Community Notes

From The Folknik July/August 1999

Matthew Allen, Julie Searles, and their daughters Kayle (6) and Emma (2) will be moving this summer from Norman, Oklahoma, where Matthew and Julie have been teaching at the University of Oklahoma for four years, to the Boston area, where Matthew has a new job in the music department at Wheaton College. Now that they will be twice as far away from the SFFMC as they have been on the Southern Plains, they're hoping to see twice as many friends from the Bay Area thanks to the notoriety of their new location as a gathering place for people of the folk persuasion. After July 31, their address will be: Matthew Allen, Music Department, Wheaton College, Norton, MA 02766; email<>.

Stephen Coyle is in a new band now too, called the Waybacks. He writes: "The Waybacks' music has been best described as acoustic mayhem. Fiddle, mandolin, flat-picked and finger-picked guitar, Humanatone and Weissenborn, plus harmony vocals! Our gig schedule is available from the 'Gigs' link at <>. And while your surfing our site, please do sign the mailing list form and we'll send you twice-monthly propaganda. No salesman will call.

Hali Hammer and Chet Gardiner will be hosting a pot-luck jam at their house (1609 Woolsey in Berkeley) on the first Sunday of every month unless they’ll be out of town. They’re also hoping to be able to host one house concert each month tool. Details are available from them at (510)649-1423.

Newcomer Deborah Hamouris is in a group called Avalon Moon, which consists of herself (she’s a mezzosoprano), Evelyn Mann on flute, and Rebecca Hartka on cello. She writes "We are creating "Alternative Music with Ancient Root drawing from our mutual classical training, love of British Isles folk music, and experimental improvisation. Expect everything from madrigals to bardic songs to spontaneous inventions. We provide music for all types of ceremonies: weddings, memorial services, baby blessings, cronings, house-blessings, and rites of passage. We recognize that music is part of the magic woven into our daily lives, and live music provides beauty and energy to any occasion. We will be playing at open mikes throughout the Bay Area this summer, so let us know of any good venues near you! For more info or directions, call DJ at 510/652-9560.

Joel Litwin, drummer/percussionist with Erin Corday and other groups in the Pacific Northwest, now lives in Berkeley and wants to update his computer skills to include MS Word, Excel, and Adobe FrameMaker To accomplish this he’s made the following offer: You teach me the program(s) and I teach you percussion! I have 10 years experience in teaching and workshop instruction. I teach drum kit, hand drums (congas and bongos) and Latin percussion, as well as How to Play Percussion on Things You Have Around the House. Yes, soon you could be hitting something with a stick in front of thousands of people! (Well, it's worked for me...) So please let me know if you're interested - I'm ready to start anytime, and I pick things up fairly quickly (I do know PageMaker, email, the Internet, and how to delete files accidentally). Thanks and I look forward tohearing from you!

Faith Petric will be celebrating her 84th birthday on September 10 at the regular SFFMC Musical Meeting at 885Clayton, SF.

Jackie Loken (formerly Jackie Piercy) announces that Radio Rail has finally released their CD! We already missed the release party, but you can probably order it from their new website, at<>.

Van Rozay is returning for sure to the mainland June or July and is looking for a childcare job, preferably in the East Bay. He can be reached at <>. Welcome home!

Sukay, after 24 years of performing, in June is opening Pena Pacha Mama (Mother Earth), a restaurant and world music club, at 1630 Powell (I guess in SF) with cuisine of Bolivia. Information and details are available from Sukay at 3450 Sacramento St # 523; SF 94118; or on the web at <>.

Suzy and Eric Thompson have also released a new CD, "Fourth Street Messaround," of vintage jug band blues and rags. On this CD, Eric plays mandolin and guitar, Suzy plays fiddle, and everybody sings! It was recorded in their living room with their friends W. B. Reid (banjo-guitar and fiddle), Frannie Leopold (guitar), and Steven Strauss (bowed bass). This band goes by the name of the Todalo Shakers. You can get the CD from them at their gigs, at Down Home Music in El Cerrito, or by mail order from WB Reid (email him at <> for details).

Our fellow folk club, the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston celebrated its 40th birthday on June 6 with a big party. Congratulations!

Sol "Roundman" Weber, who is getting to be one of our steady contributors, informs us that "I always watch and tape the ABC Nightline show each weeknight, because in between the current news stories (Kosovo, high school mayhem, politics) there's the occasional out of left field item. On Friday, May 21, it was a fascinating half hour on Martin guitars, the history, how they're made, and lots of music. A copy can be purchased from ABC.

The California Bluegrass Association has a new "South Bay" chapter, and The Santa Cruz Bluegrass Society is about to become the Northern California Bluegrass Society. Plus ça change!

Excerpts From A Letter From Sis Cunningham

I was most interested and happy to see the Ross Altman song and letter in the folknik. The best song I've seen in the past couple of decades … You know my husband Gordon was blacklisted, for real, in 1948, even before McCarthy, but the HUAC was already in existence. Gordon's dossier will be included, I believe, in the glossary of our forthcomingbook. Something bowled me over recently: A friend ran across early issues of Broadside (those with Dylan songs) priced at $35 for a single! Regular issues were marked $25. What's happening? These are copies someone at one time bought for $1 or $2. I may have a few old yellowed copies somewhere among my junk. Why couldn't I get rich? Sis Cunningham, 215 W 98th St., Apt 4D, New York 10025

Note from Faith: The book Sis mentions is due out in July from the University of Massachusetts Press. It is entitled Red Dust And Broadsides, A Joint Autobiography of Agnes (Sis) Cummingham and Gordon Friesen, edited by Ronald D. Cohen with foreword by Pete Seeger. It is billed as "the engrossing story of two prominent American radicals." Pete says: "Beware starting to read this book late at night … I couldn't put it down." Check U.Mass. Press at<>.

Farewell to Shel

On May 10, noted children’s author, cartoonist, poet, and song-writer Shel Silverstein was found dead of a heart attack. He was 66.. He had apparently suffered from severe coronary artery disease for several years. At the time of his death, according to long-time friend and lawyer Sheldon Vidibor, he was practicing yoga and playing many instruments that he had taught himself.

His award-winning children’s poetry, which captured the imaginations of children and adults, included The Giving tree, Falling Up, Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and The Missing Piece. And his classic songs enabled many of us to sing rock and country music we could feel comfortable with, songs like Cover of the Rolling Stone, The Winner, and Put Another Log on the Fire. Why, he even had hits on the charts, like The Unicorn, and A Boy Named Sue.

Around the time when I was learning many of his songs that were recorded by Dr. Hook, I discovered that one of my famorite songs on a Gordon Lightfoot had been written by Shel, On Susan’s Floor. And when I was hosting a children’s radio program, playing Silverstein’s own recordings of his poems and stories was always guaranteed to elicit appreciative phone calls from children and adults alike. He will be truly missed.

- Kathryn LaMar

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