Northwest Folkife
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The Power Of The Human Voice Through Song

Every year, Northwest Folklife engages a Northwest community to showcase during the year leading up to the Festival. This ‘Cultural Focus’ allows Folklife to connect more in depth with the people that we serve and empower their artistic expressions and cultural traditions.

The human voice was the first instrument. Singing is one of the most natural means of human communication and expression. Songs play an essential part of the social fabric of cultures – every ritual a community shares calls for its own song: birth, marriage, death, the planting and harvest, the coming of spring and fertility, the changing of the seasons. Songs are used for protest, for love and honor. They are used as expressions of unity through national anthems and sports teams. Songs are used to sing babies to sleep and to accompany a child’s play. Singing is thus an ideal tool to express the common themes of humanity and culture.

For the 2016 Cultural Focus, Northwest Folklife will explore the power of the human voice and its role among communities, specifically looking at:

HUMAN VOICES IN HARMONY

Such as Choirs, Doo-Wop, Barbershop, and Glee

TOGETHER WE SING

Including Call and Response, Work Songs, Sea Shanties, and Protest Songs



Film by Doug Plummer

SONGS OF OUR CHILDREN

Such as Lullabies, Nursery Rhymes, and Play Songs

SPIRITUALS AND SACRED MUSIC

including Gospel, Kirtan, Shape Note, and Chanting



Film by Doug Plummer

BEYOND THE VOICE

Such as Throat Singing, Yodeling, Mouth Music, and Beatboxing

During the 45th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival (May 27-30, 2016), audiences can experience four days of music performances, panels and presentations, films, visual arts and participatory workshops that explore the power of the human voice.

Starting in January, we will be building up to the 2016 Festival through monthly events that will be held in Seattle and Northwest regions with partnering communities.

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