• 2018 Festival Logo Wide

    Click on video to see highlights from the March, 2018 festival and a peek into our plans for 2019: Exploring our African roots from Zimbabwe to Appalachia.

    Ticket sales for producing a festival typically do not cover the cost of production. And that’s where you come in! FolkWorks depends on your generosity. When you click to donate below, 100% of the money we raise in this campaign will go to pay talented performers and teachers.

    Please donate what you can to allow us to present the best diverse musical traditions for this amazing event.

    Read more: FolkWorks Folk/Roots Festival Appeal

    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    July-August 2018

    DOUBLE THE PLEASURE

    By Dennis Roger Reed

    CD shelfI own a lot of CDs. Somewhere more than five hundred and less than a million, I think. And of those, there are three CDs that I have two copies of each. They are not my favorite CDs but they have something in common: I love them and I’m afraid they’ll go out of print and I’ll lose or destroy my only copy. I have other CDs that I think are better or enjoy more, but they are generally more mainstream artists whose work will probably stay available. Also, two of the artists have passed on and won’t be making any new recordings. Notice I have not mentioned the Cloud or iTunes or other more recent music storage systems, because I still like to have a “thing” with music on it. And since I’m still wrestling with the whole belief in gravity thing, the Cloud is well beyond my ken.

    Read more: DOUBLE THE PLEASURE

    CONCERT REVIEW

    DAVE ALVIN AND JIMMIE DALE GILMORE, DOWNEY TO LUBBOCK TOUR

    AT THE GRAMMY MUSEUM - JULY 31, 2018, 8:00PM

    AMERICAN NAMES

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Dave and Jimmie 300px
    Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Dave Alvin

    Lubbock, Texas is one of those towns that would feel right at home in Stephen Vincent Benet’s classic poem, “American Names”, that gave us the line, “Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.” It shimmers brightly in every music lover’s imagination and memory, resonating with the whirlwind life of one of Rock and Roll’s greatest artists—one of its glorious pioneers—known to us all by just his first name: Buddy.

    Read more: DAVE ALVIN AND JIMMIE DALE GILMORE DOWNEY TO LUBBOCK

    PASSINGS

    Louis F Curtiss

    (July 2, 1939 – July 8, 2018)

    A remembrance and appreciation

    By W Bruce Reid

    Lou CurtissLouis F Curtiss has passed away at home at age 79.

    In 1972, a few months after I arrived by thumb in San Diego from my native New England, I was on a city bus and saw a sign, "Hoot Night Tuesday" in a shop window. So I screwed up my courage and returned some Tuesday soon after, played a few songs, and was asked by the proprietor to come back and do a weekend concert and, later, play in the locals first night concert at the San Diego Folk Festival. That was Lou at his store, Folk Arts Rare Records. He and his wife, Virginia, his essential partner in all things, kind of adopted me, giving me the third chair in The Old Home Town Band like so many young players before and after me. They introduced me to Sweet's Mill and encouraged my musical pursuits in countless ways.

    Read more: RIP: LOUIS F CURTISS

    CD REVIEW

    TITLE: PAUL BROWN

    ARTIST: PAUL BROWN

    LABEL: TIKI-PARLOUR RECORDINGS

    RELEASE DATE: APRIL, 2018

    By Christine Lovelace

    Paul Brown CD CoverI received my copy of Paul Brown’s eponymous DVD/CD release with Tiki-Parlour Recordings (the brainchild of David Bragger and Rick Hocutt) in the mail last week and fired up the DVD player immediately.

    I was watching it, trying to come up with profound words to describe it, like “homey” and “mellow”, but in the intro to the set, celebrated novelist and writer on American music, Tom Piazza sums up Brown’s first solo banjo and fiddle outing by saying “It’s the understatement of the year.”

    Read more: PAUL BROWN CD-DVD

    SPOTLIGHT

    STRIKING IRON: THE ART OF AFRICAN BLACKSMITHS

    Striking Iron

    Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths, is an international traveling exhibition that combines scholarship with objects of great aesthetic beauty to create the most comprehensive treatment of the blacksmith’s art in Africa to date. The exhibition includes over 225 artworks from across the African continent, focusing on the region south of the Sahara and covering a time period spanning early archaeological evidence to the present day. Borrowed from American and European public and private collections, it features wood sculptures studded with iron, blades, and currencies in a myriad of shapes and sizes, diverse musical instruments, body adornments, an array of ritual accoutrements, tools and weapons, and other important objects that enabled Africans to forage and hunt, till the soil, and assure their own protection and prosperity.

    JUNE 3 – DECEMBER 30, 2018

    Fowler Museum at UCLA - UCLA North Campus
    405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095
    310-825-4361</p>

    Read more: STRIKING IRON: THE ART OF AFRICAN BLACKSMITHS

     

    FEATURE ARTICLE

    THE WORK OF PETE SEEGER: HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?

    GRAMMY MUSEUM EXHIBIT REVIEW

    ON PETE SEEGER’S 99TH BIRTHDAY - MAY 3, 2018

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Pete at Grammy MuseumThe Grammy Museum has thwarted the twisted un-American ambitions of Red Channels~ the primary instigator of the notorious blacklist that destroyed the careers of the Weavers and Pete Seeger during the late un-great red scare of the McCarthy era in the “Silent Generation” of the 1950s by mounting a glorious tribute to Pete on their fabled 4th floor, enshrining the man that poet Carl Sandberg called “America’s Tuning Fork” in the definitive home of the very best in American music.

    Read more: THE WORK OF PETE SEEGER: HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?

    everything but ...

    This is a very rare video of the late Scott Didlake, 1948-1994, pioneer gourd banjo builder and the lost origin of the banjo researcher. He his talking at a Gourd banjo workshop during the Tennessee Banjo Institute event 1992 together with Mike Seeger and Clark Buehling.

    Read more: Scott Didlake and the origin of the banjo

    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 8/15/18


    MUSIC


    7:00pm FILM: BLANKMAN

    Striking Iron Film Series

    Fowler Museum at UCLA - UCLA North Campus

    405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095

    310-825-4361


    8:00pm ROY ZIMMERMAN

    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.



    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    DANCE


    FEATURED VIDEO

March-April 2011

The Unlost Dan Gellert Footage

By David Bragger

When you search the Web for Dan Gellert, it’s shocking how hidden he is. Especially the lack of video!! There’s a minimalist website, references to his brilliant CD Waitin’ on the Break of Day, and colorful descriptions of his style and genius. On some of the fiddle and banjo boards you’ll find quotes like “Dan Gellert is a whirling dervish of banjo funkiness,” “He has a very blues-based approach to old-time music, often favouring ‘blue’ notes and African-style syncopated rhythms,” and “A few words that come to mind when listening to Mr. Gellert are syncopation, riffs, loose (NOT sloppy), and finally: James Brown.”

One of my favorite descriptions of his playing is:

"It's funky, it smells, stinks like a sweaty woman. That's the highest compliment I can give."

In 2005 a few friends flew him out here to Los Angeles for workshops and a house concert. I was able to video him for a few hours in an extremely casual setting and then during a workshop. After contacting Dan about releasing the videos online to spread the old-time wealth, I discovered them missing. Years later, I found them in a mysterious box. Don’t know how they got there, nor do I care. I’m finally presenting them for your enjoyment and fiddle edification. But first, a recent Q & A with the master himself.

DB: How did you learn? Did live one-on-one interaction play a part in the learning process?

DG: There were a few banjo (and mandolin and guitar) players around that I got to watch and sometimes play with. On the fiddle I think it was just me and the old records for maybe the first couple of years.

DB: Which fiddle and banjo players have influenced you the most?

DG: I can say that Pete Seeger was a major influence because he's the first banjo player I heard and also his GREAT banjo book which I still recommend to students. For most, "why" is just because I like to listen to them. A random selection of my early models, in no particular order: Uncle Bunt, Uncle Dave, Hobart Smith, Wade Ward, Doc Watson, Tom Ashley, Posey Rorer, Luther Strong, Fred, Kyle, & Tommy, Gid, Lowe, & Pappy, Sam & Kirk, Dock Boggs...

DB: How did you approach bowing when you started learning? Was there any sense of "bow patterns" for you? How do you think about "bowing?"

DG: I didn't think of it that way when I was learning, but I managed to acquire a few good habits very early on (just plain luck as far as I can tell). I'd been fiddling for maybe 20 years by the time I was hanging around with Brad and heard him talk about "down bowing". I remember asking him if I played that way, since I'd never paid any attention to which way the bow was going. He said yes. Since then I've gotten more and more into teaching, and so I've had to learn how to analyze and dissect the way I do things. It still isn't real easy.

DB: What are the most eccentric tunes/recordings in your mind?

DG: Strange that I felt an instant negative reaction to this question, as I used to think I was real into eccentricity. My first thought was f*** eccentric, music has to be CENTERED. Everyone has their own idea of where the center is, though. Which doesn't answer the question. I don't know. Like, Willie Narmour can be crooked as hell, but he very much makes his own kind of sense. What about Edn Hammons, JW Day, (and lots of others, of course)-- eccentric, or just real normal for the mid 19th century?

DB: Do you listen to any modern musicians?

DG: Not a lot. I do sometimes hear things I like, but I'm getting old enough that long-term memory carries a lot more weight with me than short-term....


Dan Gellert- Old Christmas Morning
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3D-tS7dHYg)


an Gellert- Hell Up Coal Holler
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWXe3LrQ3l4)


Dan Gellert- No Corn on Tygart
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP0bFNyM3zk)

Dan Gellert- The Hog-Eyed Man
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVR1j4NvR48)

David Bragger is a Los Angeles-based instructor and player of old time fiddle and banjo music. He also photographs, films, and collects the lore of traditional artists, from puppeteers in Myanmar to fiddlers of Appalachia www.myspace.com/davidbragger

  

All Columns by David Bragger

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