Archive for October 4th, 2010

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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I’ve been director of Blue Stone Folk School since it’s founding 4 years ago. As the founder, I’ve been thinking about folk schools long before that. The most difficult part of my job isn’t teaching, programing, research or dealing with the money (I HATE that part and leave it to others).

The most difficult part of my job is answering two simple questions:

  • What is a folk school?
  • What do you teach at a folk school?

I can answer these questions, better than most can, but the problem is that the concept is so far outside most folks circle of knowledge that they loose interest before they’re hooked. The trick comes with the second question. If you can guess what discipline excites them and use that as an example they are hooked.

I thought after 4 years that this would become simpler. It has not.

The good folks at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress have provided some insight. They evidently have the same problem — now I feel a bit better — and have published a webpage to explain the term folklife.

It’s not a big jump from understanding folklife to understanding what we do. We teach folklife and about folklife. It’s that simple.

(BTW- My spell checker is rejecting the word folklife. I guess the Library of Congress is making up words again!)

Read the page. It’s thorough. It’s clear. It’s a little bit fun. In fact it would make a great t-shirt.

(BTW[again]) In the photo, way up top, I’m not explaining anything. I’m talking to Thomas Richardson a folklore and ethnomusicology graduate student at I.U. and good friend. (evidently ethnomusicology isn’t a word either. Sorry Thomas (and Hannah).

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