evie altman
art and stuff


washington folk festival

glen echo, such a great place for hosting this annual fest. music among the restored ruins of an early 1900s amusement park. warm, not as hot as previous years, and no sign of rain. mo joined me, wore out as late afternoon arrived so she went to the photography center and found an open, pay-as-you-go darkroom, which is perfect for her freecycle-but-new-to-her 35mm film camera.

first up, flower hill string band. the woman sang much more pleasantly, raspier, purer, when she wasn’t pushing her breath. funny how she couldn’t fiddle and sing simultaneously. the banjo player was related somehow (dad? husband, brother, grandpa?) and his tempo often lagged a quarter beat. we liked them though.

on the way to the next stage, we saw these german-looking dancing dudes, accompanied by another violinist.


favorites of the day next, orchester prazevica. clarinetist wiggled with obvious joy, solid (cute!) standup bass player, lead singer (and we think that kid is his son) explained the roots of their songs from the danube watershed, slovakia to romania to russia. better understanding of the roots/step-sibling nature of klezmer to non-jewish eastern european folk music.

from here, mo went food hunting and i watched grupo rompe cajon, an extended family affair. peruvian. not technically astute, but plenty enthusiastic.

stayed at the same stage to watch the potomac revelers, a duo playing sort of soft-spoken americana music. good for a while.

so next was my second favorite sound of the afternoon, tabla for two. includes an afghani refugee to pakistan who studied tabla for 15 years before attaining mastership, left islamabad, arrived here, started teaching. he and one of his students now they play together around DC. mo pointed out the cringing nature of the student’s explanations of her teacher’s background, but the music itself — dreamy trancy. as long as she didn’t talk we were good.

back to another stage to see the bog band, which has had many incarnations over the years, all led by mitch fanning. sound check took an inordinate amount of time, repeating mics over and over. didn’t really get past this in their set. in fact, i left early.

which ended up being a good thing, cause i caught the end of Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer’s set. good memories of bringing the kids to their concerts many moons ago, still demonstrating solid chops. good musicians.

would have returned sunday, but dog walk to the bethesda farmer’s market/weekend dog park took longer than expected. cool, though, cause i got in some work on my corner sculpture piece. this is it’s current state.