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.
“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
|Date||November 10||November 24||December 8||December 22||January 5|
|Setup||Melissa Sarenac||Melissa Sarenac||Melissa Sarenac||Melissa Sarenac||Ken Hayes|
|Bulletin Board||Debbie Klein||Marlene McCall||Ron Laeson/Lorraine Helms||Al Goodwin||Yvette Tannenbaum|
|Host/ess||Yvette Tannenbaum||Phil Morgan||Pazit Zohar||Dave Sahn||Stephen Hopkins|
|Host/ess||Ed Hilton||Marisa Malvino||Joel Rutledge||Tes Welborn||Stephen Hopkins|
|Singing Room||Marlene McCall||Estelle Freedman||Melissa Sarenac||Robert Rodriquez||Jim Letchworth|
|Theme||Fire & Ice||Thanks & Praise||Gifts & Dreams||Groups, gatherings & holidays||Carter Family|
|Cleanup||Faith||Chuck Oakes||Jim Letchworth||Marlene McCall||John Kelly|
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.
Sunday, December 17, The Friendship Room, Piedmont Gardens, 110 41st Street, between Piedmont & Glen, Oakland. Free parking on streets and in the lot off 41st Street, between Piedmont & Howe Streets. Help with the folknik, enjoy a meal afterwards and make music. Bring a potluck dish and instrument, also any dishes needed for heating food. For further information, phone Jean Brown (510) 653-3204, before the day of the fold-in.
Enjoy great music from Sparky & Rhonda Rucker at the Freight & Salvage November 12. Sparky & Rhonda were featured in the 12/05-1/06 issue of Dirty Linen (excerpt at www.dirtylinen.com/linen/121/121rucker.html). Check out their website at www.sparkyandrhonda.com.
Nancy Bray Borsdorf has returned to performing on fiddle and mandolin plus vocals, with Justin Bishop (guitar, banjo & vocals) as "Horse Sense" featuring cowboy music and songs of the west. For details, call 916-342-2784 or email
Faith Petric is one of 12 Bay Area women in their 9th decade or beyond featured in Amy Gorman's book Aging Artfully. In a world where negative images of aging abound, this book challenges stereotypes about being old, emphasizing growing old as a time of creative expression and satisfaction. The book is available at Amazon.com, at www.goldenbearcasting.com, and at local bookstores.
Marsha Ann Townsend writes: "I've missed the good times with SFFMC … I retired in May and was looking forward to some long overdue merry-making, but it wasn't to be. It appears I've a rare cancer — a neural sheath tumor on my spine — lepto menynges. They treat me well at the hospice; I'm lucky to have gotten in here." Marsha is at the Coming Home Hospice, 115 Diamond St., Rm. 205, SF 94114, 415-861-1110. Cards and calls are appreciated.
Joe Glazer, performer, composer and collector of songs for the labor movement for over 60 years, died September 19 of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 88. Known as "Labor's Troubadour", Joe recorded more than 30 albums, sang on picket lines, in union halls, and at rallies in almost every state, in 60 countries and on the White House lawn. Self-described as "an agitator for every good cause", Joe was also one of the founders of Labor Heritage Foundation. Two of his original songs have become labor classics: “Too Old to Work” and "The Mill Was Made of Marble". His booming baritone and leadership will be much missed.
When you move, please remember to send in your new address
ASAP to Ken Hayes at
or to SFFMC, 885 Clayton Street, San Francisco, 94117.
Each folknik that gets returned to us is an expense to the SFFMC.
You Can't Keep a Good Hoot Down
Hundreds, I mean dozens, ok, one guy requested the latest dope on the status of Hootenanny Night, the SFFMC's monthly free music show in SF. Despite my recent efforts to send Hootenanny Night into a well-deserved early retirement, the little folk music show that could chugs on. Putting on a Saturday night show once a month with 4 or 5 acts is a lot of work for a lazy no-account like yours truly. Also, I didn't think many people would notice. I mean, it isn't like there aren't other folk music shows around. That wasn't always the case. When we first started the Hoot back in 2000, Hoot-like shows were scarcer than Republicans at a peace rally. Nowadays they are all over the place. So no would notice if we pulled the plug, right?
Well, to my surprise there were howls, no, yips, ok, soft barely audible whimpers of protest. But, hey, it was something! There is now an ad hoc committee of concerned, capable stalwarts that will switch off monthly Hoot duties with me. The upshot is that I couldn't be happier with the current health and well-being of the show.
So, Hoot Night continues. The talented performers willing to play for free continue to amaze me. We have packed houses most months, and continue to hand out folkniks and propagandize the uninitiated as to SFFMC activities. When many commented on the sudden and welcome appearance of so many young performers and attendees at the last SF Free Folk Festival, I had to smile and think Hootenanny Night had some small role to play in that.
Thanks to Zahra at Cafe International for donating space these many years. Thanks to Roan Michaels and Shawn Scarlett for handling the sound duties. We now have a top of the line sound system, thanks to the great support and generosity of the SFFMC (and Roan Michaels, that eBaying genius). And thanks especially to all of you for braving the fitful parking to attend and play over the last 5 years. Looking forward to the next 5! Visit www.sfhootenanny.com or e-mail to get on our mailing list.
The short, and to me obvious answer is, none whatever! But since anyone can spout an opinion, I'll offer reasons based on my 35 years as a folksinger/collector and songwriter.
1)History, invention and human nature. The reason some songs are credited to tradition or public domain while others are marked by an author's name is simply the lack of copyright protection in olden days. Once this machinery became available, songwriters began applying the process. We are human and (for the most part) wish to be recognized for our creations. To consider a song in the public domain to be purer than an owned one is to be ignorant of human nature. And since all songs throughout history tell the continuing story of our human adventures, they all fit together. The difference between "The Water Is Wide" and John Prine's "Paradise" is not that the water is clean in one song and poisoned in the other. It's that Mr. Prine is afforded copyright protection that was not available to Mr. Domain.
2) Labor and financial respect. When a mechanic repairs our car, a teacher educates our kid, or a store clerk sells us a product, we understand that they're working and deserve to get paid. So why do we sometimes have a blind spot when it comes to songwriters? A song may sound simple, but as a rule it’s not easy to produce and requires work. Unlike government programs, we don't have to pay for songs we don't like, so why not recognize the labor when we do?
3) The shared nature of folk music. The sharing continues and always will. I've attended countless events where songs are shared, and the joy of group singing goes on unabated, the pedigree of the material notwithstanding. The comments that often follow songs make it clear that we're simply pleased to have our favorite songs from all cultures and time periods available for singing.
4) Defining folk music. Some of the most meaningless discussions in which a music lover can engage concern what is a folk song, what is traditional, and worst of all, whose lineage is authentic? The best songs will be passed on, go through their changes, and become future folk songs (as Woody's have and Joni's will). And you're authentic if you operate from a firmly held belief and are honest in your presentation. As to the music police, I know they're well-intentioned, but they're wrong and always have been, and their judgmental ways cause confusion and emotional disrepair in many aspiring folk musicians. The idea of placing artists in various boxes and protecting our traditions from an assumed invasion by cultural heathens is archaic, unfair, and rude without genuine purpose. (There's nothing to protect. Our culture is far too strong in spirit and creative desire to be destroyed or diminished by misuse.) What's surprising is that ideas such as these take root in otherwise intelligent and dedicated people. Wouldn't it be best if we all put away our measuring sticks and definitions, and gather together to simply sing the great songs and enjoy what each song means to any and all of us?
Sound person needed. At Harmony 2006-2007 we would like to try again for sound at the evening concerts. We do have an ‘extra’ sound system and lack only someone to manage it. Do-it-yourself concerts (sign up to share your music — just like an open mike) are held every evening in the big hall in Camp Campbell roughly from 8 to 10. Oh! Skilled or semi-skilled sound person(s) PLEASE say you'll give part of your evenings for this job! You'll do it? Pretty Please!! Call Faith at 415 661 2217 or email her at
I am selling one of my reserve 21 bar Evoharps. It is made by the original Evoharp builder, Tom Fladmark. It is in new condition with warranty included. Email me directly for inquiries.
What would December be like in the Bay Area without the magic and joy of the annual Christmas Revels? This year's Revels is the 21st annual show, and it will be held on the weekends of December 8th–10th and 15th–17th at the Scottish Rite Center, 1547 Lakeside Drive in Oakland. Each weekend will consist of five performances: Friday evenings 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays & Sundays, 1:00 and 5:00 p.m.
The theme for this year's Revels will be the culture, folklore, and winter solstice traditions of 19th-century Quebec. Of course, there are acts that are a part of every Revels performance, no matter what the theme, including the Sussex Mummers Carol, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, and the spectacular Lord of the Dance. But Quebec and its traditions will certainly be on display, and this will include music by the Revels Chorus, children's activities and games by the Revels Children’s Chorus, poetry and ritual, drama, story-telling, and, of course, French-Canadian dance. Prominently representing this fascinating area of Quebec tradition will be Montreal fiddler and head of the Danse Cadence Company, Pierre Chartrand. Anyone familiar with the magic and joy of the French-Canadian style of fiddling will want to see Chartrand in action, and anyone who is not will have a real treat in store.
For more information or to order tickets, contact California Revels via their website, www.calrevels.org, or by phone at 510-452-3800. Come try the Revels and be a part of the wonder, the celebration, and the joyous spirit that makes Revels what it has been since its inception in the early 1970s.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all! Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année à Tous!
Contact Marian Gade (510) 524-9815, if you can offer a beginning workshop in any instrument, or if you can lend an instrument for beginners to try at camp.
The campout was a great success in all ways. The weather was moderate, campers enjoyed themselves, mosquitoes were not a major problem, and chore sign-ups were filled with few problems. The campers did a good job of keeping the kitchen clean. The weather was warm, bright and sunny, but not so hot that folkies jumped in the pool in self-defense. There was also lots of music. Several people offered workshops on various topics-children's activities, stories and others. Attendance was very good -- 113 on Saturday night -- and SFFMC came out $748 ahead — more than enough to cover the loss from July 4. All-in all, it was the best campout we've had for a while.
PolitiTunes began with a single song, a humorous protest ballad about the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. Bryan Frink and “Harmonica Bob" Miner created the PolitiTunes website as a home for their song. They were surprised to see their site getting a hit every four minutes in the first few days. Inspired by this response, Miner and Frink have created a PolitiTunes songwriting contest and plan to release a CD of the winning songs in time for the 2008 presidential campaign. Already, songs have rolled in from all over. If you have a political song you'd like to submit — for play on the website or for inclusion on the PolitiTunes CD — please visit www.polititunes.com, or write to Bryan Frink, PolitiTunes, 1016 Timberline Terrace, Ashland, OR 97520 for complete contest rules. Frink and Miner will be accepting submissions at least through the end of 2006.
And even if you’re not a songwriter, visit the website if you’re interested in hearing the voices of politically minded songwriters from around the country. PolitiTunes.com features songwriters who want to make a difference in America.