Donate your Lightly Used Clothes and Housewares and Benefit Folklife!

150609_Savers-0781_Muneca_Max_PaulNorthwest Folklife is teaming up with 2015 Festival Sponsor Value Village to host a donation drive running through December 11th, 2015.  Bring in your gently-used clothing, shoes, accessories, books, linens, and small household items (no furniture) to the Northwest Folklife offices located at 158 Thomas Street (right next to Seattle Center) and Value Village will pay Northwest Folklife for each pound donated.  This is a great way to recycle clothing and goods that you may no longer need while supporting Folklife!

Learn more about how your donations will be used here.  Tax receipts will be available for goods donated.  The Northwest Folklife offices are open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm – feel free to give us a call if you plan on dropping goods off and we will have someone ready to assist you.   Please contact Katie McColgan at katie@nwfolklife.org or call 206.684.7043 with any questions.


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Podorythmie at the Seattle Children’s Festival

Podo crankie croppedThe crankies are coming! If you relish shadow puppets, homemade folk art, step-dancing, story-telling with an occasional fiddle and accordion playing, then Podorythmie’s crankie workshop is the place for you!

We are ecstatic to welcome this Folklife veteran group to our 2nd annual Seattle Children’s Festival. Podorythmie is always delighted to participate at Folklife. This incredible group has been creating smiles and laughter for five years now, and while four of those years were spent on the Northwest Folklife Festival stages, we are eager to include them for first time at the this year’s Children’s Festival! 

Step-DancingThis dazzling group celebrates Quebecois music and dance in a unique way for everyone to enjoy, so you don’t want to miss out on this workshop! Podorythmie consist of five talented members who all play in important role to create magic within every performance. What will make their workshop at Children’s Festival amazing is that it will include not one, but four crankies! Half movie, half homemade folk art, crankies are illustrations on cloth reels presented in a frame and hand-cranked scrolling slowly, while telling of a story, playing music and step-dancing. Now imagine that times four!

Don’t miss Podorythmie’s crankie workshop in the Armory Lofts at our 2nd annual Seattle Children’s Festival, and come introduce yourself to their new friend, “Accordion Man Automaton!”

Reggae Rising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog post submit by Lawrence Chatman.

2 Days Until our Winter Fireside Party!

Fireside Logo

We’re looking forward to seeing you this Saturday.

We’re counting down the days to our first annual Winter Fireside Party this Saturday, January 25th at the Vera Project. We’ll have a limited number of tickets available at the door so if you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, order your tickets now:

Still planning your day? Click here to view the schedule for the day!

You can also purchase tickets for the Northwest Fiddle Tour! Start off the day at the Vera Project and then head up to the Phinney Neighborhood Center to experience a whole day of fiddlers.  Between the two events, you will have the chance to hear a wide array of many of the best players of all different styles and backgrounds in the Northwest!  Save money and get a discounted combined ticket to both events.

Folklife Founders, Vivian & Phil Williams

Northwest Fiddle Showcase

Winter Fireside Party, Vera Project – Seattle Center Grounds, 4pm

One of the highlights of Northwest Folklife’s Winter Fireside Party will be a Northwest Fiddle Showcase, an excited and fast-paced show of both up-and-coming new fiddlers and some pillars of Northwest Fiddle traditions. The show will feature fiddlers of various different styles including Bluegrass, Mexican music of the Tierra Caliente, Cajun twin fiddling and more.  We’ll be featuring some of the hottest young fiddlers in the Seattle scene such as The Onlies, a band of teenage traditional music superstars, as well as some of the most celebrated and experienced tradition bearers, such as Vivian and Phil Williams, who have been documenting and performing Northwest fiddle music since the 1950s.  Paul Anastasio, Karen England and Jim Newberry, and Ben Hunter (of Renegade Stringband) will also perform to create this cross-generational fiddle extravaganza.  Please join us on January 25, 2014 at the Vera Project on the Seattle Center grounds for the Winter Fireside Party starting at 2pm with the Fiddle Showcase at 4pm.

Seattle Folklore Society’s Fiddler’s Showcase Concert

Catch Paul Anastasio on the Northwest Fiddle Tour!

Seattle Folklore Society, Phinney Neighborhood Center – 6532 Phinney Ave N, 7:30 pm

The Seattle Folklore Society presents an evening with some of the finest traditional fiddlers in the Pacific Northwest on January 25th at 7:30 at the Phinney Neighborhood Center. Featured Fiddlers are: Jeff Anderson – Norwegian American; Paul Anastasio – Tierra Caliente and Western Swing; Gary Lee Moore – Oklahoma/Texas; Jamie Fox – Metis/Northern Plains; Ramon Selby – Old Time Northwestern/Western Swing; Hank Bradley – Southern string band.  Hosted by Stuart Williams.

Get your tickets now for the Northwest Fiddle Tour:http://folklifefiresidefundraiser.bpt.me





Winter Fireside Party Schedule

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

Square Dance with The Onlies! Main Stage, 2:00pm

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

The Sojourners, Main Stage, 7:00pm

7:00pm The Sojourners
8:15pm Ravenna Woods
9:30pm The Shivas

Gallery StageSpecial acoustic performances in the Vera Gallery include:

2:30pm Juliana & PAVA
3:30pm Orville Johnson
4:30pm Vikesh Kapoor
5:30pm Baby Gramps

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

Join the Balkan jam hosted by Marchette DuBois in the KEXP Fireside Tent, 9:00pm

(Food and drink available in the venue.)

Purchase a ticket today for a full day of music, dancing, food, and friends.

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.


Now Accepting Performer Applications

CallGraphic1Northwest 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.

Are You a Washington State Employee?

State EmployeesDid you know there is a special opportunity for Washington State employees interested in supporting Northwest Folklife?

The Washington State Combined Fund Drive empowers Washington public employees and retirees to strengthen communities through the funding and support of charities with automatic monthly donations.

It’s simple! It’s easy! Set it up and you don’t have to remember to renew!

Find out how you can enroll now. 


Folklife at Kirkland Summerfest on Sunday, August 11

The Bucharest Drinking Team at the Northwest Folklife Festival. Photo by Piper Hanson.

Northwest Folklife is thrilled to announce we’ve been invited to program a full day of free music and dance at Kirkland Summerfest! The lineup features groups from your favorite Folklife communities, including Cajun/Zydeco, Indian, Hip Hop, Latino, Old Time, and Balkan, on stage on Sunday, August 11.

Folklife Stage Schedule:

11:00 – 11:50 AM: Cultural Focus Representation: Indian Dance Performance with surprise guests!
Each year, the Northwest Folklife Festival has a Cultural Focus, or theme, which allows us to program a “festival within a festival” with expanded opportunities to get to know a community of the Northwest. For 2014, the Cultural Focus is India! Get a head start on familiarizing yourself with the art and dances of Southeast Asia with this great opening showcase.

12:10 – 1:00 PM: Br’er Rabbit
Br’er Rabbit is an indie roots band based in Bellingham, WA. Combining each member’s unique influences ranging from Leadbelly to The Lumineers, blending three distinct vocal styles, and adding copious amounts of foot-stomping, they demonstrate a sound and presence that’s at once original and familiar, appealing to audiences of all generations and genres.

1:20 – 2:10 PM: Los Flacos
Los Flacos performs a blend of the spiciest traditional sounds of Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. Using a variety of instruments, some indigenous to the Americas and others of European and African origin, they create their own renditions of the songs of Latin America.

2:30 – 3:20 PM: Hip Hop demonstration with 206 Zulu
206Zulu is a Seattle-based group that empowers local communities through creativity and the arts. Their work to organize the Northwest hip hop community has inspired a generation  to get involved in social action, civic service, cultural creativity, and self-education. This showcase lineup features Sista Hailstorm, DJ Zeta Barber and Suntonio Bandanaz.

3:40 – 4:30 PM: Bucharest Drinking Team
Borrowing stylistically from great Balkan brass bands like Fanfare Ciocarlia and Boban Markovic, the Bucharest Drinking Team mixes in a liberal shot of Romanian folk music and a penchant for 80s disco from behind the Iron Curtain to bring you a high-proof Eastern Bloc Party, complete with dancing and music!

4:50 – 6:00 PM: Cajun/Zydeco Dance with  MaryLee Lykes + Zydeco Rex
MaryLee Lykes began teaching dance in Seattle17 years ago….and hasn’t stopped since! She teaches extensively on a local, national, and international level.
Zydeco is a musical genre evolved in southwest Louisiana by French Creole speakers which blends Cajun music, blues and rhythm and blues. Zydeco Rex is one of the region’s newest zydeco bands keeping the tradition going strong!


About Kirkland Summerfest

Kirkland’s largest festival of music, art, food, and culture – a weekend festival transforming downtown Kirkland and Marina Park into a lively arts destination with Music (featuring more than 50 performances), Dancing, Street Performances, Family Entertainment, Amazing Art, and an incredible selection of food.

Kirkland Summerfest at a glance: Friday, August 9

  • Summerfest kicks off 2013 bigger than ever with an opening night special theatrical presentation of The Tempest in the ever-popular Shakespeare in the Park at 7pm at Marina Park. Admission is free.

Saturday, August 10

  • Live music, artists in action, food trucks, robotics demonstrations, TechZone, Moss Bay Cardboard Boat Regatta, bouncy toys, Touch-A-Truck, Young Artists Exhibition, beer and wine gardens. Festival opens at 11am. Admission is free.

Sunday, August 11

  • Live music, Northwest Folklife performers, Artists in Action, Rotary Duck Dash, Bot Battles, TechZone, bouncy toys, Touch-A-Truck, Young Artists Exhibition, beer and wine gardens. Festival opens at 11am. Admission is free.

Kirkland Summerfest is a Seafair Sanctioned Community Event and is presented by the Kirkland Events Foundation. More information at www.kirklandsummerfest.com  


Festival Hours

Friday, August 9 – 4pm – 10 pm featuring Shakespeare in the Park (7 pm)

Saturday, August 10 – 11am – 11pm

Sunday, August 11 – 11am-6pm

The Onlies take a bow. Photo by Dan Thornton.

Thank You for a Fantastic 2013 Festival!

The Onlies take a bow. Photo by Dan Thornton.

The 42nd annual Northwest Folklife Festival came to a close on the evening of May 27th, wrapping up four days of music, dance, food, history, art, and celebration. But the Folklife spirit doesn’t end with the Festival—we are already at work preparing more opportunities for the public to share in the region’s traditions.

The Northwest Folklife Festival brought together over 6,000 performers across 22 stages, with the aid of at least 800 volunteers. This year the Festival drew an estimated crowd of 230,000 people to Seattle Center over four days. The crowds enjoyed surprisingly fair weather for most of the event, and spirits were high despite periods of rain on the final day.

But, as the lead singer from The Sojourners noted, “Rain crowds are the best audience, because you know they really want to be here!”

Festival highlights included a fascinating and moving discussion with Washington State “Rosies,” women who went to work in the shipyards during WWII. The talk was part of the Cultural Focus “Washington Works.” Energetic crowds were in full force for a Saturday night performance by soul band Eldridge Gravy, as well as Monday evening’s performance by reggae legend Clinton Fearon and his Boogie Brown Band. Rain was even embraced during the stirring set by pedal-steel band The Slide Brothers on Monday afternoon. And the Exhibition Hall was standing-room-only during Friday night’s Bollywood Showcase, a good sign that next year’s Cultural Focus on India will be hugely popular and engaging.

The festival is presented by Northwest Folklife, a year-round organization with nine staff members. In addition to the annual Festival, we also produce other events throughout the year. Indeed, a monthly community dance series at the Crossroads Mall in Bellevue kicked off just a week before the big Festival, and will continue every third Saturday through October. June’s event is a family dance, and July offers a taste of folk dances from around the world.

Photo by Daniel Thornton

The Cultural Focus of “Washington Works” will not end with the Festival. Deputy Director Debbie Fant, a folklorist, will continue to collect oral histories from union workers across Washington State as part of an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, eventually producing several short documentaries with filmmaker Doug Plummer that will be archived at the Library of Congress and the Washington State Labor Archives.

Folklife is also hosting a community-building night at Safeco Field on August 6, when the Mariners face off against the Toronto Blue Jays. As an organization that represents the greater Northwest region, we hope that Festival friends will come down from Alberta and British Columbia for a reunion of sorts.

In the fall, Folklife will host an autumn harvest celebration at Town Hall. More details about this event on November 1st will be announced our website, www.nwfolklife.org.

Says Executive Director Rob Townsend, “The board and staff of Northwest Folklife thank all of our many supporters, the thousands of performers who volunteer their talents, and the hundreds volunteers who came out to the Festival this past weekend and shared in the arts and heritage of our region. Our mission—to share the talents and traditions of the Pacific Northwest—is what drives us to create even more opportunities to build community throughout the year.”

Please enjoy photos from the 42nd Northwest Folklife Festival at our Facebook page, where we’ll also post updates about all things Folklife.

Read a great Festival summary at the Seattle Times

World Dance Party

The Secret to the Best Festival Ever? Participate in Some of These Saturday Picks!

World Dance Party

Tell us how you are going to participate on our Facebook page! See full schedule at our website.

– English Country Dance: Downton Abbey comes to Folklife! Channel your favorite Jane Austin character…no corsets required!
Saturday, May 25 from 1:00-2:00pm in Warren’s Roadhouse.

– Hey, Hendrix—Jimi Hendrix Tribute: Local musicians pay homage to one of the Northwest’s favorite sons. Jimi Hendrix took the blues to a place it had never been before, but the roots of that music were always an important element. This showcase honors the music of Hendrix as well as the important musicians that came before him. Presented in partnership with the EMP, whose “I Hear My Train A-Coming” exhibit is currently on display. Sponsored by the Washington Blues Society.
Saturday, May 25 from 1:00-4:00pm in the EMP Sky Church.

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

– Team Up for Non-Profits Showcase: *New!* We are delighted to welcome aboard Team Up for their first year as co-presenters of Indie Roots artists. In partnership with Artist Home (producers of the Doe Bay fest) and with sponsorship by BECU, Team Up has curated a showcase of the best up-and-coming indie bands of the Northwest. Don’t know them yet? You will. Featuring Shelby Earl, Song Sparrow Research, Bradford Loomis and St. Paul de Vence.
Saturday, May 25 from 1:00-4:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.

– Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents Original Music Inspired by the Wizard of Oz: If you haven’t experienced the latest trend in musical folk art, check out this showcase to enjoy the pages of L. Frank Baum’s novel brought to life with glorious original music. But don’t expect Judy Garland impersonations—we said original music!
Saturday, May 25 from 1:30-3:00pm in the Folklife Café.

– Sleeping in Seattle: A Bed Making Contest: This year’s Festival “theme” is all about work! Think you know bed making? Let the housekeeping union show you how it’s done. See the full schedule of Washington Works talks, demonstrations, storytelling, art exhibits, film screenings and more at our website, nwfolklife.org/festival.
Saturday, May 25 at 2:00pm in the Olympic Room.

– The Arab Show: This tour of the Middle East with eclectic music and dance. Groups Fathia and Les Troubadour play French Arabic music, and House of Tarab revive the vintage classics of Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. Duo Maurice Rouman plays the oud with Waseem Sbait on darbuka. And experience the traditional Arab dabke folk dance, presented here with Lebanese and Palestinian variations.
Saturday, May 25 from 3:00-6:00 at the International Dance Stage in the Ex Hall.

– Balkan Misfits Show: Sometimes it’s the old favorites that keep ‘em coming back! If you’ve never checked out this beloved showcase, make this the year. Experience the bad boys of Balkan brass, including Erev Rav, Bucharest Drinking Team, Orkestar Zirkonium and Chervona.
Saturday, May 25 from 6:00-9:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.

– The Soul of Seattle: Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme (recently seen rocking Bumbershoot stages), join Soul Senate, Kissing Potion, The Braxmatics and Little Big Band for this popular dance party that both closes out and brings to a climax Saturday’s programming. Sponsored by Seattle Pipeline.
Saturday, May 25 from 7:00-10:00pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheatre.

Bucharest Drinking Team. Credit: Diane Smithers

What to See at Folklife #463: The Balkan Misfits Party

(Big thanks to Marchette Dubois for this guest post! You can see our full lineup of bands at the Festival website, www.nwfolklife.org/festival.) 

Bucharest Drinking Team. Credit: Diane Smithers

At 2009’s Folklife Festival, in a jam-packed VERA Project, hundreds of sweaty, ebullient people linked hands and line-danced at the first Balkan Misfits Showcase.   Though it was called the Balkan Bridge in those days, it was showcasing the same community.  Five years on, our misfit contingent is doing well and we have held out our hands to new friends and met many new and lovely people.   My name is Marchette and I am the volunteer coordinator for the Balkan Misfits showcase – I am also the Artistic Director of one of the misfit bands – The Bucharest Drinking Team.

This year’s Showcase will highlight four amazing and genre-stretching bands: Olympia’s Erev Rav will open the show with their fantastic fusion of traditional Klezmer and funk  – Daniel Landin, the leader and manager of the band described their music as “World Klezmer Fusion.” And goes on to explain:   “We take gorgeous Eastern European Jewish folk songs, and lay them atop funk rhythms. …Or we might have a traditional bulgar rhythm with a tune, but then we add a bebop solo on clarinet. And our arrangements are influenced by Led Zeppelin.”   Check out their brand new video:  The Funk Tash”.

The second band will be your host band, Seattle’s Bucharest Drinking Team – Our music rises form the wells and stills of the Romanian taraf, Balkan Brass bands, Europop, and a variety of other Balkan and Eastern European party music.  We also put our own spin on everything we do.  Hear for yourself our reggae take on the classic tune Opa Cupa.

Erev Rav. Credit: New Spin Media

If that’s not enough brass, stick around for Seattle’s favorite Balkan-inspired Brass party:  Orkestar Zirkonium, whose sensibility for creating music is securely planted in the world of FUN.  Their representative Kevin Hinshaw describes their process this way: “…Balkan Brass [is] our core, for sure.  But if somebody in the band loves a Latin tune or a Bollywood soundtrack, that’s fair game too as long as we like playing it.” He continues: “Sometimes we do straight transcriptions.  But some arrangers get inspired and will try to be more creative.  (Like Whitney squishing Ederlezi from 4/4 into 7/8, or Jerry’s raucous-down-to-tiny rendition of Zaspo Janko.)”. I hope we get to hear some of these inspired arrangements!  You can also look forward to seeing OZ opening for Romania’s Fanfare Ciocarlia July 24 at the Triple Door!!!  Get tickets here.

Closing out this year’s show is Portland’s Russian powerhouseChervona Their bandleader André Temkin describes their music: “…you can find elements of gypsy punk, klezmer, balkan brass, slavic polka and more. There are many bands in Europe playing similar music, but what makes Chervona different from all the bands in this genre? I think the biggest difference is our unique personality and artistic approach in creating and playing music…”  He talks about their high energy and audience participation, and I think you will not be disappointed with how they will keep your feet moving.


We Invite you all to the party on the Fountain Lawn Stage Saturday night.  Where we will bring you Balkan and Eastern European inspired music interpreted with our own 21st century voices.

Love these bands? Support them by buying their music!

Erev Rav:  http://erevravmusic.com/store-2/

Bucharest Drinking Team:  http://music.bucharestdrinkingteam.com/album/bucharest-drinking-team

Orkestar Zirkonium: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/zirkonium/

Chervona: http://www.reverbnation.com/tunepak/2457609

Orkestar Zirkonium

The Joy Mills Band

What to See at Folklife #429: The Emerald City Songwriters Circles

The Joy Mills Band

(Thanks Wes Weddell for this guest post! See the full schedule of workshops and participatory jams at www.nwfolklife.org/festival.)

For the fifth consecutive year now, Folklife will offer the opportunity for anyone at the Festival to share an original song with listeners and fellow songwriters in the Emerald City Songwriter Circles.  The circles have become a celebration of originality, creativity, and the regional songwriting scene.

The guidelines are simple:

-Anyone is welcome to join the circle and share an original song when it is his/her turn.  Listeners welcome too!

-Choose a song of 5 minutes or less to share.

-Please listen actively and avoid playing along unless you are specifically asked by the song-sharer.

Come by the Shaw Room Saturday or Sunday (5:00-7:00pm) to contribute a song or join in the listening.  Hosts Wes Weddell, Nancy K. Dillon, Tai Shan, Steve Wacker, Carolyn Cruso, and Mark Iler, and Joy Mills will be on-hand to offer gentle guidance if necessary.  Hope to see you there!


Image courtesy Wes Weddell

Emerald City Songwriter Circles

Saturday & Sunday, May 25 & 26


Shaw Room (Acoustic Stage)

Seattle singer/songwriter Wes Weddell has released five CDs over the past decade, his latest a collection of demos from his involvement with The Bushwick Book Club Seattle (with whom he will also be performing at the festival).  He founded and runs Puget’s Sound Productions, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to creating community live-music spaces.