March 3, 2004 Library of Congress American Folklife Center Announces 2004 "Homegrown" Concert Series
Norman Blake to Open Series on April 15
Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: (202) 707-5510
The American Folklife Center's annual concert series, "Homegrown 2004: The Music of America," opens on April 15 with an 8 p.m. concert in Coolidge Auditorium by noted country musician Norman Blake, who performed recently on the soundtracks to the films "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" and "Cold Mountain." The concert will also feature Norman's wife Nancy, who joins him as a singer and instrumentalist. The free concert, in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., will be a ticketed event with no reserved seating.
Blake is one of the most respected musicians in the field of country music. His career, spanning almost 50 years, includes more than 30 recordings, as well as hundreds of sessions and appearances, with artists ranging from the Carter Family and Johnny Cash to Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and John Hartford. A virtuoso guitar and mandolin player, he and his wife, Nancy, have received four Grammy nominations for their traditional music recordings.
The Homegrown concert series presents the very best of traditional music and dance from a variety of folk cultures thriving in the United States. It is co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. The concerts will be held once a month from April through December. All concerts are free of charge and, except for the opening concert, will be presented from noon to 1 p.m. The closest Metro stops are Capitol South (blue and orange lines) and Union Station (red line).
"To create this year's program, we have worked with federal and state folklorists, and other professionals from associated fields, to identify performing groups noted for their excellence as community-based musical masters," said Peggy Bulger, director of the American Folklife Center.
The full schedule for the Homegrown series is below.
Homegrown 2004: The Music of America Concert Series
April 15 at 8 p.m. in Coolidge Auditorium
Norman and Nancy Blake, country music from Georgia
(tickets available from Ticketmaster beginning March 3)
May 18 at noon on Neptune Plaza
Don Roy Trio and Florence Martin, Franco-American music from Maine
Don Roy is one of the finest Franco-American fiddlers in the Northeast. Roy learned to play the fiddle from his uncle, Lucien Mathieu, a master of the French-Canadian style. He organized and played with the Maine French Fiddlers for 11 years, during which he played at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wolf Trap and on the radio show "A Prairie Home Companion." In 1990 he won the Maine State Fiddle Championship.
Also in the group are Don's wife, Cindy, a pianist and step dancer, and bassist Jay Young. Florence Martin, from Lewiston, Maine, is an accomplished singer of Acadian songs, which she learned when growing up in the Saint John's Valley on the Maine-New Brunswick border.
June 15 at noon on Neptune Plaza
Paschall Brothers, African-American gospel quartet from Virginia
The Paschall Brothers stand firmly in the great tradition of unaccompanied religious singing in Tidewater Virginia. The black gospel quartet tradition can be traced to plantation life in the South. The style blossomed in the region and by the 1920s found a national following with groups such as the Heavenly Gospel Singers and, notably, the Golden Gate Quartet of Norfolk. Formed in 1981 by the now deceased Rev. Frank Paschall Sr., the Paschall Brothers carry on this remarkable tradition and bring new life and energy to this venerable style.
July 14 at noon on Neptune Plaza
Oinkari Basque Dancers from Idaho
The Oinkari Basque Dancers from Boise, Idaho, perform the traditional dances brought from the Basque region of the Pyrenees Mountains of France and Spain to the West by immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1960 a group of young Basque Americans traveled to the town of Donosti in Basque country and became inspired to form a group that preserved these dances. Now, after 40 years, the sons and daughters of the founding members carry on the tradition. The name "Oinkari" means "fast feet," an apt description of their acrobatic dance style.
Aug. 18 at noon in Coolidge Auditorium
Phong Nguyen Ensemble, Vietnamese music from Ohio
Phong Nguyen is one of the world's foremost performers and scholars of Vietnamese music; he has received a National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts for his efforts to preserve and present this music in the United States. Raised in the Mekong Delta region, Nguyen comes from a family of prominent musicians and was traditionally trained to play numerous instruments in a variety of regional styles. He left his native land in 1974, received a doctorate in ethnomusicology in 1982 from the Sorbonne in Paris and came to the United States shortly thereafter.
Sept. 28 at noon on Neptune Plaza
2004 NEA National Heritage Fellow TBA
Oct. 20 at noon in Coolidge Auditorium
Nadim Dlaikan, Arabic music from Michigan
Nadim Dlaikan, maker and virtuoso player of the nay, a single-reed wind instrument, is a highly respected member of the dynamic music community of Arab Detroit, the largest Arab- American community in the United States. Nadim was born in the village of Alai in Lebanon and began to play the nay at an early age. He went on to study under master musicians at the Lebanese Conservatory and moved to Beirut, where he became a member of Lebanon's best-known folk troupe, traveling throughout the Middle East. He moved to the Detroit area in 1970 and became a leader in the Arabic musical community, playing with musicians from throughout the Middle East. His four-piece ensemble will be playing with him in Washington. In 2002 Dlaikan received a National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Nov. 17 at noon in the Coolidge Auditorium
American Indian Music and Dance Troupe from Oklahoma
The American Indian Music and Dance Troupe is directed by Tom Mauchahty-Ware, a Kiowa whose family has presented the traditions of the Plains peoples since the 1930s. Tom's great-uncle, artist Stephen Mopope, appeared at the Second National Folk Festival in 1935 (the oldest multi-cultural traditional folk festival in America), his father performed at festivals during the 1940s, and Tom began performing at national festivals in the 1960s. Mauchahty-Ware, a noted flute player himself, brings a troupe from the Kiowa and Comanche nations, who will be performing the Eagle, Hoop, Fancy and Grass dances, among others. This program is co-sponsored by the National Museum of the American Indian of the Smithsonian Institution.
Dec. 8 at noon in the Coolidge Auditorium
Jerry Grcevich Tamburitza Orchestra, Tambura music from Pennsylvania
Jerry Grcevich is a master player, composer and arranger of tambura music, the intricate and virtuosic string-ensemble music of Eastern Europe, notably Croatia and Serbia. For more than 30 years he has been a mainstay of tambura music in the United States, mastering all of the string instruments and making more than 20 recordings. He frequently travels to Croatia to play and gather new material. Grcevich, like his father, has been elected to the Tamburitza Hall of Fame.
The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. For more information about the American Folklife Center, visit the Web site at www.loc.gov/folklife/.
Part of the Kennedy Center's Performing Arts for Everyone initiative, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the center's mission to make performing arts widely accessible. The Millennium Stage introduces the performing arts to the local community and to millions of people who visit the center each year. These free, 6 p.m. performances are offered 365 days a year. For more information on how to access the broadcasts, visit the Kennedy Center Web site at http://kennedy-center.org.
The Folklore Society of Greater Washington was founded in 1964 to further the understanding, investigation, appreciation and performance of the traditional folk music and folklore of the American people. The FSGW presents more than 200 folk events in the Washington area each year.
Established in 1989 by Congress, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The museum includes the George Gustav Heye Center, a permanent exhibition and education facility in New York City, and the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility in Suitland, Md. A new museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., will open on Sept. 21. For more information visit the museum's Web site at www.americanindian.si.edu.
All Library of Congress evening concerts and other public programs are presented free of charge to the public, but may require tickets for admission. Tickets are distributed by Ticketmaster at (301) 808-6900, (410) 752-1200 or, for out-of-state residents, (800) 551-7328. Each ticket carries a service charge of $2.75, with additional charges for phone orders and handling. Tickets are also available at Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.ticketmaster.com. Although the supply of tickets may be exhausted, there are often empty seats at concert time. Interested patrons are encouraged to come to the Library by 6:30 p.m. on concert nights to obtain no-show tickets. No tickets are required for noontime Homegrown concerts.