Check out our schedule here and remember…just wander.
Here’s a few highlights from this weekend:
Check out our schedule here and remember…just wander.
Here’s a few highlights from this weekend:
Northwest Folklife Festival has always been a great place for families to come and bring their young children and introduce them to the arts and culture of the Pacific Northwest. This year, we are bringing back our Discovery Zone area, sponsored by ParentMap. This area is specifically tailored towards children, complete with it’s own stage featuring family-friendly programming, workshops, and hands-on activity booths for all ages.
The Discovery Zone Stage is open from 11am-6pm every day of the Festival. On Friday, however, because of the opening of the Artists at Play area, the stage programming will start at 1pm. The hands-on booths will open at 11 as usual.
Discovery Zone Stage: Sponsored by ParentMap
The Discovery Zone stage will feature a wide variety of different acts, and the full list of programming can be found in our online schedule. Some additions that are different than the schedule in the Program Guide: Musical Spoon-Playing with Artis the Spoonman (12:00pm on Sunday), and Siren Spark, an all-girl rock band from the Rain City Rock Camp for Girls (5:00pm on Friday).
There is even some Cultural Focus programming! The Discovery Zone Stage will feature a Capoeira Angola performance by the International Capoeira Angola Foundation at 12:00pm on Monday, May 25th, and break-dancing by the North City Rockers at 5:00pm on Sunday, May 24th!
The North City Rockers are a multi-generational break-dancing crew from Everett, WA. Folklife recently had the opportunity to chat with David “Pablo D” Narvaez the founder of the North City Rockers. The NCR are a pretty diverse crew, consisting of members from a variety of age groups. The youngest is only 10 years old!
We asked Pablo what we can expect to see during their performance at Folklife this year.
“Excitement! They’re gonna see stuff they didn’t expect. You’re gonna see some typical b-boying but in a way you wouldn’t expect. All sorts of different styles come out. We’re bright, colorful, loud. We are multi-generational. We’re a lot of fun to watch,” says Pablo D of his crew.
Pablo D started breaking in the early 1980’s, but created the North City Rockers crew in 2010. The North City Rockers come together to practice and have fun together, but also prepare for performances and competitions. They perform for a variety of audiences, using a variety of different styles and music.
Pablo says that he likes to keep a positive attitude with everything he’s ever done, and breaking and competing from an early age was what started that. “I’ve tried to spread that to the youth. I’ve tried my best to knock on all sorts of doors and open them up. Learning how to get through adversity and rising to the job.”
Breaking classes with NCR are taught on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30pm to 9:00pm at Oly’s Dance Sport, 2931 Bond Street, Everett, WA 98201. Classes are open to the public and the first two classes are free. People with all levels of dance experience are encouraged to come train!
Discovery Zone Hands-On Activities
We are very excited about the hands-on activities this year, too! Some you might remember from last year, and some new!
Seattle Children’s Museum presents Exploring Rhythm: Come and explore instruments from around the globe! There will also be a craft table for making a dancing ring adorned with ribbons; dance to the music you hear at Folklife!
Active Art and Science presents Make Your Own Mosaic: Using recycled and finger safe glass and glue, children will create colorful mosaics on tiles. Creativity is welcome, and it’s a good opportunity to learn about color balance and glass art techniques.
Little Wing and Rookies, presented by School of Rock presents Rockin’ Instrument Play and Presentation: Come rock out with Little Wing! Major rock instruments will be laid out for you to try: electric guitar, bass, a snare drum with cymbals, keyboard, and a microphone for you to sing into! Channel your inner rock star!
Gage Academy of Art presents 25 Jams: Pop Up Drawing: Gage is curating a drawing jam in the Discovery Zone this year! It’ll be great fun for all ages; anyone who wants to learn how to draw from real life! Post up at an easel and practice with a live model, or draw what you see around Folklife!
The Center for Wooden Boats presents Toy Boat Building: Children will learn to use basic traditional hand tools such as hammers and hand drills to build wooden toy boats! Fun and educational, this is our largest booth so it will be hard to miss!
Creative Advantage This organization from the Office of Arts and Culture promotes the importance of arts education in the schools. This is a great place for parents to stop by and learn about what Creative Advantage is doing to bring arts back to the schools!
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.
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:
How is this year’s show different?
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
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 (email@example.com) with your thoughts about this showcase.
– Dr. Joyce Paul
The 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:
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
Featuring Eurodanceparty USA, YVES, Prom Queen, and Powers
7:00- 10:00 p.m., Vera Project
SUNDAY, MAY 24
Featuring Melville, Mindie Lind, Tomo Nakayama, and OK SWEETHEART
3:00-6:00 p.m., Vera Project Stage
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
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
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.
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!
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!
* 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.
The 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.
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
This 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Grace
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.”).
Both Seattle natives?
Born in Cali, but grew up here.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. Moved to Seattle in 2004 for college. Stayed ever since.
We had this concept of an idea with having a head-to-head kind of show.
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.
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?
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!
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?
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.
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.
Do you see RingSide Slam as a way to bring elements of black culture to the community?
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.
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?
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 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.
Northwest 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:
Kathy “I dance; therefore, I am.” Bruni
Cedar Valley Grange
Folk Voice Band
Lake City Contra Marathon
Lake City Contra/Old Time Country Dance
Northwest Folk Dancers, Inc.
Portland Roadhouse Dance
Seattle English Country Dance
Skagit-Anacortes Folk Dancers
Skandia Folk Dance Society
Sno-King International Folk Dancers
This 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!
To know that another world is possible, and bring it to life through music; this has always been the mission of emcee Gabriel Teodros. He first made a mark with the group Abyssinian Creole, and reached an international audience with his critically-acclaimed solo debut Lovework. He has since set stages on fire all across the US, Canada, Mexico and Ethiopia; performing alongside the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Zap Mama, Digable Planets and Fishbone to name a few. 2012 saw the release of 2 more critically-acclaimed albums, Teodros’ solo Colored People’s Time Machine, as well as CopperWire’s Earthbound; a space opera of a hip hop ride (set in the year 2089) that Teodros recorded with fellow Ethiopian-American artists Meklit Hadero and Burntface. In 2014 Teodros is set to release 2 new solo projects. The first is Children Of The Dragon – another journey through time, Hip Hop, Ethiopian musical traditions and shifting homelands with Washington, DC-based producer AirMe, followed by Evidence Of Things Not Seen – a reminiscent portrait of right now with Auckland, New Zealand-based producer SoulChef.
Seattle, WA–Garage-jazz quartet Industrial Revelation has been making music together in various incarnations for a decade, but with their new studio album Oak Head (October 15, 2013) they’re poised to make a major statement in the world of black improvised music. Founded by D’Vonne Lewis, one of Seattle’s most sought-after drummers and the grandson of Seattle rhythm and blues legend Dave Lewis, the band also features Ahamefule J. Oluo on trumpet, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, and Josh Rawlings on keyboards. Individually, the four members of I.R. have worked with nearly every major artist in Seattle, and plenty more beyond–from Macklemore and Das Racist to Robert Glasper and Wynton Marsalis. Collectively, the band is equally at home playing at a house party in Olympia or on stage at Benaroya Hall, and they bring that affinity for the epic and the intimate to every track onOak Head.
With their previous albums, I.R. sought to capture the engrossing, stomping scope of their live shows, which turn on a dime from hushed sincerity to sweaty bombast and have earned the band an obsessive cult following (City Arts’s Jonathan Zwickel described I.R. in concert as, “beautiful, dramatic, psychedelic, funny, funky, swinging, punchy”). But Oak Head marks a stark, pointed departure, both musically and conceptually. The album celebrates the introspective capacity of studio recordings, distilling and polishing I.R.’s messy fire and powerful spontaneity into something utterly new. “On Oak Head,” Oluo explains, “we embraced the refinement of the studio–it’s a very deliberate album–but at the core of every single one of those songs is a group of people playing in one room together at the same time, feeding off each other’s energy and welcoming the unknown.” Lewis adds, “If there’s one thing about this band, it’s that we all just play from our hearts. This album represents that so well–it’s just straight focus, straight stripped-down emotions.”
The album’s advance single, “Saying Goodbye (to rainbow socks and hair dye),” strikes a radiantly minimalist groove, layering a simple but obsessive melody (in Oluo’s sonorous flugelhorn) over a relentless, twinkling heartbeat held down by Rawlings on the Fender Rhodes. Penned by Flory-Barnes and largely improvised on the day of recording, “Saying Goodbye” is direct musical communication–so stripped of posturing that it’s almost above genre. That devotion to pure melody, to the rejection of the confines of genre, is the driving philosophy behind Oak Head.
I.R. recorded the album at a remote cabin called Oak Head over just two cold spring days–including some songs they’d been playing for over a year, and others that weren’t even written before they started setting up microphones. It’s a deeply honest, deeply personal piece of work, fixated on the idea that a simple, strong melody can be as experimental as the most esoteric art. Oluo explains: “Sincerity is the absolute ripest playground for experimentation. The idea that the two are at odds is a myth. It’s all about balance. The more you stretch to the experimental ends of music, the more you have to embrace the humanity of music. The taller the tree, the deeper the roots. The roots of this album go deep.”
“It’s a jump-off,” says Lewis. “Even though we’re four albums deep, Oak Head is just the beginning. With our earlier albums we were still growing, you know? Finding our focus. Now we can really get it going.”
-Written by Charles Mudede
Ask any group of people why they come to the Northwest Folklife Festival and chances are at least one of them will say, “because of the dancing.”
Since Folklife’s inception, dancers have played a big part in shaping the festival. Many long-time supporters are dancers or dance musicians. Folklife is the only community-powered festival in the nation where they can merge to enjoy a huge variety of music, lessons and participatory dance. Dancers make deep bonds on the dance floor, pulling them back from all over the country.
From Balkan to Bollywood and Swing to Salsa, Folklife offers instruction and open dancing to everyone. This year’s lineup is packed with beginning and advanced dance styles and lessons; Bollywood, Cajun/Zydeco, Country Swing, High School Swing, Scandinavian, International, East and West Coast Swing, Square and Salsa dancing, Tango, Waltz, and more.
At Warren’s Roadhouse, beginners can also learn what many dancers believe is the simplest dance style; Contra Dance. (Learn more about Contra in a previous blog post here.)
Also rooted deep in American culture and popular in Seattle, this year welcomes Hip-Hop to the stage. A street dance typically danced in crews, Hip Hop was first popularized in the 1970s on the television show Soul Train and in the films Breakin’, Beat Street, and Wild Style, followed by its studio-based version, sometimes called “new style,” and hip-hop jazz dance, “jazz-funk.”
In addition to participatory dances, demonstrations will be drawn from numerous world cultures. Danced in authentic costumes, these will be performed mostly in the Center House Court or on the International Dance Stage.
Dancing is a wonderful way to “let go” and be completely in the moment – to fully immerse yourself in joy, movement, music and community. So, grab your best dancing shoes and give it a try! Chances are, like so many others, you’ll get hooked!
When communications theory philosopher Marshall Mcluhan wrote “the medium is the message,” he could very well have been referring to hip-hop. MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching, break dancing and graffiti writing are more than just an art or a performance style.
Dr. Daudi Abe, professor of Humanities at Seattle Central College and author of 6’N the Morning: West Coat Hip-Hop Music 1987 -1992 & the Transformation of Mainstream Culture (Over the Edge Books, 2013) calls hip-hop “a living cultural movement.”
“American rapper, singer, and actor Ice-T said rap is something you do – hip-hop is something you live,” he notes. “In the 80s, if you listened to underlying messages, hip-hop was a portent, a warning, for what was going to happen next. Similar to a news broadcast, it was a lot more political than the general public realized.”
During the 70s and 80s, Seattle was known for its rock ‘n’ roll. Natives like Jimi Hendrix and Nancy and Ann Wilson (Heart) were giving global attention to the “Emerald City.” But alongside rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop was emerging here, sparked by New York City’s hip-hop culture.
“From the beginning, hip-hop was very much about challenging the status quo – this was especially true of graffiti art,” says Dr. Abe. “During the late 60s and early 70s, hip-hop was a response to repression. Young people felt disconnected and marginalized from mainstream culture. It was the first medium to give fearless, explicit voice to young, black males. It was used as a way to push back, tell who you were, where you were from and to make your mark.”
Over the past 40 years, Hip Hop culture has seen dramatic changes since its early start on independent record labels. Edgy experimentation has given way to conglomerate blueprints. Within mainstream acceptance, it has evolved. Critics worry the “essence of hip-hop” and its “news broadcast” may have been compromised in the process.
But amidst this change, Macklemore’s multiple Grammy wins suggest hip-hop is becoming part of a larger narrative and a platform on which anyone can make a culturally relevant political stand. And as in its beginnings, it’s still a potent lens through which the artist views the world.
“Jazz, Reggae, Blues, Hip-Hop – these are all necessary to a vital society because they spring from creative energy within oppressed populations,” Dr. Abe observes. “Life experience informs ones’ views. We have a long way to go. But getting together and talking about these divergent views is the kind of dialogue which will help get us past our differences. I’m honored to be a resource for Northwest Folklife and to assist in making this year’s cultural focus successful. ”
As we are all gearing up for the festival we would like to take a moment to thank all of our amazing volunteers, past and present for making Folklife the incredible festival it is year after year.
On our Volunteer Application, we ask why you want to Volunteer at Folklife. The responses we get are so thoughtful, heartfelt and illustrate dedication our volunteers have for the festival and the community it creates.
Here are a few of our Favorites:
“Best volunteer event in Seattle. Love interacting with the other volunteers and being a part of a great community event.” Carolyn Brenner, volunteer of 33 years
“These are my people, and this is my history.” Elke Schoen, volunteer of 30+ years
“My family has been part of this festival for my entire life, I deeply value what this festival means to our community. I am glad to be a part of it!” Adrian Braxton, volunteer of 5 years
Many of our volunteers have been a part of our organization for 20, 30, even 40 years and we are proud to have such dedicated individuals be a part of what we do. Whether you help us with preparation in the office, greet Festival participants, assist with registration or deliver coffee to vendors, you are a crucial part of our organization and are greatly treasured. Thank you.
Northwest Folklife honors volunteers through our Appreciation Program which takes place on Monday May 25th in the Volunteer Registration room.
Volunteers are encouraged to stop by on Monday and grab a gift and see if they have won a prize through the Volunteer Raffle!
If you are interested in volunteering but have not filled out an application- it’s not too late! Email email@example.com for more information.
This year at Folklife we are excited to announce that the City of Seattle is holding its inaugural Youth Poet Laureate Program. The Seattle Youth Poet Laureate aims to identify and honor local young writers and poets who are not only talented literary artists, but demonstrate a commitment to “civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, human relations, diversity and education across Seattle.”
Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program (SAL/WITS) and Urban Word NYC have joined together to create the Seattle Youth Poet Laureate program, supported locally and nationally by Northwest Folklife, Penmanship Books, and the Academy of American Poets.
Applications are currently being accepted from writers ages 14-19. The top eight finalists will perform during the Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Commencement Performance, which will be held during the 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival, Saturday May 23 at 1:00 p.m. in the Cornish Playhouse. At the performance, a panel of four judges will decide the winner. Along with being dubbed the 2015 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, the winner will receive a book deal to publish their first book of poems and be able to travel across the city on a book tour.
The Seattle Youth Poet Laureate will attend events throughout the year, providing a platform to share their voice with the City of Seattle. The ideal candidate will be someone with not only great leadership skills, but a strong love for Seattle as well. Winning this title means that you will represent the City of Seattle and spread support for arts programs for youth throughout the community.
If this sounds like you, submit an application! Details can be found online here.
The deadline for submissions is April 24, 2015. The 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival will be held May 22-25, at the Seattle Center. The Cornish Playhouse is located at 201 Mercer St., Seattle, WA 98109. Admission is free!
If reggae is the heartbeat of life, blues the soul, swing the dance, and jazz the conversation, then Hip Hop, with its driving cadence and spirit, could be called the poetry. And certainly no one is more passionately devoted to giving that poetry a voice than artist/filmmaker Georgio Brown.
For over 20 years Georgio has provided a venue for budding and seasoned hip hop artists to showcase their work through the Seattle public access video series, “Coolout Network” and its online “webisodes.” Today Coolout Network can be seen on the following sites: youtube.com/coolouttv, vimeo.com/georgiobrown, and facebook.com/georgiobrown.
With candor and warmth, Georgio says, “There are a lot of talented Hip Hop artists in the Northwest who need and deserve attention. Coolout Network helps get them the exposure and inspiration they need.”
Involved in Hip Hop since its inception, native New Yorker Georgio, while still in high school, got his video production start filming shorts of rappers.
“I grew up in New York in the early stages of hip-hop,” he says. “When I came out to Seattle in 1991, I started making a series of videos which focused on Seattle’s Hip Hop scene. This grew to a program on Seattle’s public access television, “Coolout Network,” which documented what was happening here in Hip Hop – and I think, helped to inspire a lot of people’s art. I’m also an artist, so I like to give voice to other artists. ”
To this end, Georgio is dedicated to sharing the positive aspects of Hip Hop.
“Hip Hop gives people a place where they can freely express their art,” says Georgio. “Mainstream media tends to promote Hip Hop in a negative light – but I prefer to show its positive influence.”
“ It’s taken some time, but I knew what Hip Hop needed was for an artist to come along and bring positive national attention to it – and that other Hip Hop artists would then be inspired to follow their lead. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis winning four Grammy awards for Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Performance in 2013 did just that. They showed other artists it can be done.”
Georgio has also brought awareness for Hip Hop to the larger Seattle community.
In recognition of his positive contribution to the Seattle community, in 2004, Georgio and “Coolout Network” received the City of Seattle Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Hip Hop. In 2009 he won local filmmaker of the year at the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival with a short he shot and produced about the 206 Zulu Nation. Georgio serves on the organization’s Board of Directors, whose members King Khazm and Kitty Wu prompted Governor Jay Inslee to proclaim the month of November as Washington State Hip Hop History Month. And in November 2015, “Coolout Network” was featured at “Experience Music Project,” Seattle’s museum of contemporary popular culture.
The history of Hip Hop in the Northwest dates back to the late 1970s when high school kids from the Rainier Beach, Rainier Valley, and Central District areas in Seattle started Hip Hop dancing. Local youth clubs and high schools in south Seattle held competitive dance contests called bop-offs. In the early 1980s, soldiers at Tacoma’s military bases also spawned a hip-hop fan base.
Some of the first Hip-Hop dances in Seattle, held at public-housing recreation centers, featured the Emerald Street Boys and Anthony “Sir Mix-A-Lot” Ray. During this time, “Nasty Nes” Rodriguez also launched the Northwest’s first all-rap radio program, Fresh Tracks, and began airing self-produced tracks by Hip Hop artists. In 1985, the Northwest’s first hip-hop label, Nastymix Records, released Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Square Dance Rap.” Nastymix Records gained national attention in 1993, when Mix-A-Lot won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. Hip Hop had launched in the Northwest.
Collaborating with media and technology filmmaker/producer Scott Macklin and Hip Hop historian Mike Clark, Georgio is currently on hiatus from “Coolout Network” to work on a full-length feature documentary about the evolution of Hip Hop in the Northwest. Highlighting three decades of Seattle Hip-Hop history, segments of the documentary will be shown at the Northwest Folklife Festival. Come learn why Hip Hop has become such an enduring, grasssroots part of life in the Northwest.
Please enjoy a few words from Douglas Ridings, Odissi dancer and teacher, performing at the 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival. Here he has shared with us the background of this unique dance form and what audiences can expect to see in his Festival performance.
“Odissi” A classical Indian Dance that has a 2000+ plus history and was suppressed under British Imperialism and nearly lost until it was reconstructed after Indian Independence through textual research, sculptural evidence, remnants of old traditions in the Jatra (roving theaters), and the temple tradition sustained by the Maharis, temple priestesses who were married to the deity of the temple and performed dance as part of their offering. I have learned Odissi dance from Dr. Ratna Roy since 2005. Her teacher was Pankaj Charan Das, the adopted son of a Mahari and a seasoned performer in the Jatra. Combining his knowledge of temple ritual and and theatrical savvy of the Jatra, he was a primary force in the modern reconstruction of Odissi and is today acknowledged as the “Guru of Gurus”.
The piece is an invocation to Shiva in his form as Nataraj (King of the Dancers) and Yogiraj (King of the Yogis). The music I had commissioned while I was India with Dr. Ratna Roy’s help, so I was in the studio dancing with the drummer while the recording was being made. Odia music has elements of both Karnatic and Hindustani Classical Music as well as it’s own distinctive elements. The costume was custom made from an embroidered silk saree as well as filigree silver jewelry and ankle bells. Odisha is well-known not only for its dance but also its textiles, jewelry, painting and cuisine. Odissi dance itself is characterized by its capacity to blend sacredness and sensuality, its lyricism and gracefulness, and its intricate, subtle complexity and isolations.
I have performed many times at Folklife but always before with Dr. Ratna Roy and her group Urvasi. This is the first year I have been invited to dance as a soloist.
I perform regularly in India, under Dr. Roy’s guidance. When I’m there, I teach Yoga to dancers in Bhubaneswara (Rudrakshya) in exchange for dance training with them and home-cooked food!
YOU can learn Odissi!
Dr. Roy teaches Beginning Odissi at Velocity Dance Center on Sundays at 3 pm and Douglas Ridings assists her.
Douglas Ridings also teaches a class on Fridays at 7pm at Culture Shakti Dance.
Northwest Folklife is thrilled to introduce EMP‘s 2015 Sound Off winner, Emma Lee Toyoda to this year’s Festival lineup. If you adore artists like Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens, you’ll fancy Emma’s delightful tunes that will invoke a rural aesthetic charm. This Seattle based singer-songwriter has a dainty, but rustic sound that reveals uniqueness in every song. It may be out of season for her ‘Em & Fran’s Christmas Jams’ album (look for those here!), but her melody and beats will allure year-round.
Emma is an innovative young Seattle artist and Northwest Folklife is excited to include her dazzling charm on stage at this year’s Festival. Check back for the schedule announcement in early May to find out just when Emma will appear.
Contra Dance is a traditional American dance in which couples dance in two long facing lines or in groups of four. Affectionately referred to as an “entryway dance” by dancers, contra dance is by far the most accessible of all dances for beginners. Plus it is bodacious fun!
Derived from English and French country dancing, it’s led by a caller who supports dancers with a walkthrough, practice dance before the actual dance begins.
“Imagine being a kid on a merry-go-round with the lights spinning around and you’re just so happy! Multiply that by a million-gazillion times because your arms are wrapped around other people and they’re looking in your eyes with huge smiles on their faces, happy you’re there!” says Sherry Nevins, dance caller of contra dancing. “At a dance there’s a great cycle of energy; the musicians’ music, the dancers responding to it and the caller right in the middle of it. The energy just builds and builds! Every part of it is delightful.
The music played at contra dances includes, but is not limited to Irish, Scottish, Old-Time and French-Canadian folk tunes. Often anchored by fiddle, contra dance bands can include piano, flute, guitar, mandolin, accordion, and in some cases even brass instruments. Northwest Folklife attracts contra dance bands and callers from all over the country. So the quality of the bands is always high – and the callers easy to follow.
This contra dance floor is a friendly place too. Seattle dancers are great dancers but also very open to helping beginners. If you miss a move or mess up, don’t worry! An experienced dancer will be close by to help you out. Or, just pause until the next move and jump back in.
While dancing, you’ll hear the caller use terms like balance and swing or do-si-do. Relax. Other dancers will always help you. And the moves which go with contra dance terms are not hard. Plus once you learn these basic moves, they repeat throughout the dances.
Standard movements include balance: stepping forward and back in four counts to say hello to your partner; do-si-do: walking around your partner: swing: standing in waltz position but spinning faster in a circle with your partner; promenade: walking with your partner around a circle; and courtesy turn: gentlemen with one hand held behind a partner and one in front, walking in a small circle. One person in the couple is the lead and the other the follow. The follow is always held on the right-hand side of the lead. It’s as simple as that.
So come to the Roadhouse and grab your partner for a balance-and-swing. Once you’re tried this style of dancing, you’ll definitely be hooked!
Photos by Christopher Nelson.
Kukeri is a plural for kuker which means a mummer. Mummer’s games are traditional Bulgarian rituals for fertility, regeneration and awakening of the earth, performed by unmarried men around New Year and before Lent. The kukeri reinforce the connection between the people and the land. Through their dance and stumping moves, they chase away the old, the cold and evil, and clear the path for regeneration, fertility and the warmth brought by the spring.
Traditionally, the kukeri wear costumes and scary masks made from animal furs and skins, and heavy bells on the belt to produce a loud noise. The Kukeri Parade at the Northwest Folklife Festival is performed by men from the Bulgarian community in Seattle.
Check out the 2013 Northwest Folklife Festival parade in the video below!
Paperstock will return to the 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival, and we’re thrilled!
PaperStock features the prints of many current and popular concert poster artists and silkscreen print artists. Art for everyone is the focus of this exhibition and Festival-goers will be able to peruse art and maybe even find their favorite new print to purchase directly from the artist! On-site screen printing demonstrations will also show attendees how prints are produced – we’re very excited.
Here’s a preview of what kind of prints you can expect to see at Paperstock 2015 – BEWARE… this is merely a preview.
By Frida Clements.
“Sohoyini” translates literally as ‘one heart’ in the Dagbani language of the Dagomba people in Northern Ghana. Sohoyini was created in efforts to unite cultures and to celebrate our diversity through the beautiful dance and music of Africa.
On March 21, 2015, Awal Alhassan, traditional African percussionist and dancer, will bring his West African dance company Sohoyini to Crossroads Bellevue for a special, FREE performance for families and people of all ages to enjoy. To get you ready for his performance, we asked him a few questions – take a peek!
NWFL: How did Sohoyini African Dance form and when?
Sohoyini was founded in 2005 by Dance Director and Choreographer Awal Alhassan when he moved to the United States from Ghana West Africa.
NWFL: What is the cultural background of your performance/art form?
Sohoyini is a pan-African collaboration of traditional arts embracing the music and dance from the countries of Ghana and Guinea, as well as other cultures from the African continent. Sohoyini means “one heart.” We celebrate not only our roots, but the branches of our new global culture.
NWFL: What is one thing you want your community to know about your work?
Sohoyini strives to provide a cultural experience that opens minds and hearts to the spirit of Africa. As a music and dance company, Sohoyini celebrates not only the Dagbon tradition of Ghana, but also that of all traditions and backgrounds in which we share the common belief that as human beings, we are one people. Through this we celebrate the true spirit of Africa. By singing, dancing, and making music, we make the movement towards, “one-heart, one-people.”
A performance of celebration that will lighten your spirit and bring happiness to your heart.
NWFL: Tell us about the choreography and some of Awal’s inspirations?
Awal Alhassan is the principle choreographer of Sohoyini Dance Company. Many of the dances from Sohoyini are traditional dances from Ghana and other parts of Africa, which Awal has arranged in a modern form. Awal also has created original dances that he has choreographed for the stage, which incorporate contemporary movements influenced by pan-African traditions.
Awal Alhassan has been an ambassador of the Dagomba Traditions for as long as he can remember. Born into a traditional drumming and dancing family in Tamale, Ghana, he has spent his life devoted to the arts of his culture. In addition to his involvement in traditional ceremonies, he has also been extremely involved and passionate in helping to keep his traditions alive. He has worked with numerous performance groups throughout the world, entertaining and educating people of virtually all cultural backgrounds.
Awal has been a professional dancer since he was a young boy. Most notably, Awal was a member of the Centre for National Culture, as well as the National Dance Theatre of Ghana.
NWFL: How did you first come to be involved with Northwest Folklife?
Awal Alhassan has performed with countless groups at Northwest Folklife in the past, including his own Sohoyini Dance Company.
Save The Date!
This Saturday, Northwest Folklife and Crossroads Bellevue have programmed an incredible cultural evening with La Peña Flamenca de Seattle! We sat down with Rubina Carmona to get an inside look at all that is La Peña Flamenca and more – take a read!
RC: La Peña Flamenca de Seattle was formed in 1995 as a performance opportunity organization for the guitar, dance and singing students of my husband, Marcos Carmona and myself.
NWFL: Can you tell us a little about the cultural background of Flamenco?
RC: Flamenco music and dance come from Southern Spain, and have been developed and performed most notably by the Gypsies of that region.
NWFL: What is something you wish the greater community to know about your work?
RC: I’d like the audience to realize how international the appeal of flamenco is. I’ll be featuring dancers and musicians from Austria, Russia, Philippines, Chile, Argentina, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States.
NWFL: More specifically, what can audiences expect to see from these dancers and musicians?
RC: We will be presenting some ensemble work, with all the dancers, some short solos, and live music by guitarists and singers to accompany the dances.
NWFL: Who choreographs your work – how do you create a piece? What are your inspirations?
RC: I basically choreograph the dances, although I’m now being assisted by my advanced students. All my students have learned to choreograph their own solo material using the materials or “vocabulary” I have taught them. My inspiration is the music–the singing style determines the spirit and content of the dance. I listen to examples of singing and guitar and do what the music tells me, and my students have learned to do the same.
NWFL: How did you first come to be involved with Northwest Folklife?
RC: I have been involved with Northwest Folklife since we first moved to Seattle in 1988.
NWFL: Have you heard about the 2015 Cultural Focus (“Beats, Rhymes & Rhythms: Traditional Roots – Today’s Branches” – basically roots of hip hop) and what do you think?
RC: I have heard of this year’s cultural emphasis. The evolution of American pop music, blues, jazz, hip-hop parallels the evolution of flamenco, tango, fado, rembetiko and other “urban blues” forms around the world. The songs deal with very similar subject matter.
FOR MORE ON HOW TO SEE THIS INCREDIBLE SHOW – CLICK HERE.
Come work with us! We are looking for an enthusiastic person to come learn about Northwest Folklife, what it takes to put on a Festival that attracts a quarter million people in the span of just four days – a Festival featuring over 5,000 performers from over 60 cultural communities – and someone who is eager to support the effort. Read on for job details, and don’t be shy… share with friends so we can find a great fit.
Northwest Folklife Programming & Marketing Internship
Interning at Northwest Folklife can be the experience you need to gain a career in event planning, festival production, the music industry, nonprofit management, marketing, fundraising and a whole host of other fields. Interns at Northwest Folklife take on a significant role in executing the largest free community arts festival in the nation and learn how to increase visibility and strengthen the sustainability of a nonprofit organization.
Before you apply:
Title: Programming & Marketing Intern
Internship Length: Now – June 2015
Hours per week: 15-25
This Internship is central to the programming Northwest Folklife has to offer. This Intern plays a key role in ensuring smooth festival production from a programming standpoint.
Additionally, anyone with a love of music, arts, and culture is encouraged to apply.
Identified Learning Outcomes:
Please attach your resume and cover letter to an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Programming Internship and your name in the subject line. Although we prefer electronic methods, you may also submit your resume to:
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
This position is open until filled.
Every year we have the esteemed privilege here at Northwest Folklife to dig in deep to a cultural community with roots here in the Pacific Northwest through our Cultural Focus program. Last year we looked at “India and Its People” and the year before that the unions with “Washington Works.” Every year it’s an eye opening and treasured experience and this year is not different.
“Beats, Rhymes, and Rhythms: Traditional Roots in Today’s Branches” is a powerful Cultural Focus and we are honored to be connected to and working with Seattle’s powerful Hip Hop community among many – namely, for purposes of this post, 206 Zulu, the Seattle chapter of the Universal Zulu Nation. They will have a helping hand in bringing Folklife’s 2015 Cultural Focus to life this year.
206 Zulu’s focus is to utilize the artistic elements of Hip Hop and urban arts as a platform for positivity and community empowerment within youth and families. They will be celebrating their 11th Anniversary with a series of community events, February 6-8 (you can learn all about these on our Community Calendar here) and in their honor, we’re excited to share a little bit more about 206 Zulu.
206 Zulu co-founder and executive director King Khazm took some time to shed light on his organization, their mission, why the 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival’s Cultural Focus is so important, and what they’ve got planned to celebrate their 11th year. Take a read!
Hi King! Thanks for taking some time with these questions. Tell us, what is your personal relationship to Northwest Folkilfe?
The Northwest Folklife Festival has been an annual gathering spot for myself and peers since around the mid-90s when Hip Hop was first introduced to Folklife. Our organization was established in 2004 and we began a community partnership with Folklife, hosting various Hip Hop events as early as 2008.
206 Zulu is Seattle’s Hip Hop cultural and community organization that utilizes the artistic elements of Hip Hop and urban arts as a platform for positivity and community empowerment within youth and families. 206 Zulu is also the Seattle Chapter of the Universal Zulu Nation, Hip Hop’s founding family and international community organization that has been pivotal in the inception and expansion of Hip Hop culture since the early 70s.
Happy 11th Anniversary! That’s big news. What does this landmark year mean to the organization and its community?
This February 6-8, 2015 we’ll be celebrating our 11th anniversary of 206 Zulu. The anniversaries are our flagship events of the year where we host a weekend full of programming that often includes music performances, workshops, panels, art showcases, local vendors and non profits, and dance competitions and showcases. Hip Hop has many artistic “elements” that it’s comprised of, however it isn’t always combined together. Our anniversaries are special because we unite the elements and bring respective communities together under one roof in the spirit of “Peace, Unity, Love & Havin’ Fun”.
206 Zulu has grown from a very small grassroots community group to an internationally esteemed non-profit organization. We are still “grassroots” in some regards and operate without any full time paid staff, however are so fortunate to have such an amazing community, and programmatically and organizationally have accomplished so much over the last decade.
How did 206 Zulu create its community?
206 Zulu’s membership is comprised of musicians, artists, producers, dancers, organizers, teachers, and various people in the community who either love Hip Hop or just want to be a part of something positive that is about serving the greater community. We build community through our interpersonal relationships with friends, families, peers, through our partnerships with other groups and organizations, as well as various schools, community centers, venues and spaces we connect with.
To see Hip Hop grow over the years and expand in new ways unimaginable has been truly remarkable. I would have never imagined a focus around roots of Hip Hop would be a Cultural Focus at Northwest Folklife. It’s a beautiful thing.
What would you like to see in Northwest Folklife’s Cultural Focus programming line-up?
DJ/turntablist exhibitions, live producer showcases, breakdance competitions and cyphers (open dance circles), graffiti and urban art expo, lots of music and performances, spoken word and poetry, drum circles, photography exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, classes, but also the lineage of Hip Hop, which is just as important. (There is so much!) Funk, Soul, Blues, Reggae, Jazz, Gospel, African rhythms, Salsa, Rock, capoiera, martial arts, comic books, etc.
Who needs to know about this Cultural Focus and why?
Everyone – especially people who hate Hip Hop. People who hate it often don’t know the full spectrum of what it is and generally get their perspective of it through the media, which is often a complete misrepresentation of Hip Hop. Think corporate interest/market driven, commodified, materialistic, misogynistic, demonizing, ignorant, etc.
It’s completely understandable if the music of Hip Hop isn’t your cup of tea, but most people don’t see what the full spectrum of Hip Hop is, much less that it’s not just a genre of music.
Our anniversary is not just about celebrating the organization and its accomplishments, but celebrating our beloved community and the many communities within the community. Bringing people together in the spirit of positivity and community empowerment. Bringing generations together; honoring and preserving the past but also introducing the elders to the newest generations and seeing how Hip Hop and its elements are evolving. Children are present and become inspired while having fun with their families and other children. All of this IS the roots of Hip Hop. Hip Hop has very little to do with what you see on TV and hear on the radio. It’s much bigger than that. That’s why we do what we do and have events like these.
Aside from speaking to the roots of Hip Hop through practice, many of the workshops and panels elaborate and speak to the roots of Hip Hop directly, philosophically and historically.
Flamenco as we know it began to be recognized within Spain and internationally during the last half of the Eighteenth Century. From there, it has followed the same trajectory as a number of other “urban blues” forms, and has become one of the most successful and prominent of those forms. Think for a moment of American Jazz, Argentine Tango, Greek Rembetiko and Portuguese Fado, all arising from rural or urban conditions of poverty and oppression, moving to the cabaret or nightclub phase in cities, and at length overcoming the prejudices of the more privileged classes and appealing to a world-wide audience. In the case at least of flamenco, jazz and tango, the forms have been highly developed both musically and technically and have been successfully presented on the concert stage.
In the case of flamenco, however, the roots go back thousands of years and thousands of miles.
Spain has had a vibrant musical and dance tradition since ancient times; dancers from Cadiz, playing what resemble castanets, have been pictured in Roman mosaics. Spain was one of the Roman Empire’s most important components, but within the millennium before the Roman conquest, it had been settled by immigrant Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Jews as well as its native Iberians. There is a strong possibility that the Spanish art of bullfighting developed from ancient Greek beliefs and ceremonies associated with the bull. Bullfighting later became one of the important themes of flamenco singing, and members of the same family often go into each profession.
After the collapse of Rome, Spain was ruled for several centuries by the Visigoths. Spain had become Christianized late in the Roman period, and the Visigoths, although only roughly civilized, practiced Christianity as well. The country was invaded in 711 by a Muslim army comprising Arabs, Berbers and Moors from North Aftrica, as part of the whirlwind conquest of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern territory by the new religion of Islam. Under the leadership of Tarik b. Ziyad, all of Spain save for a small portion of the north and west, swiftly fell into Muslim hands.
In the eighth ninth and tenth centuries, Al-Andalus, as Muslim Spain was called, enjoyed
a remarkably enlightened and tolerant rule by the Umayyad Dynasty under the Caliphate of Cordoba. The Spaniards refer to this period as “La Convivencia” or the time of living together.
Islam was dominant, but populous communities of both Christians and Jews were allowed to govern themselves locally. Many Christians converted by Islam, becoming known as Mozarabes. Culture, especially poetry and music flourished, along with agriculture and medicine.
All during this time, Christians from the north of Spain were pushing southward, trying to regain their lost territories. By the eleventh century, they had regained sizeable portions of the north and west of the Iberian Peninsula.
Things took a further turn for the worse for the Caliphate during the eleventh century when two waves of austere Islamic fanatics, first the Almoravids and later the Almohads, invaded from their kingdoms in Northwest Africa. These invaders found the culture of Al-Andalus decadent, and greatly damaged the culture of tolerance that the territory had previously enjoyed. Nonetheless, it was the descendants of these invaders who were to rule the ever-shrinking Muslim Spain until their final defeat by the Christians in 1492.
As the Christians began to take back territory from the Muslims, by and large they continued to practice “convivencia” with the Mudejares (Muslims in Christian territory) and Jews, and to respect the high level of civilization of the lands and peoples newly conquered. This began to change after the conquest of Sevilla in 1248, and in 1391 a horrendous attack against the Jews was perpetuated. The Inquisition was officially established in Spain in 1478, and in 1492, the same year that Granada fell to the Christians, the Jews were expelled from Spain. Some fled to the Ottoman Empire, some to North Africa, some to other parts of Europe, and some to Mexico.
The Muslim population of the Kingdom of Granada had been promised that their faith and properties would be respected, but these promises were soon retracted. By 1502, the Muslims were forced to choose between conversion to Christianity or exile, much like the Jews. By 1609, after several rebellions by the Muslim population, they too were expelled. Most returned to North Africa, where they received a mixed welcome, now being regarded as “westernized” by their new hosts. Meanwhile, areas abandoned by the Moors became depopulated and impoverished.
But there were many Jews and Muslims who fled into the countryside and mountains, hiding and eventually intermarrying with sympathetic local people. The Andalusian population of today shows evidence of the intermingling of European, African and Middle Eastern traits. These people and their musical traditions became a strong component of flamenco.
Close to this calamitous time, around the 1450’s, the Gypsies, or Rom People, appeared in Spain. We know that several hundred thousand crossed the Pyrenees, and travelled south slowly. There are Gypsies all over Spain, but most of them seem to have settled in Andalusia.
There are some theories that another wave of Gypsies travelled across North Africa and up into Andalusia while the territory was Muslim but there is no hard evidence of this.
All researchers agree that the Rom originally came from the northwest part of the Indian subcontinent. They were a wandering tribe, like many still in India. They travelled to Egypt (hence the name “Gypsy”), Turkey, the Balkans, Central Europe and through France into Spain.
They have been universally persecuted, oppressed, and even enslaved all the way through their travels. Upon arriving in Spain, they were obliged to stop their wandering and to settle, although until recently there were still itinerant Canasteros living in Spain.
It is not surprising that once the Gypsies were established in Andalucia they would have become acquainted with the “underground” Moors and Jews, as well as disaffected and poor Christian Spaniards, and discovered their musical traditions. Wherever the Gypsies have travelled, they have taken the native musical styles and preserved and embellished them (another example: Hungary and Romania, with heavy Gypsy populations, have a great deal of Gypsy influence in their music).
The next several centuries were extremely difficult for Spain and most of her people. Much of her economy was weakened by the expulsions and harassment of its industrious minorities; her wealth was squandered fighting wars all over Europe, and her colonies were beginning to agitate for independence. The plight of Spain’s poor was abysmal.
By the late eighteenth century, the music that was to become known, mostly in its “cante hondo” form, was beginning to become known. The aristocracy was hiring Gypsy musicians for entertainment. The occasional traveler in rural Andalusia was making note of this mournful and exotic singing style.
By the nineteenth century, flamenco had “come to town”. Gypsy artists continued to be hired privately, as they are to this day, but by 1860 certain urban districts in and near Sevilla, Jerez and Cadiz were becoming known for their Cante styles and artists. The age of the Cafes Cantantes had arrived. These were “flamenco cabarets”, featuring guitarists, singers and both male and female dancers in formal performance dress. Many of the styles we will be exploring in the next pages were developed and refined during this stage, and singers and dancers who performed during this golden age are still referred to in songs and poetry that are performed today.
A seminal event occurred in June of 1922. The composer Manuel de Falla, with the collaboration of Federico Garcia Lorca, Joaquin Turina and Andres Segovia, along with other artists, musicians and writers organized a “concurso de cante”; a contest for singers, in the hopes of stimulating interest among the general public in this art form and encouraging new talent.
Around this time also, flamenco began to be presented on the concert stage. Two classically trained, Argentine-born dancers of Spanish descent, La Argentina and La Argetinita, although not purely flamenco dancers, raised consciousness of the unique Spanish art form around the world. La Argentinita staged the flamenco show “Las Calles de Cadiz” with the best artists of the times during the 1930’s. The public’s appetite for flamenco, along with the artform’s own evolution, has grown exponentially ever since.
Experience local Flamenco live, Feburary 21 at Crossroads Bellevue – FREE!
Historical written by Rubina Carmona, Flamenco singer/dancer, La Peña Flamenca de Seattle
In case you haven’t heard, we are super excited to be bringing our specially curated cultural performance series back to Bellevue’s Crossroad’s Mall this year. The third Saturday of every month, January-June 2015, your family can experience Northwest Folklife artists live on the Eastside from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. And, the best part… it’s FREE!
We kick things off January 17 with the Dog Pound B-Boys (a.k.a. Vicious Puppies). While many Northwesters may know the Massive Monkees, we think it’s about time just as many folks know all about these guys, so we sat down with them for a little Q&A – take a read:
How did the Dog Pound B-Boy crew form and when?
Six of the seven members were students of Jerome Aparis, a highly recognized member of the Massive Monkees. Our connection was established through his classes and eventually we began performing at talent shows and various other gigs. The group grew up together sharing the same passion and interest. Finally on May 31, 2008 we formed Vicious Puppies Crew. After graduating high school, Vicious Puppies was changed to Dog Pound.
What is the group’s cultural background?
B-boying originated in the Bronx in the mid-late 70’s. Originally it was created to earn respect from ‘the streets’ and to give youth something positive to focus on instead of joining gangs and getting in trouble.
What is one thing you want your community to know about your work?
All of our energy comes from the audience. The more you all give, the better we perform. So get loud and have fun with us!
What can audiences expect to see at your Crossroads performance this month?
The audience will have the opportunity to witness the accumulation of our years of practice and teamwork, all while having fun! We’ll spare the details as a surprise and to keep the audience on their toes.
Who choreographs your work? How do you create a piece?
No one individual choreographs our work. Whenever one member has an idea, we experiment with it and add to it to make it fresh. I believe this is the reason we always have different styles of movements; our work is inspired by seven different individuals as opposed to just one choreographer.
How did you first come to be involved with Northwest Folklife?
Dog Pound has done recent work with a band called Global Heat. The point man for their group, Rob Pastorok, informed us of this opportunity.
Have you heard about Northwest Folklife’s Cultural Focus (“Beats, Rhymes, Rhythms: Traditional Roots – Today’s Branches“)? What do you think?
Today’s society revolves around social and cultural awareness. The 2015 Cultural Focus we believe is a great idea to continue this type of exposure. The fact that cultural awareness is spread through art makes it much more fun.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about the Dog Pound B-Boys or any of the other artists part of this series, find us on Facebook and ask! We’ll respond.
Every year, Northwest Folklife engages a Northwest community to showcase during the year leading up to the Festival. This ‘Cultural Focus’ allows Folklife to connect more in depth with the people that we serve and empower their artistic expressions and cultural traditions.
We are honored to announce the 2015 Cultural Focus:
This program will explore the cross-cultural roots of arts expressions that have evolved into contemporary cultures today, including an exploration of the traditional roots of Hip Hop.
African and Latin traditional dance, the blues, gospel songs and spirituals, scat-singing of the early jazz days, African-American street culture, word battles, socially conscious songwriting – these are just some of the seeds we’ll be exploring for this year’s Cultural Focus. Hip Hop, first included in Folklife Festival programming in 1994, serves as an umbrella for this program, and ties together many communities from around the Pacific Northwest – some of those that have been representing their cultures and traditions for years at the Festival. The goal is to present a multi-generational, multi-cultural, inter-disciplinary program to educate the Pacific Northwest about the cross-cultural roots of local communities while highlighting Hip Hop’s traditional folk roots.
This program is particularly timely in the state of development of hip hop culture and education, as Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed Hip Hop History Month in the State of Washington this November to honor the culture, lineage and impact of Hip Hop in the Northwest.
“Hip hop began as a youth-led movement and an alternative from violence, drugs, alcohol, racism, and other ills that plagued the
inner-city/urban communities of color; one that connects people from varied
social and economic backgrounds today.”
During the 2015 Folklife Festival (May 22-25), audiences can experience four days of music and dance performances, panels and presentations, films, visual arts and participatory workshops that explore the world and roots of Hip Hop. We will have the opportunity of celebrating the joyful expression within Hip Hop while challenging some of the pervasive stereotypes that malign the Hip Hop community today. The Program will tie the five key elements of Hip Hop–Music (DJing), Dance (B-boy and B-girl), Storytelling (MCing), Public Art (Graffiti), and Social Awareness–back to the traditional cultural origins of Hip Hop.
We will build up to the 2015 Festival through monthly events that will be held in Seattle and Northwest regions with partnering communities. Stay tuned for our full list of community events leading up to the 44th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival.
WHEREAS, hip hop is a culture that transcends ethnicity, nationality, social status, gender, religion, beliefs and other ineffectual brarriers of humanity; and
WHEREAS, hip hop began as a youth-led movement and an alternative from violence, drugs, alcohol, racism, and other ills that plagued the inner-city/urban communities of color; one that connects people from varied social and economic backgrounds today; and
WHEREAS, the founding principles of hip hop as advocated by its founding family and grassroots community service organizations, the Universal Zulu Nation, are knowledge, wisdom, freedom, justice, and equality, among others; and
WHEREAS, hip hop as a cultural and musical evolution from funk, soul, rock, R&B, blues, gospel, and other diverse sounds, with lineage tracing back to the African diaspora and some of the earliest cultures and civilizations; and
WHEREAS, hip hop positively influences and affects millions of lives through its spiritual, mental and physical manifestations; and continues to provide a means of engagements in education and academics by encouraging participants to delve into the realms of arts, language, business, history, mathematics, science, health, and more; and
WHEREAS, 206 Zulu Nation, the Seattle chapter of the Universal Zulu Nation, helps creative positive spaces for the youth and families of Washington State, using a culture of arts and entertainment to inspire young people to get involved in social action, civic service, cultural creativity, and self-education;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jay Inslee, Governor of the state of Washington, do herby proclaim November 2014 as Hip Hop History Month in Washington, and I urge all people in our state to join me in this special observance.
The Northwest Folklife Festival is a regional Festival. Preference is given to performers from within the Pacific Northwest (WA, OR, ID, MT, BC, AK). Our artists/participants are not paid, and we are ever grateful that they volunteer their time and talents.
Download a Stage Diagram here.
Thank you for your interest in the 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival and for taking the time to fill out the performer application. The Northwest Folklife Festival is the largest free community arts festival in the United States because talented performers and volunteers like you donate their time and energy each year.
*Applications for the 44th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival are due December 1, 2014.
To learn more about the Festival, visit www.nwfolklife.org. For questions specific to the application, feel free to email us or leave us a message on the Performer Hotline. We will get back to you as quickly as we can.
TO CONTACT US:
Performer Hotline: 206-684-4189
Email: programming @ nwfolklife.org
Thank you for applying. We look forward to receiving your application!
We think being healthy is super important and starting early isn’t such a bad idea! We’ve teamed up with PCC to bring some fun, interactive activities for families to enjoy to the Festival. Find the PCC TasteMobile outside Fisher Pavilion where nutritionist Ami Karnosh will be demonstrating how the entire family can help out in the kitchen.
SCF: What exactly is a food retail co-operative and how does it work?
PCC: A cooperative of any type is an organization of people with at least one area of common interest that is owned and operated by its members. PCC began as a buying club in 1953, bringing together families who pooled their buying power for the purpose of purchasing bulk foods at lower prices. Members invest in their co-op through some level of financial payment but many co-ops include the expectation that members will support the co-op’s activity’s with their time and labor. In a retail food co-op like PCC, members support their co-op through their initial investment (a $60 lifetime membership) and their patronage of PCC locations. The interests of members are represented by a board of trustees elected by the membership. At PCC a policy governance model is followed; the board adopts broad policies that guide PCC’s activities, a chief executive officer is hired by the board to determine and manage those activities.
SCF: How is buying from a co-op different from buying from a regular grocery store? How does the community benefit from co-ops?
PCC: At a grocery co-op like PCC, anyone can shop, whether or not they are members. The price paid for products is the same for everyone but a PCC member is entitled to purchase discounts three times during a month; 5% off purchases on the 15th and 16th of the month; 10% off purchases on a day of the member’s choice. A principle of any co-op is concern for community and, in that very important regard, shopping at a co-op is different because the dollars spent by a shopper go beyond just paying for the products purchased; money paid at the check stand helps to pay for the co-op’s investment and support in the community it serves. Just a few examples of PCC’s community support are the PCC Food Bank program, PCC Scrip program and PCC’s donation program.
SCF: From organic, to non-GMO, to gluten-free and locally-grown, what should parents be really feeding their children?
PCC: The food parents choose for their families is a personal choice guided by their own values, dietary needs of family members, and family economics. Parents are urged to select the most naturally produced and minimally processed foods they can afford, and to take time to learn about product ingredients and sourcing, how to maximize food appeal and taste, and how to interest their kids in selecting and preparing the food they eat. Food is more than fuel for our bodies; especially in a family setting, it can stimulate fun, culture, communication and education.
Singer and song-writer Dejah Leger will transport you back to the days of being a child, getting tucked into bed with a story book and a soft lullaby. Although she may perform acoustic lullabies, don’t expect to fall asleep! Dejah pairs her musical stylings with moving panoramic illustrations known as a Crankie. Performing at 4:45 at Loft 2, you will not want to miss this unique performance. To find out more Dejah and just what the heck a Crankie is, check out our interview with her!
|SCF: What inspires you to create the relaxing style music that you do?DL: I was very fortunate to grow up with two parents who both sang lullabies to me as a child. They would sing cowboy ballads and even pop songs, but they would always slow them down to a slow, soft lullaby tempo. It helped me realize the freedom that I had as a songwriter to shape music to fit a need. As I sang my own children to sleep, I started to revisit some traditional lullabies in both Acadian French and English, as well as creating some from scratch and putting melodies to poems, like “Wynken, Blynken and Nod,” and even pulling new songs into the lullaby tradition that weren’t there before, like “Mother Earth and Father Time” from Charlotte’s Web. The simplicity of lullabies is deceptive — the power of lullabies is one of the greatest tools we have in our parenting toolbox, and I hope that my CD can be like having another mom and her guitar sitting in the nursery helping your child rest. There’s such a drive in our musical culture to dress things up and layer on synth and extra frills, but I really wanted this project to remain as simple and true-to-form as possible.
SCF: What message do you hope to share with audiences?
DL: Since I pair my songs with a visual art form called a “Crankie,” I hope to show that music is multi-dimensional. We can feel it, hear it, and in this case, see it. There’s no limit to creativity! Music doesn’t have to be just sound. It can also be a warm blanket around you, a beautiful picture, a story, a feeling.
SCF: Exactly is a Crankie and what is the process of making one?
DL: A Crankie is an old folk-art device. Imagine taking an old TV set, pulling out everything inside of it, then taking out the screen. Instead of the screen, there’s paper or felt roll that scrolls by as it’s “cranked” (hence the name Crankie) by hand from above. On the inside is a little light that illuminates the paper as it scrolls by! Although it was once a common story-telling device, it disappeared from our culture almost entirely until just recently. While it is still a very rare sight, the Crankie is beginning to see a renaissance, and now you can come see one too! There’s no “one” way to do a Crankie; some people quilt and appliqué, some draw and color. I paper-cut. Using just an X-acto knife and construction paper, I transform songs and stories into images!
SCF: How will families be able to participate with your performance at Seattle Children’s Festival?
DL: I love for audiences to sing along with me, and I also look forward to teaching some French words!
SCF: Your album titled Hand Sewn Lullabies is so peaceful – probably perfect for cool-down or nap time! Do you ever catch your youngest fans peacefully falling asleep during your shows? How cute would that be!?
DL: I would be thrilled if anyone actually fell asleep!! What a compliment!! With the Crankie as part of the show, kids tend to stay pretty awake and fixed on the pictures, but “calm” is a pretty accurate description of the mood I tend to see most often.
SCF: What can festival attendees expect when they watch you at SCF?
DL: I get very excited to show the audience what a Crankie is and how it works with music. Expect to pick up some words in French, learn what happens when a frog asks a mouse to get married, visit lumberjacks in the far north of Quebec, and watch a crow transform into a beautiful girl!
Chris Ballew is known on some stages as the frontman of Seattle’s own The Presidents of the United States of America. However he also has an alter ego… kindie musician Caspar Babypants! He recently took the time to chat with us about his life as Caspar Babypants and what we can expect from his performance at Seattle Children’s Festival. Performing at 1:00 p.m. at the Fisher Pavilion. We are so excited to have Caspar rock the stage!
SCF:Where does the name ‘Caspar Babypants’ come from?
CB: I just made it up many years ago. It was my nickname in the early 90’s when I was in an improvisational band in Boston and it stuck!
SCF: Why children’s music?
CB: I wanted to make something mellow and small and that used my love of old music and public domain music and was innocent and not cool or jaded and was folksy and had elements of rock and roll and appealed to a wide variety of people. So when I made music that fit all of those criteria and listened to it I realized that it was kid’s music. I did not set out to make kid’s music. It found me.
SCF:How important is it for kids to learn music? And how should parents and teachers incorporate music in their child’s lives?
CB: Learning music is not my thing. I want kids and parents to take a trip and SEE what I am singing about and have a visual experience to my songs. I am not an educator and have no opinions really on how important it is for kids to learn music. I just don’t know much about that topic so I can’t comment on it. Incorporating music into daily life is easy! Put on a Caspar Babypants records and sing and dance!
SCF:Any memorable or favorite memories from performing with Caspar Babypants?
CB: Too many to list! One time a kid asked me to play “that song about the little green man in the radio”. I did not have a song about that so I made one up on the spot. After finishing to a big round of applause I asked the kid if that was the song he wanted to hear. He simply said “no”. I laughed all day
SCF:Where do you see the future of kindie music going in the following years?
CP: I have NO idea. I only take care of myself really and I am here to stay. My 8th record “RISE AND SHINE!” is out on 9/16/14 and I have the next two in the works for 2015 and 2016 with many many more songs on the way. I guess the future will look like the present only with more music out there to choose from!
SCF:What can parents expect for their kids from Caspar Babypants at Seattle Children’s Festival?
CB: Parents should expect to participate WITH their kids in singing along and moving and smiling. But every show is different for me. I have no set list so I play what the room demands. Some shows are quiet and mellow and others are crazy. You just have to come and see!
Professional jump-roper and Cirque Du Soleil coch Rene Bibaud is amazing… to put it plainly. This woman can do things with a jump rope you didn’t know were possible. We’re lucky to have her here in our fair city, and even luckier to share her with all the incredible families who will attend the Seattle Children’s Festival. Find her at the Fisher Pavilion at 4:00 p.m. (all ages!) and in our Discovery Zone throughout the day, but first, learn a bit more about her below!
SCF: Why jump-roping? What got you into it?
RB: When I was 10 years old, a jump rope team came to my school and did a performance. I LOVED it. My PE teacher started a jump rope team, called the Hot Dogs. I didn’t make the team the first year, but after some hard work, and willingness to keep at it, I got chosen. I’ve been a “Hot Dog” ever since. I toured nationally with the team, won several world championships and then was fortunate enough to be recruited by Cirque Du Soleil. I toured professionally with a show called “Quidam” Performing with Cirque was a highlight and experience of a lifetime, but when I returned home, I decided to turn my focus to youth motivation and fitness. That’s when I started Ropeworks. Now I teach kids the joy of rope jumping for fun and fitness. And I love it. Jumping rope is an incredible lifetime fitness activity. Inexpensive, portable and perfect. I love teaching kids the tools to embrace this awesome activity.
SCF: How can parents and teachers promote exercise in children?
RB: Helping kids make a positive connection with any form of physical activity is key. Putting pressure and focus on skill acquisition or setting expectations way beyond their skill set can create tension and disappointment. Rather, focus on goal setting, best effort and avoiding comparisons. Let your kids know that when they make mistakes, it’s all part of the learning process. And finally, emphasize what I call “frequent small successes” This process helps kids recognize that small steps toward a big goal can be rewarding. So, when a child does one thing right (ie – spins the rope over their head without catching their body) help them recognize that success, celebrate and then move to the next small step. Finally, parents are the ultimate role model. When you are active, your kids are active. When you mess up and can laugh at yourself, your children will learn to do the same. They are always watching our coping skills. There are numerous online resources that can get you and your kids excited about any type of physical activity. www.learntojumprope.com is my site dedicated to helping kids, parents and teachers jump rope skills. Check it out!
SCF: What is the mission behind your company, Ropeworks?
RB: To share the joy of rope jumping for fun and fitness, through goal setting, best effort and learning to celebrate our differences.
SCF: What message to do you want to send to kids through jump roping?
RB: Practice and patience.
SCF: What can parents expect for their kids with Ropeworks at Seattle Children’s Festival
RB: Kids will see me perform, but then get the chance to be involved through audience participation in double dutch and single rope jump rope tricks. I hope kids will embrace rope jumping as a lifetime fitness activity and understand the importance of the character points made earlier.
Expect a forecast of sunshine at Seattle Children’s Festival! We are so excited for your little one(s) to experience the Sunshine Music Together workshop and get a taste of what it offers. Bring the whole family and join in on the fun at 1:00 p.m., in Loft 4. Check out our interview with Sunshine director Summer Rognlie Trisler to find out more about the Music Together program and what activities to look forward to at the Festival.
|SCF: Explain what the Music Together program is and the philosophy behind it?ST: Music Together i
s an innovative music and movement program for children aged birth to five years and their parents or caregivers, that is bas
ed on the belief that all children are inherently musical. Music Together pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement. At Music Together we believe that music ability is as basic to life as walking or talking, and that it is every child’s birthright to participate with pleasure and confidence in the music of our culture. We introduce children to the joys of making music instead of passively receiving it from CD’s and television. And because very young children instinctively respond to and imitate their loved ones, the active participation of parents and caregivers – regardless of their musical ability – is an essential part of the rich musical environment we create. Music Together parents discover what a powerful role model they are for their child, just by having fun with the music themselves! And by providing cd’s and songbooks to take home, we hope to inspire music-making in your everyday family life.
SCF: What can parents do on their own to inspire music education and movement activities for their children?
ST: Nothing is more important for a child’s musical growth than seeing their loved ones modeling music making with enjoyment! They don’t care if you sing in tune, they think you have the best voice in the world, but they do care that you model and participate! Around the house or wherever
you spend time with your children, try to incorporate music into your day-to-day activities. Create songs out of brushing your teeth, taking a bath, getting dressed, getting in the carseat – It’s so very simple for us to do, yet profound for your child’s music development. Families will often ask us what type of music they should be playing at home for their children, and we always tell them; “Play what you love. Remember that children learn by watching and imitating you, they are acquiring a disposition for music from you, so if you love rhythm and blues, share that with your child. If you love the Beatles, play the Beatles!” Parents need to give themselves permission to model how much fun music is.
SCF: What kind of activities will families be doing in the workshops at Seattle Children’s Festival?
ST: We’ll be encouraging families to unwind and join in with full participation as we lead fun, silly and playful music and movement activities together! We’ll talk a little bit about what we’re learning and why we do what we do within the song activities. Our hope is to send parents home with a deeper understanding of their child’s music development, and with some basic tools to help support that development at home.
SCF: What is the most popular/favorite activity in the program?
ST: Singing and moving together in a mixed aged family community setting! Where else do children get to see a room full of adults circle dancing with bells or crawling around on the floor playfully acting like cats and dogs singing. Remember children learn through play at this age! They respect adults who can communicate with them on their level! We create a fun, informal, playful, developmentally appropriate, non performance oriented learning environment which is musically rich, yet immediately accessible to the child’s – and the adult’s! – participation.
SCF: What should parents expect for the kids from Sunshine Music Together at SCF?
ST: To have a GREAT time participating with their parents in song and movement activities and to be inspired and motivated by the participation of the musical community around them! We’re all there to model how much fun music making is!
With more than 23 years of Capoeira experience, instructor Silvio Aleixo Dos Reis was kind enough to take some time to chat with us and provide more info on the ancient art form. Check out International Capoeira Angola Foundation Seattle’s performance at Seattle Children’s Festival at 11:45 a.m in Loft 3.
SCF: What exactly is Capoeira Angola? A sport, a game, or a dance?
SDR: Capoeia Angola is an Afro-Brazilian martial art-dance traditions carried by enslaved Africans brought to Brazil beginning in the sixteenth century. Capoeira developed in Brazil as a “dance fight” that combines wit, flexibility and strategy into a graceful and nimble art of both body and mind. Today, Capoeira Angola is an art form that uses the language of movement and music to enhance self-esteem and push our bodies in a healthy way.
SCF: Why should people learn Capoeira as a form of exercise?
SDR: We teach Capoeira as a fun and engaging art form that promotes the development of coordination, balance, body strength and agility. Through the fundamental elements of cooperation, creativity and natural movements, each class focuses on achievement, leadership and community building.
SCF: Capoeira seems pretty physically demanding, how can young or older people safely get involved with it?
SDR: The different movements of Capoeira can be set up to be done for everybody from all ages. We teach in a way that we have specific movements that we can teach for young people and other movements that the older people can do in a fun and safe environment. In this way different groups can participate in the same class and feel well supported by the instructor and all class.
SCF: Any tips for people who are interested in learning Capoeira?
SDR: If people are interested in learning capoeira, it is very important to do not try to do by themselves. All the movements need specific orientation to do and in the beginning is good to have a instructor and a good school to start. Look for a professional capoeira school and help the capoeira community grow.
In this class people will enhance their musical, physical and social capacities through active and interactive participation.
People will learn:
– How to do basic movements to play the capoeira game
– How to play the percussion instruments like drums, tambourines and the musical bowl the berimbau
– Sing capoeira songs in Brazilian Portuguese
SCF: What can people who attended Seattle Children’s Festival expect from Capoeira?
SDR: For the performance we will be presenting the capoeira angola movements in a circle followed by the music and songs in Brazilian Portuguese. Ten musicians will be playing the instruments and two performers will be doing the movements in the middle of the circle. The performance is going to be an interactive act with the public when they will be invited to sing and play some of the musical instruments with us in a ” learning through practice” process. The capoeira rhythms are easy to learn and fun to dance to, and will be demonstrated during our performance.
The Seattle Children’s Festival will be a free one-day multi-cultural festival located on Seattle Center Grounds on October 12, 2014. By “Celebrating Our Big Neighborhood,” the Festival will bring together local communities that showcase and celebrate families of the Northwest. Families will also have the option of an Event Passport that takes them on an interactive journey through the festival.
We’ll be presenting performances and interactive workshops geared towards families and children of all ages including some of the mostwell loved children’s performers of the Northwest. Various international dance forms presented will include Indian Kathak Dance with Leela Kathak Dancers, West African Dance with Etienne Capko & Gansango, Hip-Hop break-dancing, Brazilian Capoeira with International Capoeira Angola Foundation and more!
Kids will also have the chance to learn and listen to various different music styles including Sunshine Music Together, Hand-Made Crankies, American stringband music, and Simba Marimba.
The Seattle Children’s Festival will also include jump roping with Ropeworks, interactive cooking demonstrations for kids from PCC as well as sustainable farming education with Seattle Farm Co-op, interactive historical exhibits, and various hands-on activities. They’ll have the chance to try out different arts and crafts activities including making their own puppets or toy boats.
Don’t forget their dancing shoes – upbeat pop bands from the Kindiependent community such as Caspar Babypants and Recess Monkey will be performing. Stay tuned for more details including our schedule!
Northwest Folklife thrilled to be partnering with Kirkland Summerfest to program their Community Stage on Sunday, August 10th!
Celebrating their third season, Kirkland Summerfest will transform Kirkland’s Marina Park into a lively arts destination, a place where friends and neighbors can connect and share in a celebration of community spirit. We’re excited to have the opportunity to showcase Folklife performers in a new environment!
Catch some of your favorite Folklife performers that Sunday, including:
11:00 – 11:50 AM: Capoeira Angola
12:10 – 1:00 PM: Grupo Folklorico Guadalajara
1:20 – 2:10 PM: Carrigaline
2:30 – 3:20 PM: Armstrong, Lawton, and Katz
3:40 – 4:30 PM: Joseph Giant
4:50 – 6:00 PM: PARTICIPATORY DANCE: Balkan Dance with Jana Rickel
The Northwest Folklife Festival comes around but once a year, but we’re here year round! Here’s a few events just around the corner!
Join us at Crossroads Mall
Join us Saturday, July 19th at Crossroads Mall in Bellevue for an evening of dancing through Asia. Learn hand movements from instructor Meloody Xie. This is a FREE event starting at 6:30PM – 8:30PM.
Folklife is thrilled to be partnering with the Kirkland Summerfest, August 8-10 to present some of your favorite Folklife performers on their Community Stage! Summerfest is Kirkland’s largest festival featuring three days of art and music on the waterfront and throughout downtown. Don’t miss 3 days of visual and performing arts, over 50 performances, spectator sports, family rides, and entertainment, over 150 vendors and food trucks on the streets of downtown. Stay tuned for our full line up and more details!
Folklife is hard at work planning our first Children’s Festival! The Seattle Children’s Festival will be a free one-day festival located on the Seattle Center Grounds on October 12, 2014. No admission charge, thanks to your donations and community support! By “Celebrating Our Big Neighborhood,” the Festival will bring together local communities that showcase and celebrate families of the Northwest. Programming will include music and dance performances and interactive workshops from around the world as well as a Hands-on Activity Area.
ALL PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER NELSON
We’re counting down the days until our Winter Fireside Party; a benefit for Northwest Folklife on January 25, 2014 at the Vera Project on Seattle Center grounds. We’ll be featuring some of your favorite Northwest performers on three stages! Doors open at 1:30PM, programming starts at 2PM…and will continue until 11:00PM.
Let the excitement begin…
Main Stage – Featuring Square Dancing, Northwest Fiddle Showcase and Full Bands
2:00pm – Square Dancing with The Onlies and Caller Gabe Strand
4:00pm – The Northwest Fiddle Showcase at 4pm highlights a varied line-up of some of the best fiddlers in the Northwest such as Phil & Vivian Williams, Ben Hunter (of Renegade Stringband), Karen England & Jim Newberry, The Onlies, and Paul Anastasio.
5:45pm Jason Dodson & Kevin Barrans of The Maldives
Gallery Stage – Special acoustic performances in the Vera Gallery include:
And don’t miss the Folklife Fireside Tent presented by KEXP: a cozy, outdoor heated and fire-lit space for jams and conversation with musicians:
2:15pm Phil and Vivian Williams
3:15pm Swing Jam with Paul Anastasio
4:15pm Les Pamplemousses
5:45pm Old Time Fiddle Jam with Tony Mates
6:45pm Blues Jam and Q+A with Orville Johnson
7:45pm Cajun Jam with Whozyamama
9:00pm Balkan Jam with Marchette DuBois
(Food and drink available in the venue.)
Already have plans on January 25th? Consider making a donation of $25 or more to Folklife and support the largest community supported Festival in the nation.
Northwest Folklife invites musicians, dancers, community groups, artists, storytellers, and instructors to participate in the 43rd annual Northwest Folklife Festival, which will take place May 23-26, 2014, at Seattle Center.
If you or your group is based in the Northwest region, including Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Western Montana, this is a great opportunity to share your music and traditions!
The annual Northwest Folklife Festival is the largest FREE community arts festival in the United States. It is presented each year in Seattle by Northwest Folklife, a year-round nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for all people to appreciate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest.
Last year Northwest Folklife programmed over 6,000 performers in 65 different genres of music, from Hawaiian to hip-hop. We presented dance performances representing cultures from Ireland to India. We believe everyone is a bearer of folk arts, and we encourage communities to share their cultural traditions, in the hope that interaction with new audiences will enrich the community as much as the audience.
Interested in how we select bands and performance groups? Click here to read our Programming FAQ.
Still have questions? Email our programming team now.
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!
And an extra special THANK YOU to Girl Scouts of Western Washington Troop #52767!