Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Message from Yoko Ono Lennon - New Year’s Eve 2008

Message from Yoko Ono Lennon - New Year’s Eve 2008


This last day of the year 2008
All of us can come together at
To enjoy spectacular images from the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER - LIVE - from Reykjavik, Iceland
- a special program made for this day.

On New Year’s Eve, The IMAGINE PEACE TOWER will be lit from:
Reykjavik: 5pm to 10am
New York : midday to 5am
Los Angeles: 9am to 2am

As we enter the New Year, we will be watching the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER and its warm light together.
Know that our light will be sending the light of love to all planets of the Universe as well.
On this day, I wish to express my love for all of us, including other beings on Earth.


Thank you, thank you, thank you
Our planet is healthy and whole
Every part of the planet is revitalized and healed.

We, the people of Earth
See clearly, Hear clearly, Think clearly.
Express and communicate our thoughts clearly
Spiritually, Mentally, and physically.

For the benefit of ours and other planets’
We make the right judgement, right decision, right move
at the right time and the right place
for ourselves and others.

We are now bathing in the light of Dawn
Standing in the Heaven we have created on Earth.
We now wish to share this Age of Joy
With all Lives in the Universe.

We are all one, united with infinite and eternal love.

For the highest good of all concerned, So be it.

Yoko Ono Lennon

31 Dec 2008
New Years Eve
Think PEACE, Act PEACE, Spread PEACE.

IMAGINE PEACE TOWER is an outdoor work of art conceived by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon.
It is situated on Viðey Island in Reykjavík, Iceland.
The artwork was dedicated to John by Yoko at its unveiling on October 9th 2007, John Lennon’s 67th birthday.
IMAGINE PEACE TOWER symbolizes Lennon’s and Ono’s continuing campaign for world peace
which began in the sixties, was sealed by their marriage in 1968 and will continue forever.


More info & watch the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER documentary here
Email your wishes to the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER
IMAGINE PEACE TOWER photos on Flickr

Send Wishes

Monday, December 29, 2008

Chopped Liver

WUMB has an insane policy that serves absolutely nobody in the music community.

When an artist or venue or producer submits a calendar listing and...

1. ...if the artist or artists are on their play list, the event is posted to its "WUMB Music Calendar" known in other places in its website as "Folk Radio Calendar" or "Folk Music Calendar" (oops, I thought WUMB had abandoned all references to its being a folk radio station?).


2. ...if the artist or artists are not on their play list, the event is posted to its "Community Calendar".


3. if the bill is mixed (playlisted and non-playlisted artists), the event is edited to the playlisted artist's name, the non-playlisted artist's name is changed to "and more" (or, if multiple "and others") and the listing is posted to both calendars.

Is this insanity? Who does this policy serve?

To demonstrate the insanity and to honor the current "and more" artists, the next section is a copy and paste from the "WUMB Music Calendar", using key search word "more". Leading numbers have been added to tie the disrespected artists to their identities in the following section.

WUMB Music Calendar

Below, are listings for musicians performing in the greater Boston area, who you can hear on WUMB during our Monday through Friday, 6am-7pm music shows. A link to each venue is included to confirm show times, for additional artists, or for more information.

Note that this calendar does not contain listings for artists heard only during our Weekend shows, or on our nationally syndicated programs. You can find those and more listings here on our Community Calendar, which also includes listings for local arts and cultural events.

Folk Radio Calendar

listings for more

1. Antje Duvekot and more
Friday January 9, 2009
Amazing Things Arts Center
Framingham, MA
8:00 pm

2. Antje Duvekot and more
Wednesday January 14, 2009
Stone Soup Coffeehouse
Pawtucket RI
8:00 pm

3. Anthony da Costa & more
Saturday January 24, 2009
Club Passim
Cambridge MA
4:00 pm

4. Rani Arbo & more
Friday January 30, 2009
Club Passim
Cambridge MA
8:00 pm

5. Catie Curtis and more
Saturday January 31, 2009
Stone Soup Coffeehouse
Pawtucket RI
8:00 pm

6. 20th Anniversary Celebration featuring music of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie with Alastair Moock, Scott Alarik, Marc Simos, and more
Saturday February 7, 2009
Rose Garden Coffeehouse
Mansfield MA
7:30 pm

7. Don White and more
Saturday February 7, 2009
Linden Tree Coffeehouse
Wakefield MA
8:00 pm

8. Christine Lavin and more
Saturday February 21, 2009
Peterborough Folk Music Society
Peterborough NH
8:00 pm

9. Garnet Rogers and more
Friday March 6, 2009
UnCommon Coffeehouse
Framingham MA
8:00 pm

10. David Mallett and more
Saturday March 21, 2009
The Third Fret Coffeehouse
Marstons Mills MA
7:00 pm hethirdfretcoffeehouse

11. Chuck Hall and more
Saturday March 21, 2009
Rose Garden Coffeehouse
Mansfield MA
7:30 pm

12. Annie & the Beekeepers and more
Saturday April 4, 2009
Linden Tree Coffeehouse
Wakefield MA
8:00 pm

13. Red Molly and more
Saturday April 18, 2009
New Moon Coffeehouse
Haverhill MA
8:00 pm

Who are the "and more"?

1. Chris O'Brien, WUMB's own 2006 artist of the year! Has Chris been removed from the playlist?

From his website: "On Monday WUMB in Boston named Chris O'Brien their New Artist of the Year. WUMB is one of the countries best known Folk music stations, so this is a huge honor. For more info check out their website at"

From "artist of the year" to "chopped liver", quite an honor, indeed.

2. The Stone Soup's website does not list this concert. Huh?

3. Nicole Reynolds

4. Daisy Mayhem This is a case of the calendar editor not knowing the talent. "Daisy Mayhem" is the name of the band!
So, what's a daisy mayhem?
Wicked grooves, sublime lead singing, great harmonies, sparkling original songs, and a deep repertoire that spans 200 years of American music. Four people who share an irresistible chemistry on stage. An unusually gleeful string band that celebrates both tradition and improvisation and that stumps the categorizers. (Are they an agnostic gospel band? A homeopathic bluegrass band? Are they crazy?). Worth seeing...

5. Marc Douglas Berardo

Brian Kalinec
From the Rose Garden's concert listing: "Brian Kalinec was a finalist in the 2008 Rose Garden Performing Songwriter and was 2nd prize winner in the 2008 Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition."
7. Curt Bessette
From the Linden Tree's concert listing: "The benchmark of Curt Bessette's work has always been quality. His highly evolved fingerstyle guitar, his warm, effortless vocal approach, and his elegant songwriting are the product of years of development and personal discipline..." --The Portsmouth Herald
Curt will be joined by Neal Zweig on lead guitar.
8. Avi and Celia
From the PFMS concert listing: "Schooled in tradition but not afraid to blur boundaries, soul-folk duet Avi & Celia are striking matches and catchin' wind. A raucous washboard, sliding steel guitar, and two resounding voices bond together to deliver gritty, original folk-based music. Simmering with hip-shaking, blue-tinged melodies, this powerhouse duo, coming out of Vermont, write songs with youthful honesty. Their new CD, Let it Rise, was released in September."
9. No opening artist is listed at the Uncommon's website.

10. Larry Zarella

11. Joe Crookston

12. Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters

13. Dean Stevens


This practice has gone on as long as WUMB has operated its dual calendars. It was conveyed to a nationwide house concert producers' discussion group. Here are two of many responses:

"...WUMB should at least offer an explanation. Folk music, in my opinion, has never been about the big stars and household names; it's about the music, the community and the messages within the music. I have attended a lot of concerts and shows for the sole purpose of hearing not the headliner, but artists in the "and more" category...."

"This has got to be the nuttiest (or maybe most elitist) policy I've ever heard of. It makes no sense at all to edit a listing to remove an artist who is not played on the station. After all, who gets hurt when they leave the "other" name on there? All that happens is that a not-so-well-known artist gets a little exposure they might not otherwise have received. Certainly neither the station, any listener, any artist, or anyone who attends the listed concert would be hurt by leaving that "other" name on there. So what exactly is the point of that editing? Seems like the station ought to trust their "elite" artists not to play with someone who's not worth listening to, don't you think? I can't imagine that any artist would want to damage their reputation by playing sharing a bill with someone they don't appreciate, and a lot of well-known artists are generous enough to actually WANT to lend publicity to someone who's good but not quite so well known."

So, what can WUMB's motivation possibly be?

End the censorship, WUMB, honor the musicians and venues, list artists as submitted!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Sacred Shakers, 1/31/09

Happy Winter!

As I get ready to visit family and friends for this holiday I am reminded of all the patrons and volunteers who have helped support Notlob Concerts this year. Thank you so much for coming out to shows and bringing great energy with you.

I just got off the phone, finalized booking Signature Sounds recording artists THE SACRED SHAKERS for Saturday, January 31, 2009!

How fitting to have the Sacred Shakers in the Clarendon Hill sanctuary.

Suggested donation will be $12.50 general, $10 students and seniors and will be available through Brown Paper Tickets after the first of the new year. If you have last-minute holiday shopping to do you're done, just write a note and buy tickets online in their name.

You can read more about them at their website and myspace.


Country Standard Time - 8.22.08

Smålandsposten - 8.13.08

Boston Herald - 8.5.08

Boston Globe- 8.1.08

Daily Freeman - 8.1.08

Songs: Illinois - 7.25.08

Fish Records (UK) - 7.17.08


For The Sacred Shakers, there's nothing finer than old-time, country and blues-influenced gospel music. Think Hank Williams, The Carter Family, The Stanley Brothers, Son House, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Beginning in 2005, that music drew a small but ever-widening circle of some of Boston's finest musicians and vocalists together at the Country Gospel Brunch concert series. In short order, The Boston Globe described the group as "a local Who's Who of all-star roots musicians." And last summer, after hearing a single live performance by The Sacred Shakers, indie Signature Sounds label owner Jim Olsen encouraged the group to record their repertoire. On their eponymous debut, The Sacred Shakers offer new life to the gospel genre by revisiting the stripped down country and bluesy gospel material that inspires them.

On The Sacred Shakers, respect is paid to the old tunes but don't look for a strict interpretation on this 14-track disc of mostly traditional gems plus a few gospel classics from Hank Williams and George Jones. Forget about the R&B grooves and slick sounds of modern gospel. Unlike many modern artists' versions of heavy spiritual tunes, the Shakers don't clean things up or over-produce and make it sound pretty. The Shakers simply play the songs and transition effortlessly from slower acoustic country/bluegrass like "Ready To Go Home," to their rollicking rockabilly version of the traditional "I'm Gonna Do My Best," and on to the droning blues of "Travelin' Shoes." As for the religious angle of these songs, the Shakers are an omni-denominational band, joining Christians, Jews and Agnostics to share this genuine, historic music with their believer and non-believer fans.

The beauty of The Sacred Shakers (live and on CD) is the easy mix and match of lead vocalists, with Fram taking lead backed up by Jewell's rich harmonies on some numbers, Beek and Jewell joining voices on another, and the pure ring of Glassman or Royer out in front on others  all with some combination of the others voices not far behind. The choice of songs was an equally democratic process, as Beek puts it, "One of us heard a particular tune, brought it to the band and together we processed it through the Shaker format to come out sounding good and fun." That approach of putting a contemporary spin on older material follows the recipe Jewell, Beek, Sciascia and Miller took collectively as the Eilen Jewell Band on her internationally acclaimed 2007 label debut, Letters From Sinners & Strangers. Of Jewell's original songs and selection of covers, The Washington Post praised "her knack for giving older songs a traditional feel with modern flair." And like that debut, The Sacred Shakers is a wonderful distillation of classic folk, country and blues styles delivered by an unforgettable chorus of voices.

The Sacred ShakersThe Sacred Shakers On Sale! New!
Company: Signature Sounds
Catalog Number: SIG 2015
For The Sacred Shakers, there's nothing finer than old-time, country and blues-influenced gospel music. Think Hank Williams, The Carter Family, The Stanley Brothers, Son House, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Beginning in 2005, that music drew a small but ever-widening circle of some of Boston's finest musicians and vocalists together at the Country Gospel Brunch concert series. In short order, The Boston Globe described the group as "a local Who's Who of all-star roots musicians." And last summer, after hearing a single live performance by The Sacred Shakers, indie Signature Sounds label owner Jim Olsen encouraged the group to record their repertoire. On their eponymous debut, The Sacred Shakers offer new life to the gospel genre by revisiting the stripped down country and bluesy gospel material that inspires them. [More Info and Sound Clips]

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tom Paxton Honored with The Recording Academy® Lifetime Achievement Award

Congratulations, Tom!

Read entire press release here.

Gene Autry, the Blind Boys Of Alabama, the Four Tops, Hank Jones, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, and Tom Paxton Honored with The Recording Academy® Lifetime Achievement Award

George Avakian, Elliott Carter, and Allen Toussaint Honored with Trustees Award

Clarence "Leo" Fender and Universal Audio to Receive Technical GRAMMY® Award

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Recording Academy® has named Gene Autry, the Blind Boys Of Alabama, the Four Tops, Hank Jones, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, and Tom Paxton as recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. George Avakian, Elliott Carter, and Allen Toussaint are honored with the Trustees Award. Clarence "Leo" Fender and Universal Audio will receive the Technical GRAMMY® Award. The special invitation-only ceremony will be held during GRAMMY Week on Saturday, Feb. 7, and a formal acknowledgment will be made during the 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast, which will be held at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009, and broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.

"This year's recipients are a prestigious group of legendary performers, creative architects and technical visionaries who have made lasting contributions to the music and global communities," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "Their outstanding accomplishments, legendary passion and artistry have positively affected our culture and will continue to influence and inspire generations to come."

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors lifelong artistic contributions to the recording medium while the Trustees Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the industry in a non-performing capacity. Both awards are determined by vote of The Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are determined by vote of The Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees as well as The Academy's Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field.


About the Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees:

An influential singer/songwriter who emerged from the Greenwich Village folk revival scene of the early '60s, Tom Paxton became a voice of his generation addressing issues of injustice and inhumanity. His songs have been recorded by Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, Judy Collins, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Doc Watson and many more. Recording for more than 40 years, Paxton has performed thousands of concerts around the world and has received numerous awards and honors, including an official Parliamentary tribute at the British House of Commons.


Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit

Live Concert Webcast Database

Live Concert Webcasts

A new database to share news of streamed live and archived folk concerts has been created in the "Northeast Folk n Roots" group. Any group member can add records, alerting others of archived or upcoming concerts.

Thanks to my friends Lizzy West and Baba Buffalo for alerting me to the fact that Club Helsinki in Great Barrington is doing both.

Highly recommended ~ Lizzy West and Baba Buffalo, from their July '08 "Tumbleweed Cabaret" concert at Club Helsinki in Great Barrington.

7.20.08 Tumbleweed Cabaret Set 1
7.20.08 Tumbleweed Cabaret set 2

highly recommended:

"Special archived webcast of The Tumbleweed Cabaret featuring (weapons inspector) Scott Ritter and (CIA analyst) Ray McGovern (and Lizzy and Baba), this evening was a wonderful and peaceful alternative to the Republican Madness!"

Lizzy and Baba return to Club Helsinki Sunday, Dec 28th.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Massachusetts Tree Hugger

James Taylor gets cozy with the pine tree presented to him by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in celebration of his 60th birthday. The tree will be planted on the grounds at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008 FolkWax Artist and Album of the Year Awards!

The nomination process is now open for the 2008 FolkWax Artist and Album of the Year Awards! Simply send your nomination for both categories to
Please add '2008 Nominations' in the subject of your email. The Final
Ballot will be announced in the issue of January 1, 2009.

My nominations for best album and artist go to 'Blackbirds in the Pie', Geoff Bartley's (Notlob 8/18/07 & 11/15/08) first album since his critically acclaimed 'One Kind Word' (1998). It's pure Geoff. I urge you to consider giving Geoff and 'Blackbirds' your votes.

Blackbirds in the Pie CD cover artA new CD of seventeen songs and instrumentals, half of them originals, has been released! Material ranges from a humorous version of Bessie Smith's Send Me to the ..Lectric Chair with a guest appearance by Billy Novick on clarinet to the heart-warming Song of Imaginary Gifts to the personal and mystical Open Any Door, both Bartley originals. Production values range from solo resonator guitar to full band.

But if 'Blackbirds' is not your cup of Pabst, please share your thoughts.

p.s. the gorgeous artwork was done by Lisa Bastoni.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

RIP Davy Graham

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Davy died yesterday amongst friends and family from a massive seizure at home after a short battle with lung cancer. There will be a private family funeral held in the next few days and a public memorial in January; details of which will be available at shortly. Davy will be missed by those of us who loved him. The many fans who came to see his last concerts gave him much joy and satisfaction and was something he drew great strength from. Messages of condolence can be sent via

Davy Graham was a guitarist, singer and arranger who revolutionised guitar playing in the early sixties and enjoyed a long career as England's greatest: if often over-looked, guitarist.

Revered by several generations of guitarists, he invented the Folk -Baroque style, invented a modal tuning system for the guitar called DADGAD and composed the signature tune of the sixties folk revival, Anji.

There is a danger of letting many gems slip through the gaps of rigidly imposed labels; it is unwise to think of Davy in terms of "Folk Music".

Davy demonstrated that folk music has as much right to be thought about and developed as art music or jazz. He has been influenced by these forms as well as by folk, Indian and Arabic and also Occidental.

His music, a blend of so much, is itself a minature universe, "I write my own complete music, resulting from a fusion of influences"

`I'm a traveller really, I would die as a person if I stayed in place for more than a year, I like to change my impressions and refresh my personality. My roots are in my music, and in my friends, that's enough…"

"A traveling man who had made the fabled journey down to Tangiers when the
rest of us still had our sights set on Brighton pier" JOHN RENBOURN

"He's my absolute hero, always will be" BERT JANSCH

"I wanted to be Davy Graham." JOHN MARTYN

"Davy was and is the Man"MARTIN CARTHY

"Probably England's greatest guitarist" PAUL SIMON

Where's the jazz?

With all due respect to Clara Peller in her Wendy's "Where's the Beef" commercial.

The Monterey Pop Festival was appropriately named. It included artists from many genre.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival connotes jazz and NOLA-themed music, however in today's headliners announcement I saw only one bonified jazz artist and a few New Orleans roots artists. The rest come from pop / soul / alt country / rock....all over the music spectrum. One would think many stellar jazz and NOLA roots artists would be featured at a festival with the words "jazz" and "heritage" in its name.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Over the past few years, and at an accelerating rate, I've noticed festivals are straying away from their origins, presenting fringe (relative to them) artists. It is obvious that this is done to attract new patrons. If a festival wants to try to be all things to all patrons, that's their marketing choice. Just be square with the patrons in the advertising. If the music genera is not the same as the festival name, change the the festival name to encompass what you are - like "Monterey Pop". But as long as the festival name contains just one descriptive word like"folk" or "bluegrass", stay true to the genre.

Festivals like the Falcon Ridge FOLK Festival and the Grey Fox BLUEGRASS Festival and the Rhythm n Roots Festival (Cajun, zydeco and blues) start selling tickets in December at a reduced price to induce early sales for their July (FRFF & GF) and Labor Day weekend (RnR) dates. Many patrons buy on blind faith, knowing management will stay true to the art form. These festivals have the most loyal and knowledgeable fans immaginable, and have a special responsibility to staying true to their names.

I am a strong supporter of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival , but recent posts in its forum proposing AAA pop artists be booked are very disturbing. In these days of "singer/songwriters" who the general public may confuse with traditional and revival "folk" music, I am sure FRFF's artistic director will filter the pleas for the more extreme popish artists and stay as true to the genre as she can. With regard to some recent Falcon Ridge artist selections, one traditional folk artist put it to me this way: "(they are) contemporary pop artists booked into a folk festival, trying to sound like rock stars, and doing a pretty poor job of it, too."

At least NOJHF announced that artists and ticket sales at the same time, that way patrons know what they are getting.

And with all due respect to Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand, Pete Seeger, George Wein, Albert Grossman, another festival that would be wise to change its name is Newport, from "folk" to "pop" or "top 40". But that is a subject for another time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I've been Bottega Veneta'd

Is it ethical for performing arts centers to compromise subscriber privacy?

In all my years of subscribing to many coffee house, performing art center and festival email lists, I have never been spammed as a result of the venue giving away or selling my personal contact information.

That is until today.

"This message was sent from Bottega Veneta to notlobmusic@xxxxxxxxxxx. It was sent from: Bottega Veneta, 697 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10022. "

Beware, if you belong to the TCAN mailing list your address, like mine, has probably been given to Bottega Veneta, a high end retail fashion store. And who knows how many more?

The right half of the image below encourages shopping their yupscale store, ostensibly a percentage of the sales will be given to TCAN.

  1. I did not give you my mailing address to pass on to others.
  2. I prefer to patronize local family-owned and run businesses, not corporations.
  3. If I had the money to buy high end fashion, I'd prefer to donate it to the needy.

Needless to say I will be unsubscribing from the TCAN list, will not be shopping Bottega Veneta, and will be supporting performing art centers that are in tune with my political and ethical beliefs.

Bottega Veneta

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2009 Boston Folk Festival Canceled

2009 Boston Folk Festival Canceled

The Boston Globe cites lack of "corporate sponsors" as a cause, but as one who has been close to the festival for the past seven years, as well as in tune with WUMB's format changes (from roots and folk to AAA), I suspect other factors are at work.

For the last few years the festival has been on the decline, shrinking from two days to one, creating an unfriendly "us and them" vibe by catering to "VIP's" with private concerts and providing high backed chairs down front, eliminating the dance stage two years ago and the workshop and busker stages last year), a scarcity of vendors, running the main stage as a workshop stage, and following the Duncan Donuts Festival's lead by headlining country and pop artists in place of folk artists.

News of the Boston Folk Festival's demise reached me via Google alert at 2:12am that "hit" this Boston Globe gossip column story.

Folk fest nixed

Yet another victim of tough economic times, next year's Boston Folk Festival has been canceled. Pat Monteith, executive director of the event and general manager of sponsoring radio station WUMB, says organizers decided it wouldn't be fiscally responsible to have one in the fall, especially with no corporate sponsors on board. Now in its 11th year, the festival - which has featured such headliners as Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, and Suzanne Vega - could be revived, but Monteith is hesitant to say when or how. "To be very honest with you, I can't even think about another festival until I get the radio station [financially] healthy."

Isn't it interesting that the Boston Globe, once a fine newspaper (emphasis on "news") covered this in its "Names" feature, essentially a gossip column? Concert and news coverage, for so many years done by Scott Alarick, has all but ceased. For more information how the Globe has abandoned folk news and concert announcements, read this item/subsequent discussion in NEFolkNRoots.

From WUMB's
website, posted later that same day. (Note to WUMB management - before posting to the web, run your article through a spell checker. "Canceled" has but one "l").

The 2009 Boston Folk Festival has been cancelled! (sic)

WUMB Radio, the producer of the Boston Folk Festival has sadly and regrettably announced that the 2009 Festival has been cancelled (sic) because of the current economic climate and the lack of a major sponsor. The Festival's Executive Director, Pat Monteith says that the Festival's "current business model, which has largely been dependent on ticket sales, does not allow us to suffer bad weather conditions as happened last year and on other occasions over the eleven year history of the event." The 2008 Festival, which was nearly rained-out, ended up with a $12,000 deficit.

Over the next few months the staff will be examining the future of the Boston Folk Festival and determine if, how, when and in what format it will continue. The Festival organizers and volunteers want past attendees, supporters, performers and the members of the Boston Area Coffeehouse Association to know how much we've very sincerely appreciated your support over the years.

Check back here on the Boston Folk Festival Web site in mid-summer for further possible updates.

From the Boston Folk Festival website, also posted later that same day.

The 2009 Boston Folk Festival has been cancelled! (sic)

WUMB Radio, the producer of the Boston Folk Festival has sadly and regrettably announced that the 2009 Festival has been cancelled because of the current economic climate and the lack of a major sponsor. The Festival's Executive Director, Pat Monteith says that the Festival's "current business model, which has largely been dependent on ticket sales, does not allow us to suffer bad weather conditions as happened last year and on other occasions over the eleven year history of the event." The 2008 Festival, which was nearly rained-out, ended up with a $12,000 deficit.

Over the next few months the staff will be examining the future of the Boston Folk Festival and determine if, how, when and in what format it will continue. The Festival organizers and volunteers want past attendees, supporters, performers and the members of the Boston Area Coffeehouse Association to know how much we've very sincerely appreciated your support over the years.

Check back here on the Boston Folk Festival Web site in mid-summer for further possible updates.

In Northeast Folk n Roots, one disappointed festival fan quipped

...However, what is REALLY disappointing is that we (maybe I shouldn't speak for others) found this out throught a Boston Globe report. I am on several WUMB email lists, and have been a member, a volunteer, and a subscriber to their e-newsletter (which, by the way, is still called FOLK Ripples, not AAA Ripples, nor even Music Mix Ripples) and which another edition was just published and sent out. Nary a mention of the major decision to cancel the BFF, and you can't convince me that the Globe reporter had talked to Pat only moments before deadline while she was composting a msg to be sent to all on their email ltsts. Why not inform interested parties directly of this development? ...
The way WUMB management handled the announcement (was it a planned leak to a gossip column or did the gossip journalist just happen to be surfing the BFF website before deadline, rather than a piece in its newsletter or direct email to the newsletter list) is another indicator they were operating beyond their capabilities. I'm not surprised to see the Boston Folk Festival pass.

But perhaps I am wrong, and WUMB management is savvier than I give them credit for being. Perhaps the demise is part of a larger plan to "miraculously" bring the festival back in 2010. If they do, I predict the name will change from the Boston Folk Festival to "Boston Pop (or AAA or some slick marketing word meaning top 40 crap) Festival", with musicians from the WUMB "music mix" and the WXPN playlist. (WXPN is another a member-supported folk radio station that has drunk the NPR kool-aid and gone to a AAA format).

Time will tell.

The INTERNATIONALE, a film by Peter Miller

Get The Internationale Online

December 9th, 2008 by karley3599

Get The Internationale Online

Watch The Internationale Online Right Now!

The Internationale chronicles the fascinating history of the legendary song written in 1871, after the brutal suppression of the Paris Commune. This rallying cry for all the oppressed and exploited people of the world to rise up and overthrow their masters was soon to be translated and sung in over a hundred languages throughout the world. Featuring rare archival footage and performances and interviews with the likes of Billy Bragg and Pete Seeger, The Internationale explores the importance of ideals, the fate of the left, and the power of music as a force for change.

Download The Internationale Online Right Now!

The Internationale was congenial! You have to be informed this movie! A glorious performance by Billy Bragg & Pete Seeger make The Internationale a “have got to certify” movie!

Original source

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Selected Grammy nominations that relate to folk and roots, and a few oddities

Selected Grammy nominations that relate to folk and roots, and a few oddities related to former folk radio stations that are playing some of the nominated pop artists, thrown in for good measure.

My comments, in red, are inter spaced.

Source is the Grammy website.

Category 1

Record Of The Year
(Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s), if other than the artist.)

  • Chasing Pavements
    Eg White, producer; Tom Elmhirst & Steve Price, engineers/mixers
    Track from: 19
    [XL Recordings/Columbia]
  • Viva La Vida
    Markus Dravs, Brian Eno & Rik Simpson, producers; Michael Brauer & Rik Simpson, engineers/mixers
    Track from: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
    [Capitol Records]
  • Bleeding Love
    Leona Lewis
    SimonCowell, Clive Davis & Ryan "Alias" Tedder, producers; CraigDurrance, Phil Tan & Ryan "Alias" Tedder, engineers/mixers
    [J Records/SYCO Music]
  • Paper Planes
    Diplo, producer; Switch, engineer/mixer
    Track from: Kala
  • Please Read The Letter
    Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
    T Bone Burnett, producer; Mike Piersante, engineer/mixer
    Track from: Raising Sand

Well,I guess Led Zeppelin will be looking for and touring with a new leadvocalist as Mr. Plant and Ms. Kraus return to the studio to recordagain before heading out on tour. The upside is this will free Jerry Douglas to do more work on his own.

Category 6

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • All Summer Long
    Kid Rock
    Track from: Rock N Roll Jesus
  • Say
    John Mayer
    Track from: Continuum
  • That Was Me
    Paul McCartney
    Track from: Amoeba's Secret
    [Hear Music/MPL Communications Ltd.]
  • I'm Yours
    Jason Mraz
    Track from: We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
  • Closer
    Track from: Year Of The Gentleman
    [Def Jam/Compound Entertainment]
  • Wichita Lineman
    James Taylor
    Track from: Covers
    [Hear Music]

Listen to Paul McCartney's new album "As The Fireman" in its entirety that is being hyped by NPR. I did, and lasted no more than 5-10 minutes. And "pop" is the right category for Mr. Taylor.s effort.

Category 11

Best Pop Vocal Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

  • Detours
    Sheryl Crow
    [A&M Records]
  • Rockferry
  • Long Road Out Of Eden
    [Eagles Recording Company II]
  • Spirit
    Leona Lewis
    [J Records/SYCO Music]
  • Covers
    James Taylor
    [Hear Music]

Another James Taylor pop nomination, and second or third for the Eagles. Now that they have been nominated, how long it will be before WFUV, WUMB and other former folk stations,"inspired" by NPR's consultants and money, play these AAA hits, and can Cheryl Crow be far behind?

Field 3 — Traditional Pop

Category 14

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

  • Still Unforgettable
    Natalie Cole
    [DMI Records]
  • The Sinatra Project
    Michael Feinstein
    [Concord Music Group]
  • Noël
    Josh Groban
  • In The Swing Of Christmas
    Barry Manilow
  • Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall
    Rufus Wainwright

"Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall" sounds more like a, well, kids may read this, I'll say no more.

Category 40

Best Country Instrumental Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, without vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • Sumatra
    Track from: Cherryholmes III: Don't Believe
    [Skaggs Family Records]
  • Two Small Cars In Rome
    Jerry Douglas & Lloyd Green
    Track from: Glide
  • Sleigh Ride
    Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
    Track from: Jingle All The Way
  • Is This America? (Katrina 2005)
    Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny, Jerry Douglas & Bruce Hornsby
    Track from: Family & Friends — Rambling Boy
    [Decca Records]
  • Cluster Pluck
    Brad Paisley, James Burton, Vince Gill, John Jorgenson, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert & Steve Wariner
    [Arista Nashville]

Category 43

Best Bluegrass Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Cherryholmes III: Don't Believe
    [Skaggs Family Records]
  • Del McCoury Band — Live At The 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
    McCoury Band

  • The Ultimate Collection / Live At The Ryman
    Earl Scruggs With Family & Friends
    [Rounder Records]
  • Honoring The Fathers Of Bluegrass: Tribute To 1946 And 1947
    Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
    [Skaggs Family Records]
  • Wheels
    Dan Tyminski

Category 66

Best Traditional Blues Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • The Blues Rolls On
    Elvin Bishop
    [Delta Groove Music, Inc.]
  • Skin Deep
    Buddy Guy
    [Silvertone Records]
  • All Odds Against Me
    John Lee Hooker Jr.
    [Steppin' Stone Records/CC Entertainment]
  • One Kind Favor
    B.B. King
    [Geffen Records]
  • Pinetop Perkins & Friends
    Pinetop Perkins & Friends
    [Stoneagle Music/Telarc]

Category 67

Best Contemporary Blues Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Peace, Love & BBQ
    Marcia Ball
    [Alligator Records]
  • Like A Fire
    Solomon Burke
    [Shout! Factory]
  • City That Care Forgot
    Dr. John And The Lower 911
    [429 Records]
  • Maestro
    Taj Mahal
    [Heads Up International]
  • Simply Grand
    Irma Thomas
    [Rounder Records]

Category 68

Best Traditional Folk Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Coal
    Kathy Mattea
    [Captain Potato Records]
  • Comedians & Angels
    Tom Paxton
    [Appleseed Recordings]
  • Bring Me Home
    Peggy Seeger
    [Appleseed Recordings]
  • At 89
    Pete Seeger
    [Appleseed Recordings]
  • Strangers In Another Country
    Rosalie Sorrels
    [Red House Records]

Category 69

Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Day After Tomorrow
    Joan Baez
    [Bobolink/Razor & Tie]
  • I, Flathead
    Ry Cooder
    [Nonesuch Records]
  • Sex & Gasoline
    Rodney Crowell
    [Work Song/Yep Roc Records]
  • All I Intended To Be
    Emmylou Harris
    [Nonesuch Records]
  • Raising Sand
    Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
    [Rounder Records]

Category 70

Best Native American Music Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Songs From The Black Hills
    Bryan Akipa
    [SOAR Corporation]
  • Spo'Mo'Kin'Nan
    Black Lodge
    [Canyon Records]
  • Red Rock
    Northern Cree
    [Canyon Records]
  • Come To Me Great Mystery — Native American Healing Songs
    (Various Artists)
    Tom Wasinger, producer
    [Silver Wave Records]
  • Faith
    Kevin Yazzie
    [Canyon Records]

Category 72

Best Zydeco Or Cajun Music Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Live At The 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
    BeauSoleil & Michael Doucet
  • From Now On
    Michael Doucet
    [Smithsonian Folkways Recordings]
  • Homage Au Passé
    Pine Leaf Boys
  • Live At The 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
    Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys
  • Cedric Watson
    Cedric Watson
    [Valcour Records]

Field 16 — World Music

Category 74

Best Traditional World Music Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Calcutta Chronicles: Indian Slide Guitar Odyssey
    Debashish Bhattacharya
    [Riverboat Records/World Music Network]
  • The Mandé Variations
    Toumani Diabaté
    [Nonesuch Records]
  • Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu
    Ladysmith Black Mambazo
    [Heads Up International]
  • Dancing In The Light
    Lakshmi Shankar
    [World Village]

Category 75

Best Contemporary World Music Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Shake Away
    Lila Downs
    [Manhattan Records/Blue Note]
  • Banda Larga Cordel
    Gilberto Gil
    [Warner Music Latina]
  • Global Drum Project
    Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju & Giovanni Hidalgo
    [Shout! Factory]
  • Rokku Mi Rokka (Give And Take)
    Youssou N'Dour
    [Nonesuch Records]
  • Live At The Nelson Mandela Theater
    Soweto Gospel Choir
    [Shanachie Entertainment]

Field 26 — Historical

Category 91

Best Historical Album

  • Art Of Field Recording Volume I: Fifty Years Of Traditional American Music Documented By Art Rosenbaum
    Steven Lance Ledbetter & Art Rosenbaum, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer (Various Artists)
  • Classic Columbia, OKeh And Vocalion Lester Young With Count Basie (1936-1940)
    ScottWenzel, compilation producer; Malcolm Addey, Michael Brooks, MattCavaluzzo, Andreas Meyer & Mark Wilder, mastering engineers (LesterYoung With Count Basie)
    [Mosaic Records]
  • Debate '08: Taft And Bryan Campaign On The Edison Phonograph
    DavidGiovannoni, Meagan Hennessey & Richard Martin, compilationproducers; Richard Martin, mastering engineer (William Jennings Bryan& William Howard Taft)
    [Archeophone Records]
  • Polk Miller & His Old South Quartette
    KenFlaherty, Jr., compilation producer; Marcos Sueiro Bal, Ken Flaherty,Jr., Kurt Nauck & Glenn Sage, mastering engineers (Polk Miller& His Old South Quartette)
    [Tompkins Square]
  • To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story
    Richard Seidel, compilation producer; Mark G. Wilder, mastering engineer (Nina Simone)
    [RCA/Legacy Recordings]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Moe!

Happy Birthday Moe!

Record biz impresario, pioneering recording engineer and folk revival instigator, Moe Asch was born this day in Warsaw in 1905. Asch, who died in 1986, started the Folkways label in 1948, recording Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and scores and scores of folk, blues and jazz artists. Folkways, now owned by the Smithsonian, remains one of the foundational American record labels.

Happy Birthday Moe! Free Song Download on December 2nd

2008 marks the 60th anniversary of Folkways Records and the 20th anniversary of Smithsonian Folkways, and December 2nd, 2008 would have been Folkways founder Moses Asch’s 103rd birthday!

Enjoy a download of the jaunty blues improvisation "On My Way to See Moe Asch" by Champion Jack Dupree.

Just click the "FLAC" or "MP3" links below and choose "save" to download the track. Alternatively, you can right-click and choose "save target as" to get the track.

“On My Way to See Moe Asch” (from the album Classic Piano Blues)


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who Killed John Lennon?

Who Killed John Lennon?

By John W. Whitehead

"You gotta remember, establishment, it's just a name for evil. The monster doesn't care whether it kills all the students or whether there's a revolution. It's not thinking logically, it's out of control." -- John Lennon (1969)
In recent years, there have been countless stories about the U.S. government abusing its surveillance powers. They range from government agents listening in on the telephone calls of American citizens to the FBI harassing innocent people over their free speech rights for simply criticizing the government. And once some government bureaucrat decides to focus on a certain person, the data files are collected and civil liberties are undermined. This type of behavior, however, has been going on for a long time. Such was the relentless harassment and government stalking of John Lennon. It is not only a chilling tale of paranoia and abuse of power, it is also a lesson for our times.

In December 1971 at a concert in Ann Arbor, Mich., Lennon took to the stage and in his usual confrontational style belted out "John Sinclair," a song he had written about a man sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing two marijuana cigarettes. Within days of Lennon's call for action, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sinclair released.

What Lennon did not know at the time was that FBI agents were in the audience, taking notes on everything from the attendance (15,000) to the artistic merits of his new song. The U.S. government was spying on Lennon. Supposedly, the goal was to collect enough information to have him deported.

By March 1971, when his "Power to the People" single was released, it was clear where Lennon stood. Having moved to New York City that same year, Lennon was ready to participate in political activism against the U. S. government, the "monster" that was financing the war in Vietnam.

It certainly helped that Lennon was a natural in the spotlight, with one of the most recognizable faces in the world. And with the Beatles' break-up, Lennon began doing his own thing, posing for publicity photos, decked out in Japanese riot gear and singing "Say you want a revolution, We better get it on right away, Well you get on your feet, And into the street."

Lennon had learned early on that rock music could serve a political end by proclaiming a radical message. More importantly, he saw that his music could mobilize the public. For example, on November 15, 1969, during a peace rally in Washington, DC, Pete Seeger led nearly half a million demonstrators in singing Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" at the Washington Monument. "The people started swaying their bodies and banners and flags in time," Seeger later recalled, "several hundred thousand people, parents with their small children on their shoulders. It was a tremendously moving thing."

The release of Lennon's Sometime in New York City album, which contained a radical message in every song and depicted Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao dancing together nude on the cover, only fanned the flames of the conflict to come.

Government officials had been keeping strict tabs on the ex-Beatle they referred to as "Mr. Lennon." But the official U.S. war against Lennon began in earnest in 1972 when he was served with deportation orders. While the orders were supposedly for a four-year-old marijuana conviction in Great Britain, what Lennon didn't realize was that Nixon was personally driving the effort to have him deported.

FBI files, made public after years of lawsuits, reveal the extent of the Nixon Administration's efforts to "neutralize" Lennon. (However, while ominous in tone, the term "neutralize"--as used by government agents--was never really defined.) With FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover at the helm and reporting to the Nixon White House about the FBI's surveillance of Lennon, memos and reports had been flying back and forth between senators, the FBI and the U.S. Immigration Office. Clearly forces were at work to "neutralize" Lennon.

Nixon's pursuit of Lennon was relentless--and in large part based on the misperception that Lennon and his comrades were planning to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention. The government's paranoia, however, was misplaced.

Left-wing activists who were on government watch lists and who shared an interest in bringing down the Nixon Administration had been congregating at Lennon's New York apartment. But when they revealed that they were planning to cause a riot, Lennon balked. As he recounted in a 1980 interview, "We said, We ain't buying this. We're not going to draw children into a situation to create violence so you can overthrow what? And replace it with what? . . . It was all based on this illusion, that you can create violence and overthrow what is, and get communism or get some right-wing lunatic or a left-wing lunatic. They're all lunatics."

Despite the fact that Lennon was not part of the "lunatic" plot, the government persisted in its efforts to have him deported. Finally, in 1976, Lennon won the battle to stay in the country. As he said afterwards, "I have a love for this country. This is where the action is."

Lennon's time of repose didn't last long, however. By 1980, he had re-emerged with a new album and plans to become politically active again. The old radical was back and ready to cause trouble. In his final interview on Dec. 8, 1980, Lennon mused, "The whole map's changed and we're going into an unknown future, but we're still all here, and while there's life there's hope."

That very night, when Lennon returned to his New York apartment building, Mark David Chapman was waiting in the shadows. As Lennon stepped outside the car to greet the fans congregating outside, Chapman, in an eerie echo of the FBI's moniker for Lennon, called out, "Mr. Lennon!" Lennon turned and was met with a barrage of gunfire as Chapman--dropping into a two-handed combat stance--emptied his .38-caliber pistol and pumped four bullets into his back and left arm. Lennon stumbled, staggered forward and, with blood pouring from his mouth and chest, collapsed to the ground.

John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He had finally been "neutralized."


Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Wal-Mart Stampede

(below) Cell-phone video shows emergency workers trying to aid a store employee who was trampled by a mob of Black Friday bargain-hunters after opening the doors of a Long Island Wal Mart. The man, identified as Jdimytai Damour (right), 34, of Queens, was later pronounced dead. (WCBS)


Condolences to the family of Jdimytai Damour. It is very sad that he was trampled while trying to make a living as a worker at a Wal-Mart store.

Now, what can we learn from this? And, who is to blame?If we were to turn to philosophers or folk musicians, we might get the proper answer. An artist like Woody Guthrie might be inclined to point out that the situation was more of the usual games between the rich and the poor. The rich Wal Mart owners set the stage for the working class bargain hunters to trample the working class temporary worker. And, now, some in the corporate media are willing to side with the corporation, of course.

I am horrified to see some mainstream news coverage vilify the shoppers who went through the doors. And, an AP headline that threatens to hunt the shoppers down. The AP/Yahoo News headline is: "Sought: Wal-Mart shoppers who trampled NY worker". And, it states:

Police were reviewing video from surveillance cameras in an attempt to identify who trampled to death a Wal-Mart worker after a crowd of post-Thanksgiving shoppers burst through the doors at a suburban store and knocked him down.Criminal charges were possible…

It is very clear from the story, and the obvious facts, that Wal-Mart is at least equally, but perhaps more to blame than the shoppers. Who profited from the chaos being created? –the shoppers who believed they were getting a discount on goods which are already marked up for retail? or, the company who would make a profit, nonetheless from every customer they could get to the door, the ones who got the sale, and even the ones who would feel the need to buy something else when the sale item got sold out? (What is the term in retail? Bait and switch? Evidently these shoppers had experienced it before, or they would not have started lining up before 3 am in the morning.)

The AP/Yahoo News story is amazing in its distraction on the shopper, instead of the corporation. It quotes someone as saying that the shoppers acted like "savages". It paints a portrait of them being uncaring by continuing to shop (instead of noting that the shoppers could have been confused or in shock by having been in such a large crowd and experienced a tragedy, when they were only going somewhere to shop.) It assigns no blame to Wal-Mart, and even publishes the official line from the spokesperson/Vice President from Wal-Mart, which will help to bolster the company image and get their spin on the story out in public before the inevitable civil or criminal lawsuit against them.

I was gratified that the New York Times had a much better story about this incident. The New York Times focused much more on what Wal-Mart could have and should have done to prevent this incident. The New York Times allowed a speaker on behalf of workers and not just the capitalist, corporate owners to make a statement for the press.

The New York Times wrote:

Wal-Mart has successfully resisted unionization of its employees. New York State's largest grocery union, Local 1500 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, called the death of Mr. Damour "avoidable" and demanded investigations.

"Where were the safety barriers?" said Bruce Both, the union president. "Where was security? How did store management not see dangerous numbers of customers barreling down on the store in such an unsafe manner? This is not just tragic; it rises to a level of blatant irresponsibility by Wal-Mart."

The New York Times also points out another fact that indicts Wal Mart, who set the scene, over the people who specifically trampled Mr. Damour. "Four other people, including a 28-year-old woman who was described as eight months pregnant, were treated at the hospital for minor injuries."

Woody Guthrie knew who the outlaws were. He was always writing about the hypocrisy of men who were called robbers for stealing bread or money because they were poor, versus men who stole money "with a fountain pen." Wal Mart wrote the advertisements that lured shoppers to the store. Wal Mart architects designed a store where there was not easy entrance and exit, because that is better for them to watch their wares come and go. Wal Mart works in public relations, lawsuits, and even lobbying, to make sure that they don't have to unionize.

Wal Mart's guilt resonates in the words of a Woody Guthrie song put to music by Billy Bragg on the album "Mermaid Avenue." In the song "The Unwelcome Guest", an outlaw reflects: "I've never took food from the widow and orphans, And never a hard working man I oppressed…" At Wal-Mart on Black Friday 2008, a worker died, and four other people, including a pregnant woman, were trampled. And, none of them were going to save anything close to the amount of money that the Wal-Mart CEO's were going to make, if sales were high on Black Friday.


Blogger's note: Ian and I are going to Carnegie Hall tonight to see Woody's son, Arlo Guthrie, sing with Pete Seeger and friends. The Guthries and Pete Seeger have a long history of promoting unions, celebrating the working man, and singing out against injustice. Perhaps there will be a new song about Wal Mart? - KW

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The National Day of Mourning

The National Day of Mourning

On Thanksgiving Day, many Native Americans and their supporters gather at the top of Coles Hill, overlooking Plymouth Rock, for the "National Day of Mourning."

The first National Day of Mourning was held in 1970. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts invited Wampanoag leader Frank James to deliver a speech. When the text of Mr. James' speech, a powerful statement of anger at the history of oppression of the Native people of America, became known before the event, the Commonwealth "disinvited" him. That silencing of a strong and honest Native voice led to the convening of the National Day of Mourning.

The historical event we know today as the "First Thanksgiving" was a harvest festival held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and their Native American neighbors and allies. It has acquired significance beyond the bare historical facts. Thanksgiving has become a much broader symbol of the entirety of the American experience. Many find this a cause for rejoicing. The dissenting view of Native Americans, who have suffered the theft of their lands and the destruction of their traditional way of life at the hands of the American nation, is equally valid.

To some, the "First Thanksgiving" presents a distorted picture of the history of relations between the European colonists and their descendants and the Native People. The total emphasis is placed on the respect that existed between the Wampanoags led by the sachem Massasoit and the first generation of Pilgrims in Plymouth, while the long history of subsequent violence and discrimination suffered by Native People across America is nowhere represented.

To others, the event shines forth as an example of the respect that was possible once, if only for the brief span of a single generation in a single place, between two different cultures and as a vision of what may again be possible someday among people of goodwill.

History is not a set of "truths" to be memorized, history is an ongoing process of interpretation and learning. The true richness and depth of history come from multiplicity and complexity, from debate and disagreement and dialogue. There is room for more than one history; there is room for many voices.

Article courtesy of the Pilgrim Hall Museum

Check out this video: Day of morning