Folklife Helps Create a New Genre: the Folk Opera!

Photo courtesy Debbie Fant

Northwest Folklife brings together thousands of people and artists and engages year-round performance collaborations. One of those collaborations is resulting in a new folk genre. For the 2012 OctoberArts Crush celebration, Northwest Folklife is working with the Seattle Storytellers Guild and the Seattle Labor Chorus to weave stories and songs into “A Revolution of Hope,” a love story that needs amnesty.

Seattle Storytellers Guild member Kathya Alexander created “A Revolution of Hope” in time to add an immigration theme to Columbus Day. Playwright and actress herself, Alexander showcases teller’s narrative skills and the chorus’ musical talents in this two-hour premier work. A former Hedgebrook writer and regular writer/teller at Auntmama’s Storycorner, Alexander is also the author of “Black to My Roots,” “ David and Jonathan,” and “Angel in the Outhouse.”

Alexander uses a café (think Borracchini’s Bakery on Rainier Avenue), as the setting for a modern day love story between young immigrants. The girl has legal status in America, the boy does not and Papa is steaming. This is the intersection of then and now as history comes to life. The show features new stories about The Triangle Shirt Waist Fire, Seattle’s deportation of Filipinos and work in the cotton fields.

Nancy Calos (from Hiroshima to Hope, Trusted Advocates Program) directs the action while Janet Stecher (Rebel Voices, SLC cofounder) conducts the hand clapping, toe tapping and sometimes heart wrenching music.

Northwest Folklife sponsors “A Revolution of Hope” in hopes the creation develops into an original folk opera in time for the Northwest Folklife Festival in 2013. Come see how it all begins and support new art forms in Seattle. Talk back session with audience on immigration issues will follow the performance.  Ten dollar donations asked at the door and no one will be turned away. Accessible physical space.

Read more about the event here>

Update on Folklife’s Partnership with the Somali Youth & Family Club, with a Video by Doug Plummer

Congratulations to the Somali Youth & Family Club for producing an amazing first showcase this past Saturday at the Creston Point Apartments in Renton!

This summer, Northwest Folklife partnered with Somali communities in King County for a special project funded by the Washington State Arts Commission. With the help of the Community Arts Engagement Mentorship Project (CAEMP)  Northwest Folklife worked with the Somali Youth & Family Club to produce two community performances of the traditional and emerging arts of Somali culture. Last Saturday night’s premier has us all on our toes for the next performance.

Please join us for the second showcase of this exciting new partnership, on November 3rd at the Carco Theatre in Renton, which will feature a theatre presentation with music and dance of the Somali culture. Subscribe to this blog or check back often for more details as the date nears!

Many thanks to filmmaker Doug Plummer for helping us document the occasion:

Somali Showcase at Creston Pt. from Doug Plummer on Vimeo.