By the time you read this, I will have returned from the Folk Alliance Conference, which takes place in Kansas City February 19-23. However, since I’m writing this before going, you will have to wait until April for a report. The conference will have over 2000 attendees. Of these, about 250 will be musicians who will perform for 25 minutes in “Official Showcases” happening in nine rooms simultaneously each evening from 6pm-10pm. These musicians were pre-judged. During the afternoon and from 10:30pm – 2am, 600 musicians will perform in “Private Showcases.” These musicians have paid for the privilege of performing before venue operators like myself in the hope that someone will hire them. There are 2700 25-minute slots in 66 rooms. Most musicians perform more than once during the conference. In addition, there will be an exhibit hall, workshops, a keynote by Graham Nash, and presentations by Tom Rush and Al Gore.
First concert after I return is John Gorka with Antje Duvekot opening on Thursday, March 6, 8 pm, at the Unitarian Fellowship, 87 4th St. Gorka will be releasing a new CD Bright Side of Down on March 4. If you attend his concert, you will be among the very first able to buy a copy. I was able to download a pre-release copy and have been playing it over and over again in my car.
Brian DAmbrosio in the Huffington Post praised Gorka: “With a tangle of songs that emotionally connect us all and leave a tender trace, John Gorka stimulates the cerebrum, keeps our smiles agile and fit and reconnects us with what really matters most in music: honesty. His atmosphere allows for the listener to feel his individualized attention, his lyrical tenderness, his care for the guitar and his true presence.”
R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman perform on March 28. Of Navajo-Ute heritage, Nakai is the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute. While well-grounded in the traditional uses of the flute, Nakai has explored new musical settings including new age, world-beat, jazz and classical. He has 36 recordings on the Canyon label. Nakai earned two gold records for Canyon Trilogy and Earth Spirit and has received 10 Grammy® nominations.. Clipman has mastered a pan-global palette of over 100 percussion instruments. He has recorded over 60 albums, including over 30 for Canyon Records, where he is regarded as the house percussionist. Nakai and Clipman’s CD Awakening the Fire was nominated for a Grammy this year. There will be a silent auction at the concert to benefit Red Earth Descendants.
Saturday morning 9am-11am, at the Unitarian Fellowship, Nakai and Clipman present a workshop entitled Awakening the Fire: Personal Transformation Through Music; A Philosophical Exchange. For details and to register, go to www.stclairevents.com.
Tickets to both concerts may be purchased at www.stclairevents.com, by calling 541-535-3562 or at the Music Coop in downtown Ashland.