The Bollywood Project

What to See at Folklife #313: Bollywood!

(Many thanks to Katrina Ji for this guest post. Did you know that next year our Cultural Focus is India? Look forward to even more Indian dance and music to come. Full 2013 Folklife schedule is online now at 

The Bollywood Project

I am so excited to be hosting the Bollywood Showcase (sponsored by NW Asian Weekly) for the 3rd year at the Northwest Folklife Festival! Our first year was a mere 30 min showcase on the Mural Amphitheater Stage. Now we are hosting a full 90 minute show at the Exhibition Hall (International Stage) on Friday, May 24 beginning at 7pm. What’s even more special is that I am hosting 3 of my former teachers in Bollywood Dance (Shub Gill, Nalini, Mollie Singh)! Now, I have my own dance company, The Bollywood Project.

Recently, I spent a month in India where I obtained costumes from a Bollywood costume rental shop in Mumbai (Bombay).  During Bhangra Bistar, we will be wearing costumes that were worn in a real Bollywood movie! Another exciting thing about The Bollywood Project’s performance this year is that we have collaborated with Chi Shen, Bhangra choreographer.

While in India, I performed with International star Queen Harish at the India Military Base in Rajasthan. I also had the honor of meeting Kamruddin Khan. He is not only a musician but a dance choreographer. He taught Aishwarya Rai the dances for Nimbooda. It was fun looking through his scrapbook of stars that he has worked with. Along with Kamruddin, I met his brother Immamdin Khan (Director, Ustad Arba Music Group), Suva Devi (Khalbelia Dancer, Starred in Latcho Drom) and 7 other musicians. We are working on a USA Tour called Rajasthani Gypsy Caravan in Summer 2014.

Rajasthani Gypsy Caravan

Many Bollywood songs have been based on the old folk songs of Rajasthan. So, we are very excited to be working with this group.

I have integrated some Rajasthani Dance into my students choreography Dil Dhak Dhak Dadke that will be seen in the Bollywood Showcase.

Katrina Ji, Artistic Director, The Bollywood Project & Skin Deep Dance

(Want to try a little Bollywood dancing yourself? Katrina will also be hosting a workshop at 1pm on Friday t0o!)

Queen Harish and Kkatrina


Spirit of West Africa Festal Celebrates the African Artists in Our Own Backyard

The Northwest Folklife Festival is a celebration of how traditions of world cultures are kept alive in the Northwest. It sounds like this year the Spirit of West Africa is moving in a similar direction, featuring more and more West African artists and musicians in our own backyard!

Seattle Center Festál Spirit of West Africa Highlights the Influences of West African Cultures in Music, Dance and More

Seattle Center Festál presents Spirit of West Africa, Saturday, May 11, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m., in Seattle Center Armory. The festival invites visitors to explore and experience the cultural roots and contemporary influences of West Africa through live performances, visual arts, hands-on activities, foods, games, and a lively marketplace.

The annual festival expands this year to include artists and performers whose expression clearly reflects the influence of West African culture, but who live and work in Seattle and call this city their home, regardless of where they were born. They come from places like Trinidad, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Peru, Columbia, Brazil, Guyana and the list could go on.

Under the direction of Senegalese born Thione Diop, Festál: Spirit of West Africa, has always focused on music and dance as performed by West African artists, many of them brought to Seattle just for this festival as guest performers. The more expansive view this year considers the fact that Seattle is now home to many artists from the these nations as well as the great African Diaspora, that vast region of the Americas created by the trans-Atlantic slave trade, who continue to practice their traditional arts. In addition, many American-born artists consciously work in mediums, especially music, that emphasize and celebrate West African cultural ideas and values.

Thus, the exciting and accomplished performers at this year’s festival will feature music and dance from the following cultures:

  • Afro-Peruvian traditions De Cajon
  • Caribbean steel drums – Cover Your Ears Steel Band
  • Afro-Brazilian dance – Dora Oliviera
  • Afro-Cuban Ceremonial music – Omo Alagba Bata’
  • Traditional and contemporary music and dance from the following Senegal – Sabar with Mapate Diop,

Thione, Gora Diop with Yeke Yeke and dance with Sumaya

  • Guinea – Mamady Mansari
  • Ghana – Obo Addy’s Ghanain Legacy.


An art workshop and an Africa-Seattle fashion show, Best of Both Worlds, will add to the fun and enjoyment. Admission is free as part of the Seattle Center Festál series.

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.

Spirit of West Africa is produced in partnership with Spirit of West Africa Committee. For more information on the festival, visit 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.


Image from The Broken Circle Breakdown

Cinema Folklife–Music Movies to See at SIFF 2013

Image from The Broken Circle Breakdown

Our good friends at SIFF offer some truly tempting counter-programming during the Folklife Festival. Here’s a few movies we think are particularly interesting for the Folklife community…most of which don’t even conflict with coming to the Festival!


A Tribute to the Music of Muscle Shoals with Patterson and David Hood

Thursday, May 30
Triple Door: Doors 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. (all-ages)


Muscle Shoals

May 29 & 30
In a small Alabama town called Muscle Shoals, legendary musicians including Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett gathered to create music that would later inspire the likes of Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and many more. Covering the history of this unlikely musical birthplace and the music that sprang from its soil.


The Broken Circle Breakdown

May 19 & 24
Set to a fantastic bluegrass soundtrack, tattooist Elise and America-obsessed cowboy Didier fall in love, only to later have their happiness tested when their daughter falls ill. Based on the play by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels.



May 25 & 26
U.S.-based classical guitarist Florante Aguilar journeys back to his Filipino roots to search for the lost voices of harana, a traditional Filipino form of serenade. He gathers the three remaining master haranistas, bringing this fading culture back to life.


I Used to Be Darker

June 4 & 5
A quietly devastating, music-infused family drama that traces the unraveling of a marriage through casually loaded conversations, elegantly framed hangout sessions, and cathartic musical performances by real-life troubadours Kim Taylor and Ned Oldham.


The Otherside

May 31 & June 2
A documentary on Seattle’s underground hip-hop scene featuring interviews and concert footage taken from all over the U.S., Daniel Torok covers the triumphs, failures, and stereotypes of Seattle hip-hop artists.


Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You – A Concert for Kate McGarrigle

May 25 & 27
This simply and intimately shot concert film captures the emotions of sibling performers Martha and Rufus Wainwright as they pay tribute to their recently departed mother, beloved Canadian folk musician Kate McGarrigle.


Twenty Feet from Stardom

June 1 & 2
Twenty Feet from Stardom
 follows several diverse and gifted backup singers living in the shadows of superstardom. Although these singers are usually relegated to the margins, their work has defined countless songs that remain in our hearts and collective consciousness.



Welcome to Our New Entrance Sponsor–The National Wildlife Federation

Celebrate the outdoors with the National Wildlife Federation!

We’d like to welcome the National Wildlife Federation as one of our Entrance Sponsors at this year’s Festival! National Wildlife Federation’s Pacific Regional centers works to inspire people across the Northwest to open the door, get outside, and connect with nature! Their work and program offerings are rooted in the belief that engaging in the outdoors improves physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, and strengthens a life-long appreciation of wildlife and nature.

Check out their Certified Wildlife Habitat program that engages people in helping wildlife, improving their communities, and developing a strong conservation ethic. The Northwest boasts over 7,000 of these certified habitats and involves communities from Anacortes to Gig Harbor! Find more information at

To inspire children to connect to nature, National Wildlife Federation assists schools in developing Schoolyard Habitats. This program is part of their Be Out There initiative, which aims to encourage families across the county to experience and enjoy the outdoors. The Schoolyard Habitats program focuses on assisting school communities in the use of school grounds as learning sites for wildlife conservation and cross-curricular learning. It also creates a dynamic outdoor classroom, expands educational opportunities, and promotes positive change in your local environment. To learn more, visit

Visit them Saturday, May 25th at the Bagley St Entrance to find out more information about community events and how to get involved!


Photo courtesy of EMP Museum

What to See at Folklife #188: Hey Hendrix!

(Thanks to our amazing programming intern, Alison Preisinger, for this blog post. You can catch Alison on Sunday, May 26 at 2:15pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheatre!)

Photo courtesy of EMP Museum

This year Folklife will be paying tribute to Seattle rock and blues legend, Jimi Hendrix. An event combining music, video and education, “Hey Hendrix: Life and Music of Jimi Hendrix” will be held at the EMP’s Sky Church stage on Saturday, May 25 from 1-4pm. Sponsored by the WA Blues Society, this showcase is presented in partnership with the EMP, whose “I Hear My Train A-Comin’” exhibit is currently on display.

“Hey Hendrix” will be Emceed by author and historian, Steven Roby. Steven has written numerous books on Jimi Hendrix, including, “Becoming Jimi Hendrix” and his most recent book, “Hendrix on Hendrix: Interviews and Encounters with Jimi Hendrix”. Steve knows more than a thing or two about Jimi Hendrix, to say the least! He has been working hard with us to put on an interesting and educational show for everyone, whether you’re a die-hard Hendrix fan or don’t know much about him at all!

You can look forward to hearing from many festival performers throughout this event! Our performers are Soul Senate, The Jelly Rollers, Baby Gramps, Spoonshine, Renegade Stringband, Simon Henneman, The Braxmatics, Jefferson Rose Band, Stacy Jones, Bradford Loomis, Town Forest and The Onlies! They will be performing their own interpretations of Hendrix tunes, such as “Catfish Blues”, “Hear My Train A Comin’”, “Hey Joe”, “Red House”, “Castles Made of Sand” and many more!

Mark your calendars, highlight your festival guides, and program your phones so you don’t miss “Hey Hendrix: Life and Music of Jimi Hendrix” Saturday, May 25 from 1-4pm at the EMP Sky Church!

Living Green Court entrance

What to See at Folklife #119: The Living Green Courtyard featuring Seattle Tilth

(Many thanks to Liza Burke of Seattle Tilth for this guest post! The Living Green Courtyard is your place at the Festival to learn more about sustainable businesses like Renewal by Anderson and Fungi Perfecti, and shop for green crafts. Take a look at all the 2013 Festival attractions now!)

Dig Into Composting and Gardening with Seattle Tilth

Puget Sound starts here. But where is here? “Here” is your yard, neighborhood, school and work place. Puget Sound starts where you are. Every drop of rain washes over the land, heading downhill over the surfaces, through the soil and into a stream that goes to Puget Sound. By the time it reaches the Sound, it has been polluted and the impact is devastating. Be we can improve the situation – 75% of all pollution in Puget Sound comes from runoff that starts in our neighborhoods.

While you’re enjoying Folklife, stop by Seattle Tilth’s booth and learn about composting at home and growing food organically – two great ways you can help keep our waterways healthy! We will have a worm bin for you to see full of red wriggler worms in action. Bring the kids to make a paper pot and plant a seed. Ask your gardening questions to our Garden Hotline educators. And let our Master Composter/Soil Builder volunteers teach you about various composting techniques that you can try at home. We will also have educational handouts and books for sale.

You might know Seattle Tilth from our classes on organic gardening, urban livestock and food preservation, our summer garden camps for kids, our volunteer training programs, our community learning gardens and farms or maybe you’ve been to one of our large community events. Stop by our booth and find out about the many opportunities for you to get involved with Seattle Tilth and createing a greener and more sustainable community.

The mission of Seattle Tilth is to inspire and educate people to safeguard our natural resources while building an equitable and sustainable local food system. We do this by teaching people about organic gardening, composting, water conservation, cooking and nutrition. We LOVE Folklife and can’t wait to see you there!

Slide Bros PHOTO 3

Your Question Answered: Gospel Music at Folklife

I was very excited to answer this inquiry that came in this morning from William:

Will there be any gospel music performers this year?

The answer is yes! We have some fantastic gospel musicians joining us this year.

Join us on Friday in the Bagley Wright Theatre beginning at 7pm for the Friday Night Gospel Celebration featuring the Total Experience Gospel Choir and Friends, and the Mount Calvary COGIC Praise Team.

If you are not familiar with the Total Experience Gospel Choir, I’d suggest watching our Northwest Stories documentary straight away:

We are also thrilled to welcome two new gospel groups to the Festival this year, both of whom will be joining the American Standard Time Showcase on Monday, May 27 beginning at 3:30pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.

If you are not yet familiar with The Sojourners, be prepared to be blown away! Showcase host Greg Vandy has described them as one of his favorite discoveries of 2013.

Also in the American Standard Time Showcase will be the incredible Slide Brothers and their amazing pedal steel guitar.

Add these shows and others to your personal 2013 Folklife schedule by creating an account now!

Do you have a question for Northwest Folklife? Submit it here!
Read other submitted questions here


Massive Monkees & More at the Asian-Pacific Islander Celebration

Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration Features Youth Drill Teams,

Taiko Drumming and Massive Monkees

Seattle Center Festál presents Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration, 11:45 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, May 5, in Seattle Center Armory.  Explore and experience the cultural roots of the Asian and Pacific Islanders  through live music, visual arts and hands-on activities.

The festival launches Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Seattle with spectacular youth drill teams, Taiko drumming, traditional music and dance, and artists from around the state.

In 2013, Asian-Pacific Islander Festival features a variety of entertainment groups including:   Massive Monkees, Filipino Youth Activities and Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Teams, Kaze Daiko, Cascade Kendo Kai, Kinnaly Music and Dance Troupe, Fraggle Rock Crew and the University of Washington Lambda Phi Epsilon Step Dancers.  The festival also presents art contest entries and displays by the Nisei Veterans Committee celebrating Filipino accomplishments.

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.

Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration is produced in partnership with Asian-Pacific Directors Coalition. For more information on Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration, visit their website:  or 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.


What to See at Folklife #44: New Communities

Every year new artists, bands, cultural groups, food vendors, craft merchants, and dancers join the Festival lineup. Let’s take a moment to welcome a few of this year’s new communities!

Fin Records: Folklife is thrilled to have Ballard’s Fin Records on board to host Indie Roots artists this year. The lineup of exciting local roots acts includes The Lures, Davidson Hart Kingsberry, Low Hums and Red Jacket Mine. Sponsored by BECU.
Friday, May 24th from 6:00-9:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage

Hollow Earth Radio: Hollow Earth has been part of the Festival for a few years now, but this is the first year that they have put together their own showcase!
Sunday May 26, 2013 7:00pm – 10:00pm at the Vera Project/Gallery.

Jack-A-Napes Comedy Show: This is the first year Folklife will host a comedy showcase! In the past year there’s been a real growth in the level of talent as well as following of Seattle’s stand-up comedy scene. Evan Morrison, a local comic and coordinator, has curated his own weekly open mic called Jack-A-Napes at Conor Byrne.  He performs stand up regularly and represents this new school of comics gaining momentum in this town. He is also a huge advocate for others that share the stage with him and is quickly building a community unto itself. Other comedians performing are Albert Kirchner, Sean Murphy Yogi Paliwal, and Brett Hamil.
Saturday May 25, 2013 8:30pm – 10:00pm at the Center Theatre.

Passages and Peninsulas of Southeast Asia: Welcome Huong Viet Performing Arts GroupMelody InstituteApsara Ensemble, and all the other great performers in this new showcase!
Sunday May 26, 2013 7:00pm – 10:00pm at the Bagley Wright Theatre.

Forró Dance: This new show featured the music of En Canto, a group dedicated to the preservation of Forro music. Forro is from northeastern Brasil and is a mix of baiao and latin grooves. The Seattle based sextet will bring you to Brasil!
Monday May 27, 2013 1:00pm – 3:00pm at the Armory Stage.

Voices of Vashon Island: Vashon Island is just a short 15 minute ferry ride from Seattle…..a very short distance, but a million miles away in terms of the hustle and bustle of the city.  It’s home to hundreds of amazing musicians that entertain our community on a regular basis.  There are several music venues on the Island and they are always filled with musicians playing every genre of music imaginable.
Sunday May 26, 2013 1:00pm – 3:30pm on the Alki Court Stage.

World Dance Party: This popular community event has taken place all over Seattle, and it is a natural addition to Folklife—after all, the World Dance Party embodies all of what makes Folklife great: people of all ages, young and old, from all ethnicities, coming together to dance and feel good! Be a part of the movement.
Saturday, May 25 from 1:00-3:00pm in the Armory.

Su Truman & the Gaelic Crankie Show: Artist and musician Su Truman revives and reinterprets a beloved Appalachian tradition. Half movie, half handmade folk art, crankies are animated drawings and papercuts on cloth “reels,” hand-cranked for movement, and presented with traditional Gaelic music accompaniment. Sounds amazing, right? Sunday, May 26 from 3:00-4:00pm, Center House Theatre.

Scottish Country Dance: Enjoy dancing to the wonderful, rich dance music of Scotland and have fun learning some simple dances that are done all over the world. Saturday May 25, 2013 3:00pm – 4:00pm on the Armory Stage.


2013 Festival Schedule Now Live

Plan Your 2013 Festival Now!

The 2013 Northwest Folklife Festival schedule is now live on our website!

Browse the offerings that take place over four days across more than 24 venues and stages.

Design your ideal personal schedule using our handy tools, then share your calendar to Facebook or Twitter, or email to a friend.

View the Schedule Now

Read more about using the online schedule tool and downloading our new & improved mobile app.

The printed schedule will be available at our office and many local libraries after May 16, and can be found in most home editions of The Seattle Times on Thursday, May 23.

What are you most excited to see at the Festival?
Tell us on Twitter or our Facebook page!


What to See at Folklife #3: Washington Works

In honor of May Day, the globally recognized International Workers’ Day, today we are highlighting the 2013 Northwest Folklife Festival’s Cultural Focus, or theme.

This year, Northwest Folklife is celebrating work. Washington Works is a multimedia program that features panel discussions, special presentations, demonstrations, film screenings, storytelling, sing-a-longs and more, all on the topic of working. The program is part of a year-long project that explores labor culture and history in the Northwest.

“Washington Works” is also the culminating event of MayWorks, an annual month-long celebration of workers’ culture and history first organized in 2012 by Washington’s labor movement. A full listing of MayWorks activities in the weeks leading up to the Festival can be found at

For many of us, our work not only pays the bills, it gives meaning to our lives. Washington Works explores the ways people in our state make a living, with a special emphasis on union jobs.  This region has a long history of labor organizing, and Washington has one of the largest union workforces in the country.

Festivalgoers will have the opportunity to learn more about other people’s jobs through panels and presentations on the Narrative Stage at SIFF Cinema (sponsored by KUOW 94.9FM), at art exhibits in the Lopez Room, during demonstrations and storytelling sessions in the Olympic Room, and in the discussions and exchanges taking place throughout the weekend.

Josie Dunn and friend — two of Washington’s “Rosie the Riveters.” Photo courtesy of Washington Women in Trades.

Highlights of the schedule include a presentation by Seattle Public Librarians that features their favorite fiction and nonfiction works about labor on Friday, May 24 at 2pm; a bed-making contest with members of Unite Here 8 first showing us the way it’s done in the hotel industry on Saturday, May 26, at 2pm; a panel on Sunday, May 26 at 2pm, made up of some of Washington’s “Rosie the Riveters,” women who who stepped up to work traditionally male jobs such as shipbuilding during WWII; stories told by IBEW 77’s linemen about working in winter storms to get the electricity back on on Sunday, May 26 at 3:30 pm; an exhibit of the work of New Deal printmaker Richard V. Correll on display in the Lopez Room all weekend; and even stories from two local ministers and a rabbi about the “work” of being  a clergyman or woman on Monday, May 27 at 2:00 pm.

More details and a schedule of “Washington Works” programming can be found at

Folklife will continue the Washington Works program after the Festival concludes by collecting oral histories from union workers across the state and producing a series of video documentaries series about the project with filmmaker Doug Plummer.

Northwest Folklife is working with the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington, and other labor history groups to present a variety of programs as part of “Washington Works.”