• FOLKWORKS CALENDAR (click here)

     
  • FOLKWORKS CONCERTS

    FUTURE Concerts

    (Click on hyperlink for tickets)

    Series at the Talking Stick Café

    1411 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

    NEVENKA    September 27
                  East European Women's Choir
          

    SYNCOPATHS    October 25th
                  Upbeat Celtic
          

     
  • FILM REVIEW

    DINESH D’SOUZA’S AMERICA:

    HIS LAND AIN’T MY LAND

    By Ross Altman

    Dinesh DSouzas AmericaDinesh D’Souza’s America opens in medias res, in the midst of the American Revolution, and before we have had time to settle in, we see General George Washington riding by as he is…shot dead by a British sniper’s bullet. What if, D’Souza’s movie speculates, George Washington had died that way and America had never been born. What would the world look like today?—a fascinating hypothesis--but apparently not enough to hang a movie on.

    As John Milton found out while writing Paradise Lost every epic needs a villain as well as a hero, and often the villain—in Milton’s case Satan—is the more interesting character than—in his case the Lord. In Dinesh D’Souza’s pseudo-documentary America: Imagine a World Without Her, a hypothetical retelling of the American story the hero—it goes without saying—is America—while the villain is the late great Boston University historian and author of The People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn.

    Read more: DINESH D’SOUZA’S AMERICA

     
  • CONCERT REVIEW

    A THING OF BEAUTY

    DON MCLEAN AND JUDY COLLINS IN CONCERT

    AT THE FOX PERFORMING ARTS CENTER IN RIVERSIDE - JULY 25, 2014

    By Ross Altman

    Judy Collins - Don McLean

    Legendary singer-songwriter Don McLean and living angel Judy Collins brought a show to Riverside last night that was one for the ages—and the times we live in. Judy Collins, looking resplendent in a simple black sequined pant suit highlighted by her shining silver hair flowing down her shoulders gave the most moving tribute to her “old friend Pete Seeger” of all the tributes I have heard since he passed away last January 27.

    She offered her heartfelt narrative of her friendship with America’s Tuning Fork from the time she walked into Pete’s (and her soon-to-be) manager Harold Leventhal’s office fifty years ago only to find Pete stretched out fast asleep on the floor his banjo by his side and heard Leventhal say quietly but firmly, “Shh! Don’t wake him! He’s resting for three shows I am taking him to this afternoon; this is his only chance to get some sleep!” She then recounted the thrill of singing Turn, Turn, Turn with him on his self-produced folk TV show Rainbow Quest on a small public station (“before PBS was even invented!” she told us)—a performance which you can still enjoy on YouTube.

    Read more: DON MCLEAN AND JUDY COLLINS IN CONCERT

     
  • FEATURED INTERVIEW

    [Editors note: The following are parts 1, 2  and 3 of Ross' interview with Don McLean. The introduction to this interview is Ross' July-August Column ]

    DON MCLEAN: THE FOLKWORKS INTERVIEW

    PART 1

    By Ross Altman

    Don McLean with instrumentsIn the following interview Don McLean has a few things to say about Pete Seeger that may raise some eyebrows, especially since the interview was conducted well before Pete passed away last January 27; so I want to preface it with this lovely tribute by Don McLean for Pete and what his loss meant to him; it is copied directly from his web site and shows how complex love can be.

    Thank you, Don.

    Pete Seeger

    For about seven years from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s, I knew the Seegers (Pete and Toshi) about as well as anybody. I worked with Pete Seeger frequently. He was very generous and encouraging at a time in my life when it meant a great deal to me. 

    Read more: DON MCLEAN PART 1


    DON MCLEAN: THE FOLKWORKS INTERVIEW

    PART 2

    By Ross Altman

    July 14, 2014, Woody Guthrie’s 102nd birthday—a day to celebrate folk music.

    Don McLeanRA:      Let me ask you about your father. You said at some point in the interview that I read that you were being encouraged to quit music because you weren’t making enough or weren’t successful enough and then the way you looked at it was you were making more in a day than your father made in a week…

    RA:      Okay, so to repeat that you were making more in a day than your father was earning in a week, which was about $150, and so you couldn’t see the argument. So I wanted to ask you, what did your father do for a living? And what influence did he have in terms of values and the things that you saw around your home?

    DM:     My father was a district manager for Consolidated Edison, the utility.

    RA:      Oh, okay.

    DM:     And he sold gas heat to people. And I never knew one single thing about what he did. He never spoke about what he did. He never talked about himself too much at all. He was taciturn in some ways, but near the end of his life when we were together, he told me all about childhood which was very tough. And then he died when I was with him.

    Read more: DON MCLEAN PART 2


    Don McLean: The FolkWorks Interview

    Part 3

    By Ross Altman

    Don McLean with Banjo at LenaRA:      How did you get acquainted with Pete?

    DM:     I got acquainted with him because, well I always loved his records, and loved that image which I felt was the perfect image for me, you know, because I was always kind of an outsider. I didn’t really want to work with people. I didn’t get along with people. I was always getting punished for things I was saying, you know, even at home. In school, at home, whatever, I would say something that was the truth, but it would get me in a lot of trouble and it kind of continued right on.

    RA:      Can you think of an example off the top of your head of that kind of thing?

    DM:     I can – wow, I mean, no. But I was always being impertinent, let’s say.

    RA:      Okay.

    DM:     The biggest example was American Pie, you know, where everybody sort of crucified me for – Rolling Stone crucified me for trying to take over the telling of the history of rock and roll.

    Read more: DON MCLEAN PART 3

     
  • COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    July-August 2014

    DON MCLEAN: THE FOLKWORKS INTERVIEW

    By Ross Altman

    Don McLean legendaryI happened to be at a roadside coffee stand yesterday where the radio was tuned to K-Earth 101; they were taking a commercial break to promote the station, and were playing two brief song excerpts to do so. The first was the Rolling Stones Satisfaction and the second was Don McLean’s American Pie. That’s all—no Beatles, no Madonna, no Elvis, no Rod Stewart, no Chuck Berry, and no Dylan; just the Stones and Don McLean. After the sound samples concluded the announcer breaks in and delivers the tag line: The greatest songs on earth—K-Earth 101. He doesn’t even bother to identify the artists or the songs, that’s how universally well-known they are. The Stones I got; but Don McLean? And then I connected the dots.

    Read more: Don McLean: The Folkworks Interview

Print

July-August 2007

New World Flamenco Festival

La Flor de la Vida, August 10-19

By Chris Stuart

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A Fuego Lento Photo by Miguel Angel Gonzalez

There are few folk dances that blend passion and precision, energy and elegance, as well as flamenco.

Its origins are only dimly known, and there is debate over the very word. The dance appeared first in the Andalusian region of Spain in the sixteenth century during what is known as the Reconquest and quickly spread. The unique mélange of native Andalusian, Islamic, Sephardic, and Gypsy cultures, gives the dance its themes of loss, persecution, pride, as well as its characteristic rite of sexual tension.

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Maria Jose Franco Photo by Dean Thomas

The word flamenco might mean gypsy or perhaps a reference to the Flemish, the legendary home of the gypsies. In either case, the origins are distinctly folk oriented, the dance developing from the poorer strata of society. Over the past 500 years it has been alternately derided as an uncouth regional dance and hailed as the pinnacle of Iberian soul.Now we have a unique opportunity to appreciate the very best in flamenco dance with the New World Flamenco Festival August 10-19 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. The festival is titled La Flor de la Vida, The Prime of Life, and premieres three companies of young flamenco dancers who are among the very best currently performing in Spain.This established festival has often emphasized the stars of traditional flamenco, but this year's program will bring a new generation to Southern California.

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Juan Ogalla Photo by Andy Mogg

This is an unprecedented chance to see what is new and coming inflamenco dance. All the troupes are in the prime of life and promise to present an exciting show of new works, some created especially for this festival.Each company is led by a well-known dancer who has built his or her own company and been successful at Spain's major flamenco festival, Festival de Jerez. The three troupes will divide the ten day festival.Compañia Maria José Franco will perform August 10-12, a program titled De Grana y Oro, and features, besides Ms. Franco, a high-profile cast including Morenito de Llora, Juan Jose Amador and Luis Moneo. August 14-15, André Peña and Pila Ogalla will present "A Fuego Lento," which promises a smoldering male and female duet. And Compañia Juan Ogalla, with guest artist Milagros Mengibar, will perform Cosas de Cai, August 17-19, featuring Spain's leading exponent of the bata de cola, the long gown.

This is a chance to enjoy some of the best dancers in the world of any style, and a festival that deserves to attract many people interested in, and appreciative of, great folk dancing, fabulous production, and sensual storytelling.

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