Club News

Musical Meetings

Musical meetings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club are held every other Friday at 885 Clayton Street, between Carl & Parnassus Streets in San Francisco. Singing and jamming in three separate rooms start at 8:00 p.m. Snacks are provided through $1 food kitty donations or finger food contributions. Guests are always welcome, no one is expected to “perform” and there is no charge.

“Music is just happiness in search of your ears.”
—Missouri Clem (W. Clem Small)
Date July 2 July 16 July 30 August 13 August 27
Setup Bob Allen Joel Rutledge Susan Wilde Melissa Sarenac Melissa Sarenac
Bulletin Board Marisa Malvino Stephen Hopkins Mick Faith Mimi Lawrence
Host/ess Debbie Tes Welborn Richard Glidden Michael O’Reilly Pazit Zohar
Host/ess Paula Glen Van Lehn Rick Myers Victor Landweber Paula Joyce
Singing Room Marisa Malvino Jim Letchworth Joe Lavelle Estelle Freedman Christine Torrington
Theme Sun/Sea/Sky Carter Family Unrequited love yes/no/maybe International*
Cleanup Jenni Woodward Roan Michaels Joe Lavelle Marlene McCall Morgan Cowin
*You think you don’t know any “foreign” or “international” songs? Remember the English language, more or less spoken in the US and the UK, is foreign to many lands. We’re part of the international community.

Board Meetings

The SFFMC board meets on the second Tuesday of each month — potluck at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 8:00 p.m. All Club members are welcome to attend the potluck dinner and the Board meeting.

NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN/FOLK SING: Sunday, August 29, home of Joan Hall and Abe Feinberg

Club News

On May 11, the SFFMC board of directors elected Hali Hammer as the new board vice president. Other board members: Bob Helliesen, Charlie Fenton, Ed Hilton, Faith Petric, Jerry Michaels, Ken Hayes, Melissa Sarenac, Phyllis Jardine, Susan Wageman, and Thad Binkley.

Chip Schamp wrote, “It was wonderful to participate in the 2010 folk festival and to see and hear you [written to Faith] and to revive and share memories of my associations with the club—back to my first Kirby Cove in 1972—memories of you, Horace and Ardella, Herb Jager, John Barger, Van Rozay, Bob Reid, Dick Holdstock, the Pratt family, Ed Bronstein, so much more and especially of RALPH—so good to see you and be inspired once again… keep on carrying on.”

Jude Reseigne wrote, “Want to pass along my heartfelt thanks to all the people who made this year’s Folk Festival such a pleasant and rewarding experience. If there’s a way to let them know please pass it along from me. Great job!”

Don Price (Jazz Gitan) wrote, “We had a great time at the festival and a lot of positive response from the workshop. Keep us in mind for next year; we’re happy to be onboard.”

Did you know that Faith Petric has her own Web site? Visit— perhaps you’ll learn something about Faith you didn’t know. Also, you can purchase Faith’s CDs. Check it out!

Bettine Wallin: Adieu to a Remarkable Friend

On June 5 we lost a remarkable member of our music community, Bettine Wallin, to cancer. Singer, pianist, and dancer, Bettine brought grace, keen perception, and good spirits to any gathering. She was born in Peking, taught over the years in many capacities and to a broad range of students, and was an active volunteer not only in the Santa Barbara dance community but also with that city’s Botanic Garden and other civic endeavors. Some will recall her many years with early Renaissance Faires in California, or her perennial Rounds workshops. We send deep condolences to her husband Lawrence, and will long remember her spirit, courage, and determination against odds to make our world a better place.

—Patience Young

Go to to read about Bettine and see pictures and art.

—Katie Riemer

Bettine’s memorial service will be held at the Santa Barbara Carrillo Recreation Center on September 19, 2010.

Have Something to Share in the folknik?

by Marlene McCall

I would like to welcome all members to write something— whether it’s a small item or a full-fledged article— for the folknik. Here are some questions to inspire your own ideas about what you might like to write:

Send your items to me—either on the above topics or any other subjects you feel would interest or inform folknik readers—to

Child Ballad Resources on the Internet

by Marlene McCall
A comprehensive list of the 8 books and 305 Child Ballads. Most (all but 42) of them have links leading to a Wikipedia page dedicated to the specific ballad, which might contain a synopsis of the story, alternative names, lyrics, commentary, references, and documentation of recordings.
Biography, lyrics, tunes and historical information by Lesley Nelson (known to many for the Contemplator Web site, Lots of MIDI files for learning tunes.

Music of the Sea

by Robert Rodriguez

In Brittany, they still tell the legend of the fabled city of Ys, destroyed one night when the ocean swallowed the city and it sank beneath the sea, in a tale of greed and treachery. Dahut, daughter of King Gradilon, was seduced by the devil in human guise to give him the keys to the gates that kept the ocean from inundating the city. Few survived the cataclysm, and to this day it is believed that, if one stands on the Breton shore at sunrise on May Day, one can hear the mournful sounds of bells along with a chorus of human voices singing a funeral dirge for the luckless city inhabitants who died.

Homer’s Odyssey tells of an encounter between Odysseus and the sea nymphs known as the sirens, whose seductive voices lured sailors to death and ruin. To escape the fatal musical enchantment of the malevolent sea nymphs, Odysseus had his crew—their ears sealed with wax—tie him to the ship’s mast, and row on without freeing him or changing course, no matter what he said while under the spell of the sirens’ song.

In medieval Norway it was believed that a man could return from the dead in the form of an aptrgangr or after-walker, whose only mission was revenge on someone who had done him wrong when he was among the living. A notorious highwayman, feeling the heat of pursuit after robbing and killing a trio of brothers, took to the sea and became captain of a small trading vessel, but retribution was close upon his heels. One night a storm overtook his ship and in a blazing set of flames, three after-walkers entered his cabin and abducted him into the sea, while his crew stood by, helpless to do anything but listen with terror to his unearthly screams as the avenging trio took him beneath the waves. For many years after, it was said that passing ships could hear, from beneath the waves, the other-worldly sound of demonic music, as the highwayman-murderer pitifully cried and sang out for mercy from above,

At the bottom of the Arctic Ocean lies the kingdom of Sedna, Inuit goddess of the underworld. Once she was human, but she was abandoned by her father during her avian husband’s attempt to recapture her and she drowned. From various parts of her body came her children of the sea: the whale, the walrus, and the seal, among others. The Inuit say that when a storm is about to erupt on the frozen ocean, Sedna sings out a haunting and mournful song recalling her life as a human, and her children answer her with their own songs of loneliness and the empty desolation of their own perilous day-to-day lives.

If mermaids can be seduced by the sound of human music, then the reverse is often the case. In a Cornish tale, a young fisherman from Truro was seduced by the singing of a mermaid, left his wife and family, and lived with her beneath the waves for a year. When he returned home and refused to come back to her, she became so angry and vengeful that she caused a tidal wave to inundate his town and kill dozens of folks, including the hapless man and his entire family. Dozens of such tales can be found up and down the Cornish coast and similar stories can be found in Wales, Brittany, Spain, and as far east as the Adriatic Sea and adjacent waters.

Similar stories tell of the mournful songs of the Selchies when they return to the sea after living mortal lives and leaving their human families. Many families in Scotland and Ireland claim actual descent from the union of a mortal with a Selchie, but usually the Selchie manages to bring them good luck in matters of weather, fishing, and making a living from the very sea itself. A number of legends involve ghostly music manifesting itself from phantom or punishment ships from the four corners of the world. Many of these stories can be found in Horace Beck’s classic volume, Folklore of the Sea, sometimes told in very gruesome and graphic details, such as the story of the Algerian brigand known as Dahul.

So the sea, which seldom if ever gives up its dead, has its own special brand of music, and in turn it is inextricably interwoven with countless legends and tales from around the world, having come down since the most ancient of days. The music of the sea is its own magic, and so are the tales found in and around that music, and so it will be as long as the wind whips the eternal waves and men go down to the sea in ships, and so should it always be, at least where a good and memorable story is concerned.

British Library Archival Sound Recordings

by Marlene McCall

The British Library holds one of the world’s foremost sound archives with a collection of over 3.5 million audio recordings. These come from all over the world and cover the entire range of recorded sound from music, drama and literature, to oral history, wildlife and environmental sounds. You can search and browse information about all the sounds held in the British Library at their Archival Sound Recordings Web site This Web site offers access to a selection of those archives in the form of tens of thousands of digitized recordings and their associated documentation.

If you are particularly interested in hearing recordings (mostly field recordings) of traditional music, choose World and Traditional Music and then Choose by Country. (If your primary interest is in English-language songs, you’ll probably want Australia, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, UK, or United States. Surprisingly, there’s nothing from Canada!) The American selection is sparse and mostly recorded in churches rather than homes or pubs, but there are some interesting items nevertheless. The UK collection is quite extensive—if your bag is British traditional songs, there’s enough material here to keep you listening for many hours.

There are collections from other countries, non-English material, as well. There are so many other countries that I won’t list them all here, but if you—re interested, check it out!

How do you know there’s singer at the door?

They have the wrong key but come in anyway.

—joke from Faith

Irish Music on Broadway

by Robert Rodriguez

Amelia Hogan may not be a household name in the territory between the great divide and the Atlantic Ocean, but she should be, and perhaps in the future will be. But for one special evening, Irish traditional music came to Broadway, in a manner of speaking. In a house concert on Friday, June 4, 2010, Amelia showed that she is one of the best singers of traditional Irish music around today, a view with which a lot of folkies on the west coast will concur. The audience was small in numbers, but enthusiastic in their response to her very special performance.

If this had been an evening of disconnected songs sung in a vacuum, it would have still been worth coming, but it was much more. Amelia knows Irish history, culture, and tradition, and performed her songs within the larger context of the Irish experience, both in Ireland and on the journey to America in the late 1840s during the Great Irish Famine. She doesn’t merely know how to sing a song, she becomes the song—its lyrics, its history, its meaning, and its importance in the larger scheme of things. This was especially true in such memorable pieces as “Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore,” “The Irish Quarter,” “The Boys of Barr Na Sraide (boys from the top of the street, neighborhood boys),” and “Erin Gra Mo Chroi (Ireland of my heart).” In these songs, the Irish experience—from Erin, across the Atlantic, and into America—came alive in words, images, and Amelia’s special brand of warmth in her professional-quality presentation.

Yet her repertoire does not come solely from the Irish experience, but ranges far afield. She ably showed this in such pieces as the comic “Our Goodman” (with its classic tale of the hoodwinked husband) and a rousing version of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons,” the American classic, with audience participation. The result was just grand, to say the least.

You folkies on the west coast are very lucky to have her in your musical midst; our side of the folk landscape should only be so lucky. Thank you, Amelia Hogan, for proving once again that the old stories and the old songs are often still the best, when all is said and done. As an old Turkish proverb says, the only thing better than finding a treasure is sharing it with someone else, and that goes for fine singers as well.