volunteers

It’s not too late to Volunteer!

Volunteer at Northwest FolklifeEven though the online Volunteer Application is now closed, you are welcome to stop by Volunteer Registration (Next 50 Annex) during the festival to see what shifts we still have open!

Remember that Volunteer Appreciation Day is Monday May 25th in Volunteer Registration. Volunteers can stop by to pick up a treat and see if they’ve won a prize through our Volunteer Appreciation Program!

We would also like to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of the organizations that donated to our 2015 Volunteer Appreciation Program!

 

 

5th Ave Theatre

ACT

Bold Hat Productions

Dave’s Killer Bread

Dick’s Drive-Ins

Elysian Brewing Co.

EMP

Ivar’s Inc. / Kidd Valley

Jet City Improv

KEXP

Landmark Theatres

Museum of Flight

Nordic Heritage Museum

Northwest Film Forum

Northwest Railway Museum

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Pacific Science Center

Rat City Rollergirls

Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Children’s Theatre

Seattle Mariners

Seattle’s Own Shortbread

Seattle ReCreative

Seattle Sounders FC

Tacoma Rainers

Teahouse Kuan Yin

Teatro Zinzanni

The Center for Wooden Boats

The Space Needle

Timber! Outdoor Music Festival

Tom Bihn

Trophy Cupcakes

Wing Luke Asian Museum

Woodland Park Zoo

 

And an extra special THANK YOU to Girl Scouts of Western Washington Troop #52767!

Self_Aug2008 004

Announcing the Incredible Dances of South Asia

Meet Dr. Joyce Paul Siamak – a new Community Coordinator at Northwest Folklife

I first attended Folklife when I was visiting Seattle on work in 1999. I was completely hooked!  Since moving to Redmond in 2001, I have been a performer and avid supporter of Northwest FolkLife having performed or volunteered every single year. It was at a Folklife performance with my friend Meera that I was noticed by the producer at Town Hall and invited to be part of their Global Rhythms series.

Dr. Joyce Paul Siamak

It has been a long association for me and I am very excited that I can take my support one step ahead by being the Community Coordinator this year.

Some 15 years ago when I first danced, there was no Indian or South Asian showcase; we just got slots in the “International Dance” section. Over the years with more artists moving into the area, various regional showcases started being staged. In particular the “Colors and Cultures of India” took off and provided a great opportunity for young immigrant artists to share their art with the community.

Over the last 5 to 6 years, I noticed a trend that I thought was not doing justice to the art form or the talent available locally. Most Indian dancers I knew were losing interest in performing and had started using the event to present their students in training instead of dancing themselves. This resulted in the audience members not getting a chance to see professionals at work. They were also unable to see what the art form would look like, had an experienced artist chosen to perform. Also, other nations and art forms from the entire South/East Asian region seemed to be represented less and less with dominant art forms such as Bharatanatyam taking on most of the slots. One time, I remember seeing 5 groups from the same genre, with three of them doing the same pieces in the same raga and tala!

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to bring a change in the programming to make it relevant to the larger South Asian dance community while ensuring that we present artistes and performances of caliber. I envisioned a showcase called “Incredible dances of South/East Asia.” For 2015, my first year as curator and community coordinator, my charter looks thus:

  1. Honor and invite special senior guests (artists who have decades of experience)
  2. Present interesting cross-genre programming with creative artists
  3. Present artistes and performances of caliber
  4. Continue to provide a platform for young and upcoming artistes. (provide a good mix of experience and upcoming)
  5. Showcase under represented art forms and regions of South/East Asia

How is this year’s show different?

  1. We are presenting South Asian and South East Asian countries and not just India
  2. Kicking off groups that create dance for social change (from the 4 culture ASC showcase)
  3. Introducing Jugalbandi’s or bringing two styles together.
  4. Presenting traditional folk dance such as Ghoomar and Terah Taaali from Rajasthan
  5. Blending Classicism in dance with traditional training methods such as Yoga and Kalaripayattu
  6. Honoring a senior guru

It is a big change moving from the well-established showcase theme from the past years but I am excited to bring this new showcase on

Ratna Roy

stage. Hopefully it will reach out to more folks from Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and Maldives as well as South East Asian countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and West Malaysia. My desire is to present the amazing dance forms that are rarely seen in the Pacific Northwest!

I would like to thank NWFL especially Kelli Faryar for giving me the freedom to plan and execute this showcase based on my needs assessment and content expertise. It has been an amazing ride and I look forward to this weekend when it all comes together!!

Thank you and looking forward to seeing all of you this weekend. Please write to me (joyce@arpanarts.org) with your thoughts about this showcase.

– Dr. Joyce Paul

Prom Queen

Northwest Folklife Festivals Indie Roots Lineup – Sponsored by 90.3 KEXP – kexp.org

kexp-logoThe Northwest Folklife Festival‘s Indie Roots program returns for its fifth consecutive Festival, packed with live music showcases programmed in partnership with Northwest Folklife and local community curators such as Seattle Living Room Shows, Hearth Music and Underwood Stables. Indie Roots musicians integrate the traditional elements of folk and Americana music – banjos, acoustic guitars, Appalachian harmonies, or country twang – but with a more modern, pop-sensible sound. This year there are nine showcases and over 30 bands performing throughout all four days of the Festival, on four different stages including the Fountain Lawn Stage, Vera Project Stage, Folklife Café and on the new Back Porch Stage.

Indie Roots programming and showcases line-up – sponsored by our friends at 90.3 KEXP – kexp.org – for 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival includes: 


Wild Rabbit
FRIDAY, MAY 22

Hearth Music Showcase

Featuring Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners, Vaudeville Etiquette, Wild Rabbit

7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

 

SATURDAY, MAY 23

New Generation Roots Show

Featuring Max’s Midnight Kitchen, The Desert Kind

12:20-1:30 p.m., Back Porch Stage

 

Kinfolk: New Sounds of the Northwest

Featuring Scarlet Parke, Pepper Proud, Whitney Monge

5:00-7:00 p.m., Folklife Cafe

 

Seattle Living Room Showcase

Featuring The Native Sibling, St. Paul de Vence, The Mama Rags, and Lonesome Shack

1:00-4:00 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

 

Prom QueenHeavy Harmonies

Featuring Eurodanceparty USA, YVES, Prom Queen, and Powers

7:00- 10:00 p.m., Vera Project

 

SUNDAY, MAY 24

Folk, Redefined

Featuring Melville, Mindie Lind, Tomo Nakayama, and OK SWEETHEART

3:00-6:00 p.m., Vera Project Stage

 

Underwood Stables

Featuring Caleb and Walter, Lowman Palace, Cahalen Morrison, and The Ganges River Band

6:00-9:00 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

 

MONDAY, MAY 25

Homespun Indie

Featuring The Elk Tribe, Hallstrom, Joy Mills Band

1:00-3:00 p.m., Vera Project Stage

 

Ear To The Ground: Indie Roots Show

Featuring COHO, Low Hums, Tango Alpha Tango, and Ravenna Woods

3:30-6:30 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

 


All Indie Roots programming is sponsored by KEXP 90.3 FM –
kexp.org

Grace Love and The True Loves

Q&A with Grace Love of Grace Love and the True Loves

Northwest Folklife feels honored to have Grace Love and the True Loves perform at the 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival. She is blowing up this year, performing at not only Folklife, but Timber! Outdoor Music Festival, and Bumbershoot!

We recently had the chance to have a little chat with Grace Love herself about herself, her sound, and the True Loves.

NWFL:  Are you originally from Seattle? If so, which neighborhood?

GL: I am not- I was born in Memphis, TN and raised in the lovely city of Tacoma, WA. 

NWFL: How did the True Loves come to be, and where did the name come from?

GL: I was doing a solo project for a while and the guitarist, bassist, and drummer has a jam going and invited me to sit in. I obligied, and the rest is the story unfolding in front of everyone. I’m not sure where the name True Loves came from I think it was a play on my name and getting as vintage as we could. 

NWFL: How long have you been interested in/singing and performing soul music? Does it predate the formation of the band?

GL: I have been in the arts all of my life- I didn’t pursue it until I was about 19, my mother passes and I thought life is too short to do the things you don’t want to do. I never thought I could have a full backing band, when it began to form I just let it flow.

NWFL: How would you describe your sound to people who have never listened to you before?

GL: I say original Seattle Soul most people nod as if they get it. Then I just say come out and listen to the band.

NWFL: Why did you choose to release your singles, and eventually your album, on vinyl?

GL: Because it holds true to originality- we aren’t like other groups and also the sound is by far the best and it’s a bucket list for a lot of us in the group. 

NWFL: How does it feel to be playing Northwest Folklife Festival, Timber, and Bumbershoot all in the same year, before your album is even out?

GL: I personally feel blessed, and humbled, to those who know me, know I have been working hard at it for a very long time. It’s going to be an amazing story to tell in years to come. 

NWFL: What can we expect to see during your performance at Folklife?

GL: Soul drenched and pure heart warming emotions and lost of laughing and dancing. 

8.     If you could perform alongside anyone, living or dead, who would you choose?

GL: As hard as that question is probably Ray Charles- he’s my go to when I need a change in my spirit!

She will be performing Saturday May, 23 at Northwest Folklife Festival, from 7:45 p.m.-8:15 p.m. at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheatre. You can check out her other upcoming tour dates on her Facebook page, or website at www.graceloveandthetrueloves.com.

Show Your Love for Folklife! Give Today

Make the Magic Happen! How to Support the Festival

Show Your Love for Folklife! Give Today

The community-powered Northwest Folklife Festival is only days away. See you there?  There is no admission charge thanks to your donations. Supporting the Festival is as easy as 1-2-3-4!

  1. Friend of Folklife donors support Northwest Folklife all year with their gifts of $50 and over. We have great news! New Friends of Folklife will have their gift matched by a generous and visionary donor! Please stop by a Donation & Information Station to become a Friend of Folklife.
  2. Extend your gift at a performance featuring a ‘pitch,’ where all gifts are matched. The ‘pitch’ schedule is available at every Donation & Information Station.
  3. ‘Text to Give’ $10. Text the keyword ‘FOLK’ and your email address to 20222.* Kindly finalize your donation by texting ‘yes’ to your carrier’s confirmation.
  4. Drop cash in a donation box at the Festival.

Check out the 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival schedule online or in this ‘flipbook’ format of the Festival Guide. Here is information about getting to the Seattle Center, with links to public transportation. Check out the Northwest Folklife Blog to get in the spirit. And, sign up for the Northwest Folklife E-News.

Here’s to Beats, Rhymes & Rhythms. See you soon!

Cheers

* Details on ‘Text to Give': A one-time donation of $10.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Donor must be age 18+ and all donations must be authorized by the account holder (e.g. parents). By texting YES, the user confirms the donation and agrees to the terms and conditions. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of the “Northwest Folklife” by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Message & data rates may apply. Text HELP to 20222 for help. Please provide your email address to stay in touch.

WONL2015-Tribalflyer2

Muckleshoot Canoe Family In the “Welcome to Our Native Land Coastal Cultures Day Celebration!”

Folklife 2014 - MondayThe Muckleshoot Canoe Family will be in a major new Welcome to Our Native Land (WONL) Coastal Cultures Day celebration event as part of this year’s Northwest Folklife Festival. One of Muckleshoot’s canoes will be displayed near the John T. Williams Totem Pole during the day on May 24th. The WONL Group Committee who are organizing this Coastal Celebration and one day powwow collaboratively with NW Folklife, hold up “Hands of Thanks” to the Muckleshoot Tribe for actively supporting these Native community cultural and arts events in the Center of Seattle. Special thanks are extended for receiving a Muckleshoot Charitable Fund award in 2014 that lead to the establishment of the First Annual WONL Powwow.

Welcome to Our Native Land Group has been openly welcomed by Northwest Folklife staff and board directors to increase a significant Native cultural and arts presence. Both want to invite and bring in numerous Pacific Northwest Tribal peoples to share, interweave learning, and offer a place for engagement. WONL Group members hold a vision to build a core Native presence at this longtime and large festival that can grow respect of artistic forms, bridge, heal and establish new relationships, deepen cultural awareness, and offer protocol-based practices for Honoring inter-tribal peoples and celebration practices in this region. The WONL Group’s aim is to establish, promote, cultivate, and strengthen connective community inter-linkages. With this festival and central location where it happens, it opens up opportunities for “Native Communities of Culture” to engage in culturally focused art forms created through a Native-led lens.

Folklife 2014 - Monday

Folklife 2014 – Monday

Forming in 2013, the WONL Group Committee started working with NW Folklife production people to choose the Space Needle Green grassy area near the John T. Williams Totem Pole. Everyone felt this location offers excellent public visibility near the Monorail, Space Needle, Experience Music Project Museum, 5th Avenue and Broad Street traffic areas. Everything is free and open to everyone. A Coastal Welcoming is scheduled to begin each day. Tipis and Coastal Canoes are on the grounds. Invited demonstration artists will show carving, painting, designing, beadwork, jewelry, cradle board making, basket weaving, regalia making, and other cultural arts practices. Local cultural leaders will be a part of and facilitate Coastal Day and Powwow songs, dances, specials, honorings, and celebration activities. Elders have an area near the circle and people are welcome to stay for the day. Coastal Day has jamming, storytelling, dances, and songs. Before powwow grand entry, Native folk style music, hip hop, and youth dancers are scheduled. After Grand Entry, WONL Committee Specials, category, round, “Wanna Be” dances, and inter-tribals will invite dancers into the circle supported by invited drums. Hosts are Southern Express, Tac Town, Little Battle and Spear Fish.

Of special note is a Memorial Day Native community led Ceremony will be held on the Mural Amphitheatre Stage near the Armory. All Veterans will be honored. At the WONL Powwow Grand Entry, the Intertribal Warriors Society has been invited to carry in the flags. Veterans will be honored in the powwow circle too. Everyone and all Veterans are invited!

The Northwest Folklife Festival draws over 250,000 people annually to Seattle Center. It is held for 4 days starting at 11:00 am on Friday, May 22nd and ends at 9:00 pm on Monday, May 25, 2015. The entire area of Seattle Center is used by Folklife for outside and indoor staging locations. More than 5,000 performers and hundreds of vendors offer cultural exchange, learning scenarios, engaging activities, and exposure to numerous participants. While creating a festival place for cultural heritage and community-driven presentations, the Festival grows interactive, cultural and artistic experiences for all ages, backgrounds and interests. Following a vision “By strengthening cultural communities through arts & culture, Northwest Folklife creates opportunities for all to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest.” As Native community people work with NWFL to establish and create artistic interchange and exchange in this festival setting, it can begin to bridge, connect, build, and sustain relationships. Beneficial outcomes stand to result, especially for Native people.

Important to WONL Committee members is developing ways to engage Native youth, families, elders, artists, cultural people, tribes, and urban-based Native organizations to become part of Seattle-centered activities in different ways. It means establishing Native cultural programming done by Native community people. Now strengthened success is showing up with enthusiastic agreement by everyone involved to implement “Welcome to Our Native Land” Coastal and Powwow Celebrations every year at the Northwest Folklife Festival! Everyone is invited to come!

 

Article contributed by Kim Camara

Fiber Art

Call to Fiber Artists

 

Fiber ArtThis is a call for fiber artists to participate in the 2015 Fiber Art Flash Mob. It will be held during the Northwest Folklife Festival over Memorial Day Weekend at the Seattle Center – May 22-25, 2015.

The plan is for a wide diversity of fiber artists to bring and work on their fiber art as a flash mob.  This is a sedentary flash mob – if you sit when you are doing fiber art you will sit for this flash mob.  So bring a chair or blanket.

Northwest Folklife is having a Fiber Art Demo venue again this year. The days for this will be Saturday, Sunday and Monday – May 23, 24, 25. You can sign up for a four hour shift — it’s a great way to promote and inform the public about your work.

Please share this information with other fiber artists. We had a great time last year and look forward to more mobbers this year.  For more information, find us on Facebook here.

Photo by Christopher Nelson

Young Folks Power Folklife!

Are you a someone age 25 or under who has wondered how you could help preserve the arts and cultures that exist in the Pacific Northwest? Well, there is one way you can. Folklife is introducing a new donor program geared towards young adults – from those finishing high school, to those venturing out and beginning their first “real” jobs – called Young Folks. For a donation as small as $20, you could have access to some cool donor benefits, like free Folklife swag, some Friends of Folklife buttons and an official festival guide mailed to you prior to the festival – you will know exactly what is happening during the festival before anyone else! And if you are interested in participating, find us at the festival and give us your contact info! In exchange, you will be entered into a raffle. We are receiving really awesome raffle prizes each week!

We are also working on some activities and programming geared towards millennials. (Don’t worry, I am one of you! Don’t be offended!) Please don’t forget though, this is our first year, so we are open to suggestions and feedback! In fact, we invite it! Tell us how to be better! But back to the point, the main event we are planning for you and your peers is a multi-platform scavenger hunt. Throughout the festival, we will send out clues via Twitter/Facebook and tag them #nwyoungfolks. We encourage you to post a picture of yourself with whatever, wherever, or whomever the clues lead you and tag them with #nwyoungfolks.

The Skablins; photo by Piper Hanson

The Skablins; photo by Piper Hanson

If this interests you, go to http://www.nwfolklife.org/become-a-friend-of-folklife/ to find out how to sign up and follow #nwyoungfolks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We look forward to meeting you at the festival! Also, please send any feedback, questions, or concerns to myself, Grace, at events@nwfolklife.org.

 

Posted by Grace

RingSide Slam

An Interview with RingSide Slam

The poetry slam bandwagon has been incredibly successful at creating one thing that other art projects have not – a close-knit, distinct, and vibrant community of writers and creators who support one another’s cleverness through spoken word. So, ask yourself, what can I do in 3 minutes and 10 seconds?

In 3 minutes and 10 seconds RingSide Slam can: inspire mentoring, stimulate bold creativity and engage communities worldwide in the revelry of language! RingSide Slam is a new head-to-head poetry slam in Seattle who is calling all poets, Hip-Hop heads, rhymers and dreamers to come out and join them on stage the last Friday of each month @ Red Lounge. These artistic events are a judged competition where participants recite original poetry in a style known as ‘spoken word,’ and have a time limit of 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Poems are expressively and rhythmically performed to an audience who is the deciding factor of eliminations and winners.

Northwest Folklife is honored to get the chance to interview two talented ladies from RingSide Slam – the Host, Nikki Etienne (a.k.a. “Momma Nikki”) and Slam Master, Nikkita Oliver (a.k.a. “K.O.”).

 

Folklife:

Both Seattle natives?

Nikki:

Born in Cali, but grew up here.

Nikkita:

Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. Moved to Seattle in 2004 for college. Stayed ever since.

 

Folklife:

Why the name RingSide? Your Facebook and website use images of Muhammed Ali quite often. Is that related to the name choice or more the style of this particular poetry slam?

Nikki:

We had this concept of an idea with having a head-to-head kind of show.

Nikkita:

In addition to what Nikki said, I am also a boxer and think of boxing as an art. I find lots of connections between poetry slam, rap/emcee battles and what happens in the boxing ring. For me, it was birthed out of my boxing and art experience combined. I also think we both have strong connection emcee/Hip Hop/Poetry as a part of black culture – Ali and Malcolm X resonate with both of us, our lives, our art, our experiences.

 

Folklife:

Would you say that the atmosphere at RingSide is more relaxed than a traditional slam? Does it seem like a good place for first-timers and people who haven’t slammed before?

Nikki:

I think the vibe of our slam is more than just a slam, because we bring Hip Hop into the entire night. We have a local DJ that plays throughout the whole night. The vibe is art! It’s poetry and Hip Hop. Its soul. It’s home. It doesn’t matter if you’re a vet or a first timer…All Are Welcome!

 

Folklife:

When you first had the idea to create RingSide, did you feel like there weren’t many platforms for poets and emcees to come together and perform anymore? You mentioned it taking things back to the heart of it, so was this art form sort of falling by the wayside in Seattle?

Nikkita:

I don’t think the art form is dying, but the space where self-proclaimed emcees cross with self-proclaimed poets is more limited in Seattle than other art scenes I have been in. We just wanted to get the two paths crossing more. I personally have gained a lot from emcees as a poet and a lot from poets as an emcee. This has turned me into a free-styling cyphering emceeing poet. Selfishly, I wanted to grow my art more – SHOUT OUT to Cornerstone, a dope event that used to be at Faire on Cap Hill. This is where I got into spoken word and emceeing.

Nikki:

There are a lot of open mics, or there used to be more, but many fell off, but I was part of an open mic & Artist showcase for a few years that brought some of the same elements we are bringing to RingSide. It was called Cornerstone.

 

Folklife:

Do you see RingSide Slam as a way to bring elements of black culture to the community?

Nikkita:

I see it as a way to share with others who I am – I am black and mixed and queer and woman. I hope others feel it is a space they can do the same. I am also very invested in re-building the black art presence in this city. We are in the start of the central district, an historically black neighborhood. Poetry and Hip-Hop have always been a place to salute history and build something beautiful in the present and the future. I hope that is what we are doing while also honoring the heritage of the art forms as well as our own ancestors and ancestral roots.

 

Folklife:

Do you think performing/slamming is something all poets should try? What benefits or differences do you see in slam/spoken word versus print or online?

Nikki:

Slamming isn’t for everyone and as I’ve told Nikkita before, honestly, I really don’t like standard slamming. It takes away from the core of why people started writing in the first place. Slammers write pieces strictly for slams and that’s great if that’s what you want to do, but if it’s just about the art – about the expression or the need to release your creativity – then don’t limit me to 3 minutes. As an all-around artist, poet/MC/singer/dancer/photographer/painter, basically anything involving the arts, art may be subjective, but if it’s coming from the artists core of who they are. Then it should be expressed.

 

Folklife would like to thank Nikki and Nikkita from RingSide Slam for taking the time to chat. Come join their unique and artistic poetry slams the last Friday of each month @ Red Lounge. The Northwest Folklife Festival is ecstatic to include RingSide Slam as a part of this year’s Culture Focus! Their performance will be held on Saturday, May 23 at the Cornish Playhouse Stage from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Beat your way to RingSide Slam as they make abstract things concrete poetically.

Reggae Rising

Reggae Rising: Hip-Hop’s Roots in Reggae Music

Reggae RisingReggae has been at the forefront in the development of music for many years now. From Electronic Dance Music to Pop to Punk to Disco and several other music genres today, you can hear the influence of Reggae coming from their core. One genre of music in particular that is directly influenced from Reggae is Hip-Hop. Those familiar with Hip-Hop’s history know that the culture was started in the late 70’s in the Bronx, NYC. The founding fathers of the culture are Afrika Bambatta, Grandmaster Flash and DJ Kool Herc. DJ Kool Herc being a native of Kingston, Jamaica always credits his Jamaican roots for his early techniques and development of the culture.

Reggae music’s traditions of dubbing out tracks and toasting on the microphone are a direct lead in to hip-hop’s sampling & emceeing (now known as rapping). In Jamaica, dubbing out a track was the same as making a instrumental remix of a original song. It would usually be the B-side of a Jamaican 7″ single with the original song being the A-side. It involves stripping away most of the instrumentation of the song, vocals and melody highlighting the heavy drums and bass line. This would allow for a artist to “toast” or chat live on top the beat in the same way a Hip-Hop emcee can freestyle over the instrumental of their favorite track. And well known Jamaican Dub architect Lee Scratch Perry created the idea of putting sound effects such as babies crying, gunshots, breaking glass, etc. into his dubs and tracks thus inventing sampling. So as you see, elements of Hip-Hop can be traced back to techniques that came from Jamaican studios years earlier.

Originally, early DJs in Jamaica would get on the microphone just to promote albums or hype up tracks. Foundation Dancehall artist Daddy U-Roy was one of the first artists to actually toast phrases that fit in with the words of the song in addition to his call and response style and exclamations of “Wow” & Yeah”. This style is where rapping draws its roots from. Back in the Bronx, a emcee by the name of Coke La Rock worked alongside DJ Kool Herc hyping up crowds in the style reminicant of the Jamaican Sound System toasting style. He didn’t do full on lyrical flows like rappers today, but he would hype up the crowd with party motivating slogans like “To tha beat y’all!” or “Rock on My Mellow!”. Many old school listeners refer to him as the first Hip Hop emcee.

From the late 70’s and into 80’s, the toasting style in Jamaica progressed and more toasters (also known as Dee-Jays) such as Ranking Joe, Charlie Chaplin, Yellowman and Eek A Mouse appeared on the scene with a more lyrical rhyming style. They would record songs on top of sparse riddims (instrumental tracks) made from various producers like Junjo Lawes, Linval Thompson, Gussie Clarke & Jah Thomas thus creating the Dancehall style. During this time, Dee-Jay records became more important than the Roots Reggae sound which had dominated Jamaica for the majority of the 70’s. Another popular trend in this time was the soundclash. Soundclashes featured rival Dee-Jays and Soundsystems who would compete head to head in front of live crowds to showcase who had the biggest & toughest sound. This trend also directly influenced Hip-Hop in the US as Breakdancers & Emcees from different crews would have Challenge competitions to display who had the best skills on the mic or on the floor with their breakdance moves. This allowed the youth to focus their skills on something other than the every day violence that came with living in the inner cities. Both African Americans and Jamaicans alike could relate to the social and economic hardships they faced daily.

The late 80’s and throughout the 90’s were important years in regards to Reggae and Hip-Hop crossing paths in the United States. There were several Hip Hop artists coming out during this time such as: Boogie Down Productions, Poor Righteous Teachers, Just-Ice, Heavy-D & Jamalski who were spicing up their beats & rhymes with the Reggae flavor. This was also the time that many Jamaican Dancehall acts such as Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Cutty Ranks, Buju Banton & Mad Cobra were getting record deals on American labels and starting to collaborate with US Hip Hop artists. This era also birthed the very popular Reggae/Hip Hop remix trend. That was when a producer would take the acapella (lyrics) of a popular Reggae Dancehall song and place them on top of a popular Hip Hop or R&B instrumental. Nowadays this style is referred to as a “mashup”.

Although the Reggae/Hip-Hop crossover style was more dominant on the east coast in NYC, the west coast has had it’s share of artists who have been experimenting with that flavor for many years. One artist in particular is MISTA CHATMAN (formerly know as DJ Collage). Chatman has spent several years visiting and performing on both coasts taking in the flavor. In fact, he is currently working on a mixtape titled “Chat Down Memory Lane” in which he will be performing Reggae Dancehall lyrics over popular old skool Hip Hop and R&B beats revisiting the remix vibe that was popular in the 90’s.

You can check out MISTA CHATMAN live and direct on this years Reggae Rising stage along with Seattle based Organic Hip Hop Reggae crew INDIGITIZE, Eugene based Hip Hop/Soul/Reggae outfit THE ELENA LEONA PROJECT, Seattle based 80’s style Reggae band DIGITAL LION with guest Jamaican born MC SELASSIE I SOLDIER on the mic and Seattle’s top foundation Reggae artist CLINTON FEARON & THE BOOGIE BROWN BAND returning to nice up the lawn. Time to get irie..BO! BO! BO!

Blog post submit by Lawrence Chatman.

Contra Dancing 2

What do you love most about the Northwest Folklife Festival?

Contra Dancing 2Northwest Folklife has been going strong for 44 years, and it is dance community powered.

We send MANY THANKS to all of the folk dance communities that recently came together in support of Northwest Folklife. It was exciting to see four ‘Nights for Folklife’ events on the calendar in March.

Northwest folk dance communities have long been involved in the Festival’s roots as a participatory multi-cultural experience. I recently met Judy, a veteran folk dancer, who explained, “my husband and I caught the folk dance bug at Folklife, and we travelled the world as a result.” Since the days of glamour and leg room in jet travel, the Folklife Festival has been the place folks can discover and practice all kinds of international folk dance hailing from the Balkans, English Countryside, France, Greece, Hungary, Scotland, and Turkey, and throughout the world. Sounds like the Northwest Folklife Festival did its part to stimulate Pacific Northwesterners’ curiosity about diverse cultures and world travel.

Thank You to the folk dancers who donated, to the event coordinators and to all who made in-kind donations. Here is but a partial list:

Allspice
Laurie Andres
Kathy “I dance; therefore, I am.” Bruni
Cascade Promenade
Jean Causey
Cedar Valley Grange
Folk Voice Band
Art Hare
Lake City Contra Marathon
Lake City Contra/Old Time Country Dance
Sherry Nevins
Northwest Folk Dancers, Inc.
Doug Plummer
Portland Roadhouse Dance
Kathy Sandstrom
Seattle English Country Dance
Skagit-Anacortes Folk Dancers
Skandia Folk Dance Society
Karen Shaw
Sno-King International Folk Dancers
Sue Songer
Swedish Club
Terry Wergeland
Cathie Whitesides

Interested in taking up folk dancing? Visit Seattle Dance  for extensive information on clubs and dances and visit Northwest Folklife’s Community Calendar, too.

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Thanks to our Sponsors: CHEER! Seattle

image004This year Northwest Folklife is excited to have CHEER Seattle join us at the Festival as one of our Entrance Sponsors! CHEER Seattle was founded in 2014 in response to the recent nationwide popularity of adult cheerleading teams. The organization is committed to raising spirits and empowering people into action that supports health and wellness in the LGBT community and beyond.

CHEER Seattle is made up of individuals from all walks of life who come together to support charities and nonprofit organizations in the area. To learn more about what they do, how to get involved or support CHEER Seattle please visit their website or Facebook page.

Thank you CHEER Seattle for your support and dedication to our community!

Visit them on Monday May 25th at the Bagley, Founder’s Court and McCaw Entrances to find out more about what they do and how to get involved!