Miho and Diego 2

Meet The Miho & Diego Duo

Miho and DiegoThe Miho & Diego Duo has been courageously blending Latin and Japanese musical traditions since 2006. Their primary goal is to encourage cultural understanding through music, and to achieve this they have developed a program that introduces youth to Japanese and South American folk music through participation and interactive activities. Miho & Diego found great joy in exploring and mastering the musical traditions of their own countries and feel it is a wonderful tool to stay connected to their roots even after leaving their homes. It is from this joy that the concept of this program is derived; to encourage participants, whether born in or outside of the United States, to begin to discover and explore their own heritage.

Both accomplished musicians, they came together after years of admiring each other’s work and discovering that their sounds could be combined to make something genuinely new and unique. Dr. Miho Takekawa graduated from Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, is currently the percussion instructor at Pacific Lutheran University and is currently a doctoral candidate in percussion performance at the University of Washington. Diego Coy was born in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, and was former musical director of “Fundacion Viva La Musica” and “Fundacion Funmusica,” and is currently exploring and mastering the musical traditions of his own native culture. Together, this talented duo introduces their distinctive warm native music and encourage the audience to participate by joining them in singing in both Japanese and Spanish as well as body percussion. Since Miho & Diego understand the important of cultural awareness and believe music is a key component, every free chance they get they like to go out and support their local musician friends at different shows and events!

As immigrant artists, Miho and Diego designed a program called, “Musical Trip,” which is centered on familiarizing children with different cultures and ways of life at very young ages in the hope of eliminating that harmful fear before it has a chance to take root and grow. In order to explore and expand the appreciation of alternative cultures through music, Miho and Diego continue to improve their own cultural awareness through extensive research, participation in the activities of various communities and schools, and expanding their connections, repertoire, and collection of instruments by learning from and associating with the natives of other countries.

At this year’s Seattle Children’s Festival, kids and families will participate in a workshop filled with multi-cultural experience, language education and laughter! This an award-winning musical education program for preschool through K-2 students is designed to have children understand different cultures and languages by introducing a new genre of music. Discover songs from Latin America, Japan and other countries accompanied by a wonderful array of instruments including Andean bamboo flutes, the marimba and percussions; however you want to make sure to stick around for the whole program, because the real magic happens when this duo teaches the audience how to use their own body as a musical instrument like body percussions!

The Miho & Diego Duo performs frequently for the King County Library System and the Seattle Public Library System, but you don’t have to wait because, you can catch them at this year’s 2nd annual Seattle Children’s Festival held on Sunday, October 11th in the Armory building Loft 4!

Contra Dancing 2

What do you love most about the Northwest Folklife Festival?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prefest Web



Featuring Porter Ray, Gabriel Teodros, Industrial Revelation, Hosted by Larry Mizell Jr.

FRI, MAY 1, 2015

8:00 PM at the Crocodile Cafe $10 Adv. Get your tickets today!

Here’s a peek at our performers:

Porter Ray: Listen

A 25-year-old rapper, Porter Ray Sullivan was once described to me by Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler as “the Golden Child.” A son of Seattle’s Central District, Porter Ray namechecks Butler and revered Seattle MC Infinite as influences. Appropriately, “5950′s” is 206 from head to toe; named for a model of New Era baseball cap, it’s described as sporting Mariner teal throughout Porter’s stunning debut, BLK GLD. Here, Porter reels off the minutiae of murder, betrayal and narcotic sales with a poetic eye that recalls vintage Nas, tempered with a numb, gray-sky detachment (and aided by a sterling verse from Nate Jack) all over shimmering piano keys, a subdued drum shuffle and quiet-storm rain effects. In this city — built on, around, and seemingly under water — it’s even easier than you’d think to get washed, depending on where you’re standing.

Gabriel Teodros: Listen

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.

Industrial Revelation: Listen

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

Venue Information:
The Crocodile
2200 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98121
Seattle Youth Poet Laureate 1

Seattle Youth Poet Laureate

Seattle PoetThis 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!

La Peña Flamenca de Seattle

What Is Flamenco?

La Peña Flamenca de SeattleFlamenco 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.

La Peña Flamenca de Seattle 2All 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.

La Peña Flamenca de Seattle 3 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

Dog Pound B-Boys 1-2015

Who Are The Dog Pound B-Boys?

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.

Folklife 2014 - Saturday


The Northwest Folklife Festival is a regional Festival. Preference is given to performers from within the Pacific 220px-Seattle_Center_Pavilion_during_FolklifeNorthwest (WA, OR, ID, MT, BC, AK). Our artists/participants are not paid, and we are ever grateful that they volunteer their time and talents.

Music Performance Application: Online Form or Download the PDF

Dance Performance Application: Online Form or Download the PDF

Spoken Word/Storytelling Performance Application: Online Form or Download the PDF

Music, Dance, Storytelling, or Choral Workshop Application: Online Form or Download the PDF

Panel/Presentation/Film Application: Online Form or Download the PDF

Photo by Dan Thornton

Photo by Dan Thornton

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.


Performer Hotline: 206-684-4189

Email: programming @ nwfolklife.org

Thank you for applying. We look forward to receiving your application!


Meet Singer-Songwriter and Crankie Maker, Dejah Leger

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!

Caspar BabyPants

Kindie Musician Caspar Babypants at the Seattle Children’s Festival

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!


Music Together Brings Fun for the Young Set

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!

Photo by Dan Thornton


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 enviFolklife 2014 - Sundayronment!


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

Folklife 2014 - Sunday

Summertime Fun with Folklife!

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 p?format=400wartnering 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 was streaming live from many of our stages from the Festival all weekend! Miss a show? Click here to see if it’s there, and listen to many of the hundreds of recordings from this remarkable Festival!Fri_Multigenerations2The Northwest Folklife Festival comes around but once a year, but we’re here year round! Keep up with us on Facebook – we’ll be sharing fun events around town, Folklife news, do a few fun giveaways, and so much more. Plus, we want to hear about the cultural entertainment you love in the Pacific Northwest. Facebook is the perfect place to share.

scf_logo_Starburst_TransFolklife 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.