Central to the values of Northwest Folklife is for communities to have voice and agency in the representation of their cultural expressions. More than 150+ Community Coordinators, including prominent artists, educators, culture bearers, and leaders throughout the region work closely with Northwest Folklife throughout the year to collaborate and co-create programs including the Northwest Folklife Festival as well as the annual Cultural Focus and Our Big Neighborhood youth and family program. These relationships are an integral part of our mission and vision. “As the lifeblood of all Northwest Folklife programs, our relationships with Community Coordinators, are the heart and soul of the organization,” says Northwest Folklife Executive Artistic Director, Kelli Faryar.
“Being a Community Coordinator for Northwest Folklife means a lot to me because it gives me an opportunity to make a connection between regional Mexican folk groups and Folklife. It gives every artist involved the opportunity to meet each other and share a stage but most importantly, we get to build new relationships. I have been performing with Folklife with Bailadores de Bronce for about twenty-two years and, as a performer, it is something we always look forward to. Now, I have been able to share experiences and introduce new organizations to the Folklife family.”- from Community Coordinator, Adrian Olivas – Mexican Folklórico Community, Executive Director of Bailadores de Bronce, Alum Cultural Focus Member of Echoes of Aztlan and Beyond.
Northwest Folklife is curated in collaboration with Community Coordinators. Thank you to these amazing leaders!
Dina Trageser: Balkan / Eastern Europe
Dina has been active in the Balkan music community in Seattle since 1999. She is the founder and director of Dunava, a women's vocal ensemble, and has performed with local Balkan dance bands Osem i Devet, the Macedonian All-Stars, and Orkestar RTW. Dina serves on the boards of the Radost Folk Ensemble and Balkan Festivals Northwest, which organizes the annual music camp Balkanalia in Portland. As an administrator of a popular mailing list and several community Facebook groups and Pages, she loves connecting people and groups with events related to East European music and culture.
Don Meyers: Scandinavian Folk Dance and Music
Teaching, performing, and participating in Scandinavian folk music and dance for more than 50 years. Current member and past president of the Skandia Folkdance Society, which was part of the first Folklife Festival. Also, past member of Aman Folk Ensemble, Westwind Folk Ensemble, Los Rancheros (Mexican folklorico), UCLA Yugoslav Folkdancers, and Betyarok Hungarian Dancers
Dr. Ratna Roy
Edgardo Garcia-Galicia: Mexican/Mexican American (Latino)
Edgardo moved to the United States at the age of 22 on a journey toward better opportunities in a new world, carrying his culture, heritage and memories with him. He has built a home in Seattle and built with community. Edgardo, who is a silk screen artist and sign maker, became a volunteer for the Dia de Muertos decoration committee in 2003. He became the committee chair in 2014. Edgardo supports local artists, and other local Organizations and Cultural Festivals such as Northwest Folklife. As representative of the Dia de Muertos Committee Seattle, and as an individual he is dedicated to getting resources out to the community at large.
Eduardo Mendonça: Brazilian
Eduardo Mendonça has played, composed, and directed various genres of Brazilian popular music in the US, Canada, Nepal and Brazil since. A native of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, Eduardo has performed for notable personalities, including the 14th Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II, and former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, and he was featured in the PBS American Masters documentary, Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time.
Learn more on his website here.
Eleni: Balkan Misfits
Elias Bullock: The PNW Gospel Music Community
30+ years in Music Ministry.
An accomplished composer, director, teacher, and activist, who still considers himself a student of music. Since the age of 9 Elias’ resume has continued to grow and includes accomplishments in studio production, musical theater, artist development and service planning. He has done live and studio recordings with numerous local artists, live performances with a variety of national artist, mentored national contest winners, participated in a variety of community projects and has served as Music Director on countless works. He has faithfully served as a Music Director at the New Covenant Christian Center Church for over 15 years. In 2005, He Co-Founded the University Presbyterian Church Gospel Choir and currently serves as the Director.
Elinor Mackenzie Vandegrift: Scottish Country Dance
Elinor Mackenzie Vandegrift has been involved with Scottish Country Dance events at the NWFolklife Festival since 1977. She is a member of the Seattle Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society which is headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland. Over the years she has danced on demonstration teams, organized performances and conducted workshops. She has helped coordinate SCD events involving other Scottish performance groups. Fun, fitness and friendship is the mantra of the dancers.