A Glimpse of China Past & Present on May 18

A Glimpse of China – Chinese Culture and Arts Festival

features Art, Culture, Music and Dance 


Seattle Center Festál presents A Glimpse of China – Chinese Culture and Arts Festival, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday, May 18, in Seattle Center Armory. Explore and experience the cultural roots and contemporary influences of China through live performances, visual arts, hands-on activities, foods,  games, and a lively marketplace.

Learn Chinese folk dances, create delicate artworks, and share in cultural traditions covering 5,000 years of Chinese history.  This year’s festival presents:

  • Sunshine Modeling & Arts Studio;
  • Nortwest Wushu and Seattle Wushu Center;
  • Seattle Chinese Chorus and Seattle Kids Chorus;
  • Seattle Chinese Orchestra;
  • CHIME band;
  • Entertainment by the following academies and schools:  Zhenlum Cello Studio;
  • Hengda Dance Academy, Chinese Dance Academy, Chinese Wushu and Tai Chi Academy, Wudang International Martial Arts Academy, Northwest Chinese School, Melody Institute Chinese Children’s Dance.

Seattle Center Festál, a series of 22 celebrations presented by community organizations with support from Seattle Center, considers themes of importance to ethnic cultures in our region, revealing their common forms of tradition and expression, while highlighting their unique contributions to the Pacific Northwest and the world.

A Glimpse of China – Chinese Culture and Arts Festival is produced in partnership with Washington Chinese Art Culture Committee. For more information on the festival, click on or call 206 684-7200 to learn more about Seattle Center Festál and other outstanding public programming offered at Seattle Center.


About Seattle Center Festál


Seattle Center Festál 2013 presents a series of 22 world festivals on weekends throughout the year highlighting the distinct cultures and common threads of ethnic communities in our region through traditional and contemporary art, music, foods, youth activities, workshops and more. This collection of cultural events is produced with the generous support of Coca-Cola, The Boeing Company, T-Mobile, Wells Fargo, Real Networks, and KUOW 94.9 Public Radio. Additional support is provided by 4Culture, Washington State Arts Commission and the City of Seattle.



Photo courtesy of Mish Mish

What to See at Folklife #412: The Arab Tradition of Zeffa

(Thanks to Mish Mish  for this guest post! You can see the full schedule of events at the 2013 Folklife Festival at

Photo courtesy of Mish Mish


This year, for the first time ever, those of you who attend  Folklife  will get to see a recreation of a Zeffa, the traditional procession that is a part of wedding celebrations held in many Arab countries.

Accompanied by musicians, dancers, family and friends, the bride and groom are led through the streets of the village to a big tent were the festivities take place after the formal ceremony. In Egypt the wedding procession is led by a dancer with a huge candelabra or shamadan balanced on her head. Many families go into debt hosting huge parties that last until the wee hours of the night with a lavish spread of food and continuous entertainment.

The Zeffa opens the Middle East, North African and Central Asian show, which takes place at the Exhibition Hall on Sunday, May 26th from 7 to 10pm. The line-up includes many folkloric dances from obscure parts of the world rarely seen on stage. Mystic Rose specializes in Afghan and Azeri dance, Karoun will take you to Badakashan and Karavans to a Kurdish village. The show also features many first- time performers: Nazaneen who  will be dancing Malaya Lefff, a saucy Egyptian street dance, Alfredo who will present a dance from the Caucasus region and Robyn Friend a nationally-known artist famous for her classical Persian dance.

Similar events you might want to attend on Saturday are the Persian showcase from 11:30am to 2pm and the Arab showcase from 3 to 6pm.

Photo courtesy of Mish Mish

If you are interested learning more about Arabic and Persian dance,  check out Mish Mish’s workshop on Monday at 2pm in the Rainier room.

Mish Mish is a well-known teacher and performer in the Puget Sound area. This is the 38th year in a row that she has appeared with a group at Folklife. She spent years belly dancing in Greek and Arab nightclubs and traveled to Egypt, Morocco Iran, Turkey and Central Asia to study the culture of these countries. Mish Mish is the director of Karavans, a dance troupe who will be appearing at the Persian Festival the last Saturday in June and the Arab Festival, the second weekend of October sponsored by Festal at the Seattle Center.

Photo courtesy Tagoipah Mathno

Show Up! Get Down!

(Thanks to Tagoipah Mathno for this guest post! You can read about all the opportunities to dance at the 2013 Northwest Folklife Festival at our website,

Photo courtesy Tagoipah Mathno

What is a great way to meet new people and have fun? Throw a dance party! World Dance Party (WDP) was created for neighbors to interact and to celebrate diversity and culture over a potluck. Meant for everyone of all backgrounds and ages to come together. Several multicultural dances are being taught by volunteer community members, who might just be your neighbor! That’s it no other agenda. No fundraising. No Lectures. Just food and dancing and community. What could be better?

The idea for WDP surfaced at an Aging Your Way Gathering hosted by the Senior Services, and organization in Seattle. The event brought up the question of someone’s ideal community that they would like to grow old in. A response came up to have a huge multicultural dance party with everyone and with food of course. Thus WDP was born! We now have several events a year with about 250 people attending, sometimes more. Started off in the most diverse zip code in the nation 98118 in Rainer Valley now spreading to other neighborhoods like South Park and Shoreline.

Photo courtesy Tagoipah Mathno

If you want to see what the whole world would look like in one room come check us out at Northwest Folklife on May 25 from 1-3pm in the Armory.We will be teaching:

  • Hip Hop
  • Flamenco
  • Hora
  • Belly Dancing
  • Sliders
  • West African

Don’t worry — the dance instructions are meant for beginners. WDP holds very basic principles that everyone has fun, contributes and is accepted. Help us make this a great event by adding your presence by hitting the dance floor with a new friend!

WDP is collaborated effort by individuals and community based organizations. Our website is:  Check out our photos from past WDP events on our Facebook page at:

Photo courtesy Tagoipah Mathno

Photo by Susan Slapin

Take a Musical Adventure with Carolyn Cruso

(Thanks to Carolyn for this guest post! You can read more about all our performers at the Festival website,

Susan Slapin

Photo by Susan Slapin

From performing in Europe amongst musicians, jugglers, comedians, one-man bands, mimes, and contortionists, to traveling the circus like Renaissance Fair circuit, to recording and co-producing with Billy Oskay (founding member of the Windham Hill recording and touring ensemble Nightnoise and producer of many Windham Hill, Narada and Green Linnet recording projects), Carolyn Cruso has led a musically adventurous life. She has traveled the world moving audiences with her expressive voice, flute, guitar and hammered dulcimer talents.

This multi-instrumentalist moves gracefully between the various instruments she plays, taking you on a magical journey of storytelling, instrumental music and lyrical song. “With her sensational talent, variety of musical styles and instruments, and fascinating anecdotes, she gave the audience an unforgettable evening of wonderful music,” says Jerene Weitman, from the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, NY.  Her show is a combination of instrumental and singer/songwriter pieces, drawing material from most  of her eight albums including her most recent singer/songwriter release “Have You Ever,” which features fourteen songs spanning folk, pop, jazz and alt. country styles. Carolyn tours both regionally and nationally.  She’s shared stages with and opened for a variety of artists such as Peter Mayer, Tom May, Pierce Pettis, Jim Page, and Randal Bays.

Photo by Susan Slapin

A master of the hammered dulcimer, Carolyn is an innovator.  She pushes the boundaries of the traditional approach while honoring the original spirit. Her style is improvisational, lyrical and percussive.  She uses effects like bending notes and playing two notes with one hammer. She incorporates the independent hand technique of percussionists as well. “Through her hands the instrument became a living organism of beauty” says Charlie Vervalin of the Black Rose Acoustic Society.  Her lyrics, spanning from poetic to narrative, explore love, loss and regeneration.  She masterfully lays these over an intricate finger picking guitar style and open tunings, which allow her to find the rich voicing in the chords she hears. The Eugene weekly calls her music, “Intricate musical poetry…fine guitar work.”  Cruso’s show like her music is timeless and transportive in nature.  At present she is working on a Retrospective recording of the early years (1989-1995).

See Carolyn Cruso at the Northwest Folklife Festival on Sunday, May 26 at the Folklife Cafe stage at 12:55.

“Boundless highlights both Carolyn’s fluid playing style and the broad knowledge of Celtic music she brings to her compositions.  A gorgeous listen throughout!”
~Sing Out! Magazine

 “For the adventurous listener…Cruso’s voice has the ability to go from folk to jazz to late night and sultry blues without advertising the change…a lot more going on here than folk…a very fluid album”
~Frank Gutch, Folk Acoustic Music Exchange


Living in the Truth: The David Guilbault Band

(Thanks to guest blogger David Guilbault for this post! You can find out more about all the musicians participating at this year’s Northwest Folklife Festival at

The David Guilbault Band plays original music about life, love and loss – songs that live in the truth.  The music fits nicely in the Americana / Folk Rock / Alt Country genres.  Seattle audiences have been entertained by the thoughtful, honest-to-goodness, nitty-gritty tunes.

David spent his first career as a network news producer, telling stories for ABC News, CNN, PBS and  Now he tells his tales through his songwriting.

David fronts the band on vocal and rhythm guitar.  He is backed by Marc Laurick on bass and Colin J Nelson on drums.  For their performance on the Fountain Lawn Stage at 12:30 pm on Friday, May 24th, they’ll be joined by local guitar god Jason Goessl on lead guitar.  This is a performance not to be missed.

The guys in the band can be found playing independently all over Seattle.  Jason Goessl plays western swing in The Pornadoes and jazz in the Jason Goessl Quartet and Trimtab.  Colin J Nelson performs as a singer-songwriter and as a member of The Foghorns and Caleb & Walter.  He also accompanies Marc Laurick in the soul band Brother James and the Soul-Vation and the surf band The Evanstones.  Marc, former member of the yeah clementines and Bunnydrums, now plays his original music in the Marc Laurick Trio.

You can find some recorded music from all four members on the China Sea Recordings Concern website  (  David’s music can also be found on Bandcamp (  He invites you to become a fan and join his mailing list on Reverbnation (

Truth needs to be told.  Come hear the David Guilbault Band tell their tales at the Northwest Folklife Festival.

Maurice Rouman; photo courtesy Su Nelson.

What to See at Folklife #362: Vintage Arab Song & Dance

Maurice Rouman; photo courtesy Su Nelson.

Across the Arab nations, some of the most captivating and frequently shared songs and stories are those of unfulfilled love.  You can hear the rich and yearning chords calling out from the stringed oud or the woodwind nay, or coming from the vocals of the adored and recently departed singer, Warda. Here in the Northwest, bands such as House of Tarab play many of the same beautiful classic pieces that were featured in the golden era of Egyptian film.

This year the Arab show at Folklife will feature music that captures this sentiment and many other iconic sounds and aesthetics from North Africa to the Gulf. Along with House of Tarab’s Egyptian classics, you will also get a taste of French- Arab compositions as played by Fathia and Les Troubadours. A duo featuring the master musician, Maurice Rouman, will showcase the exquisite artistry of Arab music and maqam when in the hands of a virtuoso.

Fathia Atallah; photo courtesy Su Nelson

Finally, it’s not an Arab show without a selection of exciting folk dances! Shahrazad will perform Khaliji, a dance that is rich in both swinging and subtle gestures. In Khaliji, women dance in large, decorated jeweled thobes that, amongst other things, allow them to show off a little bling.

The show will feature two different countries’ versions of a massively popular line dance, known as the Dabke. Dabke is danced by people of all ages and genders, and is the national dance of many Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan and Syria. There are about infinity versions of the Dabke, but some of the unifying traits include stomping footwork, people joined closely in a semi-circular line, and a leader who guides the group, sometimes jumping away to perform an impressive extra step or two. This year the young men of the Jafra Dabke team will present an energetic Palestinian version of the dance. A young group of girls will also perform a Lebanese version, highlighting a light and rhythmic variation.

Catch Dabke, Khaliji, and the sounds of Egyptian and Franco-Arabic compositions at the Arab show on Saturday, May 25th in the Exhibition Hall, 3-6pm.

Shahrazad; photo courtesy of Su Nelson.

Photo courtesy of Su Nelson


Thank You for GivingBIG! We Exceeded Our Goal!

Thank you to the nearly 150 donors who contributed over $18,000 to Northwest Folklife yesterday.

You all really know how to GiveBIG! You beat the goal!

Your gifts will help Northwest Folklife continue to bring people together to celebrate the diverse and amazing cultural traditions of our region.

Thank you also to the anonymous donor who put forth the $15,000 matching challenge and all of The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG sponsors who will stretch your gifts even further.

We look forward to celebrating our incredible community next weekend at the 42nd annual Northwest Folklife Festival!


It’s Time to GiveBIG to Northwest Folklife – Help Us Meet Our Matching Challenge!

Visit our Seattle Foundation Profile Page now and click Donate Now, to GiveBIG to Northwest Folklife!

From midnight to midnight today only, every donation made to Northwest Folklife via our Seattle Foundation Profile Page will be stretched further thanks to by the Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG sponsors, who will match a share of every contribution!

In addition to The Seattle Foundation Stretch Pool, an anonymous donor has provided us with a challenge grant offering a 1:1 match up to $15,000! This donor will match, dollar for dollar, every dollar we raise up to $15,000 through GiveBIG. Help us meet this challenge – Click Here to Give Now!

Donors like you contributed over $11,000 to Northwest Folklife during the last GiveBIG event. Help us meet the challenge and beat our goal of $15,000 this year!

Any gift you make during GiveBIG will count toward your 2013 Friend of Folklife Benefits and can be redeemed at the Festival!

Thank you for your support of Northwest Folklife!

Questions about how to GiveBIG on May 15? Click here. More questions about GiveBIG? Click here.


BikeWorks Makes Bikes Happy at the Festival

Help build sustainable communities with Bike Works!

Northwest Folklife is excited to partner with Bike Works at our Festival this year! Bike works is an innovative organization centered around bicycles that combine youth development, community engagement, bicycle recycling and a social enterprise bike shop to help build a sustainable and healthy community.

Imagine your old bike, sitting dormant, collecting dust, not being ridden. Now imagine that bike on the streets! Riding in a park! Taking someone to school! Making memories!


Due to their new expanded programming, they are in more need than ever for kids bikes, especially BMX bikes. Your generous bike give young people learning tools, transportation, empowerment, community service opportunities, and so much more. For more information, visit their donations page!

Visit their booth at the Harrison St Entrance right next to the bike corral to learn more about their community bike programs, get a quick tune-up or DONATE YOUR OLD BIKE!


Get Ready to GiveBIG to Northwest Folklife – Help Us Meet the Challenge!

PrintVisit our Seattle Foundation Profile Page  on May 6 and click Donate Now, to make a donation to Northwest Folklife!
On May 6, 2014 The Seattle Foundation will host GiveBIG – a one-day, online charitable giving event to benefit nonprofits in our community.

Every donation made to Northwest Folklife via our Seattle Foundation Profile Page on May 6 will be stretched further thanks to the Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG sponsors, who will match a share of every contribution!


But, there’s more! Just for Northwest Folklife, an anonymous donor will also match gifts dollar for dollar up to $25,000!


Don’t miss this opportunity to increase the impact of your donation to Northwest Folklife. Help us reach our goal of $25,000!


Any gift you make during GiveBIG will count toward your 2014 Friend of Folklife Benefits and can be redeemed at the Festival!

Thank you for your support of Northwest Folklife!

Questions about how to GiveBIG on May 6? Click Here


Take a chance on The Chance Brothers Band

(Thanks to Rob Witte for this guest blog! You can see the complete list of 2013 Festival performers at our website, 

The Chance Brothers Band’s story begins with The Outriders, a critically acclaimed country/cowboy band that performed in several iterations until 2008. Bruce and Rob were both original members of the band.  The Outriders played a lot and grew and released a CD in 2004 that met with critical success.  The Outrider sound was largely defined by the three part harmonies of Tony Reed, Bruce Coe, and Rob Witte and Bruce’s stellar guitar playing.

In 2008, Tony died. Unfortunately, Bruce and Rob will not be singing harmony with Tony again in this life . . . and he is missed.  On the up side, Bruce and Rob hooked up again in June of 2011. It became clear pretty fast that the ole magic was still there. Both fellows can play bass and guitar. Both are at home on electric and acoustic instruments. Both can sing. Both are fanatic about “good balanced sound”.

In the purest form, The Chance Brothers Band is Bruce and Rob on acoustic guitars and upright bass. When the gig calls for something a little more lively, They contact their drummer and electrify. TCBB even plays with a 35 voice choir and a keyboardist when the occasion warrants it.

Take a chance on The Chance Brothers Band – you won’t be disappointed!

The Chance Brothers play Monday May 27, from 1:40pm – 2:10pm on the Alki Court Stage.


Photo courtesy Sue Isely

What to See at Folklife #274: A Hungarian Wedding

(Thanks to Sue Isely for this guest post! The full 2013 Northwest Folklife Festival schedule is now online and available for PDF download at

Photo courtesy Sue Isely

The colorful costume pictured here will be worn by the bride in the Hungarian Showcase: A Turning-point in Village Life: the Hungarian Wedding. When Kathryn Isely, a member of Kisbetyárok,  visited a friend in Mezőkövesd, Hungary she fell in love with the traditional costumes in the town’s museum. As luck would have it, there was an elderly woman who still embroiders, sews, and pleates the costumes in the traditional style. The mother of Kathyrn’s friend made folk dolls and the elderly seamstress was her friend. Because of this connection, the lady offered to make an authentic costume for Kathryn and even used the last of the traditional material that she had. So this is a very special costume. The embroidery and knotted fringe are especially beautiful. The pleats are very tiny. She also has many rows of ribbon on the bottom of the skirt which indicate that she has much wealth!

Traditionally, the Mezőkövesd bride wore this colorful costume with an elaborate bridal headpiece, which we are having made by a local Hungarian lady. In more recent years, the bright colors have been replaced with white. Unfortunately, after our stage wedding, Kathryn will not be able to put on an authentic headpiece of a married lady. The elderly seamstress refused to let her have one…”not until you are married!” Kathryn will just have to return for one someday!

Music for this showcase will be provided by Kisbetyarok Hungarian Family Dance GroupForrás Hungarian Folk Band, and Zakuska.