Club News

Musical Meetings

Musical meetings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club are held every other Friday at 885 Clayton Street, between Carl & Parnassus Streets in San Francisco. Singing and jamming in three separate rooms start at 8:00 p.m. Snacks are provided through $1 food kitty donations or finger food contributions. Guests are always welcome, no one is expected to “perform” and there is no charge.

“Music is a release from the tyranny of conscious thought.”
—Kevin Burke
Date July 1 July 15 July 29 August 12 August 26
Setup Bob Allen Joel Rutledge Marisa Malvino Joel Rutledge Kim Probs
Bulletin Board Rick Myers Debbie Klein Marisa Malvino Tom Sleckman Estelle Freedman
Host/ess Jean Oggins Debbie Klein Debbie Klein Marisa Malvino Melissa Sarenac
Host/ess Mary Cryas D. Nunns Katherine Blades Kim Probs Jo D’Anna
Singing Room Marisa Malvino Katherine Blades Estelle Freedman Tes Wellborn Debbie Klein
Theme Anything Goes Energy Sources Hard Times/Good Times Friends & Relations Prisons
Cleanup Al Goodwin Kim Probs Dean Harlem Kim Probs Mark O’Harps

Board Meetings

The SFFMC board meets on the second Tuesday of each month — potluck at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 8:00 p.m. All Club members are welcome to attend the potluck dinner and the Board meeting.

NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN/FOLK SING: Sunday, August 28: at home of Hali Hammer, .

Page 4 Editor Needed

Ye editors Phyllis and Thad are getting together the SFFMC Directory for 2011, setting up a new fold-in procedure, and publicizing and arranging for the July 4 and Labor Day camps. We could use help—especially with page 4 (the Reviews page). It can be laid out on a word processor; we use Microsoft Word, but any other word processor should work. We have a supply of reviews and lots of interesting CDs to be listed for reviews. Interested? Let us know. Phyllis Jardine at

Library of Congress Nat’l Jukebox Project

The Library of Congress has taken more than 10,000 pre-1925 78rpm recordings and turned them into digital files to which anyone can listen online for free. Here is the link: www.loc.gov/jukebox/.

The five major genres are Classical Music, Ethnic Characterizations, Popular Music, Religious, and Spoken Word. If you choose Popular Music, you’ll see the following menu:

What a great resource. Check it out!

Hazel Dickens

Hazel Dickens, advocate for working people and a pioneer among women in bluegrass music, died on April 22, 2011 from complications of pneumonia, at the age of 75.

She influenced bluegrass, folk and country singers like Emmylou Harris and Allison Krauss, who inducted her into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. Dickens, both on her own and in the duet of Hazel & Alice (her partnership with Mike Seeger’s wife Alice Gerrard) performed and recorded her own compositions and deeply explored the feminist archetypes in Appalachian song.

Her songs often featured a woman’s perspective in a genre more accustomed to songs from the viewpoint of husbands and coal miners. She will be sorely missed.

The Music of Love

There is a very old story from Vietnam that once upon a time a poor woodcutter saved the life of a fox caught in a trap. Now foxes are not always what they appear to be, and this vulpine critter was no exception. This fox just happened to be one of the blessed celestials who had come down from heaven to spy out kindness and wisdom in a world otherwise filled with malice and foolishness.

Meanwhile, at the royal palace, things were in a bit of a sticky wicket, as it were. The emperor’s daughter had gotten into a bit of a dispute with her royal father and for a very long time she had neither laughed nor smiled, and would not even speak a single word to anyone. In desperation, Daddy Emperor put out a royal decree that any man who could make his daughter smile and laugh and speak again would gain half the kingdom, the princess for a bride, and the entire kingdom when the emperor died.

Now up to this point, our woodcutter had no musical skills to speak of, but this would soon change. The grateful fox presented the woodcutter with a very small and delicate harp-like instrument and told him to proceed to the palace and things would happen as they were meant to happen. The woodcutter went to the royal palace, taking the instrument that was to become Vietnam’s national instrument, the butterfly harp, so called because of its delicate sound and tone.

He stood below the window of the princess, and began to play as if by very magic itself. Well, gang, you can guess the rest. When the princess heard the beautiful music, she came out on the balcony, looked down and saw the woodcutter doing his musical thing, and, voilà, love and music did the rest. Very soon, she had begun to dance and clap her hands and laugh, and of course the emperor was quite happy at this turn of events.

The woodcutter married the princess, eventually became emperor, and taught others how to play this fabulous new musical instrument.

It should be no surprise that the subject of love interposes itself in numerous stories from around the world in which music plays a central role. For the sake of love and his beloved Eurydice, Orpheus, lyre in hand, entered the realm of Hades to bring his wife back to the world of the living, and he might have succeeded, except that he disobeyed Hades’ injunction not to look behind him as they emerged from the realm of the dead. He did look behind him just as they emerged into the mortal world, and thus he lost her permanently and never saw her again until he himself eventually entered Hades’ kingdom when it came his turn to die.

In British tradition, the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice shows up as the ballad of Orfeo, in which the king, disguised as a beggar with harp in hand, must enter the realm beneath the hill to rescue his beloved queen who has been taken by the Faerie monarch to be his own. So sweetly does Orfeo play that the dark monarch tells him to choose whatever he wishes, and so Orfeo tricks the Faerie lord into giving him back his queen and back home they happily go and all ends well.

The Micmacs of Nova Scotia tell many tales about mermaids, which they refer to as halfway people, and their amatory liaisons with mortal land dwellers. In one tale, a young warrior seduced a mermaid with whom he had fallen in love by singing a plaintive love song to her from the shore, and she succumbs to his desires. Alas, however, our tale ends rather badly for all concerned. After she gave him several children, she took them back to the sea, and he died of loneliness and a broken heart.

In a Yaqui story from northern Mexico, a friendly sky spirit gave a poor warrior an enchanted love or courting flute, because of which generous action the young man eventually took to wife the chief’s own youngest daughter. The tale in which the courting flute aids in getting a wife for a young man is quite prevalent among indigenous peoples from the Arctic Circle down to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America.

Other musical instruments play the same role, such as a tale from Montenegro in the former Yugoslavia wherein a fiddle helped a poor but cunning gypsy gain the daughter of a wealthy landowner, but in this case, happiness suddenly became despair when her father, incensed at what had happened, sent his retainers after them and the young swain was literally struck down before his very bride. As the old song so cogently puts it, oh these love affairs are hard to bear, and especially when music and musicians get involved.

In a rather more humorous tale from Ireland, Jack won the king of Ireland’s daughter as his wife by cleverly employing a harp-playing bee, as well as a dancing mouse and cockroach, to good advantage. Other musical instruments that help bring lovers together include the oud, koto, saz, and the huur, a fiddle-like instrument native to the musical traditions of remote Tuva in Russia’s far east. From Finland to the Solomon Islands, the very human voice itself often aids in bringing happiness to otherwise despondent lovers and, more often than not, their tales of love and courtship end quite happily for both.

Well, gang, there you have it, just a few of the tales and legends from around the world and down through the centuries in which music plays a central role in tales of love, both requited and otherwise. When all is said and done, what these tales show us is that there is indeed a special and innate magic, whether in music or story, and this magic lives and thrives and is always there, wherever a good song, tune, or story is concerned, and the emotion of love and its aftermath is no exception. Where a good story is concerned, that is the way it should always be, guaranteed for certain.

Robert Rodriquez

Phoebe Snow

Phoebe Snow, singer, guitarist and songwriter, died on April 26, 2011, from complications of a brain hemorrhage she suffered in January 2010. She was 58.

Her records were extremely popular in the 1970s and she was nominated for best new artist at the 1975 Grammys, but largely dropped out of the spotlight to care for her disabled daughter. Snow’s manager, Sue Cameron, said she had endured bouts of blood clots, pneumonia and congestive heart failure since her stroke.

What’s New at the 2011 SF Free Folk Festival – June 25 & 26?

Getting a count of festival-goers. It’s notoriously difficult to know how many people attend a free festival such as the SFFFF. But it’s important that we know, for planning purposes and for presenting information to those who might provide us with grant money, sponsorships, or contributions. (The festival is free to attendees, but it costs increasingly more money each year, especially for rental of the festival premises.) So this year, we will be handing out stickers to every attendee. Help us reach our goal … BE COUNTED! Get your free sticker at one of the main entrances and be part of the people count. Thanks from the SF Free Folk Festival Committee.

The Lead Belly Stage. Great thanks to all of you who submitted suggestions for naming our new performance area on the third floor, with tiered carpeted seating. It was a tough choice, but we finally decided on the Lead Belly Stage, honoring the iconic American folk and blues musician, known and admired for his strong voice, his expertise on the twelve-string guitar, and the legacy of the vast songbook of folk standards he introduced.

Jam Room. Something new at the festival this year: The Jam Room. This room will be dedicated to housing nothing but jams of various genres led by fabulous jam leaders who are outstanding in their fields. You’re in for a treat...Sat noon Jug Band Jam by CA Jug Band Assn., Saturday 2:00 Pre-Beatles Rock’n’Roll Jam led by Mugg Muggles, Saturday 3:00 Beatles Jam led by Joe Cadora & Jeannine Menger, Saturday 5:00 Cajun Jam led by Blair Kilpatrick and Steve Tabak, Sunday noon Scandinavian Music Jam led by Bob Palasek, Sunday 1:00 Irish Slow Session led by Ann McChesney-Young and the Jolly Clamdiggers, Sunday 3:00 French Music Jam led by Gary Breitbard, Sunday 4:00 Barbershop Woodshedding Jam led by Charles Feltman, and last but certainly not least, Sunday 5:00, Strictly Bluegrass Jam led by Jeanie & Chuck Poling.

Tote bags. Woo-hoo! For those who have more t-shirts than they can wear, or who would just love something new, tote bags imprinted with the festival logo will be available for sale at the sales table. Pick one up!

Facebook page and event. Come join the Facebook group page for the San Francisco Free Folk Festival to keep abreast of festival-related news and posts.

Hellman Family Foundation contribution. Our grateful thanks to the Hellman Family Foundation for a $2,000 contribution toward our 2011 festival expenses. It is much appreciated!

Gender-Free Dance Workshops. As an unofficial tie-in with the 41st annual SF Pride Celebration & Parade, taking place on the same weekend as the festival, there will be two gender-free dance workshops, Gender-Free Contra Dance, and Gender-Free Scottish Country Dance. Learning to dance gender-free gives you an opportunity to experience the dance from both sides, providing a more well-rounded dance experience. You can change roles during the course of this workshop (or for the brave of heart, during a single dance!) to get the full experience in one short hour.

And of course, the program itself has way too many new things to list here. Check out the entire program schedule at the festival website www.sffolkfest.org. It lists everything—all of the stage performers on the Woody Guthrie Stage, the Faith Petric Stage, and the Lead Belly Stage, and in the Pete Seeger Room, all of the Family Program workshops and performers in the Malvina Reynolds Room, all of the music workshops and dance workshops, and all of the jams in the jam room. You may find that the offerings this year are so tempting that you’re just going to have to miss some things to attend others. We hope you find a lot of things you like!