Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Reblogged from the Traditional Arts Indiana Website

Traditional Arts Indiana’s first webinar of 2012 is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 26, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., and the event is going to be something of a hybrid. In addition to real-time (and free) digital access to the webinar at http://breeze.iu.edu/tai_webinars, there will be a live (and also free) component hosted at Indiana University’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusiciology in Room 100 of 510 N. Fess Ave.

Our host for this event is Jon Kay, experienced musician, host of the noted Artisan Ancestors podcast, former director of the Florida Folk Festival, and current director of TAI.

Jon KayJon’s one-hour talk will focus on how folk, traditional, and ethnic musicians can develop their performance skills for performing at events and festivals beyond their home communities. In addition to developing workshops, one-sheets and stage-plots, he will discuss how traditional musicians can retool their performances for the audience outside their home communities.

Our hope is that the split-format webinar will cater to an existing base of interested parties across the state, as well as a core of local and regional folks who won’t mind making the short trip to see Jon in person. However you might choose to attend, this event is free and open to the public, as usual.

To join virtually: Access a computer with working speakers or headphones and navigate to http://breeze.iu.edu/tai_webinars on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 4:30 to about 5:30 p.m. Click here if you’d like to see a screenshot showing what exactly to do after navigating to the webinar site.

To attend in person: Arrive at 510 N. Fess Ave., Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University, on Thursday, Jan. 26, before 4:25 p.m. Enter through the side door. Street parking is free in the evenings. There is also metered parking at the university-owned McCalla School, one block west of the department on Indiana Ave.

Afterwards, participants will be able to access a recording of the webinar to review or catch up on anything they may have missed. We hope to see you — or to “see” you — soon!

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First and foremost – Our Indiana State Fair suffered a terrible tragedy Saturday night when the main stage rigging collapsed into the audience killing 5 people and injuring 40 others.  Talk on the street in Indy indicates that we may almost double the death toll when this is all over.  My daughter is our Hamilton County 4H Fair Queen and a contender for State Fair Queen.  I’ve been a regular entertainer at the fair (and played on the main stage with Garrison Keillor) for 10+ years.  The State Fair is central to our lives and our hearts go out to the victims, to the Fair and to the State.

Thanks to folks that checked in with me on Saturday.  We had already left the fair for the day and are safe.  We don’t spend much time around the Grandstand Stage and were never in any danger.  I had several friends that were there and their stories are sobering.

On a lighter note…

The Indianapolis Star covered the WLS National Barn Dance Tribute on Friday night.  The photos are really spectacular.

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Pokey (Not Geoff)

Indianapolis’ wonderful arts and culture weekly, NUVO, covered Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three at a recent Blue Stone Folk School concert.  It’s a great review of an even greater concert.

I was asked to play a short warm up set a couple of hours before the gig.  I was under prepared but things went fine.  I never gave a thought to NUVO reporter Scott Shoger being in the house or giving me a mention.

Read the article here.

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From the Noblesville Times

Friendly Folk
The Times photos by Steven Furlow
The Times photos by Steven Furlow

By Steven Furlow

Saturday saw the opening of the Bluestone Folk School’s 2011 concert series featuring Cara Jean Whalers, (bottom) who too command of the capacity crowd at Noble Coffee and Tea in downtown Noblesville. Wahlers joined musician Evan Slusher, (top) for a song during his set.


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I’m playing some holiday gigs over the next couple of weeks.  I don’t play a lot of holiday music.  I’ve been re-discovering tunes that I used to do with the Key Strummers.  In most cases I’m working from scratch.  Through computer changes and intensive classroom cleanings most original arrangements are not at hand.

Here’s the first of several.  I worked it out quickly and your chord interpretations might differ.  Comment away.

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Saturday, November 6 50 Little Birds will be traveling to Bloomington, Indiana for our second Bloomington Handmade Market.

The Bloomington Handmade Market is a contemporary art and craft fair that showcases modern handmade goods from 45+ local and regional artists.
Our holiday event will be held on Saturday, November 6th from 10 am to 5 pm at the Bloomington Convention Center, located at 3rd and College in Bloomington, Indiana.

Following this I will be playing solo ukulele and singing at The Paper Crane, also in Bloomington.  Party invite below:

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Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three are frequent visitors to Noblesville and the Folk School. They are great folks, amazingly entertaining and  ways leave us wanting more.  They’ve had a hugely successful year.  They’ve toured Britain (twice?) and were the surprise hit of the Newport Folk Festival.

They are now working on a film project with St. Louis director Bill Streeter entitled BRICK by Chance and Fortune: A St. Louis Story.  They posted a rough track from the movie and I’ve been listening to it all morning.

Bill Streeter’s Blog with a link to the recording is here.

Pokey’s sound has matured so much over the last year and the band is much tighter.  It’s a great sound that hasn’t been heard live in 60 or 70 years.

In other news…

The next post to this blog is number 200.  We’ll celebrate with some sort of giveaway.  Check back in a day or so.

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Pete Seeger is featured in today’s NY Times.

There are important things needing to be done in every community.” How can people be brought together to do these important things? I’ve tried with banjos and boats.

The focus of the article is about Peter’s daily routine at age 90.  Usually a  report about the daily routine of nonagenarian wouldn’t be too interesting, but this is Pete Seeger.  There is much to be learned from his purposeful life.

Read the entire article here.

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I teach a ukulele building class every summer.  It is great fun!

It’s a six day immersion retreat and folks come from across the country to spend a day the the Folk School.  This class is the modle for what the Folk School is to become.

Every time I teach this class folks seem to come out of the woodwork that are local and don’t want to take a week’s vacation for a class (Ironically these same folks will take a week and go to residential retreats in othere areas.)  I’ve never been able to pull it together.  The issues are:

•   Folks don’t sign up.  I offered a 12 week course at the Indianapolis Art Center and only two people signed up.

•  We have to lease a shop.  This works for six days when the shop is in use all of the time, but it become problematic when we tie up someone elses shop for six to twelve weeks.

•  We had an opportunity to set up a semi-permanent shop in a smei-permanent home in July.  I taught my regular ukulele building class there (It was great) but things were up-in-the-air regarding how long we would be in the space and how the space could best be used by us.
•  Luthiery is very specialized woodworking and an instrument building workshop requires a number of specialized set-ups.  These tie up bench space and instructional space for other classes and projects.
•  I am worried about the level of student commitment.  Every multi-week class that we offer suffers from attrition.  Folks find that they have schedule changes, get tired of the drive or simply lose interest. Ukulele building is complex.  If a student misses a session it would be very difficult for the student to catch up.
The good news is that we have secured the Judge Stone House and our favorite workspace for three more months.  With this level of commitment by our hosts we are able to clean and establish more instructional and storage space.  In short, we’ve worked around most of our difficulties.
We’re focusing on a simplified uke, the cigar box uke.  Cigar box ukes simplify the process (but not as much as you think) and decrease cost (but not as much as you think) and play very well.  The most important aspects of ukulele building and design remain in the process.  It’s a great first step into luthiery.
We have no control over the first and last worries.  We’ll see if folks sign up (I sure hope so!) and keep coming to class.
Cigar Box Ukulele Building
4 or 5 Tuesday Evenings Begining October 19
7:00 – 9:00
Tuition $200, Materials $98
Build a high quality soprano cigar box ukulele.  These ukuleles feature first rate tuners, strings, pearl dot inlays, cedar or spruce tops and Indiana hardwood fingerboard and neck.  These are not cigar box ukuleles assembled from kits, but custom designed for the cigar box that you choose.
Plan to attend all class sessions.  This is a pilot class so an extra session is planned to ensure that projects are completed.

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I’m beginning a multi-week ukulele workshop tonight.  This blog posting is dedicated to providing resources for my students.  All are welcome to browse, share and comment.  Bookmark and visit soon!

We had our first class session last night.  I expected five or six students.  At the end of the night I counted eleven or twelve!  We had a great time.

Links – General Ukulele Sites

Flea Market Music

Ukulele Boogaloo

Links – Chord/Lyric Sheets

Ukulele Boogaloo Songbook

Link – Online Tuner (We Tune GCEA)

Flea Market Music Tuner

Online Ukulele Tuner


Puff the Magic Dragon (At tempo)

Puff the Magic Dragon (Slow)

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