Blue and Ragtime with Del Rey on Thursday, April 6th at the Ware Center in Lancaster

West Coast blues guitar and ukulele queen Del Rey brings her quirky, infectious stage presence and command of blues and ragtime to Lancaster on Thursday, April 6th. A 7:30 p.m. concert is sponsored jointly by the Susquehanna Folk Music Society and the Ware Center concert. The concert will be held at Millersville University’s Ware Center located at 42 N. Prince Street in Lancaster.

Del Rey is known for performing on both the resonator guitar and the resonator ukulele and is a foremost authority on the music of blues giant Memphis Minnie.

Del Rey began her musical training in classical guitar at the tender age of four. When she hit her teens and found blues music, the serene classical numbers fell to the side. Her music soon rang with the soul of blues, but jingled a little, too, with ragtime and jazz, and even some rock flavoring to stir things up.

Her distinctive fingerstyle playing has a fascinating complexity such that she makes her solo instruments sound like a whole band. Rags, blues, and tunes of the early 20th century are her specialty, even as she writes new music to add to the tradition.

Rey has taught and played all over the world, and has toured with Steve James, Suzy Thompson, and Adam Franklin. She writes about music for various publications, including Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and is a popular instructor at numerous guitar camps such as Ashokan and the Swannanoa Gathering.

Concert tickets are $25 General Admission, $22 for SFMS members and $5 for students ages 4-22. Advance tickets are available through the Ware Center Box Office in Millersville or Lancaster or by calling (717) 871-7600. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at http://www.sfmsfolk.org.

 

Below Hank Imhof, an area guitarist and blues enthusiast who is a favorite on the winery and coffeehouse circuit, tells about how purchasing a Del Rey teaching video was a “game changer’ for him.

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The name Del Ray kept on showing up in my music studies, so after taking some time to read about her music, I decided to purchase one of her learning DVD’s called The Blues Styles of Memphis Minnie published by Homespun. I learned that Del Rey is considered one of the finest interpreters of the music of Memphis Minnie –a blues guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter whose recording career lasted from the 1920s to the 1950s. Memphis Minnie wrote, played and recorded many great blues songs, some of the best known being “Bumble Bee”, “Nothing in Rambling”, and “Me and My Chauffeur Blues“. She has inspired many great musicians, male and female, among them Del Rey.

While working with the video I have been really floored by Del Rey’s playing abilities and style. I started in and have very much enjoyed the lessons. Del Ray is very infectious and teaches with a light heart and a lot of smiles. I also bought the other Del Ray DVD Boogie Woogie Guitar before even finishing the first. I’m looking forward to spending as much time as I can to learn from these video lessons!

My discovery of Del Ray and her music talents have been a game changer for me personally. Del Ray’s study of blues, blues history and guitar along with her beautiful spirit and a bunch of smiles are a force to be enjoyed. Her guitar skills on her steel bodied resonator guitar set up a groove and infectious sound that is wonderful.

Del Rey’s music reflects a deep study of black history, blues history and especially channeling the female perspective of all of the above through the soul of her hero Memphis Minnie. Del Ray sings and tells stories about Memphis Minnie while adding her own musicianship and spirit to everything she plays and sings. It’s very much like hearing the two of them play together on the same stage.

Equally inspiring to me has been learning more about black history, black women’s history and the power of women, all women. Del Ray is furthering the awareness of this music and an history that maybe you’ve never heard before.

Please come and enjoy Del Ray, I’ll be there!

 

 

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April 1st in York, PA: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar and Hula with Keola Beamer & Jeff Peterson, with Moanalani Beamer

Hawaiian slack key guitar master and legend Keola Beamer, who has stretched the boundaries of slack key guitar music while remaining true to the soul of its deeply Hawaiian roots, comes to York, Pennsylvania, for an April 1st Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Society of York, 925 S. George Street. He will be joined by his wife, Moanalani, a hula dance master and musician, who will lead a free hula dance workshop at 5 p.m., and by slack key guitarist Jeff Peterson.

Working together, Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson present a concert of superb guitar playing that explores the resonant, multi-cultural beauty of Hawaiian music. They will be accompanied by Moanalani Beamer, who brings hula and Hawaiian chants to the stage, and adds musical texture with ancient Hawaiian instruments.

At the free 5 p.m. hula workshop, Moanalani will teach basic hula movements, including hand motions that are used to tell a story. Learn about the close relationship between hula dance and nature.

Concert tickets are $24 General Admission, $20 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at http://www.sfmsfolk.org.

Below is a story about Slack Key guitar which features quotes by Keola and Moanalani Beamer and information about their performance. The story appeared in The Burg Magazine, used by permission.

 

 

Some of the sweetest, most melodious guitar music can be found in Hawaii, and Keola Beamer is considered to be the foremost master of the style of guitar playing called Slack Key. He has been exploring this beautiful traditional music, which uses open tunings and loosened strings, for the past 35 years.

It is only in Beamer’s lifetime that Slack Key guitar music has been played outside of the home. “It used to be that a dad would come home from work, take off his boots and pick up his guitar. It was really a back door kind of thing.” Beamer said in a recent interview. “Families would be very secretive about the songs that they knew and the tunings they used. If you weren’t a member of the family and wanted to learn the music, well just forget it.”

All this changed when pianist George Winston fell in love with Slack Key guitar music and decided to record Slack Key musicians for his record company Dancing Cat. “He’s a very able musicologist and preservation was his object “said Keola’s wife Moana. “He especially wanted to be sure to record the older musicians.  He wanted a chance to meet with them and talk to them before they weren’t here anymore.”

It was through these Slack-Key guitar compilations that Slack-Key guitar music began to gain popularity outside of Hawaii. “We never could have toured before the records were released” said Beamer.  “We tried, but we just couldn’t get out of Hawaii. Nobody knew what it was, nobody sold it. And all of a sudden the music was in Borders. And then the whole touring thing opened up for us.”

Slack Key guitar music can be played on any standard guitar, although the magnificent guitars that Beamer tours with were built by a German luthier and designed to be able to project more sound. There are approximately 46 different tunings, and each one conveys a different feeling or tonal pallet. “The true art of the Stack Key guitar is to match the tuning with song. It has to elevate the piece” says Beamer.

On Saturday, April 1 Keola Beamer, Jeff Peterson and Moanalani Beamer will give a performance of Hawaiian Slack-Key guitar and hula at 7:30 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York. Moana Beamer, an experienced hula dancer who began her training at age four, will lead a hula dance workshop at 5 PM during which she hopes to show people “how varied,  rich and wonderful hula is.”During a concert Keola and Jeff will play guitar and sing in Hawaiian and English while Moana plays traditional percussion instruments, recites poetry and dances.

These events are sponsored by the Susquehanna Folk Music Society and are funded, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and Bob and Donna Pullo.

March 26, 2017: The Outside Track to perform Celtic music in Harrisburg

The Outside Track, a Celtic group performing Scots, Irish, and Cape Breton tunes, songs, and step-dance comes to Harrisburg for a Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert on Sunday, March 26, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., at the Abbey Bar, Appalachian Brewing Company, 50 N. Cameron Street. The group features vocals, electric harp, flute, whistle, fiddle, and guitar.

For information on the band members visit http://www.sfmsfolk.org/concerts/OutsideTrack.html

The Outside Track was named Group of the Year in both the Live Ireland awards and the TIR awards and was nominated for a Scots trad award. The group’s latest CD, “Light Up the Dark,” was nominated for Best Album in the 2016 Indie Acoustic Project Awards.

Concert tickets are $24 General Admission, $20 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at http://www.sfmsfolk.org.

We had a chance to speak to the band’s accordion player Fiona Black about the origins of The Outside Track and what audiences should expect.

FOLKMAMA: I understand that throughout the history of the band you have had members from Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton and the United States. Did you start out with the idea to become a Pan-Celtic band?

FIONA: It really didn’t start out as a concept band. We met in Limerick in Ireland at University. Originally it was myself and Ailie (we are the two Scottish members) and we also had a couple of Irish members at the very beginning and a Canadian member.

It has always seemed natural that we would play music from the countries that we were from. That’s how it came about and we have continued to do that.

FOLKMAMA: Would it be easy for an audience member to figure out the country of origin for the tunes or songs that you play?

FIONA: We all play music from our own regions and our own countries, but honestly there are many more similarities than differences between the music from Scotland, Ireland and Cape Breton.

FOLKMAMA: Can you describe your performances?

FIONA: Well, they are really quite lively. About half of what we do are tunes and the other half songs.  We do different arrangements of tunes; some traditional ones and some that we have invented. Each instrument is showcased at different points and we all work together on harmonies and chords. The fiddle player is the dancer. She does Cape Breton style of dancing which is really close to the floor and really beautiful.

FOLKMAMA: Who is in the band and where are they from?

FIONA: Teresa Horgan is the lead singer and flute and whistle player. She’s from County Cork in Ireland. And then Ailie Robertson is the harp player in the band—she plays electric harp. She creates a lot of the bass lines and a lot of the texture as well. And she’s from Edinburgh in Scotland. My name is Fiona Black and I’m from the Highlands in Scotland and I play the piano accordion. And then we have Emerald Rae who’s from Boston. She’s the fiddle player and the step dancer in the band. She spent a lot of time in Cape Breton. And then Eric MacDonald is also from Boston and he’s the guitar player in the band.

FOLKMAMA: How long have you been playing together?

FIONA: We started about 10 years ago. Ailie and I are the two original members left.

FOLKMAMA: Anything you want the readers to know?

FIONA: We just put a new music video out on Facebook. We have another week in the tour and then off we’ll go to Germany. We’ll be back in the US in August!

FOLKMAMA: Is this the main gig for everyone?

FIONA: We tour about six months out of the year. We all have different side projects, other bands and different teaching projects and composing project—but for everyone this is the main band.

 

 

 

LOW LILY SATURDAY, MARCH 11TH AT 3 PM AT THE FORT HUNTER CENTENNIAL BARN. ALSO! Folk Music 101 workshop at 2:15 followed by a folk instrument “Petting Zoo”

The string and vocal trio Low Lily, which explores the roots and branches of American folk music with traditional influences and modern inspiration, comes to the Fort Hunter Barn located at 5300 N. Front Street in Harrisburg for a matinee concert at 3 PM on March 11th.

The concert will be preceded by a fun and interactive Folk Music 101 workshop at 2:15 followed by a folk instrument “petting zoo” (both free).

This would be a perfect event to invite those family members, neighbors and co-workers who may not be familiar with folk music! Low Lily members include Liz Simmons on vocals and guitar, Flynn Cohen on vocals, guitar, and mandolin, and Lissa Schneckenburger on vocals and fiddle. They are all masterful musicians and vocalists with deep relationships to traditional music styles ranging from bluegrass to Irish, Scottish, New England, and Old Time Appalachian sounds.

Concert tickets are $24 General Admission, $20 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22, with a maximum family fee for parents and children under age 23 of $25. Advance tickets are available toll-free at (800) 838-3006 or online at www.brownpapertickets.com. For info visit www.sfmsfolk.org

This event is made possible with an “Art for All Grant” from the Foundation for Enhancing Communities and the Cultural Enrichment Fund. Additional funding by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

We had a chance to speak to Liz Simmons who spoke to us about the band and their upcoming engagement in Harrisburg.

 

FOLKMAMA: We’re really looking forward to Low Lily’s appearance in Harrisburg and thrilled that you will be doing this special workshop to introduce “newbies” to folk music (and maybe teach the rest of us a thing or too also!).

LIZ: Yes, we’re excited too! We’ve been kicking around some ideas about the workshop and we’ve settled on a few things. First off I think we’ll talk about the backgrounds of the different members of Low Lily. Each one of us has a different way of how we came to music and there are some good stories there. For example, I started playing music because my dad put a ukulele in my hands when I was 4. Also, my parents are musicians so I was going to gigs from the time I was a baby.

We’ll definitely sing some songs together. We’ll hit on some from different regions in the country so that everyone can get a taste of the wide variety of folk styles there are in the United States. Lissa will do a traditional song from the state of Main where she is from and Flynn has done a lot of work in Appalachian traditional song, so most likely will do a song from that region. And I most likely will try a English or an Irish song so we can hear where a lot of American folk traditions are rooted.

We’ll introduce the instruments that we play and give some background about each. In general we’ll respond to the group that is in front of us, and go in what direction seems to make sense depending on how old or how young our audience is.

FOLKMAMA: And what about the concert? What should people expect to hear?

LIZ: We’ll do some traditional songs—you know songs that are so old that no one knows who wrote them but have been passed from generation to generation. We take these old songs and arrange them in a way that we feel is fresh; that presents the sounds that we like to make musically.

We also write songs, sometimes separately, sometimes together. There will also be some instrumental numbers. Flynn is a wonderful flat picker on the mandolin and guitar and Lissa, of course plays beautiful fiddle. So they’ll get to hear some of that beautiful melody playing. It will be a mix of up-tempo with some slightly slower stuff.

We do a lot of three part harmony, that’s a big feature of what we do, so that’s part of the sound as well. So audiences that like harmonies and choruses will be happy to hear us as well.

FOLKMAMA: I’ve followed Lissa Schneckenburger for a long time and love her fiddling [Lissa has appeared twice for the Susquehanna Folk Music Society, as the Lissa Schneckenburger Trio and as the Lissa Schneckenburger Duo). I’ve heard her style described as “New England Fiddling.” What does that mean?

LIZ: It’s a style that, like all American folk styles is made up of a whole slew of influences. When you think of where New England is—you can kind of guess where the influences come from. You have the Quebec and the Cape Breton influences which of course is French and Scottish, and then you have coming up from the South old-time and Appalachian music influences filtering in. Then you have the Irish and the Scottish through the Boston channel. You might even hear a touch of bluegrass because Bluegrass is big in Boston area.

FOLKMAMA: Do you have CDs that you are planning to sell?

LIZ: Since it’s our first time in Harrisburg, our 2015 CD will be a new recording to audiences there. It’s our only Low Lily title so far, but are working on the next one. Before we were Low Lily, we had a previous incarnation and were known as Annalivia. This was before Lissa joined. We have a title that we sell from that era as well as solo albums.

FOLKMAMA: Have you been to any interesting venues lately?

LIZ: We just did a tour out to Folk Alliance International–which I always explain to people is a trade show for folk musicians. So we turned that into a Midwest tour. We did five cities on the way out, which was really fun.

We hit Rochester, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Fairfield, Iowa, and Columbia, Missouri. We did many of the Northeast’s folk festivals last summer, which of course is such a rich place for New England and American folk music. And we often run into a lot of pals too, and get a chance to listen to and hear new music. So even though it’s a gig, it’s still a lot of fun.

And this summer we’re traveling a little further afield and will do a tour in England and in California in the fall. So lots of great traveling coming up!