May 2000

v Last Month & Next Month at OCSC - Jack Cole

In April, on Easter weekend, we turned to songs about change, rebirth, transformation. and came up with two versions of John Barleycorn! On the first round! The theme was popular, and included a round in Hebrew on which I think we all sounded very fine; and there were several songs accompanied by banjo and dulcimer - the walls rang!

We had a terrific turnout of over 30 people, including eight kids. (At a few weeks shy of going to Brock U., Heidi may not like the kid classification any more, but too bad!). Yes, there were at least a half dozen Newbies (one more month and we make it 5 years straight) Including Rick and Judy, who have been on the mailing list since the first month, and Robin and Pat's grandkids. Welcome to everyone!!

Popular demand is a wonderful thing, especially when it brings more music! And, due to said demand, we will be having one more song circle this season! Mary Baldasaro has kindly offered us her living room for a May finale. Mary and Barry live at 239 Frederick Street; we've held a couple of Circles there before, as well as a couple of concerts (and Mary is also hosting the Eve Goldberg / GreenWood concert on June 10). There is parking on numerous side streets, or in the driveways and behind the house.

We didn't talk about a theme last time, so I get to make one up! This is always a great opportunity for me to pick a song I'm wanting to learn, and then invent a theme to include it! Today I spent part of my exciting day looking at colour schemes for the computer application we are (desperately) trying to finish. So bring songs about colour! Black Velvet Band and Green Green Grass of Home (for Mary!) are good places to start - maybe we can get all the way up to Golden Fields ! But I promise not to sing anything about my software project!

So we'll see you on May 27 at 239 Frederick!

v Summmer Music Camps - Jack Cole

A quick update on the Woods - it is about two thirds full and ahead of last year's pace, so don't dally! I have also heard that Maggie (wasn't she Margaret?) Christl is back on the faculty of Celtic College, after some confusion. She will be teaching traditional singing, which sure sounds like the course to take this summer!!

The Woods is August 15-20. Celtic College is August 6-10.

v Aengus Finnan Concert Review - Jack Cole

Folk musicians work hard to stay alive; there is no question about that. I look at the schedule that Modabo used to keep - the blur of cross-country gigs and recording, and driving and flying, and loading in and loading out, and always being `on' for fans - and I wonder how anyone ever does it. Let alone find the time to write songs and polish the craft. Sometimes they just have to give up, and more's the pity for that.

And it's true of every folk musician I've met and it's probably true of every musician of any genre, trying to make a living by reaching the right people in a country too big to do it. And I've never seen anyone work as hard at it as Aengus Finnan.

It's not unusual for him to spend 3 days "postering" a town before he plays there, sleeping in his car if need be. He recently got back from a tour of small gigs that took him to the west coast (via the Territories) and back again. The night before he left on that tour he played to 70 people in Guelph, in a room that holds 40. Then drove home to Cobourg.

Aengus drove back this way again on the Wednesday before our concert in order to be on Doug Gibson's radio program. He knew that the concert was already sold out, and that a phone interview was an option. But he thinks this is important, so he spent an hour and a half talking and playing and it was insightful. Then he drove home to Cobourg.

But Saturday night, as he beguiled us with stories and songs, there was no hint that the pace and the miles might be taking a toll. Aengus was fresh and charming and witty. He gauged the audience and made every song a singalong, and we didn't disappoint! He made us know, for a couple of hours, what it's like to feel the hunger to document other people's lives. He took us from graveyards in Cobalt, to Devil's islands in the St. Lawrence, to closing the CNE with a ship burning off the Toronto piers.

Aengus' voice and guitar playing are very nice, but it's the songs that are remarkable, every one touching a place inside. Even his version of Lightfoot's Rich Man's Spiritual just seemed to fit in the right crack.

The only sign that he might be weary came when he dropped a song or two from the second set, including his wonderful Lately. Nope, sorry Aengus - the double encore put them right back in.

We put the chairs back in the basement while Aengus signed CDs. He had intended to spend the night, but the next day was Mother's Day, and his family had planned a brunch. So we loaded him up with coffee and M&M treats, and at midnight he drove home to Cobourg, once again.

[Many thanks to everyone who pitched in and helped with setup, tear down, door prizes, munchies and everything!! - jc]

v Concert and Workshop News - Jack Cole

Larkin Cohen is a dulcimer player who, along with Andy Cohen, is coming north to Canada to play at Mariposa. I saw them a couple of years ago at Home County, and they were great. A small knot of us dulcimer types went to admire her instrument after, and she ended up giving us a private lesson!

Well, we have an opportunity to return the favour and learn some more about the mountain dulcimer. Larkin is hosting a dulcimer workshop for the Grand River Dulcimer Club on Wednesday evening, June 21, at Folkway music in Guelph. The cost is $15 and it is sure to be worth every cent! Call Jean Mills or me (578- 6298) for more information.

Just a reminder that GreenWood and Eve Goldberg are performing a house concert on June 10 in downtown Kitchener. This is a benefit for Amnesty International. And on July 10 (a Monday night) GreenWood will be leading a community singalong in Weber Park, just up Frederick street. Old Chestnuts are especially invited to come out and help us - I'm hoping that some of you will even take over leading completely!

In the fall, please remember the concerts at the Button Factory in Waterloo. It would be great to see these events supported, as the city has actually made a commitment to folk music!! October 27 brings us local celtic band Failte, and November 18 features James Gordon. Call 519.886.4577 for tickets.

v Some Events in The Area (as space permits!)

May 27 Old Chestnuts Song Circle Note 239 Frederick St.. Arrive between 7:30 and 8 PM. 578.6298. Songs about colour.
May 28 Mill Race Traditional Sessions, Golden Kiwi Pub, Cambridge. Also June 11 and 25.
Jun 1 Grand River Dulcimer Club, Folkway Music in Guelph.
Jun 3 Mill Race Folk Club, Ernie's Roadhouse, Cambridge.
Jun 9 Beverlie Robertson and Poor Charlie, Raintree Cafe, Waterloo.
Jun 16 Black Walnut Folk Club, Laurel Room, UW. $3. Open mic. With host. Last time at UW - off to a new home in the fall!
Jul 8 Terry Tufts, Cardin Street Cafe‚ in Guelph. Fine guitar player and songwriter from Ottawa.

v About this newsletter..... It's emailed if I have your address. It's on the Web at and 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. Call 578-6298 for more information. A funny thing happened - somebody emailed to ask me when I am going to finish the drum building articles! And here I thought no one was reading! Turns out that he builds bodhrans and had a special interest. So, maybe next time. But that's it for this season! Have a great summer everyone!

v Summer 2000 Festival Information - Jack Cole

Here's information about nearby festivals, scrounged from various sources. The festivals seem to be very slow at getting their information out this year, so I have less than usual. In some cases I have really inferred!! So I make no promises to accuracy!! I have hilighted some performers that I find particularly noteworthy - apologies if I have left out a favourite.

Brampton Folk Festival / June 17 / Gage Park / 905-796-9357 /Free.
One-day free festival in the heart of downtown Brampton. Workshops, craft vendors, Morris dancers, food, beer tent, children's entertainment. "An outdoor kitchen party, so bring your instrument"! Cate Friesen, Gypsy Jive Band, Krazy House, Ron Nigrini Band, Silverbirch, Cindy Thompson.

Mariposa / July 7-9 / Orillia / 416-588-FOLK / $$$
Mariposa, Canada's oldest folk festival, turns 40 this year. Mariposa-in- the-City is a free, one-day festival at Mazyrk Park in Toronto on Saturday, June 24. Then the Mariposa Folk Festival on the shores of Lake Couchiching, where Mariposa began in 1961. Gordon Lightfoot returns! Also Aengus Finnan. Andy and Larkin Cohen (in June).

Celtic Festival 2000 / Jul 15-16 / Wasaga Beach / 705-446-1771 / $14 ?
This year's Festival, which is in its 7th year, has amalgamated with the Collingwood Scottish Tattoo for "the best of both worlds". Music + workshops. Tanglefoot, Rick Fielding, Dragon's Breath, Celtic Offspring, Bob MacLean, Glen Reid, Marion Linton, Paul Haslem, The Privateers, Stephen Charles, Brown Ale, Kevin Fulbrook, Jason Redman, Guinness & Champagne

Home County / July 21-23 / London, Victoria Park / 519-432-4310 / Free!
My favourite, and not yet missed festival celebrates 27 years! Traditional-based music, song and dance. Renowned for crafts; some150 artists and artisans. Concerts each night at the bandshell. Six daytime stages including an open stage. Cindy Church, Laura Smith, Valdy, Bill Garrett & Curly Boy Stubbs, Jude Johnson, Tim Harrison, Kaitlin Hanford, Grit Laskin, Jackie Washington, Rick Fielding, Kate Friesen, Zubot and Dawson, James Gordon, Pierre Schreyer Band. See you there!!

Hillside Festival / July 28-30 / Guelph, Guelph Lake / 519-763-8817 / $60
Eclectic festival, many musical styles. Folkies include Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Dar Williams, Eric Bogle (?) - the lineup looks really good, but I forget details.

Stewart Park Festival / July 28-30 / Perth / 613-264-1190 / Free
Celebrating its 10th year with more than 20 outdoor concerts, daily workshops, artisan market, International Food Fest and the very popular After Hours pub crawl. A variety of musical styles: folk to funk and jazz to world beat. Tracy Brown, Fred Eaglesmith, The Skydiggers, Lynn Miles, Kelly Joe Phelps, Madagascar Slim, Robert Michaels, Chuck Brodsky, Jenny & Dan Whiteley, Richard Knechtel, Magoo.

Mill Race Festival / August 5 / Cambridge, Mill Race Park / 519-623-1424 / Free!
In the historic centre of Cambridge. Focus on traditional folk music and dance. Main concerts are held in the outdoor amphitheatre at Mill Race Park. Workshops, dance displays and a Children's Area are scattered throughout the downtown core within easy walking distance. Rain venues are provided (and a good thing! J). Kickoff concert the night before. Performers include: Paddy Tutty, Bobby Watt, Holmes Hook, Rathlin, James Gordon, MadriGALS. See you there!

Earth, Air, Fire & Water / Aug 11-13 / Goderich / 519-524-8221 / $40
Very intimate festival in its 8th year, follows Celtic College. Friday begins with classes from the College! Festival stresses acoustic-friendly sound and an interactive family atmosphere. Over 25 hours of main stage music, 4 workshop areas, and a participatory dance stage. Lineup includes: Ad Vielle Qui Pourra, Alistair Brown, Maggie Christl, Clachan, Aoife Clancy, Carreg Lafar, The Paperboys, Lunasa, Rathlin, Loretto Reid, Pierre Schryer, Slainte Mhath, Christina Smith and Jean Hewson, Sharlene Wallace.

Festival of Friends / Aug 11-13 / Hamilton, Gage Park / 905-525-6644 / Free!
A fabulous festival but beware that some performers come only for their main stage show. The festival features top recording artists and up and coming acts from across the country. Four stages present concerts, workshops, dance demonstrations, poetry readings and children's performers. Paddy Tutty, James Gordon, Jerry Alfred, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Dixie Flyers, Fred Eaglesmith, David Essig, Joe Hall w/ Daisy Debolt, Caitlin Hanford, Marc Jordan, Doug MacArthur & Jeffra, Don McGeoch, Ron Nigrini, Ron Sexsmith, Bob Snider, Tanglefoot, Brent Titcombe, Jackie Washington, Chris Whitely and many more.

Heritage River Festival / Aug 12 / Burk's Falls Fairground / 1-888-495-8888 / $15
Third year and always a terrific lineup! This festival leans to a booking programme of singer/songwriters in folk and blues, as well as some bluegrass and Celtic. The Arrogant Worms, Cindy Thompson, Darlene Sovran, Glen Reid & The Heritage River Rats, Jory Nash Katherine Wheatley & Wendell Ferguson, Northern City Limits, Penny Lang, The Rick Fines Trio, Richard Knechtel & more.

Summerfolk / Aug 18-20 / Owen Sound, Kelso / 519-371-2995 / $$$$
The grandpa of Ontario festivals in one of the nicest settings. And this is their 25th anniversary! I think I was at the first one.but it was the 70's so who can be sure! I know I saw Tom Paxton there sometime! A wide diversity of traditional, contemporary, blues performers from across the planet are featured each evening on the main stage as well as performing during workshop situations throughout the day on 6 different stages. Pricey, though. No performer info, except Aengus Finnan will be there.

Blue Skies Festival / Aug 5-6 / Clarendon (Ottawa) / 613-279-3260 / $??
Blue Skies celebrates 27 years. This unique festival takes place in a large meadow in the woods. It features music and holistic workshops and evening concerts with everything from folk to jazz to rock. The kitchen features full home-made meals and snacks. Camping for 600 with an additional 400 day passes available. No lineup information.

Eaglewood Earth / Aug 25-27 / Pefferlaw / 416-481-5506 / $$
My other favourite festival, `cause of the intimate atmosphere. Doug MacArthur takes over as AD this year - so it should be very interesting! Allen, Glass, deCarle & Keldie (from Prairie Oyster), Erin Benjamin David Bradstreet, Don Bray, Dave Essig, Rick Fielding, Blain Fullbrook, Kevin Fullbrook, Cheryl Gaudet, James Gordon, Mark Haines & Tom Leighton, Michael Lewis, Andrea Koziol, Rob Lamothe, Magoo, Ray Materick, Doug McArthur & Jeffra, Trevor Mills, Ron Nigrini, Sirens, Laura Thomas (Cousin Molly), Brent Titcomb, Valdy, Jackie Washington, Katherine Wheatley, Zubot & Dawson.

Ottawa Folk Festival / Aug 25-27 / Britannia park / 613-520-2772 / $ Free ??
Celebrating the Millennium, this year's festival presents Folk from Coast to Coast to Coast, with an array of musicians from every province and territory in Canada. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Scruj MacDuhk, Tegan and Sara.

Octoberfolk / Oct 2 / Brantford / 519-759-7676 / $20?
Indoor festival (good thing!), with reserved seating. Always a great lineup.

...and Wye Marsh (Sep 16-17, 705-526-3294), London's Sunfest (July 6- 9, 519-672-1522).

Back to Old Chestnuts Home Page.