the folknik, November/December 2005
(Volume XLI, Number 6)
the San Francisco Folk Music Club
Living and Dead
Songs by Gay Men & Lesbians
Hill & Forest
Fabric & Clothing
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.
December 13: Marion Gade’s house
January 10: Ed Hilton’s house
NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN/FOLK SING: Sunday, December 18, at Abe and Joan Feinberg’s
The folknik is looking for a
new page 2-3 editor to edit articles and lay out pages, uh, 2 and 3 six
times a year and submit them to the Editor-in-Chief either on paper or
as PDFs. (Your current editor is taking a turn as on-line editor.) It’s
fun and gives you an excuse to go to all those cool folk events you
want to turn your fellow Club members on to. Contact the
The Labor Day campout at Boulder Creek was a great success. The weather was moderate, campers enjoyed themselves, yellowjackets and mosquitoes were not a major problem, and chore signups were filled with few problems. Attendance was good, and we took in about $300 over the rent. Thanks to reservations czar Phil Morgan, lifeguard recruiter Marian Gade and Club treasurer Melissa Sarenac; road sign expert Thad Binkley and registrar Phyllis Jardine; radio maven Jerry “Sparks” Michaels; registration leaders Ed Hilton, Marv Sternberg and Kathryn LaMar; and the many who signed up for chores. If your idea of a perfect holiday is days of jamming, you were probably there; if you missed it, you can still spend New Year’s at Camp Harmony.
Ron and Anna Green (“SUNRISE”) were inducted into the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame last September at the 30th Old Time Country Music Festival in Missouri Valley, Iowa, “not only for their fine work as recording artists and performers at festivals throughout the Western states but also for their lifetime contributions as teachers who help to preserve and perpetuate the performing traditions of folk, old time country and western music.”
Sylvia Herold writes: Paul Kotapish will be joining us again this week after taking some time off to welcome his new son Emmet. Congratulations, Paul and Shivaun! Sylvia and friends play every Tuesday night from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Julie's Coffee & Tea Garden, 1223 Park Street, Alameda.
Reta Lockert sends word that one of the country’s scorchingest contra bands plays in the North Bay on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Eve Eve. Hotpoint Stringband is composed of five outrageous musicians from Athens, Ohio. They come to Marin Masonic Hall in San Rafael on Friday, December 30, joining caller Lynn Ackerson; on Saturday, they play at Monroe Hall in Santa Rosa with Joyce Miller calling. Purchase tickets in advance for New Year’s Eve at North Bay Contra Dance Society dances. Learn more at www.nbcds.org or (707) 996-0065.
Musicians are wanted for Saturday mornings at the Noe Valley Farmers Market on 24th Street between Church and Sanchez. Contact coordinator Rachel Levin (415) 695-9299.
Guitars in the ClassRoom aims to inspire and train teachers to integrate singing and playing guitar into daily school experience. See www.guitarsintheclassroom.com or email .
Have you heard of the Raging Grannies? They are popping up across Canada, the United Kingdom and increasingly in the United States; there are gaggles in Santa Rosa, the Peninsula, East Bay and San Francisco. Grannies dress in granny clothes and write and sing politically significant and outrageous songs, mostly parodies, at demonstrations, military recruitment centers, street corners and other appropriate places. Join in San Francisco through Granny Judy, (415) 648-6405,
Positively Hootenanny Night
The SFFMC’s monthly free folk festival, Hootenanny Night, has
been hosting folk music showcases at the Café International in
the Lower Haight District for four years, and we celebrate our fourth
anniversary Saturday, November 12th, with a performer showcase
featuring five of our favorite acts. As usual we will slide all over
the folk map, from the personal and political singer/songwriter folk of
Mokai and Caren Armstrong to the
tear-in-your-beer honky-tonk of Jeanie
and Chuck Poling. Gayle Schmidt
and the Hired Hands and the Shut
Ins will also be on hand serving up high energy, infectious
Americana with lots of charm and good humor. All this and free food
We are also celebrating the release of our first compilation CD, Hootenanny Hit Parade! Fourteen artists who have performed at the Hoots over the years have donated some of their finest studio recordings, with all proceeds benefiting Hootenanny Night. So far everyone who has heard it has been knocked out. One fan said, “I’m shocked at how good it is. The songs, the recordings. It’s as good as anything out there!” Check it out yourself at www.sfhootenanny.com — we should have samples up soon. Order from Hootenanny World HQ, 2731 Sutter St. A, SF CA 94115; $10 each, but send a few extra bucks for shipping. With the holidays coming up, they’ll make perfect stocking stuffers.
Speaking of Hootenanny Hit Parade, we’ll host a release party at the December 10th Hootenanny Night, featuring many performers from the CD, including Claudia Russell, Lisa Redfern, and Faith Petric. And speaking of Faith, we at the Hootenanny want to wish her a fond “Happy birthday!” Faith has been a good friend to the Hoot, performing many times and being an inspirational kick in the pants.
We had so much fun at our old-fashioned Hoot jam and sing-along in October that we plan to feature jam format more often in 2006. For regular Hoot updates, send your email address and name to: .
“This Land” with Pete, Part 2
Here’s the second half of Peter
Ross’s story about singing with Pete Seeger at Foothill College in 1992:
In encouraging us chorale members to interrupt him with questions or comments, Pete told of Winston Churchill’s response when he was asked if he minded hecklers. Churchill said that he didn’t mind them as long as he had the microphone.
Pete shared some of his musical knowledge, such as the philosophical observation that all of the seeds in a pair of maracas make up the sound even though only one is exactly on the beat. Another observation was more bittersweet. Pete said that when he started having trouble with his voice he sought help from a voice teacher. She told him, too late, that all the years singing with his head thrown back probably permanently hurt his voice due to the strain on his vocal chords and neck muscles.
Pete’s egalitarian spirit showed up in several ways. For example, he requested that our chorale wear street clothes instead of our more formal attire, so as to narrow the gap between audience and performers. In addition, he told us during the rehearsal that he had unsuccessfully tried to get co-performer Bob Reid to have equal billing for the concert with him and Pete’s sister Peggy Seeger.
Thirty-some years ago, after a concert in Berkeley, Pete autographed my motorcycle helmet with a felt pen and really got into it, drawing a picture of a banjo and signing his name in both English and Japanese. This time around, at the end of our rehearsal I got Pete to autograph my bicycle helmet.
My first Pete Seeger concert was around 1960 on the MIT campus, where the audience expected to watch and listen to him perform. But Pete, living up to the reputation bestowed on him by poet Carl Sandburg of being “America’s tuning fork”, had us nerds singing along in four-part harmony!
I’ll conclude with a pithy comment Pete didn’t share with us at Foothill but did make at the end of a 1980 interview in Sing Out!: “Life is short, but art is long.”
Rescue Train to New Orleans
Arlo Guthrie is organizing a
train trip from Chicago to New Orleans with concerts along the
way to benefit New Orleans musicians and music venues, replacing all
the little things a city’s musical life needs: instruments, mikes,
sound boards, cables. He writes, “When I think of New Orleans, I think
of music. The City of New Orleans is America's first music city.
New Orleans is the city that truly began America's contribution
to the history of music worldwide.” For information contact
Rising Son Records, 10741 US Highway 1, Sebastian,
FL 32958, or email
Hedy West died July 3 after a
long bout with cancer. Her father, Don West, one of the great
American folk poets, along with her mother, an artist, founded the
Appalachian Folklife Center. Hedy grew up steeped in the
Appalachian folk traditions and became one of the early great folk
performers of the 50s and 60s, continuing throughout her life to
distribute her wealth of traditional and contemporary folk music and
song in the US and Europe. She also was a song writer and had classical
music training; her primary instrument was the banjo, of which she was
a master, Her contribution to folk culture in the United States
Harold Leventhal, internationally renowned folk music promoter, died October 5 at 86. The death was confirmed by Nora Guthrie, Woody Guthrie’s daughter and the director of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives, of which Mr. Leventhal was a founder and trustee; he had been Woody Guthrie’s business manager and later his executor.
If at any time during the last 50 years you wanted to hire a folksinger — like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash or Jean Ritchie, to name a few — Mr. Leventhal was the man to call. He began his career in the 1930s as a song plugger for Irving Berlin, and by the early 1950s was the Sol Hurok of America’s folk-music revival. He remained in the role until the close of the 20th century, weathering historical onslaughts from the Cold War to rock ’n’ roll. In Arlo Guthrie’s words, “With all of the history that he’d had with the Weavers, he really was a connection between my dad’s era and the world of the late 60s.”