Allspice Band

A Night of Dancing for Folklife

We are thrilled to thank Northwest Folkdancers (NFDI) for their Night for Folklife this past Saturday. $2,607 was raised! Many thanks to all supporters and donors, and special thanks to Kathy Bruni for her organizing, Allspice Band who spiced things up with international dance favorites. Orkestar RTW played traditional dance and folk music from the countries of Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia. Special Thanks to Sno-King International Folk Dance Club for donating their dance night at the Cedar Valley Grange.

NFDI honored Kathy Bruni for her 30 years of service. The group serenaded her with this song (click on it for a full sized version).

NFDI is the ‘Where to Folk Dance’ organization for the Pacific Northwest. Join in! Here is the schedule:


Kathy Bruni

Become a Friend of Folklife


A Night of Music, Painting & Dance

Tobias The Owl

Friends of Folklife are invited to meet up for First Thursday on September 1 at AXIS Pioneer Square. Visual art, live music, live mural painting, and dance are all part of this immersive Seattle sight and sound show. The first 15 Friends of Folklife who ‘check in’ will receive a 2016 Festival T-Shirt. Join or renew as a Friend of Folklife on the spot.

AXIS Pioneer Square presents “Audio/Visual”, a group exhibition hosting Seattle artists from a variety of disciplines collaborating to create a unique sensory experience. Focusing on the past and present Seattle music community, Audio/Visual will showcase a diverse representation of art, music, and visual performance. The show is sponsored by Northwest Folklife, Seattle Acoustic Festival, and New Amsterdam Vodka with a portion of art sales benefitting Arts Corps.

Three noted local artists Ryan Henry Ward, Ten Hundred, and Wakuda will showcase their collaborations with sculptor Katie Kurkjy and will also display their individual creations.

Along with visual art, the event will feature solo and collaborative performances by some of the region’s most acclaimed musicians, including Daniel Blue (Motopony), Andrew D.B. Joslyn (Macklemore), Tobias the Owl (pictured above performing at the 2016 Northwest Folklife Festival) and others.

Sponsored by New Amsterdam Vodka, complimentary drinks will be on hand for those 21+! The event is free and open to the public.

RSVP at EventBrite or Facebook.

AXIS Pioneer Square

AXIS Pioneer Square

Become a Friend of Folklife.

Show Your Love for Folklife Benefit Concert

'Show Your Love for Folklife' Benefit Concert

Northwest Folklife has supported us and many others in becoming the musicians and artists that we are, and has for 45 years! So, we are ‘giving back’ by putting on this Night for Folklife benefit concert. We envision a microcosm of the Northwest Folklife Festival. One of the great things about the Festival is that everyone is welcome. Like the Festival, this concert mixes it up and invites bands from a lot of different musical sub-cultures. The program is an amalgam of musical genres: a snapshot of the music happening in Seattle. We each have our particular influences. We all have a passion for the whole musical community, and we see the same bands tending to play together. So this event is mixing and matching, creating a mosaic of the musical community like the Northwest Folklife Festival does.

14293_444827775576902_827139984_nShow Your Love for Folklife is our theme, in keeping with Valentine’s Day and the love everyone feels for Northwest Folklife. The evening will feature great bands including Whitney MongéTiny MessengersTekla WaterfieldHoney Mustard SeattleLuke Stanton – Music, and Angie Lynn! Karen Zamm of KZ Music Media will be our host.

We grew up as musicians at the Festival. A lot of us have been playing together for thirty years, and that is the only time we play together all year. The Festival gives us an aggregation of different cultures in Seattle, and musical sub-cultures. It’s fantastic when you have rock in one corner and folk in another, dancers in another, and everyone doing their thing. A story gets told there in our artistic expression: the story of our collective cultures. It’s not just a bunch of diverse modalities, Folklife is also an anchor and opportunity for the old and new to mix together.

We believe Northwest Folklife is worthy of our support and we hope people join us in giving!

See you on Friday, February 12! The show starts at 7 pm, $8 admission. You can expect surprise guests, a raffle, prizes, and other great stuff!  Proceeds support Northwest Folklife. Sponsored by the Seattle Acoustic Festival and generously hosted by the Conor Byrne Pub.


RSVP to Show Your Love For Folklife

Can’t attend but want to donate? Become a Friend of Folklife today.

More about Nights for Folklife.


Posted by Sheila, composed from an interview with organizer Tobias the Owl.

Musicians play for Hanukkah 2015

Your gift creates one big neighborhood for us all

Musicians play for Hanukkah 2015

We hope this season of thanks and celebrations was rich with family, friends and folklife for you! As 2015 comes to a close, it’s a great time to make a gift of support. Your donation creates one big neighborhood for us all, uniting people through arts and culture.

Folks work all year to take advantage of Northwest Folklife’s opportunities to share their arts, culture and traditions, thus strengthening their community and the enrichment of us all. School and extra-curricular bands and orchestras, intergenerational ethnic heritage arts groups, community dance societies, musicians: ‘folklife’ creatives live arts and culture as a way of life. Northwest Folklife provides rich opportunities for them all to inspire and engage you and the greater community.

Here are highlights of all that your gift supports in 2016:
• Northwest Folklife’s Cultural Focus for 2016 The Power of the Human Voice through Song will explore the exceptional vocal traditions of the Northwest.
• Crossroads Cultural Art Series in Bellevue will feature monthly performances every third Saturday.
• The Northwest Folklife Festival will celebrate its 45th year, thanks to YOU, Friends of Folklife.
• The Seattle Children’s Festival will give kids and families many opportunities to celebrate, share and participate in our big neighborhood’s multi-cultural arts and traditions, for the third year!
• Friends of Folklife are invited to enjoy the oasis of the Friends of Folklife Headquarters at the Northwest Folklife Festival in May and the Seattle Children’s Festival in October.

Your year-end donation makes the magic happen in 2016! Please donate today.

In the picture above, musicians* play for Hanukkah. In early December, JoAnne Rudo’s dazzling ‘Chanukah, Hanukkah Potluck Party’ celebrated Northwest Folklife in its first ‘Night for Folklife’ of the fiscal year. Guests entered JoAnne’s home balancing musical instruments, traditional dishes and family menorahs to revel in the seventh night of Hanukkah with klezmer music, latkes, menorah lighting, singing, dancing, dreidel games, and hat parade, with cheerful and fun chaos. Funds raised broke previous records, making our benefactor exclaim: “It’s our Festival. I am happy to support Northwest Folklife with this tradition of folklife and giving!” Interested in organizing a ‘Night for Folklife’ in 2016? Learn more.

* Carla Wulfsberg, violin; Bernice Maslan, clarinet; Harvey Niebulski, accordion; Marianne Tatom, clarinet; and Thaddeus Spae, guitarron. Photo by Martin Ng.

Thank you for your support. Wishing you a Happy Harmonious New Year to you and yours! 

Posted by Sheila

We Love our Dance Community

Lake City Contra Marathon/Photo by Michael Chandler

March 7 – March 10 is a very special time to a large number of Northwest Folklife devotees. The Cascade Promenade has become an annual tradition for the Northwest Contra Community as dancers take to halls along the I-5 corridor for four days of non-stop dance.

Two great benefits for Northwest Folklife took place during the Cascade Promenade this year. The Lake City 8th Annual Contra Marathon and the Portland Roadhouse Dance donated proceeds to support the mission of Folklife. On behalf of the board of directors, staff, and the greater community of Folklife lovers we’d like to say a giant THANK YOU to you for your support.

Contra dancers, callers, musicians, and organizers have long been a very important part of what keeps Folklife moving forward. Thank you for dedicating so much of your energy to creating, attending, and supporting these incredible events!

Northwest Folklife would also like to extend a great big thank you to NFDI and all who participated in the event at Cedar Valley Grange Hall on Saturday, March 9th. Your support and energy has been such an important part of Folklife over the years. Thank you for showing up to dance the night away to Scandinavian, International, Contra and English dance music and to show your support for Northwest Folklife.

We hope that you all are resting your feet after four days of non-stop dancing! Save up your energy, we’ve got even more for you in just a few short months at the 42nd  Annual Northwest Folklife Festival.

NFDI Benefit / Photo by Michael Chandler

NFDI Benefit / Photo by Michael Chandler

NFDI Benefit / Photo by Michael Chandler

Upcoming Opportunities to Dance & Support Folklife

March seemed like a long ways off when we first announced these, but now it’s right around the corner! We hope we’ll see you in at one or all of these great Nights for Folklife events.


Contra Dance Marathon

Thursday, March 7 at the Lake City Contra/Old-Time Country Dance:

8th Annual CONTRA MARATHON – Benefit for Northwest Folklife! Non-stop whirl of music & dancing…NO WALK THRU’S…17 callers & 6 bands!!! Jump in & out at the ends of the contra lines to change partners, rest, rehydrate, & socialize…or play along with the bands! Newcomers are encouraged to attend the free intro workshop at 7:30 pm; “Dance Buddies” will be available to lend helping hands throughout the evening.

Part of the Cascade Promenade weekend

Lake City Contra/Old-Time Country Dance at the Lake City Community Center, 12531 28th Ave. NE, Seattle;
Free introductory workshop at 7:30 pm, dance 8-11 pm;
$9 (students & seniors $7, kids & first-time contradancers free); For more information go to or call (206)525-0932. Please respect the health needs of many dancers and come fragrance-free.

NDFI Benefit for Northwest Folklife

Saturday, March 9th

Three bands playing International, Scandinavian, contra, and English Country dance music!

7:00 – 11:00pm

Potluck snacks served throughout the evening.

Suggested donation: $10.00

Every dollar raised goes directly to Folklife! Sno-King has donated the night and the Cedar Valley Grange has donated the rent.  All the bands, sound person, and callers have donated their time to help celebrate the Northwest Folklife.


Cedar Valley Grange Hall
20526 52nd Ave W
Lynnwood, WA 98036

Portland Roadhouse

March 10

The Portland Roadhouse is a 10-hour (11:00 am until 9:00 pm) contra dance designed as a showcase for bands and callers from along the I-5 corridor. Modeled after Warren’s Roadhouse at the Northwest Folklife Festival, eight bands and callers are invited to present 65-minute sets purely for the fun of it. All performers donate their time, and are unpaid except for some travel stipends to those from outside the Portland area. This event is held in a lovely dance hall, the Milwaukie Community Club, which has a wonderful wood floor and plenty of space downstairs for socializing, eating, and jamming. The Portland Roadhouse is the last event of the 5-day Cascade Promenade contra dance extravaganza. As such, the Iron Dancer awards for all dancers who have attended Cascade Promenade dances on 4 of the 5 days are presented at the Roadhouse.

The Portland Roadhouse is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, with a board of directors and organizing committe who live between Roseburg, Oregon and Bellingham, Washington. In addition to supporting itself, the Portland Roadhouse makes contributions to NW Folklife in support of its programs.

Since its inception in 2010, The Portland Roadhouse has happened on the second Sunday in March (this year on March 10th). Further details and advance tickets are available at:

Erin Go Boogie!

Sunday, March 17


With DJ Jodi

Dance, celebrate, and express your love for Folklife!

Wear green, be green, BRING green!

Sonny Newman’s Dance Hall
201 North 85th Street
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 784-3010

Bands on the Big Screen

We are super excited to partner with Team Up For Nonprofits to present this great night of local talent!

On January 31st, Team Up for Nonprofits presents “Bands on the Big Screen” a benefit screening for Northwest Folklife dedicated to showcasing the talents of five local filmmakers working with local music.

Directors Jon Jon Augustavo, Brad Curran, Hayley Young, Stephan Gray and Tyler Kalberg will present music videos by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pickwick, Allen Stone, Dark Time Sunshine, Kaylee Cole and many more.   The 90 minute screening will be followed by an audience Q&A with the directors.

Thursday, January 31 @ 7:00

$15.00 for all seats (no discounts)


SIFF Cinema Uptown

Team Up for Nonprofits –

Northwest Folklife –



  How to Play Baccarat

Stealing My Musical Heart

Special thanks to guest blogger Clay Eals, who will be hosting a special tribute to Steve Goodman at the Historic Admiral Theatre on October 14, kicking off our “Nights for Folklife” series of benefit events.

Unfailing warmth, gentle humor and personal resilience in the face of social and political ills undergird the legacy of Steve Goodman

By Clay Eals

For a singer/songwriter, legacy emerges and endures in two visceral forms:

1. Indelible performances that glow in the collective memory.

2. Compositions whose lyrics and melodies ring timelessly through the ages.

In both ways, Pete Seeger and Steve Goodman have carved unassailable places in musical history. I am thrilled to help connect their music once again with Seattle audiences as part of “Tribute Times Two: Anthems of Activism.” It’s a unique and extraordinary pair of concerts on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, at the Historic Admiral Theater in West Seattle. It’s also the kickoff for the fall 2012 “Nights for Folklife” series, and a portion of proceeds will go to Northwest Folklife.

Presenting the Seeger tribute at 4 p.m. is Peter McKee, a singer and banjo/guitar player whom I befriended when he and his folk group Clallam County became part of Seattle’s celebration of Seeger’s 90th birthday three years ago at the Admiral. His one-man, multimedia show weaves together an impressive selection of recordings, images and live performances that reveal the breadth and depth of the legendary humanitarian who at age 93 continues to inspire and cheer us all with his commitment to peace, justice and environmental sustainability.

The evening show at 7 p.m. focuses on the music and story of Goodman, who proudly considered himself one of Seeger’s disciples. Goodman wrote and performed more than 100 songs – and hundreds of songs written by others – for audiences from the tens to the tens of thousands throughout the United States and Europe during a 15-year career before leukemia ended his life here in Seattle in 1984 at age 36.

For the evening show, I will emcee and take part in performances of a rich sampling of Goodman songs that take on a remarkably diverse array of social and political challenges – corporate greed, campaign hypocrisy, commercialism, sexual myopia, global warming, the homefront devastation of war and indifference to bedrock values – with unfailing warmth, gentle humor and personal resilience in the face of it all.

Though I saw him perform only two times, Goodman stole my musical heart, touching me like no other performer. I knew that I wasn’t alone, and a decade of research that culminated in my 800-page biography, “Steve Goodman: Facing the Music” (ECW Press, 2007) confirmed it. His songs, singing and guitar playing, not to mention hundreds of recordings, official and unofficial, combined to make him the most affecting performer I have ever experienced. This is a big part of why the book is, so far and by far, the most significant project of my life.

In 55 musical events in the past five years to promote the book (now in updated third printing), I have found musicians all over the country who know Goodman’s songs and have been eager to perform them on behalf of the book out of the goodness of their heart. In my hometown of Seattle, the stalwart of my events has been Tom Colwell, whose track record as a singer/songwriter and interpreter of others’ music spans more than 50 years. Tom will anchor the Oct. 14 Goodman show, and I am grateful beyond expression for the passion, tenderness and unrelenting life force that he brings to the quest.

Tom’s musical travels and example – including a night in 1978 when he bid Goodman to a Chicago club stage to play with him – resulted in his formation in 2009 of a nine-piece band he dubbed Tom Colwell and The Southbound Odyssey, the name stemming from a phrase in Goodman’s classic “City of New Orleans.”

Two stellar accompanists from that group who also play in other Seattle-area bands will join us on Oct. 14: Bruce Hanson, bassist and harmonica player from Bellevue, andMark Myers of Shoreline, who sings and plays dobro, steel guitar and harmonica.

The roster of musicians for the Oct. 14 show doesn’t end there, however. Reflecting the magnetism of Goodman’s legacy, the show will feature three uniquely appealing musical guests playing Goodman’s tunes:

–  Kat Eggleston, of Vashon Island, for 20 years was a fixture of the Chicago music scene that Goodman anchored and fostered. Kat, whose repertoire spans folk, Celtic and traditional music, brought an audience of 200 to a hush with her tour de force performance five years ago at one of my Goodman events at a college Goodman attended, Lake Forest College north of Chicago.

–  Dan Maher, of Pullman, for more than three decades has helmed the syndicated Inland Folk radio show and brought his encyclopedic and eclectic knowledge of music to bear in truly riveting and powerhouse stage performances. I first encountered Dan in 1991 when he took part in a panel of baseball songs at Northwest Folklife Festival. Dan, who interviewed me extensively on his radio show in 2007, covers a broad musical map, from sea shanties to pop classics.

–  Perry Barber, of New York City, who played with and befriended Goodman in the 1970s, provided invaluable contributions for the Goodman biography and has performed on behalf of the book in Manhattan, Berkeley and twice in the Seattle area. She also is a traveling professional baseball umpire, one of only a handful of women who have worked major-league games (in spring training only, because women umpires still are not allowed to work the regular season).

“Tribute Times Two” promises to be a moving and unforgettable experience, both musically and in the context of the national election three weeks hence. Icing on the cake is the venue – the Historic Admiral Theater, a 1942 art-deco moviehouse that has stood as an official Seattle landmark for 23 years. The price is right ($12 for each show, $20 combo ticket, at Brown Paper Tickets). Add in that it’s a benefit for Northwest Folklife, and it becomes a can’t-miss.

I am so fortunate to be at the core of this presentation. My heartfelt thanks go to the musicians, to Dinah Brein, who manages the Admiral, and to all of you who choose to attend. You won’t regret it. See you there!