PM-6:00PM

    Valley Performing Arts Center – Lawn & Courtyard

    18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330-8448

    818- 540-2400

    Read more: GLOBAL CURRENTS


    NILE PROJECT

    NILE PROJECTIn a quiet park in Kampala, Uganda, 14 musicians from seven East African countries sit together under a tree. They're working on an idea from Ugandan musician Lawrence Okello.

    "This is what I would suggest for this piece: That we have a conflict," Okello says to the group. "And then all of us will keep on adding flavors from different cultures, but maintaining the water that flows."

    From NPR Weekend Edition

    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2017 - 7:00PM

    Valley Performing Arts Center

    18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330-8448

    818-677-3000

    Read more: NILE PROJECT


    FEATURE ARTICLES

    WHO WROTE COPPER KETTLE?

    A Study In Disputed Authorship

    By Ross Altman, PhD.

    Copper KettleSometime during Prohibition—which lasted from the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1920 to its repeal with the passage of the 21st Amendment in1933—Elliot Ness and his revenuers came to a Kentucky moonshiner’s cabin in the Appalachian Mountains and knocked on the door. A young boy answered and Ness asked him if his pa was home.

    Read more: WHO WROTE COPPER KETTLE?



    RICK TURNER, HANDMADE?:“YES, NO, MAYBE AND ALWAYS”

    Interview with the legendary guitar luthier at NAMM 2017

    By Annette Siegal

    Rick Turner at NAMM BoothThis year at NAMM I decided to focus on seeking out an instrument maker (luthier) that was more than a production line. With imports of instruments in mass numbers, and varying degrees of quality, I believe from a luthier’s wife perspective that it’s also important to retain handcrafted skills.

    One such luthier is Rick Turner of Rick Turner Guitars. His remarkable story started from a small town in Massachusetts and ended up influencing the sound of many musicians / bands that are intertwined with a part of America’s musical history. He’s also a collector of Howe-Orme instruments that were coincidentally made in MA (1897-1910).

    Read more: RICK TURNER, HANDMADE?:“YES, NO, MAYBE AND ALWAYS”


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    January-February 2017

    INTERVIEW WITH AARON O’ROURKE

    SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27th, 2016

    By Joellen Lapidus

    CD Cover Unaccompanied001Once you hear Aaron O’Rourke play Hi Mom or Spoon on the mountain dulcimer, your past concepts of what a dulcimer sounds like will change forever. His melodies, rhythms, playfulness, and exceptional finger technique bend your recollection of the sound of the mountain dulcimer into a new shape. Take a listen and judge for yourself.

    Read more: INTERVIEW WITH AARON O’ROURKE

    GRAMMY NOMINEES


    everything but ...

    Classic song performed by guys who would become rock legends

    Read more: JORMA KAUKONEN - JACK CASADY


    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 2/21/17


    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    6:00pm - 10:00pm AGOURA HILLS SONG CIRCLE & POTLUCK (SONGMAKERS)

    third Tuesday

    Agoura Hills (Contact via Songmakers website)

    Agoura Hills, Agoura Hills , CA 91301

    Steve Berman 310-699-5755 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:00pm - 10:00pm BEACH CITIES FOLK CLUB (SONGMAKERS)

    third Tuesday

    Wayland House

    1642 Voorhees Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

    310-376-8760

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


    7:00pm - 8:30pm SDBS BLUEGRASS SLOW JAM LEARNING SESSION

    third Tuesday

    Our Savior Lutheran Church

    4011 Ohio St, San Diego, CA

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


    7:00pm BLUEGRASS SOUP JAM

    every Tuesday

    Convert-A-Tape

    2420 Gundry Ave., Signal Hill , CA 90755

    Don Rowan 562-883-0573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:00pm - 9:30pm JC HYKE'S SONGWRITERS SERENADE

    every Tuesday

    Matt Denny's Ale House Restaurant & Bar

    145 E. Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91006


    7:30pm - 9:00pm ZINGEN FAR SHOLEM (SINGING FOR PEACE) YIDDISH CHORUS

    third Tuesday

    Home in Silverlake

    Los Angeles, CA

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


    8:00pm KEN O'MALLEY

    third Tuesday

    Finn McCool

    2702 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90405

    310-452-1734

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


    8:00pm - 11:00pm TIMMY NOLAN TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC SESSION

    every Tuesday

    Timmy Nolan's Tavern and Grill

    10111 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA 91602

    818-985-3359

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


    DANCE


    11:15am - 12:35pm SANTA MONICA CITY COLLEGE ISRAELI DANCING

    every Thursday

    Santa Monica College Clocktower

    1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA


    1:30pm - 3:30pm MOUNTAIN DANCERS

    first & third Tuesday

    South Pasadena Woman's Club

    1424 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, CA

    John Meursinge 626-355-9220


    6:00pm - 8:45pm CERRITOS FOLK DANCERS

    every Tuesday

    Cerritos Senior Center

    12340 South St., Cerritos, CA

    Wen Chiang 626-303-2761 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    6:45pm - 9:30pm ZYDECO DANCING AT TIO LEO'S

    every Tuesday

    Tio Leo's Mexican Resturant

    5302 Napa St., San Diego, CA

    Ronda 760-774-8023 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 9:30pm SANTA BARBARA ENGLISH COUNTRY DANCE

    every Tuesday

    First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara

    21 E. Constance Ave., Santa Barbara, CA

    Gary Shapiro 805-699-5101 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 11:00pm CALTECH FOLK DANCERS

    every Tuesday

    Caltech Dabney Lounge

    1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA

    Nancy Milligan 626-797-5157 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 10:30pm TUESDAY GYPSIES - INTERNATIONAL

    every Tuesday

    Culver City Masonic Lodge

    9635 Venice Blvd., Culver City, CA

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


    7:30pm - 9:30pm CABRILLO INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS

    every Tuesday

    Balboa Park Club

    2150 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA

    Georgina Sham 858-459-1336 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm WESTSIDE JCC ISRAELI FOLK DANCING

    every Tuesday

    Westside JCC

    5870 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    James Zimmer 310-284-3638 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm MORETON BAY FIG MORRIS

    every Tuesday

    War Memorial Hall, Balboa Park

    3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA


Sam Hinton: The Road Not Taken

An Appreciation

By Ross Altman

Sixty years ago San Diego folk singer and marine biologist Sam Hinton had something quite astonishing for a traveling medicine show performer (Major Bowes Vaudeville Show)-a certified hit song. It was written by LA newspaperman (and co-founder of the Newspaper Guild in Southern California) Vern Partlow, in the wake of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Talking Ol' Man Atom, or The Talking Atomic Blues. It was that song in which Partlow came up with a closing couplet worthy of Alexander Pope:

Listen, folks; here is my thesis:

Peace in the world, or the world in pieces.

Sam Hinton: The Road Not Taken

An Appreciation

By Ross Altman

Sixty years ago San Diego folk singer and marine biologist Sam Hinton had something quite astonishing for a traveling medicine show performer (Major Bowes Vaudeville Show)-a certified hit song. It was written by LA newspaperman (and co-founder of the Newspaper Guild in Southern California) Vern Partlow, in the wake of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Talking Ol' Man Atom, or The Talking Atomic Blues. It was that song in which Partlow came up with a closing couplet worthy of Alexander Pope:

Listen, folks; here is my thesis:

Peace in the world, or the world in pieces.

Sam's Decca recording became a minor novelty radio hit, until a wave of red scare propaganda during the beginning of the McCarthy era took it off the radio, and put Sam in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. It wasn't the only popular progressive song that was blacklisted-the same fate befell Yip Harburg's and Earl Robinson's paean to the newly formed United Nations: We're In the Same Boat, Brother, as recorded by Howard Keel, who had starred in a 1940's production of Showboat.

Keel's recording aired nationally just once on CBS radio, but once was enough to unleash a right wing storm of protest similar to the sort now making news at Tea Party Revivals, Town Hell Meetings and Health Care Rallies attended by assault-weapons armed super patriots determined to wave their automatic rifles in the president's face.

Both Sam Hinton's prophetic recording-the harbinger of a forty years Cold War, and Howard Keel's visionary recording, a pre-John Lennon hymn to One World (Imagine), disappeared overnight, the only two genuine peace songs to disturb the Hit Parade until the folk scare of the 1960s. (Fortunately, Leadbelly also recorded We're In the Same Boat, Brother, so, like Galileo, the song managed to survive the Inquisition.)

Even before The Weavers were fired by Decca Records and joined the ranks of blacklisted artists like Paul Robeson, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, and The Hollywood Ten, Sam Hinton's brief commercial recording career was over. He too had the distinction of being fired by Decca Records-in the land of the free...

Sam did what Pete Seeger would eventually have to do-recorded for Moses Asch's fearless Folkways label (now Smithsonian Folkways), a non-commercial label that welcomed political artists like Woody Guthrie, Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly) and Pete.

Sam Hinton was Moses Asch first and last "singing biologist," a strange scientific-artist hybrid who recorded songs that celebrated and actually taught subjects like Darwin's theory of Evolution. In my recent FolkWorks column, Evolution Mama: Folk Music and The Culture War, I pay homage to Sam's groundbreaking recording of It's a Long Way From Amphioxus, which in its own delightful way struck a blow for academic freedom and scientific progress.

But Sam soon realized that the road Pete Seeger was able to take was not for him-to make a full-time career as a barnstorming musician and be able to support a family too. Commercial success was an accident for Sam, and he didn't see it as something he could count on again. So he took the road not taken, which in his case meant pursuing a full-time academic career as a marine biologist, out of the spotlight of the entertainment world that had led to his unwelcome attention from HUAC. He became a professor at UC San Diego and began his long association with their Scripps Institute of Oceanography, of which he eventually became the director.

It provided the necessary cover for this authentic American folk singer, straight out of East Texas, who had inherited and diligently collected a song-bag richly integrated with songs from African-Americans, Cajuns, and Anglo-Saxon sources, all of whom congregated in or near his home.

But the songs Sam became most closely and affectionately associated with were what he called "old songs for young people." His records and live performances of children's songs, barnyard classics like I Have a Goose, novelty performances like The Arkansas Traveler, in which he regales the audience with a miniature harmonica he tucked inside his cheek to play the tune, while telling the story of the encounter of the farmer and the traveler, and tongue twisters like Whoever Shall Have Some Good Peanuts, have charmed schoolchildren and folk audiences for more than fifty years.

He played them all on his ancient Washburn acoustic guitar, unlike any on the folk circuit, and he played in his own unpretentious but quite sophisticated and delicate finger-style that perfectly complemented each song with back harmonies and musical call-and-response passages. His folk festival appearances in Southern California were always looked forward too and treasured memories afterwards.

Without any of the fanfare that accompanied the musical careers of better-known folk singers, Sam created a body of work that seems almost effortless in its scholarly detail, tracing a "family tree of folk songs" from old Ireland to the American west on one album, and recalling those songs from his East Texas childhood on another. When you heard Sam you knew you were getting the real history of each song he sang-they were never just "cowboy songs" to Sam-he could tell you which side of the Rio Grande they came from, and which cowboy Carl Sandburg (or Sam himself) collected them from.

Friends of Sam Hinton in San Diego put together a perfect biography of Sam-a combination of oral history and written accounts of his many lives as a folk singer and passionate scientist of the sea.

But for me the song that brought both sides of his dual personality into sharp relief remains Talking Old Man Atom, a song which satirizes both politicians and scientists in one unified plea to humanity as a whole:

Gonna preach you all a sermon ‘bout Old Man Atom

And I don't mean the Adam in the Bible datum,

I don't mean the Adam that Mother Eve mated

I mean the one that science liberated-

The one that Einstein's scared of-

And brother, when Einstein's scared-I'm scared!

Long after his Decca recording career was over, Sam still preached that sermon, from the bully pulpit of a folk festival stage. He may have been preaching to the choir, but we were all delighted to hear him take on the powers that be-both those in Los Alamos who created the bomb, and those in Washington who decided to use it-the only weapon of mass destruction ever dropped on a civilian population.

Sam was one of a kind-an American troubadour and marine biologist who left more than his footprints in the sand. He left a treasury of folk music that will continue to charm and educate children and adults alike long after he is gone. But those on the road less traveled will miss him.