Top Stories

Annual Solsthannukhamas Party

On Dec. 18 at 8:00 p.m., everyone is invited to 885 Clayton, San Francisco for SFFMC's annual observation of Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas and other observations of the holiday season. Bring favorite treats — finger foods and drinks — and good cheer and heartfelt songs. Non-alcoholic and wine grog are provided by the Club.

Ring in 2010 at Camp New Harmony

We are gearing up for another fabulous five days at Camp New Harmony, December 29, 2009 to January 3, 2010! Mark your calendars, fill out your registration form and join your friends for SFFMC's winter camper-led retreat.

For those of you who have never come to camp, New Harmony is a do-it-yourself camp where everyone is welcome to participate in any activity. We play music, sing together, visit, get acquainted, dance, work together, attend workshops, give workshops, do arts and crafts, and generally have a fun and relaxing time.

For those who attended last year and helped make it so much fun, we want you to know that we have been working in response to the many suggestions from the scroll.

Housing will be assigned based on when you registered for camp AND your need. We are working on making camp accessible and comfortable for everyone in the community.

The Nitty Gritty

When & Where: 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009 to 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010 at Camp Newman: 15 minutes from Santa Rosa (a map comes with your confirmation letter). Sleeping facilities vary and are strictly pre-assigned. Check out www.sffmc.org to download more information and a registration form.

Cost: For those registering between Oct. 16th-Dec 1st: Adults over age 30 are $90/day; Young Adults (18-30) are $75/day; Teens (11-17) are $64/day; and kids (3-10) are $33/day. (If you need help paying for camp: Camperships may still be available, so don't be afraid to ask!). Registration closes December 1.

Confirmed activities: John Barleycorn (Sat. Jan. 2); Ballads; Beginning Rounds; Kids Chorus; Bowing Secrets Revealed; Irish, English, French; Swing and Contra Dancing and Music; Open-Mic Concert every night; And much more! Check out www.sffmc.org for updates on activities or call Katie (after November 27th) at 510-548-4727 for more information.

Please Note: Katie will be out of the country Oct. 31st - Nov. 27th. If you have urgent questions about camp during that time, please contact: Mary Luckhardt at Otherwise, Katie looks forward to returning your calls and emails when she returns. Hope to see you at Camp New Harmony!

—The New Harmony Committee

Folk Alliance Honors Faith

Faith Petric is the very first recipient of the Folk Alliance Region West's Best of the West, Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations, Faith!

The FAR-West website quotes Steve Baker of the Freight and Salvage: "Legions have been inspired by the great music, bracing wit, and boundless energy of this oldful (94 years old!) sparkplug and grande dame of the West Coast Folk Scene. A folk singer with a staggering repertoire, Faith has been an invaluable resource and influence for several generations of musicians often through the San Francisco club jam sessions she has hosted in her home in the Haight for over four decades." We couldn't have said it better! More about this lovely award at www.far-west.org/BOTW-2009.html

The Folk Alliance Region West is the west coast branch of Folk Alliance International. They host the FAR-West yearly conference for the folk and acoustic music community to unite, exchange songs and ideas, re-charge and do business. Their mission is to foster and promote traditional, contemporary and multicultural folk music, dance and related performing arts in the western parts of North America.

Labor Day ’09 Campout Report

The anonymously written sign on the blackboard at registration said it all: THANK YOU for a terrific weekend!

There was more music than usual at this campout—almost day and night—probably due to the number of workshops, which were generally well-attended. There were: Sea Songs, Hank Williams, John Prine, Children’s Songs, Two-Chord Songs, Wild Women, and New Lost City Ramblers songs. Thanks to Steve Gilford, Ken Hayes, Ed Hilton, Laurie Vela, Thad Binkley and Gary Breitbard and Larry Joba for leading the workshops.

We hope to have them again next year, possibly one on Tom Paxton songs. Other ideas are welcome; start mulling over possibilities now!

Moreover, for the first time in years, the Labor Day campout finished in the black—almost $200 ahead.

The camp was well attended: Friday night, 45 people; Saturday, 118; and Sunday, 84. Many new faces helped increase the numbers and the fun.

Ranger Bob Keller assisted in directing traffic and acted as emcee for the two evening open mics. The weather was just right—always warm enough to attract swimmers to the pool. All in all, the campout was a great success.

Johnson Girls Play the Balclutha

The final concert of this year's Sea Music Concert Series is Sat., November 14, featuring The Johnson Girls, from New York. Concert is 8:00-10:00 p.m., on board the Balclutha at Hyde Street Pier, Fisherman's Wharf, SF. Tickets: $14.00 general, $12.00 SF Maritime Natl. Park Assoc. & Maritime Library Friends members. INFO and tickets: 415-561-6662, ext. 33, or www.nps.gov/safr.

The Johnson Girls (Alison Kelley, Deirdre Murtha, Bonnie Milner, Joy Bennett), came together in 1997 following the Mystic Seaport Museum's Sea Music Festival to burst through the barrier of this previously male dominated genre. They bring strong voices and intricate harmonies to a repertoire of traditional chanteys and rare songs from African American, Anglo American, and European seafaring and fishing communities. After hearing them perform, Pete Seeger exclaimed, “You are first rate! Where have you been?”

More Folk Music Website Finds

Charles H. Smith and Nancy Schimmel have created a thorough, informative and entertaining site cataloguing the lyrics and poetry of the great Malvina Reynolds. Lyrics are accompanied by notes, and the site includes a brief biography, discographies and bibliographies. The poetry section contains both published and previously unpublished pieces. The site: www.wku.edu/~smithch/MALVINA/homep.htm.

It’s a dangerous place where you can get lost in great lyrics and stabbed in the gut by Malvina's razor-sharp pen. But you'll also be delighted by snippets like this: the Oxford English Dictionary includes the word “ticky-tacky” and attributes its earliest usage to Malvina. Our thanks to Professor Smith for letting us know about his excellent site.

www.banjoroots.com/banjoindex.htm and www.myspace.com/banjoroots are another great discovery. These two sites explore early banjo history: the banjo's relationship to early gourd banjos of slaves and African-American communities and its further roots and kinship with the plucked gourd lutes of Africa.

You'll find images of early banjos from folk paintings, photos of American gourd banjos, and of old and modern African lutes. There is discussion of banjo history, luthiery, and picking techniques, both in text and video lectures, among other things. On the MySpace page, you can listen to the instruments. The sites are created by the Banjo Roots Network: Shlomo Pestcoe and Greg C. Adams. Just the amazing sound of a gourd banjo is worth a trip to them.

Fold-In Saturday, December 12

The fold-in & folk-sing is at noon, SATURDAY, December 12, at the home of Abe Feinberg & Joan Hall.

The more, the merrier. Help with the folknik, enjoy a meal afterwards, and make music. Bring a potluck dish and instruments.

KALW — Folk Music & Beyond

KALW's Folk Music and Beyond airs every Saturday, 3:00-5:00 p.m., at 91.7, F.M. If your radio has trouble receiving KALW, you can also listen via the Internet; the link to stream the show is on their web site: www.kalwfolk.org. Their website also holds, among other things, past show playlists, photos,and a truly dazzling list of links in their Resources section.

24th Annual Christmas Revels

The darkest time of the year casts a powerful spell and has given birth to countless ways of celebrating the winter solstice. Many of the holiday rituals in this country originate in the Nordic/German traditions and come flavored with the spices of Europe. We invite you to take a little journey with Revels to early 19th century Bavaria and the surrounding regions at Yuletide to explore the roots of modern Christmas with song, dance, storytelling, and the blessings of children and laughter.

Performances take place at the Scottish Rite Theater, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland — a short walk from the Lake Merritt BART station. Shows are December 11-20: Fridays, 7:30 p.m., Sat & Sun 1:00 & 5:00 p.m.

INFO and tickets: 510-452-8800 (Mon-Fri 12-5), www.calrevels.org.

Lark Camp Celebrates 30 Years

Registration Is Open for 2010!

Lark In the Morning Camp is a celebration of world music, song & dance. It runs July 30 - August 7, 2010, at Mendocino Woodlands Camp in Mendocino CA. Lark is four or eight days (depending on what you register for) of music, song & dance workshops, amazing teachers, cabins or camping, dances, parties, fire circles, sessions, great food and great community. Come join in! INFO: 707-964-4826, www.larkcamp.com

Lark Camp's website also offers online registration, the staff roster and many hours of downloadable MP3 music & videos of the Lark Camp staff.

SFFMC Campouts Plans for 2010

We expect to have two great campouts next year at the Boulder Creek Scout Reservation. We have booked these dates: July 2-5 and September 3-6. Mark your calendars now and invite your friends who like folk music. The more, the merrier!