Friday, December 25, 2009

Passim Pop or Folk Music and Cultural Center?

Pop goes Club Passim.

It appears the post-Siggins Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center (otherwise commonly known as "Club Passim", but do not call it "Passim", unless referring to its middle incarnation in the 1980's) penchant for presenting pop continues.

The premise of the original post in the discussion in NEFolknRoots on May 17, 2008:

"...with so many worthy folkies deserving a tribute night, why Madonna? Its members, patrons and directors willing, The Passim Folk Music and Culture Center is free to produce a tribute show to Madonna, Milli Vanilli, the Monkees, Brittany Spears, Hanna Montanna, the Rolling Stones (whose roots are in Chicago blues), Justin Timberlake and all other pop artists. Just take a number, you're after all these widely-accepted folk artists..."

Why folk and not pop?

Notice the presence of the word "folk" and the absence of the word "pop" in its web page banner logo and mission statement:


Mission Statement

Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to the cultivation and preservation of folk music.

Through its diverse programming, Club Passim, the Passim School of Music, Archive Project, and Culture for Kids, the Passim Center reaches out to people of all ages, backgrounds, and communities.

For more than 40 years in the heart of Harvard Square, the Passim Center has been a cornerstone of the arts community of New England, fostering both performers and audiences alike.

Read on for examples of 2008, recent past and soon to come pop nights at the the once venerable folk music mecca.

Remember the Madonna tribute night*?


Date: Mon, June 30, 2008
Time: 7pm

Songwriter Tribute Night - Madonna

this one is a reschedule from the snowed-out January event.

Hopefully we're safer in June!

Regular Price: $10.00
Member Price: $5.00
Availability: General Seating Open
Dinner Seating Open

And the January 2009 Radiohead tribute night?

"Who'd have thought back in late 1992, when Radiohead's "Creep" hit the airwaves, that they would become one of this generations biggest bands? Tonight we see how those great songs hold up "unplugged"."

That's enough to "creap" out any self-respecting folkie.

In the same pop groove, Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center is producing a night of 90's pop covers. Here's an advance look at the set list:

Better Man (Pearl Jam)
Mr. Jones (Counting Crows)
Hold On (Tom Waits)
Don't Look Back In Anger (Oasis)
Joey (Concrete Blonde)
Nothing Compares 2 U (sinead o'connor)
I Need To Know (Marc Anthony)
Nanci (Toad The Wet Sprocket)
Glycerine (Bush)
Everlong (Foo Fighters)
The Way (Fastball)
Unbelievable (EMF)
You Were Meant For Me (Jewel)
Stay (Lisa Loeb)
Achy Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus)
Tonight Tonight (Smashing Pumpkins)
The Ghost of Tom Joad (Bruce Springsteen)
Just passed....

CAITLIN CROSBY, CROSBY LOGGINS, JAY NASH It may be dubbed the “Crosby, Crosby, and Nash’’ tour, but as far as we can tell none of the three pop-leaning singer-songwriters playing tonight is related to David or Graham of three-part-harmony fame. Loggins, however, is the son of famous danger-zone denizen Kenny Loggins. 10:30 p.m. Dec. 11. $12. Club Passim. 617-492-7679.
~ The Boston Globe, December 10, 2009

With its track record we probably can expect the board of directors, whose biographies list no folk experience, save one booking at the Lincoln public library, to rubber stamp
more pop productions from the club manager.

Perhaps the Center should be renamed "Passim Folk(?) and Pop Music and Cultural Center".

in the next election Club Passim members should reconsider their votes that installed the "suits" who comprise the current folk-challenged board and in turn terminated the archive project and its staff* as well as employ the pop-prone staff. Replace them with people who actually know something about folk music and have ties back to Club 47. a folk-friendly new board would be certain to invite back former executive director Betsy Siggins and return Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center to its stated mission.


* The "archive project" mentioned in the mission statement and all who worked on it was dropped by the current board in 2009. Those who were on its staff have gone on to form the New England Folk Music Archives, whose collections are under the short-term care and control of the Cambridge Cultural Council until the Archives' facility opens in Porter Square within a couple of months. "The New England Folk Music Archives preserves, promotes and documents the ongoing cultural legacy of folk music and its connections to New England through education, collaboration and entertainment."


Updated 10/13/10

More "folk-pop" at the venerable venue:

"Cuddle Magic: It's going to be cozy when the dozen or so musicians in this outfit (not to mention the cute plastic penguin that often accompanies them) squeeze onto the stage at Club Passim. The intimate venue is the perfect place for the experimental folk-pop ensemble to deliver their original tunes. How to describe them? Words that come to mind include mellow, ethereal, and sweet. The music is far from simple, though. Listen for intricate and interesting arrangements of strings, percussion, keyboards, vocals, wind instruments and more. Margaret Glaspy opens." -The Boston Globe

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