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Topic: About the festival - Rika's articles

NEWS LEADER #1 submit 3 July 2012

MUSIC FESTIVAL COMING UP SOON

Anyone walking down the streets of Princeton on the weekend of August 17-19th shouldn't be surprised to hear fiddle tunes wafting across Bridge Street.  Looking west onto Veterans Square they’ll see a big tent with a stage and people sitting in chairs tapping their feet or maybe even dancing in the street.  Walking down Vermilion Avenue towards the Museum they may hear accordions or ballads, or perhaps a song about sailing on the tall ships.

All of this and much more is the kind of music featured at the Fifth Annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival. Over 160 musicians will be in town that weekend, some of them local, many of them from the coast, and some from as far away as California.

The Festival begins on the evening of Friday, August 17th with the opening ceremony followed by an Irish country dance on Veterans’ Way beside the Legion.  The dance will feature a live band with fiddle, guitar and concertina.  Everyone is welcome. There will be a caller to teach the dances so no experience is necessary and people don't even need to bring a partner.  On Saturday and Sunday there will be music from 10 am until 6 pm on two stages – one on Veterans Square and one in front of the Museum.

And it’s all free!  No admission will be charged.  The reason for this is that the Festival is run entirely by volunteers and the musicians are donating their talents.

This year’s Festival is special because it features lots of music from Eastern Europe. This is in honour of the many immigrants from that part of the world that came here in the first half of the twentieth century. Miners from many parts of Eastern Europe, including Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Galicia, came to the valley, particularly Hedley and Princeton, to make a new life for themselves in a new country.  They worked in the Hedley Mascot gold mine, the numerous coalmines in and around Princeton, Coalmont, Tulameen and Blakeburn, and the Copper Mountain Mine. Many came from mines to the east at Phoenix and Greenwood, and some came direct from their homeland.  They all brought with them elements of their cultural background, including music, dance and song.  We are very pleased this year to welcome Slovenian dancers, singers and accordion players, a Roma (gypsy) band, an Albanian accordion player, a Turkish band, a Doukhobor choir and other Russian singers, and music and song from the Balkans and the Ukraine. We thank them all for sharing their cultural heritage with us.

If you would like to help out at the Festival we would love to hear from you. Give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010. You can find out more about the Festival on our webblog at princetontraditional.org

Rika Ruebsaat

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Re: About the festival - Rika's articles

NEWS LEADER #2 submit 10 July 2012

There are lots of jokes about banjo players, but a well-played banjo is a delight to the ear.  This year’s Festival is blessed with a wealth of good banjo players, some of whom will be sharing their talents in a workshop called “Five Banjos”.  The session will be hosted by Bryn Wilkin from Grand Forks. Bryn is half of Vazzy, a high-octane French-Canadian duo that is appearing at the Festival.  He will be joined onstage by Princeton’s own Stuart James. As well as playing banjo, Stu is also a dancer who will be dancing in the streets with the Vancouver Morris Men.  The third banjo player is Dave Marshall, a member of the Psycho Acoustic Ceili Band that plays for the Festival’s Friday evening dance. David Lowther is half of Without a Net from Vancouver Island. The fifth banjo player is new to the Festival this year. Cameron Stewart plays with erRatica, a quartet from Vancouver.  Each of these musicians will share their ways of playing the banjo so that the workshop will offer listeners a good cross section of banjo styles.

Veterans’ Square has been a real hit at the Festival.  Many of the musicians and visitors have commented on how attractive it was and how perfectly it fitted the occasion.  The gazebo was heaven-sent for singing -- the high ceiling has acoustics like a cathedral.  The Sea Shanty Workshop has been held in the gazebo for the past several years and the people who participated in the singing thought they had died and gone to heaven.  The resonance of the harmonies made their skulls vibrate. 

Sea shanties are songs that sailors on the tall ships sang while raising sails or hauling up the anchor.  The songs were sung rhythmically and with gusto.  This year the Sea Shanty workshop will again take place in the gazebo where performers and audience will be mixed together, singing rhythmically and with gusto.  We hope you’ll join in the singing!

These are just two of the workshops being presented on August 17th to 19th at the fifth annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival.   And the best thing about it is, it’s free!

The reason it’s free is because it’s run entirely by volunteers and the performers are donating their talents.  To make the festival a success the organizers will need lots of volunteers.  If you’d like to get involved, please contact them.  Even if you have only a couple of hours available your help would be most welcome.  Give them a call and they’ll welcome you aboard.

To find out more, visit the Festival's webblog at princetontraditional.org or give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010.

Rika Ruebsaat

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Re: About the festival - Rika's articles

NEWS LEADER #3 submit 17 July 2012

The Blues is music created originally among the African-American communities of the Deep South at the end of the 19th century.  It grew out of spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants.  During the early years of the 20th century many African-Americans took to the road and became professional Blues musicians playing in bars and speakeasies.  It is from these musicians that the Blues most people are familiar with comes.  Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson and Tampa Red are some of the legendary names whose music is still played today.  The Festival is fortunate to have six Blues musicians who will get together onstage and share their music in The Blues Workshop.

Mike Ballantyne from Victoria will be hosting this session. Mike has been playing music for over 45 years and is both a great singer and guitar player as well as being an expert in Blues from the 1920s and 30s. Joining him on stage will be Rick Van Krugel, a mainstay of the folk music scene in southwestern BC for many years.  Together with Mike and Rick will be Henk Piket and Barry Truter from the coast, who sing with the group Fraser Union who are appearing at the Festival, and Mike and Nakos Marker from Bellingham.  A unique feature of this session is that there will be two dobro guitars onstage, one played by Henk Piket and one played by Nakos Marker.

This is just one of the workshops being presented on August 17th to 19th at the fifth annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival.   And the best thing about it is, it’s free!

The reason it’s free is because it’s run entirely by volunteers and the performers are donating their talents.  To make the festival a success the organizers will need lots of volunteers.  If you’d like to get involved, please contact them.  Even if you have only a couple of hours available your help would be most welcome.  Give them a call and they’ll welcome you aboard.

To find out more, visit the Festival's webblog at princetontraditional.org or give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010.

Rika Ruebsaat

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Re: About the festival - Rika's articles

NEWS LEADER #4 submit 24 July 2012

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the fifth annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival, which is taking place August 17 – 19. As well as the regular concerts by individual performing groups there will also be workshops. A workshop is focused on a particular topic and is presented by a group of singers and musicians who are on the stage at the same time.  Over the next few weeks this column will feature descriptions of some of the workshops being offered at the Festival.

Last year we had a one-hour workshop called “Homegrown Traditions”.  The session was the brainchild of Larry Saidman who plays in several bands in Princeton and wanted to showcase local musicians. By popular demand, Larry is once again organizing and hosting a Homegrown Traditions  Workshop at this year’s Festival. 

The following people performed in last year’s Homegrown Traditions and will be onstage again this year.  Rick Freeman has enchanted Princeton with his unique singing and fine blues guitar when playing in Princeton’s Backdoor Blues band. He incorporates lots of traditional and modern blues influences into his playing.  Stuart James is a banjo player who incorporates American Appalachian frailing into his hybrid style, and plays and sings some fine English and Irish Traditional songs. Corry Oerlemans grew up in his family with Dutch and German traditional music. He played many instruments in jazz bands in Ontario, but his main love is trumpet. Barbara Bushewsky of Cowboy Coffee/Coco’s Bistro, last year sang a politically significant song of Jewish origin from 1147.  This year?  Maybe the Bell lyre. Allen, the Troubador doesn’t just sing about the disenfranchised, he does something about it!   He contributes his fine country singing and solid guitar playing to so many great causes, and is a driving force behind our Crisis Unit and Food Bank. Henry Ruel keeps the Princeton music scene alive through the Back Door jams and coffeehouses.  He is sensitive to whatever percussive sound might enhance any song. Rick Law discovered traditional music at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Toronto.  He’ll be helping out on bass, and will also sing a traditional song or two. Hugh Money is a veteran of logging camps as well as being a wealth of information about harmonicas.  As part of The Alley Cats, he is in demand at various seniors’ centres.

There are several new additions to Homegrown Traditions this year.  Pattyann loves to sing the old hymns she sang with her family growing up, but she has expanded her range to inspirational songs of all kinds. You’ll love her beautiful voice! Jason Gasparetto just moved to Princeton from Sault Ste Marie.  He plays a mean slide guitar and loves the blues. His main influences are Robert Johnson and Eric Clapton. You’ll love Sophia Milner’s great soulful voice and song style, influenced by Stompin’ Tom, Hank Snow, Hank Williams, and blues artists such as BB King & John Lee Hooker.

This is just one of the workshops being presented on August 17th to 19th at the fifth annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival.   And the best thing about it is, it’s free!

The reason it’s free is because it’s run entirely by volunteers and the performers are donating their talents.  To make the festival a success the organizers will need lots of volunteers.  If you’d like to get involved, please contact them.  Even if you have only a couple of hours available your help would be most welcome.  Give them a call and they’ll welcome you aboard.

To find out more, visit the Festival's webblog at princetontraditional.org or give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010.

Rika Ruebsaat

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Re: About the festival - Rika's articles

NEWS LEADER #5 submit 31 July 2012

For the past three years the Festival has featured an Irish Jam session.  A jam is when a bunch of musicians gets together and play tunes.  The session this year will be hosted by fiddle player Randy Vic who will coordinate the jamming and tell the audience about the tunes and the protocols of jamming.  He will be joined onstage by Claddach, a trio from Kelowna, erRatica from Vancouver, Stewart Hendrickson and Lynn Graves from Seattle, Vazzy an energetic duo from Grand Forks, Nathan Hayward, a fine bagpipe and small pipe player, Becky Derykx, an Irish flute player, and the Psycho Acoustic Ceili Band who play for the Friday evening street dance.  These people will likely be joined by many others: the stage for this workshop tends to get very crowded!  The session is only 55 minutes long, much shorter than a typical jam, which can go on for hours.  People who enjoy Irish music shouldn’t miss the Jam – it’ll have you dancing in the street!

Vazzy will also be sharing their music in a workshop called “Songs and Tunes of la Francophonie”. France is the motherland of “La Francophonie” and Quebec, Acadia, Louisiana, and many other places are its children.  This workshop will explore the songs and tunes from both the motherland and the children of “la Francophonie. Rika Ruebsaat will host the workshop and tell listeners a bit about Francophone music.  Joining her onstage will be Vazzy, Lyn Pinkerton from Vancouver and Chris Roe from Seattle who sing many beautiful French-Canadian ballads, and Skweez, an accordion duo from Gabriola Island who specialize in traditional French tunes and Parisian musette.

These are just two of the workshops being presented on August 17th to 19th at the fifth annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival.   And the best thing about it is, it’s free!

The reason it’s free is because it’s run entirely by volunteers and the performers are donating their talents.  To make the festival a success the organizers will need lots of volunteers.  If you’d like to get involved, please contact them.  Even if you have only a couple of hours available your help would be most welcome.  Give them a call and they’ll welcome you aboard.

To find out more, visit the Festival's webblog at princetontraditional.org or give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010.

Rika Ruebsaat

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Re: About the festival - Rika's articles

NEWS LEADER #6 submit 7 August 2012

Last year  “Occupy Wall Street”, “Occupy Vancouver” and all the other occupations spoke about the “ninety-nine percent”, that is, all the people whose income was lower than the richest one percent of people in the world. The occupiers were concerned with inequalities and social change.

Struggles for justice have been happening throughout human history and many songs have accompanied these activities, some going back hundreds of years to peasant revolts in England and Europe. The struggle for unions was fought with the help of many songs from both sides of the Atlantic. The songs of Joe Hill and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, the “Wobblies”) are still sung today – they never seem to lose their relevance. Baby boomers will remember songs from the civil rights movements of the 1960s such as “We Shall Overcome” and “If I Had a Hammer”. These and many other songs about struggles for social justice will be featured in the workshop entitled “The Ninety-nine Percent”. The workshop will be hosted by Dan Keeton of the Diggers, a trio from Vancouver who portray the evolution of workers’ rights, won through hard-fought campaigns in story and song. The Diggers will be joined onstage by Mike Marker, a baby boomer and singer for social justice for many decades, Lemon Gin, a duo from Vancouver whose political songs encompass both social and environmental issues, and the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir, a group who believes that music is a powerful tool to educate and to remind us of our strength and history.

This is just one of the workshops being presented on August 17th to 19th at the fifth annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival.   And the best thing about it is, it’s free!

The reason it’s free is because it’s run entirely by volunteers and the performers are donating their talents.  To make the festival a success the organizers will need lots of volunteers.  If you’d like to get involved, please contact them.  Even if you have only a couple of hours available your help would be most welcome.  Give them a call and they’ll welcome you aboard.

To find out more, visit the Festival's webblog at princetontraditional.org or give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010.

Rika Ruebsaat