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 May 6 May 20 June 3 June 17 July 1
Setup Bob Allen Joel Rutledge Melissa Sarenac Joel Rutledge Bob Allen
Bulletin Board Estelle Freedman Debbie Klein Faith Estelle Freedman Rick Myers
Host/ess Helen Parker Paula Joyce Bob Allen Al Goodwin Jean Oggins
Host/ess Pazit Zohar Pazit Zohar Tes Welborn Melissa Sarenac Mary Cryas
Singing Room Tes Welborn Melissa Sarenac Marisa Malvino Debbie Klein Marisa Malvino
Theme The Outdoors Leaving/Returning H2O Summer Anything Goes
Cleanup Marlene McCall Forest MacDonald Marlene McCall Tom Sleckman Al Goodwin

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, June 19 at home of Marian Gade,


Club News

Long time Folk Club member Jane Barker and friends Jocelyn Reynolds & Jenny Andersen will be showing their artwork at Jane’s Studio during the Pro Arts East Bay Open Studios on June 4 and 5. Jane’s Studio is located at 237 29th Street in Oakland. Show hours are 11 a.m. — 6 p.m. each day. We look forward to seeing you that weekend! For more information please go to Pro Arts

Film maker Chip Curry has just completed a video about the folk dance residency program of club member Evo Bluestein. Find it on YouTube by searching for “American+Folk+Dancing+with+Evo+Bluestein&aq=f” Judith Kuipers, retired university president, says “As the video progressed, I found myself tearing up … how important your work with children is, you are making a huge difference because you are so good at what you do that you bring out the talent, joy and love of music and dance so evident in the children in this video. BRAVO!!!!” Share

Steve Rothenberg

SFFMC member Steve Rothenberg, 43, died March 27 of cancer.

A talented composer, guitarist, and singer, Steve regularly attended Friday night gatherings at the folk club.

He will be missed by all who knew him.

A memorial service was held on April 1.

Millener-Koken Fiddle Tunes

The Millener-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes was recently released. This is a multi-year project by Walt Koken (of Highwoods Stringband fame) and his partner, the fine fiddler Clare Milliner. Both live in Pennsylvania and play in the Orpheus Supertones with Pete Peterson and Kellie Allen.

Over 1400 tunes are carefully notated and are organized in alphabetical order by title. Included are most of the tunes folks play all across the country. There are several appendices providing comments on the tunes and a thorough discography, along with indexes so tunes can be found by name, player, and key.

The library/heirloom quality book is in an easy-to-read oversize hard bound format, is easy to read, and lies flat.

This is an essential resource and reference book for anyone interested in old time American fiddle tunes. It is sure to become a standard reference work in the years to come.

More info, including how to order, can be found at Share

Web sites of Interest Here’s a good resource for researching traditional songs collected by UK collectors. Cecil Sharp’s diary of his Appalachian trips has been available online for some time, but the latest development is the provision of a full transcript, which makes it all much easier to read, along with biographical details (when known) of the people mentioned. Share

Mellow Meeting in the Mountains

Patience Young

…And the essential fourth M is Music. The wide range of workshop topics, experimenting with novel concert formats, musical merriment and mis­chief are all part of our memories of New Year 2011.

Campers are growing more familiar with the Newman site, where they are finding new nooks for jamming and new routes around the grounds. This year’s changes included moving “information central” to the screened room adjacent to the Dining Hall, a space that became a lively gathering place at all hours; constructing a portable, hand-railed stair to provide access to the raised stage; reconfiguration and refurnishing of the Mural Box, including a corner electric fireplace; and other small touches around camp that have made it more pleasant and safe for all.

The New Harmony committee pays attention to the concerns registered by campers in this year’s comments notebook and continues to work with camp management to improve accessibility, delivery of heat, meal plans, and facilities maintenance. With each year the Newman staff better understands our interests and needs, and strives to meet them.

It’s already time to anticipate New Harmony 2012. Four bits of news:

Campers, alert! Dates are not as have been stated (and now corrected) on the Web site. Camp will start on WEDNESDAY, December 28 and run to MONDAY, January 2. Please plan accordingly.

Gluten-free has become a big concern for many campers, and we are working with Tammy to offer gluten-free dishes at every meal. This option will be identified on the registration form.

Access: The committee is investigating an on-site bus loop to circle between all public workshop areas and including lower village. Stay tuned on this one.

Not least: Be sure that your membership is up to date! Camp registration ballooned when we moved to Camp Newman three years ago, and has become even stronger. We are at capacity for our use of the facilities—for instance, not resorting to staggered meal shifts—and your membership status is key for registration. Don’t neglect this! Share

How Music First Came to Be

Robert Rodriquez

A perusal of tales and legends from around the world tells us that music has not always been a part of the human experience, with many stories telling how music came to humankind. In other cases, stories tell how a specific instrument came to a particular cultural group, or how music was centrally involved in a certain trait or manifestation coming to a specific creature.

In some tales, a god or cosmic being brought music to the people of the world, as in the case of both ancient Greece and India, where legends tell us that Apollo and Parvati respectively gave music to their Greek and Indian mortal worshipers. In the case of the Aztecs of Mexico, Quetzalcoátl brought music to his people by actually stealing it from the very house of the sun who would not share its joys with the people of the world.

A story of the Chepewah-Cree folk of northern Canada tells how the oriole was rewarded by the sun for its wonderful songs in praise of the power and beauty of the sun in the sky by being given a beautiful dress of bright feathers, which it has retained to this very day. Each day the oriole would sing and each day the dress of this bird would become more beautiful; thus was the oriole rewarded for its loyalty and friendship to the power and majesty of the very sun itself.

In contrast to this tale, both Breton and Basque traditions have the wren being cursed for its refusal to sing before the heavenly throne of God, and thereby it was cursed by heaven, becoming a bird of ill omen, as would other birds such as the crow, magpie, vulture, and raven. To see a wren atop a house three nights running is a sign that bad fortune will befall someone in that house.

Because the robin sang its beautiful song before the celestial throne, heaven promised this diminutive bird that it would become the favorite of God and a harbinger of both spring and good fortune to those who had good and pure hearts.

In a legend from Cornwall, the crow once sang a song mocking a local saint and was cursed by having its hitherto beautiful voice turned into one of a raucous and terrible nature which it has possessed to this very day. Share

Current Contact Information Needed

Important!SFFMC members: We need your current contact information. We are beginning a new mailing service for the folknik, also a new directory of current members, distributed to members only. We need to have the Club database as current as possible.

Please give us:

Please indicate which information you’d like to have included in the directory— all or only selected items.

Check your dues to make sure they are paid up to date. See the label on the last folknik you received. Not receiving folkniks? Maybe your dues are not paid up to date. For dues, see the membership form. Dues provide not only money to cover the cost of printing and mailing the folknik, but funds for other SFFMC events such as camps—Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Camp New Harmony and the San Francisco Free Folk Festival. Expenses for all these continue to go up.

Also, if you prefer not to receive a printed folknik, but to read it on our Web site, let us know.

Send information and dues to Membership Secretary, SFFMC, 885 Clayton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 or information by e-mail:

Deadline for the next folknik mailing: June 1.


Library of Congress Gets Music from Universal Music Group

In January, the Library of Congress started taking possession of some 200,000 metal, glass and lacquer master discs from the period 1926 to 1948 donated by Universal Music Group, the largest music conglomerate in the United States. Universal is a subsidiary of the French media conglomerate Vivendi that was formerly known as the Music Corporation of America, or MCA.

The collection includes music by such figures as Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and the Mills Brothers. But for connoisseurs of American roots music, there is also country music from Ernest Tubb, bluegrass from Bill Monroe and a wide variety of guitar and piano blues, gospel and jug-band music.

Gene DeAnna, head of the recorded sound section of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress, said, “This is a treasure trove, a mile-plus of material on the shelves, much of it music that has been out of circulation for many years …. You can’t get any better copies than these, so this represents a major upgrade …. This is going to be the gift that keeps giving, that keeps our engineers and staff here busy for years. Our challenge right now is to decide where to start, because the sheer numbers are just staggering.”

The Library of Congress was granted ownership of the physical discs under an agreement negotiated two years ago, and plans to preserve and digitize them. But Universal retains the copyright to the music recorded on the discs and the right to commercialize that music after it has been digitized. Share

2011 San Francisco Free Folk Festival Preview — June 25 and 26

Marlene McCall

This year’s festival has expanded to include two new program areas. The first is a Jam Room that will contain a succession of jams in different genres from noon to 6:00 every day, led by incredible jam leaders. The second is a stage on the third floor in a room with tiered seating. It will be used for some of the most popular music workshops and will also showcase some great acoustic musical acts. The full festival schedule is available on the festival Web site, but here’s a preview of some of the treats awaiting you. As this folknik goes to press, booking has not yet been completed for the family program in the Malvina Reynolds Room, but that information should be available on the web site shortly. Hope to see you there!

A sampling of music workshops: Pennywhistle, Cajun Music, Songs from California’s History, Works in Progress, Gypsy Jazz Guitar, Sad Songs, Slack Key Guitar, Expanding Your Song Repertoire, Songs in Ladino, Songs of Lee Goland, Traditional Neapolitan Song, Lead Guitar, In Harmony’s Way Session, Understanding the Circle of Fifths, Irish Songs, Performing as a Duo, Sea Shanties and Forebitters, Ukulele Chord Studies, Gospel Singalong, Mandolin Lick Exchange, Folk-Rock on Film, Blues Guitar Accompaniment, Performance Improvement & Evaluation

A sampling of dance workshops: Tap Dance, Moroccan Dance, Charleston, Mazurkas, Modern Dance, Cross-Step Waltz, Jug Band Swing, Irish Set Dances, Cotswold Morris, Modern Dance, Argentine Tango, East Coast Swing, Square Dance, Flamenco, Cajun and Zydeco, Israeli, Merengue, Gender-free Contra Dance, French Country Dance, Norwegian Dance, Contra Dance, Belly Dance

A sampling of jams: Jug Band Jam, Beatles Jam, Cajun Jam, Scandinavian Music Jam, Irish Slow Jam, French Jam, Barbershop Woodshedding Jam, Strictly Bluegrass Jam, Pre-Beatles Rock and Roll Jam.

A sampling of performers in the Pete Seeger Room: Waxwing John, the Harkenbacks, Ragtime Skedaddlers, Lighthouse String Band, Thick Soup, Ray Bierl, The Sam Chase, Alan Smithline, Bob Frank, The Easy Leaves

A sampling of performers on the Woody Guthrie Stage: The Courtney Janes, Imperial/Jones & Friends, Blah Blah Woof Woof, Jeanie & Chuck, Fret Not Gospel, Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally, Gayle Lynn & the Hired Hands

A sampling of performers on the Faith Petric Stage: Kingnik, Cello Joe, Faith Petric, Patrick Landeza, Absynth Quintet, Shed House Bluegrass Band, Dogwatch Nautical Band, Jenny Kerr Band, Ka-Chi, San Francisco Sound Wave Chorus, The Bolos, Leftover Dreams, East Bay Merseyside All-Stars, Pickpocket Ensemble, The Shut-Ins

A Sampling of performers in the Choir Room: Quake City Jug Band, The Juncos, Hot Steel & Cool Ukulele, Richard Adrianowicz & Peter Kasin, Harp Showcase, Bhi Bhiman, Celia Ramsay