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.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
—Aldous Huxley
Date 9/7 9/21 10/5 10/19 11/2 11/16 11/30 12/14 12/28
Food Setup Melissa S. Melissa S. Debbie K. Melissa S. Melissa S. Melissa S. Melissa S. Melissa S. Help needed
House Setup Rick M. Melissa S. Dave S. Dave S. Bob A. Kim P. Bob A. Help needed Help needed
Bulletin Board D. Nunns Lyla M. Debbie K. Estelle F. Kim P. Rick M. Marcia W. Yvette T. Help needed
Host/ess D. Nunns Melissa S. Mary C. Estelle F. Mary C. Lyla M. Glen V.L. Help needed Help needed
Host/ess Tes W. Kim P. Pazit Z. Linda G. Paula J. Bill K. Help needed Mary C. Help needed
Singing Room Paula J. Bob A. Tes W. Tom S. Yvette T. Marisa M. Betsy B. Yvette T. Help needed
Theme Labor songs Celebrations (September 13 is Faith’s birthday) Kate Wolf/ California Theme Songs Love Won, Lost, etc. Nature/Nurture Days, Months, Years Celtic/Brit/Euro TBA
Cleanup Lyla M. Tom S. Kim P. Morgan C. Help needed Help needed Kim P. Kim P. Help needed
<< Use the scrollbar below to see all the dates >>

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 26 at Hali Hammer’s house,

Club News

Crane William Riemer was born April 19 to Katie and Michael Riemer.

Guy Stephen Glanville was born April 8 to Lacey and Hugh Glanville.

Phil Morgan has moved. His new address is He is there in the evening; no answering machine.

Letter to the Club

Last night I finally went back to the song swap at Faith’s house! I had such a fabulous time there, even brought some of my friends who also enjoyed sharing music just as much! It reminded me of why I love the SF Folk Music group soooo much!!! Thanks to everyone who made the evening so incredibly fabulous, especially Faith! You rock!

I signed up for the singing room on Friday, August 10th, something I’ve NEVER done before! (I’ve only been a hostess), so I’m excited re that – almost put “Beatles music” down as a theme but decided on “rock n’ roll” which I think was done earlier this year when I couldn’t make it … all the topics are fabulous, though.

Now I really look forward to the campout next weekend and to lots of fun times playing music!

— Mary (aka Melody)

Camp Anticipation!

by Patience Young

The Camp New Harmony Committee reminds everyone to maintain and update their membership to be ready for registration in September.

Thanks to all for comments in “the purple notebook.” Each year the tuning gets finer, as problems get resolved and new ideas surface.

The bus will be back, with extended hours as campers requested (e.g., pre-workshop hours to reach breakfast) and a new chore category to assist folks with instruments and equipment to get on and off at any stop.

The Committee is thrilled to introduce Amelia Hogan and Margaret Miles as the new co-registrars. Yes, it takes two people to replace Katie, who’s done a fabulous job for the past seven years, and is now busy raising Crane.

Our primary goal will be to make sure that the spirit of Camp Harmony, so carefully cultivated by Katie, remains the same. We want everyone to continue to have a fantastic time at camp, and although we may not do everything the way Katie did, we will be doing our best to accommodate everyone’s needs. Amelia and Margaret will be sending out more information about registration in the next folknik.

Hellman Foundation Grant

The Hellman Foundation has generously donated $2,000 to the SF Free Folk Festival and $1,000 to the EC Free Folk Festival. Many thanks!

Doc Watson 1923-2012

Doc Watson, folk music legend and master flatpicker, died May 29, after a fall at his North Carolina home and subsequent colon surgery.

He was born Arthel Lane Watson, but adopted the nickname “Doc” in his teens at the suggestion of a radio broadcast audience member. Doc, blind from infancy, grew up playing banjo and harmonica, but learned to play guitar when his father bought him one at age 13. Though he recorded traditional tunes like “Deep River Blues” and “Shady Grove,” Doc didn’t play only the music of the Appalachian Mountains. Before folklorist and musician Ralph Rinzler recorded him backing old-time banjo player Clarence “Tom” Ashley in 1960, he worked with a local dance band, playing honky-tonk, rockabilly, pop and square-dance tunes.

A master of both fingerpicking and flatpicking styles, Doc was, along with Merle Travis and Chet Atkins, one of the most influential acoustic guitarists of the ’50s and ’60s. He played the ’63 and ’64 Newport Folk Festivals and became popular on the folk circuit. He appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 1972 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which exposed him to a wider audience of country, bluegrass and blues fans.

For many years, Doc toured with his son, Merle. After Merle died in a 1985 tractor accident, Doc honored his memory by hosting MerleFest, a North Carolina festival that draws 75,000 annually.

Levon Helm, 1940 - 2012

Levon Helm, drummer, vocalist and mandolin player of The Band, died April 19, after a long battle with throat cancer.

In the early 1960s, Levon joined fellow Arkansan Ronnie Hawkins, moved to Toronto, and recruited four Canadians to join the backing group: guitarist Robbie Robertson, bassist-vocalist Rick Danko, pianist-vocalist Richard Manuel and organist Garth Hudson. They toured as the Hawks, then left Ronnie and became Bob Dylan’s backing band just as the folk king was embracing electric rock. The Band and Dylan settled near West Saugerties, NY, in the latter half of the ’60s. Countering the psychedelic trend that dominated the music scene, they wrote and recorded songs steeped in old-time country, soul, R&B, ’50s rock, gospel, blues and folk ballads — with lyrics that spoke of an older America.

As the Band, with a recording contract of their own, Levon and the four Canadians released 10 studio albums from 1968 to 1998. They were enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

The Band broke up in 1976 — Levon had become estranged from Robbie, partly because of disputed songwriting credits — and filmmaker Martin Scorsese chronicled the group’s farewell concert in The Last Waltz film and soundtrack.

Levon’s battle with throat cancer began in the late ’90s. His voice was raspy from radiation therapy, but he continued to record, and staged a series of Midnight Ramble concerts with a variety of guest musicians at a studio next to his home. The concerts raised money to pay his medical bills.


by Estelle Freedman

After over forty years of organizing and feeding us at the alternate Friday night song swaps at 885 Clayton Street, Faith Petric has decided to “retire” and turn over these tasks to Folk Club members. We can’t thank her enough for everything she has done to keep these song swaps running. In addition to buying the food staples, making soup and brownies, and setting up the food in her kitchen, Faith has been the one responsible for filling in the volunteer job sheet (the Clipboard) to list in the folknik. As she has always said, it takes at least six volunteers to make one Friday night happen. But what she didn’t say was that without her finding those volunteers, training and prodding them, and keeping the food coffers full we would not be enjoying these precious musical evenings!

Faith is taking a well-deserved vacation in Ireland, and by the time she returns later this summer we hope to have the song swaps running smoothly on our own. The clipboard will still circulate in the singing room on Friday nights, and soon the volunteer grid will be available online as well, so that folks can consult it to see when they agreed to help and when they might sign up for future dates. Some loyal folkies have already been very generous about signing up for a “host” of responsibilities, including the new Food Supply/Set Up task (hooray Melissa Sarenac and crew). But we will need to broaden participation to cover the jobs that Faith used to fill herself.

So, check out the job descriptions and musical meeting dates on the online folknik and be ready to sign up at the folk club. In the future we hope to make it possible to sign up online, too. If you are already a regular volunteer, THANK YOU SO MUCH and keep up the good work. If you have always meant to serve, now is your chance – a great way to commit to getting yourself to the folk club. If you have constraints that make it hard to sign up for any of the jobs, you could bring some food to share when you are able to come by. No one can replace Faith’s singular contributions, but together we can and will keep the music flowing.

Redwood Dulcimer Day

Ron Beardslee

What: A day of relaxed mountain dulcimer workshops and general musical fun followed by a faculty concert. Guests may select from nine or more workshops covering beginner through advanced level techniques. Beginners are especially welcome and no musical experience is necessary. Loaner instruments provided with prior notice.

Faculty: Aaron O’Rourke, Neal Hellman, Peter Tommerup, Ron Beardslee, D.J. Hamouris

When: August 18, 2012. Doors open 9:00, workshops begin 10:00 AM, Dinner 5:30, Faculty Concert 7:30 PM

Where: Aptos Community United Methodist Church, 221 Thunderbird Dr., Aptos CA

Cost: Workshops-$45 advance, $55 at the door. Dinner included. Concert-$15 at the door.

For more info: Ron Beardslee,


RDD is sponsored by the Community Music School of Santa Cruz.

More About All God’s Critters

Robert Rodriquez

A memorable icon of the 1960s was the TV series that introduced us to Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle the Moose. In one adventure, they must save the US from an invasion of metal munching moon mice attempting to take over the country by devouring all the TV antennas. We discover Bullwinkle’s somewhat less than stellar ability to play the ukulele as he attempts to captivate an entire stadium of moon mice in a battle with Boris playing his balalaika in order to get the moon mice to do his bidding. In the end, all goes well for our heroes and Boris’s nefarious plans are foiled, while Bullwinkle’s ukulele saves the day.

Among the Yoruba of Nigeria, there is a trickster figure known as Agapa. He is a tortoise as well as a man, having the ability to change shape, but he is greedy, devoid of honor, cunning, lazy, and likes to satisfy only his basest desires, whether that be sexual gratification, gaining of wealth, or the rise in his own prestige and power at the expense of those who get in his way. He often borrows large sums of money from creditors, and then does what he can to get out of repaying his debts. In one such tale, through a secret divining charm, he sings a secret song of power, luring his creditors into a deep jungle pit he has dug, where they succumb to starvation. Even today, when a special song of power is sung, it is often referred to as Agapa’s song charm.

From India comes a tale in which a farmer, finding a lion skin, places it on his donkey in order to keep him from being molested by other animals. At first, the other critters are terrified by this apparition, but eventually the donkey, unable to forget his roots, begins to treat the neighborhood to a nocturnal concert. The other animals realize they have been conned, and in a fit of fury, they fall upon the poor beast and send him to his final reward.

From Yemen comes a tale about a wily cat who discovers his own talents as a singer. Realizing that he is getting too old to chase mice and other critters, he finds he can gain his ends through his voice, and spends his remaining days singing his way to fame and fortune, feasting daily upon those he lures into his clutches with his singing. Similar musical tricks can be found in tales from Syria, Laos, the Philippines, Mongolia, and Kashmir.

From the Breton tradition comes a dark tale in which a crow takes vengeance upon a local woodsman who had cut down a tree in which the crow’s family lived. The crow lures the woodsman into a bog by playing a fiddle that has been cursed by a local wizard with dark magic. As the woodsman sinks to his doom, the crow taunts him by reminding him of his previous misdeeds. The crow keeps the cursed fiddle, and for many years, that bog is a place of dark and terrifying deeds done at night during the full of the moon. They tell a similar tale in Korea in which a malevolent tiger obtains a lute-like instrument known as a kayagum. He plays this instrument and lures helpless travelers to their doom until one night he encounters a temple priest who knows how to counteract evil magic. The tiger is beaten to death by enraged farmers in the vicinity of the temple, and his skin decorates the temple walls for generations.

Maybe the best way to sum this up is with a quote by Mark Twain, “One should never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it does not work and it also annoys the pig.”

Oakland House Concert with Jeff Warner

Jeff Warner, who grew up listening to the songs and stories of his father Frank Warner and the traditional singers his parents met during their folksong collecting trips through rural America, will perform at an Oakland house concert on Sunday, August 26 at 8 p.m. Jeff plays concertina, banjo, guitar and several “pocket” instruments, including bones and spoons. Jeff has toured nationally for the Smithsonian Institution, taught at Pinewoods, Ashokan and Swannanoa summer music programs and recorded for Flying Fish/Rounder, WildGoose and other labels.

Reservations are required; please e-mail to reserve and for more details. Donation of $15 is requested; all proceeds go to the performer. Jeff’s web site is

Editor Needed for Page 7 of folknik—Festivals ‘n’ Such

Phyllis Jardine

Basic requirements: own computer, knowledge of e-mail, experience with page layouts on word processors or page layout programs, and Internet access. Most content comes from updating previous year’s festivals, plus some new items sent to the editor. If you’re interested and qualified, please contact by July 13.