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January 15, 1980 - Image 6

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-01-15

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@I

Page 6-Tuesday, January 15; 1980-The Michigan Daily
Folk festival features mixed bag

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TUESDAY, JANUARY 15
LUNCH-DISCUSSION
TOPIC; "BANGLADESH AND ITS
FOREIGN POLICY"
SPEAKER: His excellency, MR. TOBARAK HOSSAIN,
Bangladesh Embassador
At the INTERNATIONAL CENTER
603 E. Madison St.
Co-sponsored by the Ecumenical Campus Center
Lunch $1.00 For infc

2 noon

ormation

662-5529

The University of Michigan
Center for Japanese Studies &
Department of For Eastern Languages
and Literatures
PUBLIC LECTURE

By STEVE HOOK
"The term 'folk music' has taken on
an ever-increasing number of con-
notations, and the absence of a univer-
sally accepted definition has con-
tributed to confusion in regard to its
meaning."
Kristin Baggelaar and Dan Milton
"The Folk Music Encyclopedia," 1978
Sunday's Third Annual Ann Arbor
Folk Festival seemed to epitomize the
disconnected nature of contemporary
folk music. By presenting a cast of
wholly dissimilar performers, the
festival provided the audience with a
clear view of the spectrum of styles this
genre entails, and in some cases
provoked the question, "Is this really
folk music or-not?"
"Why the hell even try to define it?"
Owen McBride bellowed backstage af-
ter the second performance. "What's
the point in giving it a little number, or
placing it in some category?" Many
other performers and admirers of folk
music echo this sentiment, preferring
to loosely describe it as "people's" or
"traditional" music.
AS A RESULT, we had bluesman
John Hammond Jr. playing to the same
audience as country-western
balladeers Jim Ringer and Mary Mc-
Casline, traditional revialist Hedy
West, and David Bromberg, whose im-
pressive instrumental abilities extend
to jazz, blues and pop-rock inter-
pretations. Clearly, Sunday's folk
festival displayed much more than folk
music, and this did not seem to bother
the audiences. In fact, they seemed to
sayour Leon Redbone's eccentricity
and Bromberg's funk.
Perhaps the most authentically
"folk" performance Sunday came from
Owen McBride, a traditional Irish
folksinger who kicked off the festival,

and served as master of ceremonies for
the rest of the day. Involving the
audience in an emotional string of
choruses, McBride succeeded in the
purest task of a folk musician: to tran-
smit an unfamiliar culture to the
audience through lyrical imagery and
instrumental accompaniment. His
nostalgic sketches of Scottish sailors
and Irish rovers provided the day's
brightest moments.
Mary McCaslin and Jim Ringer, who
were accompanied by David Brom-
berg's fiddler Jay Unger, came through
with the evening show's most
memorable performance. Combining
intriguing vocals along with the crystal-
clear instrumentals, their set improved
upon a similar appearance last fall at
the Ark.
JOHN HAMMOND'S collection of blues
interpretations drew him an encore, as
he wailed on his guitars and harmonica
with great energy. Leon Redbone at-
tracted the audience's favor more
through his bizarre stage presence than
through his musical, expertise.
Although his flat-picking ability deser-
ves some credit, he seemed more at
home flashing his Polaroid at the
audience and mimicking an opera
singer than delivering quality music,
much less quality folk music.
Among the less memorable perfor-
mers, the Red Cly Ramblers
displayed many intriguing instrumen-
tal compositions, but after two or three,
they seemed to lose their appeal. On
stage, string music is appealing for five
or ten minutes, but becomes
monotonous when the audience has no
vocal stimulation to keep their wheels
turning.
Hedy West's performance was the
non sequitor of the day, as she rolled
thorugh a series of her regional
(Southern, English, etc.) compositions
without attempting to establish rapport

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'TOKYO IN THE MEL/I PERIOD"
EDWARD G. SEIDENSTICKER
Professor of Japanese Literature
Columbia University
Thursday, Jenuity 17, 1980-4-5pm
200 Lne $HallWashington and State streets

J-4

Daily Photo by KAREN ZORN
Opening act and emcee Owen McBride provided the most, memorable!
moments in Sunday's folk festival at Power Center.

4K*
4K
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4K
41
4(
4K
4t
-k

TOLEDO, OH - TUES., JAN. 29
University of Toledo
Student Union
ANN ARBOR, MI - WED., JAN. 30
University of Michigan
Michigan Union
FARMINGTON HILLS, MI THURS., JAN
Holiday Inn
W. Ten Mile Rd/I-96 and Grand River
BOWLING GREEN, OH - FRI., FEB. 1
Bowling Green State University
Student Union
* A* *** * * ** ** ** * * * * * ** ** *
TECHNICIANS
Please send resumes by Feb. 8
Also at Cedar Point Feb. '2 & 9
AUDITIONS BEGIN AT 1 PM
For other audition sites and
further information contact:

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with the audience. For most of her ap-
pearance, Hedy West strummed and
sang professionally, but seemed to be
merely going through the motions.
DAVID BROMBERG, the festival's
headliner, appeared for both shows,
and delivered a formidable sample of
his reporetoire, concentrating on. in-
strumental arrangements with fiddler
Jay Unger. Bromberg is clearly one of
the country's most accomplished in-
strumentalists, he displays a control of
his guitar, fiddle and mandolin that
serves to frustrate the legion of
aspiring hacks who flock to see him
perform . Bromberg has extended his
style to include a mixed bag of
traditional bluegrass tunes, blues and
jazz interpretations, and-pop-rock
numbers. 'He seems capable of suc-
ceeding with whatever musical moun-
tains he attempts to climb; but
again-is this folk music?
The sad fact is that this collection of
musicians was selected, generally, on,
the basis of drawing power-not on
their accomplishments as folk
musicians. It is a commonly held

misunderstanding that folk music has
very little potential for extensive mass
media exposure or record sales, as it
succumbs meekly to rock-pop music
(which accounts for over 60-per cent of'-
record sales in this country). Sunday's
festival was also a benefit for the Ark,
Ann Arbor's folk-music coffeehouse,
which needed two Power Center shows
to help subsidize its operations for the
rest of the year. If Dave and Linda
Siglin, the Ark's managers, booked a
collection of much more traditional folk
musicians (a la Owen McBride), reality
would step in and cut attendance sub-
stantially. L Jhis respect, ,the folk
festival was a quied sccess.
Before closing;Broniper issued a
plea to the audience during\his second
encore Sunday night. "The Ark is the
finest coffee-house in this country," he
said while strumming his guitar
quietly, "really it is. You don't know
what you have here. Please support
them, take a chance on the musicians
you have never heard of because they
haven't been picked up by the media.
We don't want it to die, we want to keep
this thing alive."

PUTIEM AWAY

Ciarertes

If you can live without
your cigarettes for one
day. you might find you
can live without them
forever.

1I

JUST FORADAY._

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