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Good Times at the Brooklyn Folk Fest

Took a little adventure down to Brooklyn Heights this weekend, hungry for relaxed banjo playing and bluegrass fiddle melodies. Upon my entering the church where the fest was being held, I came upon a small group of musicians playing a ridiculously fast Appalachian tune in the kitchen. Just like that I felt as if I were back home in the mid-west, sitting out by the lake on a summer evening, playing fiddle on a tree stump and watching kids roast marshmallows.

The fest was a 3 day exploration of traditional music from a number a cultures and languages, ranging from early Americana, to West African folk tales and East Asian melodies. Hosted by Down Home Radio Show and The Jalopy Theatre it was interesting how music libraries such as the one within the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. invited musicians to explore their collections and learn songs that had been recorded for ethnographic purposes.

Famoro Dioubate – Djeli playing Mande Balafon music from Guinea

There were collaborative sessions for people to bring their instruments and jam together so it was sweet seeing so many banjo and fiddle players in one place.

Bruce Molsky Instructing students at the fiddle workshop, 2015
Bruce Molsky Instructing students at the fiddle workshop, 2015

I’d made sure to bring my lil fiddle with me for a workshop they’d scheduled with the talented Bruce Molsky but the real fun was watching him play with friends out back while the rest of the audience attended the scheduled performances. What’s nice about his expert skill was witnessing how natural and comfortable performing music is for him. I love meeting artists who have a practice that’s as basic as breathing for them. A craft they do all day, everyday- for fun, business, pleasure anything else. It’s a lifestyle.

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