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PostHeaderIcon Hootenannies Alive and Well in the Bay Area

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Although the Grammy Awards jammed Contemporary Folk and Traditional Folk music into just one category, folk music of all types is alive and well and even growing in the Bay Area. The real folk action is not in the struggling nightclubs but at a series of open jams – what were once called hootenannies – held virtually every weekend in Oakland, Berkeley and beyond.

A good introduction to the scene would be the East Bay Fiddlin' and Pickin' Potlucks (http://www.pickinpotlucks.com/index.htm), held at private homes on the 2nd Sunday of each month. In addition, folk singer/retired teacher Hali Hammer hosts a jam/potluck on the 1st Sunday of the month at her home in Berkeley, and folk singer LaWanda Ultan hosts one every 3rd Sunday at her Berkeley hills home.

There's also a San Francisco Folk Music Club, with Faith Petric, the 96-year-old woman pictured at the left,  that hosts a jam every other Friday night on Clayton between Carl and Parnassus Streets.

And in Marin County, banjo player and sound tech John Bowman hosts a jam on alternate Fridays at his home in San Anselmo.

“I've been doing this for years and each year the turnout has increased,” Bowman told me at a jam I attended on a recent Saturday at a large private home near Lake Merritt.

At the jams I've attended, turnout often looks like about 50 people, and it's an older crowd than you'd see in the nightclubs, though there are usually a few players in their 20s and 30s. Instruments include guitars, banjos, fiddles, mandolins, bass, autoharp, flute, accordions, clarinet, harmonicas, kazoos, a musical saw and an occasional harp. Many players are quite accomplished, others still learning.

What's it all about? The official description of the SF club says it best:

“San Francisco Folk Music Club (SFFMC) is a non-profit corporation of singers, instrumentalists, performers, song writers, dancers and listeners who embody a set of personal and musical relationships whose longevity and hybrid vigor attest that what we do is something in which we deeply believe. Its purpose is the enjoyment, dissemination and preservation in individual, family and community life of that acoustic music roughly defined as folk.”--ST

Last Updated (Tuesday, 25 June 2013 16:55)



0 #2 Stephen Taylor 2014-01-08 17:07
Here's the corrected link for registering to view the live stream: http://www.concertwindow.com/shows/2359-faith-petric-memorial
0 #1 StephenTaylor 2013-12-17 16:30
How great that this story is still on the Popular list! Faith Petric (pictured) passed away recently. Her Memorial & Celebration at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse will stream live on Concert Window starting at 8 pm (PT) on Wednesday, January 15: http://www.concertwindow.com/shows/faith-petric-memorial. Seating at the actual event has reached capacity.

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