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January 18, 1983 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-01-18

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, January 18, 1983

Page 5

Folk Festival:
Good Vibrations
and music flow

By Isabel Bradburn and
Jennifer Gamson
HIGH-ENERGY level and en-
If thusiastic audience participation
marked Saturday's Sixth Annual Ann
Arbor Folk Festival at the Michigan
Theatre. Despite the wintery tem-
peratures, the afternoon show was full
and the evening show completely sold
out.
Jim Post, as MC and first performer
of the festival, established an energetic
tone from the outset, by creating what
he coined a "real get-down" at-
mosphere. "If you're inhibited (about
singing)" Post advised, "pretend like
you're in the shower. Or your car. Now

I've seen you all in your cars." He con-
torted his face in high octave strain.
The audience responded warmly to,
Post's zany humor and flippant style, a
continuity he maintained throughout
both shows.
First of the official performers in the
day long line-up was Ann Arbor's Ann
Doyle. As Doyle herself revealed, this
was her first large audience, but she
performed her songs with relative ease
and poise. Added accompaniment
provided by Madcat Ruth on har-
monica, Stephanie Ozer on keyboards
and Randy Pettit on bass enhanced her
performance. Though her between-
song talking was a bit awkward and her
solo selections could have been more
varied, Doyle's talent as a songwriter

and her vocal delivery were clear
strengths.
Following Doyle were two North
Carolinians who performed another
type of "folk" - though not in the
musical tradition. Connie Regan and
Barbara Freeman, known as The
Folktellers, alternately frightened and
amused the audience with animated
recitations of collected stories and
anecdotes from the American South
and West.
These yarns ranged from a ghost
story to a piece about two argumen-
tative wives deciding whose husband is
a bigger fool. Their performance was a
lively and engaging illustration of an
American cultural tradition, included
in the annual festival for the first
time.
Although David Bromberg was billed
as the main attraction, John Hartford
became the afternoon's surprise
favorite. A virtuoso fiddler, guitarist,
and banjo player, he also acccom-
panied himself with untraditional "in-
struments," most notably by main-
taining a running "clog-a-logue" in
Adidas sneakers on an electronically-
sensitized floor board.
A gamester of sight and sound, Har-
tford personifies the role of "musical
entertainer." As he impeccably fiddled
and twanged his way through such
melodies as "Take Me Back to that
Mississippi River Home," he further
delighted the audience by drumming
his cheeks, twirling his banjo baton-
style and strumming it with his snappy
bowler hat. He seemed to revel in sound
experimentation, exemplified -
particularly in his encore, "That Old
Cabin Home on the Hill," which he sang
as if he were under water. He asked the
audience to repeat after him until the
set finally ended in laughter.
David Bromberg and his band were
not particularly outstanding in the first
show. They had only had, Bromberg
explained, two hours of sleep the
previous night, and this, coming at the
end of an already long show, combined
to make the final act drag. The band
played a characteristic smorgasbord of
fast bluegrass tunes mixed with more
mournful songs such as "Dark
Hollow," and the inevitable blues num-
bers. Despite their exhaustion, which
made the set seem unfocused, the band
was tight, with perfectly balanced
harmonies and smooth spotlighting of
solo instruments. Particularly notewor-
thy features included mandolin player
Gene Johnson and the band's heartfelt
rendition of David Massengill's "Fair-

David Bromberg (left) and his band play all genres of music at the festival.

fax County," popularized by the
Roches.
The evening show opened with
guitarist Dan Crary, who performed a
mixture of old style folk ballads,
classical-jazz instruments and fiddle
tunes that he had adapted for guitar.
Crary's clean, technical expertise and
ease in avariety of styles confirmed his
reputation as a master flatpicker.
His rapport with the audience was
subdued, yet his subtle humor main-
tained attention between songs. In in-
troducing "Little Sadie," for example,
he said the song is a murder ballad
about an innocent young thing, "pure as
the driven snow . . . who goes adrift."
The set ended with Hartford joining
Crary in two impromptu pieces on fid-
dle and guitar.
John Roberts and Tony Barrand gave
a fun flavor to the festival, singing a
potpourri of traditional ditties largely
from the British Isles. Dressed in Tidy-
Bowl whites, their particular appeal
was their easy banter with each other.
and the audience. Highlights from their
selections included Barrand's cockney
schoolboy recitation of "Young Albert
(Eaten by a Lion at the Zoo)", and their
parody of the American "Cowpun-
cher," in which the audience supplied
the predictable final rhyme to each
verse.
Claudia Schmidt, as the final act
before intermission, revitalized the
audience with her love of music and
language and the radiant energy that
flowed through her every sound and
gesture. Her outstanding versatility,
which has become a trademark,
enabled her to range between music
and narration, between intimate
disclosures and socially-concerned
poetry without a trace of awkwardness.
She opened with the satiric "We Hate
People Who Hate People Like Us,"
which the audience sang with her, and
then moved to her more introspective
pianolin piece, "W interludes."
Although the instrument had its
squeaky moments, the piece recalled
the loneliness and poignancy of a snowy
winter.

Next, urging us to celebrate our "ab-
normalities" in 1983, Schmidt sang,
"I'm a Little Cookie . . . ," written by a
father to his handicapped child
followed by a poem by Carl Sandburg
about people and their work. Her best
piece was "Fuzzy," a joyous song writ-
ten during her year in Ann Arbor, which
demonstrated her talent as singer,
songwriter, and dulcimer player.
Recalling her happy childhood playing
with the crazy man "Fuzzy," she called
for the audience to sing with her, to "let
out the kid in you!" Despite an encore,
Schmidt left the audience wanting
more.
Ann Arbor is Bromberg's town, as he
proclaimed, and the Ark is his favorite
place to play. This affection clearly
showed as the band kicked off the last
part of the evening with high energy
which they maintained throughout the
hour long set. Despite missing one cue,
fiddler Jeff Wisor shone, as did Brom-
berg and, again, Johnson, while Butch
Amiot played bass.
The band's well-oiled closeness was
particularly apparent in "Travelin'
Man," which included second-long
pauses between verses. The band dove
into the mood of every piece, whether it
was an upbeat bluegrass extravaganza
or the more soulful pieces "Julia," and
"Dark as a Dungeon." Bromberg
played his solo songs, such as
"Statesboro Blues," fludily and with in-
tensity. Crary and Hartford joined the
band for the final tunes as well as the
energetic encore, which finished the
festival on an upswing.
As the audience streamed out of the
theatre, someone summed up the day:
"Man, we just heard a lot of music."
T HE DA ILY
CLASSIFIEDS
FAST RESULTS
CALL 764-0557

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Replacements and Spares
AS LOW AS $14.95 EACH
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TUESDAY
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He is afraid.
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TUES 5:00, 7:10, 9:20
WED 12:30, 2:40, 5:00, 7:10, 9:20

"A MAGICAL BLEND OF
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DOLBY STEREO
TUES 4:00, 5:50, 7:50, 9:40
WED 12:20, 2:10, 4:00, 5:50, 7:50, 9:40

Daily Photo by JEFF SCHRIER
John Hartford delights the afternoon audience with his banjo at Friday's
Sixth Ann Arbor Folk Festival.

Pigs

Wi

By Joe Hoppe
TF PIGS HAD Wings they'd get a
whole bunch of people and have them
read poetry and prose, perform folk,
classical and jazz music, and do a
couple of songs from a locally written
musical in East Quad's Halfway Inn
tonight.
If Pigs Had Wings they'd lend their
name to self-described "Cabaret
Voltaire" type programs. Pigs With-
Wings is a company-organization-
.promotion service specializing in
"diverse entertainment." Diversions.
Jay Frost is the president of the cor-
poration. "Our main thrust," he says,
"is to build a diverse audience-to ap-
peal to anyone from the football jock to
the library-bound intellectual. And
have them sit together."
, Tonight's show is the first of their

th Wing
productions in a year. Last year they
had a couple of "happenings," and ac-
cording to Frost, the current Half Way
poetry readings are a continuation of
what he started.
This year's Pigs With Wings series is
supposed to be more professional and
'organized than the poetry readings of
late.
Genres will be mixed throughout the
night. Tonight there won't be a section
of music, then poetry, then whatever. It
will be an entertaining jumble;
something totally different with each
performer. Single performers will get

S fly in
10 minutes on stage, groups 15. Pigs
With Wings is fast-paced.
Tonight's show will be primarily
readings and music. Performers
primarily local.
Pigs With Wings is always open for
acts. Anyone with a talent they'd like to
exhibit can get in touch with Frost at 995-
2023. He says he'll audition almost
anything. Pigs is expecially eager to
showcase solo performers.
Pigs With Wings shows are free. They
happen every second Tuesday from
now until April 5th, at 10 p.m.

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