January and Upcoming Song Circles Jack Cole
The weather was bad, the evening was
announced as being short and I'd already had a few cancellations.
So we didn't even fold up the table or move the big chairs out
of the room. Therefore it was a pleasant surprise that about
20 people crowded into the living room for a night of songs that
were special to people that were special to us. Which was a way
of getting Tennessee Waltz, The Wreck of Old 99, The
Happy Wanderer, You Are My Sunshine and several other family
favourites into the air. Thanks to all who came and brought songs
(on topic or off) and goodies on such a wild night.
We had 5 first time visitors, including one from Woodstock and 3 from St. Jacob's (who helped lower the average age!), and I tried playing the harmonica in public (so they may never come back!). At 10:30 we kicked everybody out and made a quick exit ourselves for the vicinity of the airport.
The February circle conflicts with the
Woods get together in Paris, and I know of a few OCSC members
who are going there for the weekend. As wonderful as that sounds
(and believe me, it does), Lori and I will be here on the
22nd, with the table folded and the chairs moved out
- we can't bear to leave the Circle on its own just yet! You all
know Jaspur. The cat who loudly told Eileen McGann what he thought
of her high note at the Harmony Workshop, then turned and strutted
out. The cat who marched through the Modabo concert, then sat
with his back turned to announce that it was bedtime feeding time
and what the heck are you doing just sitting there!???? Well,
Jaspur's not too well as I write. Cathy pulled him through while
we were on vacation, and we've been struggling to help him since
we got home. But if we all sing very very sweetly on the 22nd
I know he'll feel better. So, the topic for February is
"songs with animals in them". Dust off your Stewball,
your Roan, your I Wanna Be a Dog
Cat Came Back.
Some Reflections on Mariposa-By-The-Shore, Cobourg, 1996 (Part 4) Merrick Jarrett
Merrick was a performer at
the first Mariposa, and played his retirement gig this year in
Cobourg. He has very kindly put his thoughts on the matter to
paper, and has been even kinder in allowing me to serialize them
in the newsletter. This is the conclusion. Thanks, Merrick,
for this terrific article.
In finishing, we are all looking at
some problems which face all festivals, ranging from small festivals
like Peterborough, just getting started, to the large festivals
such as Mariposa.
Nobody wants to lose money. One reason
Mariposa moved to Cobourg was that after a series of deficits,
there wasn't much cash in the kitty. This resulted in a great
festival, down-sized somewhat from previous festivals; but, nevertheless,
produced what we hope the public likes to think of as a folk festival.
I don't know if Mariposa lost, broke even, or made any money
-- I would hope the latter.
Here are some thoughts that crossed
my mind while writing, that I toss out for your comments. I do
not speak for Mariposa; these are my own opinions, and
I certainly don't have all, or perhaps any, of the answers. But
I know that the Mariposa people would like to hear your pro or
con comments, and what you think is the road to follow.
Which way does Mariposa go? Will it
have to go the way it went in earlier years, culminating in having
to book high-priced "name" performers to bring the crowds
to pay for other "name" performers the next year to
bring in more crowds, and round it goes?
Is it possible to get more corporate
sponsorship, with the possibility of lots of obvious advertising
by the sponsors, with beer tents, etc., and possible interference
in the artistic aims of the festival, which might destroy the
intimate feeling of Cobourg and Bracebridge, for example? Something
else to be considered is the funding, or increasing lack of it,
available through Federal, Provincial or Municipal grants. Such
funds are becoming harder to come by in this period of austerity
and cutbacks, compounded by the proliferation of folk festivals
in Ontario, all of whom would need some sort of grant, if not
to survive, at least to sometimes make the difference between
profit and loss. As well, corporations are tightening their purse
Should we try to go back to the earlier
days of Mariposa, when every performer received the same
reasonable flat rate, plus mileage and accommodation; and knowing
that everybody was being paid the same, would some of the bigger
"name" performers come just for the pleasure of making
music, meeting and working with old friends, etc.? This may be
dreamland in this day and age, but something that might be considered.
Should Mariposa be moved to later in
the fall, say September or October, when chances of the weather
being better, and the competition for the summer festival dollar
is not quite as bad? Yes, I know, you run into the fall agricultural
Is today's public interested enough
in the mix of contemporary and traditional that we supply, or
is it looking for something more like Hillside in Guelph, which
is to me (I may be wrong on this) moving almost to being a rock
I personally liked the idea of the evening
concerts starting at 6 PM, which meant that the public is up and
away by 11 PM. I also feel strongly that it would be hard to improve
upon the wide and eclectic variety of workshops offered at Cobourg.
Just some thoughts. I know that folks
at Mariposa have spent a lot of time concerned about what is a
major question. How does Mariposa maintain its artistic integrity,
provide a lovely venue, showcase so much individual and group
talent, provide educational and entertaining workshops, with,
at the same time, the bottom line being "who pays the piper"?
By now you are no doubt getting tired
of my philosophical meanderings, but I want to leave you with
this. Beverlie Robertson (whom most of you know through her work
as a founding member of Mariposa In The Schools, and as a member
of the group "The Chanteclairs" in the 60's) dropped
by the other day and we kicked around just what folk music is
all about. She said, generally speaking, that we need a broader
definition of "folk music" with which people can identify;
such music is more eclectic and broader based than what it used
to be. It preserves, but it also develops and grows, with basic
facts being the same, but people changing in their musical tastes.
But folk music represents our history
and culture and all the other things that make us proud Canadians;
and if Mariposa can continue doing as it has been doing for the
past thirty five years, in showcasing the incredible variety of
talent that brings these things to our audiences, and at the same
time solve its other problems, we are all well on the way to continue
saying "Mariposa".....and that one magic word says it
Thank you, Mariposa, for inviting us.
We had a wonderful time. May you grow and prosper, and provide
us with more of those "magic moments".
April Special: Modabo In Concert Jack Cole
The dates are all set, the tickets are
printed, and they're starting to go! The final word on Modabo
is two house concerts at 111 Chestnut St., on Saturday
April 19th at 8 PM and Sunday April 20th
at 2 PM. The concerts have a maximum capacity of 44 attendees,
and are $14 each. There will be opening acts from amongst the
Song Circle folks, terrific M&M munchies and wonderful door
prizes! Don't miss it!! Call me (519.578.6298, email@example.com)
to reserve tickets!!!
I am looking for 2 or 3 people attending
each concert to perform a couple of songs as openers. This is
a low stress way to play in front of a folk-friendly audience,
and is a lot of fun! I can't remember who might have volunteered
at last month's OCSC (I was distracted) so please, anyone who
is interested, let me know again! (Oh yeah, the concert will
replace the Song Circle in April).
Finally, for those who might not know
Modabo consists of 3 guys from New Brunswick who sing beautiful
harmonies and play guitar, flute, piano and "the room"
extremely well. Their first record was a finalist for the East
Coast Music Award's album of the year; at last year's concert
some people bought five copies! Their next record is in
production now. They sing mostly original material with some Stan
Rogers, Beatles, CSNY (and who knows what next!) thrown in. They
are talented, funny, charming and energetic. Last April's concert
was as a night that will never be forgotten. This April we'll
try to top it!
OCSC Folks On Record
February 7 was a good night for folk
music in the area. Ken's Brown & Pearlman in Elora, Brian
Peters in Cambridge, and Jack Cooper's CD release party in Waterloo.
Unfortunately, I spent the evening at the Cat Hospital,
but this seems like a fine opportunity to mention Jack's new album,
Waiting For a Spark. Jack's been a regular at OCSC and
BWFC, and, while I decline to review the works of people that
I know, I have to say that I really like the record (although
I'm not sure about the bizarre writing on the disc!). Congratulations
Jack. And at the same time I should mention that other OCSC members
have works available - Ed Barrington, Jakki Ridley, Eve Goldberg
that I know of
and Beverlie Robertson is recording now (I
hope!). Give them your support!!
is another artist who is on the OCSC mailing list. Rick sent me
a copy of his new album; I've not yet met him, so I can
write about it! Besides composing, singing and playing solo,
Rick is a member of the terrific blues band Jackson
Delta. With the album titled Arcadia, though, I
wasn't sure what musical category to expect. It turns out to be
true to Rick's blues background. Now, I'm not a blues expert or
fancier, so I'm not really fit to review this album. But even
I can recognize some great cuts (Muskoka Moon, Goin' Down The
Road). Most are original, with 2 traditional and one cover
(which is the one song I would program out!). Rick's voice is
unmistakable and just right throughout, as is his guitar;
the writing is strong and the production by Colin Linden is excellent.
If you're a blues fan you should check out Arcadia and
catch Rick when he's around. For info: Box 2384, Peterborough,
Upcoming Events (Check Acoustic Cafe for more!)
Feb 13 Great Big Sea, The Lyric, Kitchener. These guys are GREAT.
Feb 15 Black Walnut Folk Club, Jester's Court, Victoria Park, Kitchener. Open stage, 8 PM, $3. Also March 15.
Feb 22 Old Chestnuts Song Circle, 111 Chestnut St., Kitchener. 578-6298. 7:30 PM Also March 22.
Feb 23 Dave Webber and Annie Fintiman, House Concert, Toronto, Bob Biderman @ 416-483-1409
Mar 1 Mill Race File Club open singaround, Ernies in Cambridge. $3. 8 PM. Also April 5.
Mar 2 Mill
Race Bluegrass and Old Tyme music sessions, Ernies. 2 PM.
About this newsletter..... It's
emailed if I have your address. It's available at OCSC and BWFC
get togethers. Also available by regular mail, but for that I
request a few stamped envelopes or a contribution to postage.
Merrick has carried me for 4 issues, but his article is done
now!! So I need articles submitted, please! Album reviews,
concert reviews, philosophy, how-to''s
and event announcements
are always welcome.