S~iL r-:In. ..L
Fridav. January 30, 1987
wie Mvichigan Daily 4
:Diverse talents highlight Folk Festival
n ad-worn look to him fro
By Joseph Kraus
,6 To be honest about it, the Tenth
-Annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival
idisn't really just a folk festival.
3 It's actually a celebration of
alternative music of several different
iJtripes.With folk, blues, bluegrass,
country, and acoustic rock
erformers scattered throughout the
t bill, the evening-long celebration
rkpromises to live up to the standards
,,et in previous years.What began
.ten years ago as a much needed
tfundraising shot in the arm for The
§Ark, Ann Arbor's premier folk
j ~"I'usic showplace, has grown into
an annual event that looks as if it
o will fill capacious Hill Auditorium
,for the second straight year.
( This year's festival provides
.,nteresting contrasts between the
folk music acts of the '60s and the
scontemporary acts that have been
etravelling on the folk circuit.
- Headliner Donovan was one of
.he '60s biggest stars. Alongside
.:17aj Mahal and Dave Van Ronk, he
'represents the old guard of
operformers who have been touring
on and off for upwards of 25 years.
On the other side of the coin, Peter
Case, Uncle Bonsai, and Dick
~Seigal are all acts just beginning; at
least in their acoustic music careers.
- In the 20 years since Donovan's
hey-dey, however, the Ark has
continued to offer entertainment to
the crowd it first won for itself in
the '60s while the bulk of the
;student audience has gradually
srifted away. In contrast to recent
years, that new blood seems to
endicate a stronger pitch to the
student crowd. Dave Siglin, the
Ark's long-time director, says, "In
the short perspective, it's [aimed at
students] more than it was in the
past. In the long perspective it isn't
s..Twenty years ago all the acts
were aimed at students.
"The folk music scene has
matured so much that when you do
a show aimed at students it attracts
a crowd very different from a show
aimed at an older croWd."
a Of course, such diversity has its
, advantages as well. Siglin
'continued, "As the folk scene
,progresses more facets rise to the
.v Long before Madonna made it on
the strength of her first name alone,
:nhere was Donovan. Actually named
Donovan Leitch, the Scottish-born
singer/songwriter was quietly
making a name for himself when
the phenomenon of Bob Dylan
,struck Europe in 1964. As eager to
find a British Dylan as the
-American public had been to find an
American Beatles, the British
public seized onto Donovan as its
But Donovan didn't quite fit the
_mold. Quiet and introspective, he
tcelebrated subtle beauties like the
color of his true love's hair and the
?'virtues of being "mellow." In place
f a strident protest song like
"Blowing in the Wind," he had
"Catch the Wind," a haunting
description of failed love that may
°; have been one of the few songs
- directly inspired by Dylan's work to
1match or even surpass Dylan's own
e With a host of top-flight
compositions to his credit, and
what is rumored to be an engaging
stage personality, he should live up
to the standards recent Folk Festival
headliners Arlo Guthrie and Bonnie
Raitt have set.
Taj Mahal was a leading light in
P; the 60s blues revival that took
place concurrent to the folk music
explosion. While he never had the
commercial success of crossover
Bed & Breakfast
Pat Flynn, another guitarist, and
John Cowan, the singer, round out
Dave Van Ronk is an urban
blues answer to the flashier work of
Taj Mahal. Getting his start in the
same Greenwich Village folk scene
that spurred Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs,
and Tom Paxton to fame, he was
always a purer bluesman than the
musicians who went on to the
greatest commercial success. He has
a roUw 11lvl"i111 sva
his years of travelling, and his
music reflects that appearance. He's
perhaps best known for his
arrangement of the Rev. Gary
Davis' classic, "Cocaine;" his
version is the one that Jackson
Browne made into a major hit.
Peter Case looks like the odd
man out on this year's list. As
founder of The Plimsouls, a Los
See FESTIVAL, Page 10
Dr. Daniel Matt
A Taste of Jewish Mysticism:
The Hidden Light
Dr. Daniel Matt, from the Center for Judaic Studies,
Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, is the author
of a recently published poetic translation of the Zohar,
the revered masterpiece of the Jewish mystical canon.
Thursday, January 29
1429 Hill Street
The New Grass Revival is one of the many talented acts featured in the line-up of this year's Ann Ar-
bor Folk Festival.
artists like Jimi Hendrix and Steve
Miller, he did win himself the
critical acclaim that has buoyed him
through 20 years of touring.
The series of records he released
for, among others, Columbia
Records, show him capable of a
wide range of blues styles, both
electric and acoustic.
He's played Ann Arbor about
once a year for the last few years,
always to full houses. Siglin
confided, "I've been trying to book
Taj [for the Festival] for the last
An earlier incarnation of the
New Grass Revival is credited with
inventing "newgrass," a bluegrass
approach to jazz and rock. The
current group, featuring founder
Sam Bush, has pushed the concept
further than the original line-up did,
and has recently made inroads into
the country music charts.
The band is known as one of the
finest instrumental ensembles in
contemporary music. Bush first
made a name for himself as a
guitarist, but he may be an even
finer fiddler, having won the
National Old Timer's Fiddle
Contest three years in a row while
he was still a young man. Bela
Fleck has almost no competition as
a progressive banjo player. Before
he was 30 years old he had won
best banjo player of the year five
consecutive times from Frets
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