FolkWorks Benefit Concert - This Saturday - See below ...
The Resurrection of Paul Robeson:
“Paul Robeson” At The
Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014
For an artist of Paul Robeson’s stature—except that there is no artist of Paul Robeson’s stature—to have become a stranger in his own land is one of the more improbable stories of a so-called free society. At one time the most famous performer in America—star of stage (Othello), screen (Show Boat), radio (Ballad for Americans), author (Here I Stand) and recording artist (for Columbia and Vanguard Records), Robeson strode across the American landscape like a colossus. No one would have been surprised to learn that he was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar at Rutgers, a two-time All-American football player and the toast of British Aristocracy after making his debut singing Ol’ Man River in Show Boat in London’s West End in 1927. He was declared “the Voice of the Century” long before the 20th Century was over—sharing that title with Marian Anderson.
All Alone with Paul Robeson:
The Tallest Tree in the Forest
The Mark Taper Forum - April 19, 2014
Who is the real Paul Robeson? The Tallest Tree in the Forest or the biggest windbag in Los Angeles? It wasn’t clear to this reviewer last night at the opening of the new one-man play about Robeson by actor Daniel Beaty at The Mark Taper Forum at The Music Center—until half way through the performance—when he sang Zog Nit Keynmol—Never Say—the Warsaw Ghetto anthem penned by Hirsh Glick, the 22-year old Vilna poet who wrote the song upon hearing news of the Jewish resistance to the Nazi attempt to liquidate the ghetto on April 19, 1943, as a birthday present for Adolph Hitler, who was born on April 20—today, as I write this review on Easter Sunday, Hitler’s birthday.
And there I was, on the 71st anniversary of the most heroic chapter in modern Jewish history, at the Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center (Broadway West), listening to Glick’s immortal song performed by Beaty’s Paul Robeson who sang it in the Soviet Union as his bravest act of protest on behalf of his friend poet Itsik Feiffer—whom he had just visited and had revealed to him in secret, the terror he lived under in Stalin’s USSR. That for me transformed a somewhat tendentious portrayal of the Voice of the Century into a magical night to remember. I started applauding as soon as the last note died away and was soon joined by the entire theatre audience—most of whom I doubt understood the full significance of what they had just witnessed.
ANNUAL BENEFIT CONCERT
Saturday April 26 8pm
Reception at 7pm
Our annual benefit concert has always been a fun, ear-opening event and this year promises to be no exception.
SANTA MONICA Woman's Club
1210 Fourth St., Santa Monica, CA 90401
(near Wilshire & 4th St.)
Tickets: $20 general admission,
$25 VIP reserved seating
Info: concerts@FolkWorks.org 818-785-3839
Emcee Tracy Newman
Always entertaining, Tracy may throw in some of her own songs.
Los Angeles’ all-natural hillbilly and country blues band, combines the traditional sounds of fiddle and banjo breakdowns with the low-down sound of country blues, topped off with a touch of ragtime and hillbilly jazz. The versatile acoustic ensemble features fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, washboard, and a few odds and ends.
The popular Los Angeles-based women’s chorus that brings to life vocal folk/roots traditions from around the world. Their songs range from Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Bosnia to Rom and Sephardic songs - as well as recently added American and Irish music. Their spellbinding harmonies are at the core of their eclectic repertoire. Whether a simple American song or the complex harmonies of Bulgaria the voices of Nevenka’s women are sure to move you. While mostly singing a cappella, they are occasionally accompanied by percussion, mandolin, guitar, citern or panduri.
Swing Riots Quirktette
The Swing Riots are comprised of 6 core members who have played for decades in everything from Balkan dance bands to traditional Swing groups. They perform an irreverent gumbo of Gypsy & Creole Jazz, Klezmer & Romanian Horas, Parisian Musette & the occasional wild card thrown in for good measure.
Tunacious is a Celtic genre-bending band with songs and dance tunes with a blowout contra dance to wind up the evening.
(Click on hyperlink for tickets)
Series at the Talking Stick Café
FolkWorks Benefit Concert April 26th
Swing Riots Quirktette, Sausage Grinder, Nevenka, Tunacious
emcee: Tracy Newman
Rose Garden of Peace Concert May 31st
With Yuval Ron Ensemble
BATTLEFIELD BAND’S NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
Scotland’s venerable Battlefield Band has been playing great Scottish and Irish music since their formation in 1970, and they are just embarking on their latest tour of North America. Unlike some Rock and Roll bands who have become sad caricatures of themselves, they have stayed to the forefront of traditional music. They have pretty much seamlessly pulled it off with the timely changing of personnel, not always an easy or satisfying feat to accomplish.
I first saw them in the early nineteen eighties at the home of Clark and Elaine Weissman in Tarzana, who in my estimation did more to promote this kind of music in Southern California than did all the Scottish and Irish cultural organizations put together at the time. The Weissman’s also hosted Silly Wizard, Ossian, and the Tannahill Weavers, among others. To say that I was blown away, is a serious understatement, as I really thought that I had died and gone to musical Heaven! I subsequently saw then at McCabe’s in Santa Monica, the Barn at U.C. Riverside and Cal Tech in Pasadena and always enjoyed them.
The Battlefield Band, named for an area in the South of Glasgow, has had a great deal of lineup changes since their founding, and their list of alumni reads like a who’s who of great Scottish and Irish musicians. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the current line up were just a gleam in their parent’s eyes, when the band first hit the road.
The current musicians are Sean O’Donnell (vocals, guitar), Ewen Henderson (fiddle, bagpipes, whistles, piano, and vocals), Alasdair White (fiddle, tin whistle, banjo, bouzouki, Highland bagpipes, small pipes, and bodhran), Mike Katz (Highland bagpipes, small pipes, various whistles, bass guitar, and guitar). A swift piece of arithmetic comes up with around twenty instruments, which must be no fun for their roadie!
They are currently beginning their umpteenth tour of the States, which will include AMSD Concerts in San Diego on the 24th of March, Ojai Women’s Club on the 27th and Freight and Salvage in Berkeley on the 28th. If you have seen them before, then you will know that they are the real deal (or make that the reel deal), and if you haven’t, then you are in for a treat. From frenetic jigs and reels to traditional (and not so traditional songs, such as O.V. Wright’s hit That’s How Strong My Love Is (made famous by Otis Redding). The tunes and songs continue to sound fresh, and you get the feeling that they are really enjoying themselves. Their somewhat different version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising will always be a classic for me!
I had a really interesting conversation on the 9th of March with Robin Morton, who has managed and produced them since the early days. Robin was an original member of the Boys of the Lough, so he has a very good pedigree in this particular field. It was somewhat surreal, as he was in New York, and I was in the Scottish Highlands. We talked about the current economy and its effect on musicians in general. We also discussed the current line up, and talked about the early days.
In this current climate of the internet, there is a whole world of information at your fingertips, so look them up, see what they are about, and attend one of their concerts near you. You will not regret it.
Battlefield Band's latest record Room Enough For All was released in the USA on the 19th March, by Temple Records.
Ron Young had the good fortune to grow up in rural Scotland, surrounded by the traditions of Scottish music and dance. He would like readers to know that whatever you heard about that sheep, it’s not true. Ron has spent the better part of thirty years involved with various Celtic and Scottish cultural organizations in southern California, and now back in Aberfeldy where he has continued to pursue his love of traditional music.