• COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    May-June 2019

    DON’T BE A HATER: IT’S YOUR VOICE!

    By Dennis Roger Reed

    speechI hear a lot of folks say that they hate their singing voice. It’s too scratchy, or has too much vibrato or is “pitchy.” I think many musicians set a standard that may not be reachable with their voice. My all-time favorite singer was Delaney Bramlett. His ability to go from falsetto to head voice in the same lyrical line was astonishing. His voice reflected the blues, country, and soul, sometimes all in the same song. A very admirable instrument, but honestly one I could never emulate. My singing voice does not have the range, and my falsetto is a bit uncontrollable. But I don’t hate my voice because of it.

    Read more: DON’T BE A HATER-IT’S YOUR VOICE!

    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: The Old Texas Fiddle Vol. 3

    ARTIST: Spencer & Rains

    LABEL: Old-Time Tiki Parlour

    RELEASE DATE: May 2019

    By Pat Mac Swyney

    vol iii cover artI’ll kick off by saying this is my third unabashedly, glowing review of a Spencer & Rains CD because…well, Spencer & Rains. No personal stake in the game other than spreading the gospel of some of my favorite contemporary Old-Time artists.

    Old Texas Fiddle Volume 3 marks the third and final installment of The Old Texas Fiddle “trilogy”.  Howard Rains comes from a long line of Texas fiddlers and along the path of pursuing Old-Time Music, he began collecting home recordings from the families of mostly long-gone Texas fiddlers of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Read more: SPENCER & RAINS - THE OLD TEXAS FIDDLE VOL. 3

    TITLE: RULE OF 3

    ARTIST: VÄSEN

    LABEL: EAST SIDE, INC.

    RELEASE DATE: APRIL 19, 2019

    By Stuart Mason

    Reprinted with permission fromFiddle Freak

    Vasen Rule of 3 coverSwedish folk supergroup Väsen celebrates 30 years with the release of a new album on April 19. The title Rule of 3 refers to these three decades as well as their favorite time signature, shared by both polskas and waltzes, forms which they often play. The band is a trio, forming of course a solid triangular foundation for the music itself, and among writers, the Rule of 3 is “a writing principle which suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers.” (from Wikipedia)

    Read more: VÄSEN - RULE OF 3

    TITLE: Visions

    ARTIST: Alice Howe

    LABEL: SELF PRODUCED

    RELEASE DATE: May 17, 2019

    By Russ Paris

    Alice Howe by Jim SheaAlice Howe’s highly anticipated full-length debut CD, Visions, releases in May 2019. It’s an album that lives up to expectations and could not have been written without plenty of time on the road and a strong love for the process.

    Howe’s previous EP, You’ve Been Away So Long, hit the Folk-DJ charts with a #1 song — Homeland Blues — and reached #11 itself. She has recently been selected as a Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist, a Formal Showcase Artist at Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, an Official Showcase Artist at the FAR-West Music Conference, and 2019 Kerrville New Folk Finalist.

    Read more: ALICE HOWE - VISIONS

    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: The Old Texas Fiddle Vol. 3

    ARTIST: Spencer & Rains

    LABEL: Old-Time Tiki Parlour

    RELEASE DATE: May 2019

    By Pat Mac Swyney

    vol iii cover artI’ll kick off by saying this is my third unabashedly, glowing review of a Spencer & Rains CD because…well, Spencer & Rains. No personal stake in the game other than spreading the gospel of some of my favorite contemporary Old-Time artists.

    Old Texas Fiddle Volume 3 marks the third and final installment of The Old Texas Fiddle “trilogy”.  Howard Rains comes from a long line of Texas fiddlers and along the path of pursuing Old-Time Music, he began collecting home recordings from the families of mostly long-gone Texas fiddlers of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Read more: SPENCER & RAINS - THE OLD TEXAS FIDDLE VOL. 3

    TITLE: RULE OF 3

    ARTIST: VÄSEN

    LABEL: EAST SIDE, INC.

    RELEASE DATE: APRIL 19, 2019

    By Stuart Mason

    Reprinted with permission fromFiddle Freak

    Vasen Rule of 3 coverSwedish folk supergroup Väsen celebrates 30 years with the release of a new album on April 19. The title Rule of 3 refers to these three decades as well as their favorite time signature, shared by both polskas and waltzes, forms which they often play. The band is a trio, forming of course a solid triangular foundation for the music itself, and among writers, the Rule of 3 is “a writing principle which suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers.” (from Wikipedia)

    Read more: VÄSEN - RULE OF 3

    TITLE: Visions

    ARTIST: Alice Howe

    LABEL: SELF PRODUCED

    RELEASE DATE: May 17, 2019

    By Russ Paris

    Alice Howe by Jim SheaAlice Howe’s highly anticipated full-length debut CD, Visions, releases in May 2019. It’s an album that lives up to expectations and could not have been written without plenty of time on the road and a strong love for the process.

    Howe’s previous EP, You’ve Been Away So Long, hit the Folk-DJ charts with a #1 song — Homeland Blues — and reached #11 itself. She has recently been selected as a Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist, a Formal Showcase Artist at Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, an Official Showcase Artist at the FAR-West Music Conference, and 2019 Kerrville New Folk Finalist.

    Read more: ALICE HOWE - VISIONS

     

    everything but ...

    Featured at the Folk/Roots Festival

    Willy Souly will be leading an African Dance Workshop

    and featured in the Evening Concert

    Read more: Willy Souly

    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 6/27/19


    MUSIC


    7:30pm OFF MY HEAD STORYTELLING

    With Ty Fance (Host/ Producer), Ashton Cynthia Clarke, Sean Ewert,
    Hana Nobel, Jonathan Tipton Meyers, Tony Zimbardi , Erica Blumfield

    Coffee Gallery Backstage

    2029 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 91001

    bstane@earthlink.net


    8:00pm EJ MATHEWS BAND

    Boulevard Music

    4316 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230

    310-398-2583



    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    6:00pm - 9:00pm WEST VALLEY OLD-TIME JAM

    second & fourth Thursday

    Jerry's Pizzeria

    22035 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA

    Andy Denes 805-368-8115 matchbookholder@yahoo.com


    7:00pm - 10:30pm BLUEGRASS THURSDAYS AT THE GRAND VIEW MARKET (JAM)

    fourth Thursday

    Grandview Market

    12210 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

    Jeff Fleck 310-773-6753 jeffreyfleck@me.com


    DANCE


    10:00am - 12:00pm INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCING (THURSDAYS)

    every Thursday

    Folk Dance Center at Dancing Unlimited

    4569 30th St., San Diego, CA

    Mary Marshall


    10:15am - 1:05pm UNIVERSITY OF JUDAISM

    every Thursday

    UNIVERSITY OF JUDAISM

    5600 Mulholland Dr, Los Angeles, CA

    Natalie Stern 818-343-8009


    11:15am - 12:35pm SANTA MONICA CITY COLLEGE ISRAELI DANCING

    every Thursday

    Santa Monica College Clocktower

    1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA


    7:00pm - 11:30pm DANCE WITH DALYA

    every Thursday

    Dance for 2 Studio

    7528 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego , CA

    Dalya Dallal 858-337-3045 dalya@dancewithdalya.com


    7:30pm - 9:30pm FOOTHILL INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS

    every Thursday

    Community Center of La Cañada

    4469 Chevy Chase Dr., La Cañada, CA

    Jan Rayman JanRayman@charter.net


    7:30pm - 10:30pm NARODNI FOLK DANCERS

    every Thursday

    Woman's Club of Bellflower

    9402 Oak St., Bellflower, CA

    Judith 562-404-4383


    7:30pm - 10:45pm WESTWOOD CO-OP FOLK DANCERS

    every Thursday

    Felicia Mahood Senior Club

    11338 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

    310-839-1753 arm120@aol.com


    8:00pm VAN NUYS ISRAELI DANCING

    every Thursday

    Dance Revolution

    6626 Valjean Ave, Van Nuys, CA

    Sagi Azran


    8:00pm VAN NUYS ISRAELI DANCING

    every Thursday

    Dance Revolution

    6626 Valjean Ave, Van Nuys, CA

    Sagi Azran


May-June 2010 #2

Cinco de Mayo Special:
Fiddle Tunes
from the American Southwest

Nothing celtic in this particular column, but as it is getting hot and Cinco de Mayo is coming up, here are some tunes from the American Southwest that are a lot of fun to play in jams/sessions. I have played them in sessions from a bit north of the Mexican border to a bit south of the Canadian border and many places in between. Two favorite tunes in this genre are El Churrumbé from New Mexico and Purple Lilies from Arizona, which I cover in this column.

Traditional Southwest Fiddle styles (e.g. Arizona, New Mexico) sound a lot more Mexican (or Central European) than the better known Old-Time Southeast style (e.g. Virginia, Carolinas, Kentucky). Clearly, the influences and original sources were different: Maybe Habsburg Empire rather than Highland Clearances? But in both cases, the original European sources were filtered through time and local sensibilities, resulting in a new unique style of music.

El Churrumbé is a dance tune from New Mexico and I found it on several field recordings. It is an extremely easy tune to teach and yet fun to play. The only more recent commercially available would be by Jenny Vincent, entitled Spanish American Dance Tunes of New Mexico, although she plays it a little different and very slow. However, you can listen to it as it is being played in some jam sessions on YouTube (so check them out before looking at the sheet music). Another important source of tunes from New Mexico was Cleofes Ortiz, who was born in 1910 on Pajarito Plateau near Rowe, New Mexico, and began playing for dances in his teens. He stopped playing in the 1920s until he was rediscovered 50 years later. PBS did a documentary on him entitled Violinista de Nuevo Mexico, which includes some of the tunes that are often played, and which is available as I'm writing this on YouTube. The only source to buy a CD of his playing would be Bayou Seco.

Purple Lilies is one of the best known tunes from Arizona, thanks to the efforts of Bayou Seco (Ken Keppeler and Jeanie McLerie) of Silver City, New Mexico, who have kept that style alive and brought it to new players. You can find lots of versions of Purple Lilies on YouTube. The main source is the fiddle band music of the Tohona O'odham people of Southern Arizona. Utilizing instruments originally introduced by Spanish missionaries, the fiddle band sound is an unusual mix of polkas, two-steps, and mazurkas utilizing violins, guitar, and drums. One great CD is by the Gu-Achi Fiddlers, entitled Old Time O'odham Fiddle Music. It is not virtuosic and the fiddles are on the scratchy side, but the exuberance and more than compensate. This distinctive twin fiddle style eventually changed into a newer Native American style known as chicken scratch or waila (which replaced the fiddles with a saxophone and electric guitars).

Every spring, I teach these tunes in an afterschool class at a local school. I practice with students for a few weeks and teach them about 8-10 tunes by ear and then they perform at the Cinco de Mayo festivals and the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Festival. Aside from El Churrumbe and Purple Lilies, the other tunes are usually from the playing of the Gu-Achi Fiddlers and Cleofes Ortiz and they sound authentic enough for a Cinco the Mayo fiesta, especially when supplemented by a classic like Cielito Lindo. So, yes, maybe it is cheating a bit, but that way students learn an authentic traditional fiddle style.

You can hear more of this in the Eucalyptus Grove at the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Festival on May 16.

El Churrumbe

 Purple Lilies

 

Roland Sturm is Professor of Policy Analysis at the RAND Graduate School and usually writes on health policy, not music. He is the talent coordinator of the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest and leads the monthly Celtic sessions at CTMS. These days he mainly plays upright bass and mandolin.

  

All Columns by Roland Sturm

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