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Caspar Hosts Second World Folk Festival
Caspar Hosts Second World Folk Festival
Brenda Curtin and Máire Egan --
the Bridies -- will perform at the second
Caspar World Folk Festival in August
On Saturday and Sunday, August 7th and 8th, folk music from around the world will again brighten the air of downtown Caspar, the "friendly ghost-town" that nestles between Mendocino and Fort Bragg. Craftspeople and artisans from all over the West will show their wares at the Market set out on Caspar's new Village Square.
"We're celebrating Folk, most likely our area's richest natural resource," explains Michael Potts, one of the event's coordinators. "Indoors, a series of four concerts will feature world-class musicians, including the Peña-Govea Family, Joel Breaux and his Cajun Band, Ancient Future, Caspar legend Gene Parsons, and noted Himalayan flutist Manose. Around the Village Square there will be two days full of free activities, emphasizing fun for children and families." There will be lots of dancing, storytelling, and hosted jams. Folk musicians of all persuasions are invited to bring their instruments and join one of the hosted jams. During the day and into the early evening Mexican food, salad, sweets, and beverages will be available from food vendors. It is rumored that Gertie, Caspar's reclusive Gorse Monster, will appear to lead parades at noon on both days.
The first of four concerts starts at noon on Saturday in the Caspar Community Center. Several of last year's favorite acts are returning to the Festival, starting with the Peña-Govea Family, who specialize in Cumbia and Salsa music for dancing. Group leader and paterfamilias Miguel Govea is ably backed by Susan Peña, their luminous daughter Renè Peña-Govea, and up-and-coming star Cecilia Peña-Govea. Next, Michael Hubbert and the Caspar Mambophonics, including David Lipkind and Dan Albrecht, bring their classic Cuban son to the stage. Next, the Shaggy Manes, Eric Thompson, Bruce Reid, Frannie Leopold, and Bonnie Zahnow, will present jugband and stringband party music from the 1930s-40s. Saturday afternoon's last act is The Bridies, whose brand of hot Irish fiddling is eagerly anticipated. Las Vegas based Máire Egan and Brenda Curtin will be fresh from a successful European tour.
Tickets for this and the other concerts are available online at CasparFest.org, at Tangents and Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, and at Twist and Out of This World in Mendocino, or by phoning the Caspar Community office at 964-4997.
Contra Dance has been a well-received monthly event at the Caspar Community Center, and so the Festival will include a special five o'clock Saturday Contra Dance called by Erik Hoffman with a sprightly band including Barry Schultz and Festival favorite Judy Stavely.
After Señor Alexandre Cadarso leads the Gorse Monster around the grounds at noon, the Marketplace Stage will feature free non-stop entertainment. Kevin Carr will tell stories, the Ocarina Orchestra will perform, Danny Barca plays some of his tunes, Barry and Carlo will sing old-time songs, Michael and Leslie Hubbert will host a jam, followed by an Irish Jam hosted by Danny Carnahan and Eric Thompson. Finally, one of Caspar's favorite home-grown bands, Kevin & the Coconuts Caribbean Steel Band, will finish out the day's free entertainment.
Saturday evening there will be two concerts in neighboring Caspar venues. At 7:30 in the Mendocino Coast Jewish Community's Shul, an evening of solo virtuosi and small groups will present the spiritual side of folk music. Midwesterner Grey Larsen, one of the world's best Irish flutists, opens the concert. This special venue gives Neo-Celtic Balladeer Danny Carnahan, one of the mainstays of Wake the Dead, a perfect stage for his solo work. Next, Nils Olof Söderbäck will present a set of traditional Swedish Fiddle tunes. Himalayan Flute Master Manose, another crowd pleaser from last year, and one of Nepal's most popular musicians, will complete the Shul concert.
Across the Village Square, on the Festival's Main Stage in the Community Center, another concert starts at 8 o'clock. Local musical hero Lennie Laks, long a stranger to the public stage, introduces his Trio, filled out by John Chamberlin and John Bush. Next, visiting from the Bay Area, Matthew Montfort brings Ancient Future to the stage, backed up for this concert by special guest Manose. Wear your dancing shoes, because the next two groups, starting with Wild Abandon and the Chandeliers, will have you out of your chair for swing dancing to "rambunctious hip-swayin', cheek-to-cheekin' fun," promises leader Sylvia Herold, who will be backed up by Robert Laughlin, Pam Laughlin, and Chuck Ervin. The concert's last set features San Diego musical maestro Joel Breaux and his Cajun Band, Evo Bluestein, Carlo Calabi, and Casparado Peter Barg, mixing traditional Cajun waltzes and two-steps with soaring lonesome vocals. "Caspar's hall is small, seating just 100 people," notes Dalen, the Center's manager. "Musicians love the intimate connection with their audience, and so this old Schoolhouse really rocks! But tickets to this event sold out quickly last year, and will likely do so again this year," Dalen warns.
On Sunday, August 8th, the market officially opens at 10 am, and music will begin after the Gorse Monster Parade at noon on the Marketplace Stage. Free entertainment on Sunday will include Marcos, a poet singer from Ukiah, a Haitian Band, and an Old Time Jam hosted by W. B. Reid and Bonnie Zahnow. At 4 pm the Caspar Community is proud to present The Sunday Bunch, a local group of accomplished folk musicians including Antonia Lamb, John Chamberlain, Tom Grattan, Lenny Laks, Frannie Leopold, Deb Dawson, and John Wozniak, in their first-ever public appearance together. At 5pm, Foxglove, another fine local group that features Morgan Daniels, John Bush, and Michael "Booi" Volk, will bring their upbeat sounds to help close the Festival.
This year's Sunday Afternoon Concert, starting at 1pm, is a festival of seldom seen brilliant local talent. Hui Arago and O Lei Palaoa (also known as Ivory), with slack-key guitar and Hawaiian songs from Michael and Marybeth Arago and their hui (group) backing up the gently evocative hulas presented by Annie Lee, Sally Stewart, and Sharon Goodwin. The second set features Girl's Night Out, Judy Stavely, Leslie Hubbert, Frannie Leopold, and Peter Barg playing their 57 Varieties of Old-fashioned Music. Next, Caspar's own folk-rock legend, Gene Parsons, honors us with his classic Americana Roots and originals inspired by his lifetime of musical innovation. To close the Festival, the Caspar Community is pleased to present one of last year's best received groups, Nuba, whose North African music and dance, featuring Erin M'Rabet and her exciting troupe of dancers backed by the brilliant musicianship of Moez M'Rabet and David Brown.
"At the end of our August, 2003 event," says Caspar Community president Judy Tarbell, "I remember thinking, Caspar has really found its Festival! Again this year, this gathering promises to bring together all the elements that make Caspar, and the Mendocino Coast, so wonderful. This is a fund-raiser for the Caspar Community, and will help pay for the Center's new roof, but it is also a great FUN-raiser, bringing together the hidden talents and enthusiasms of many local residents whose virtuosity is normally only shown off in private or away from home. These musicians, artists, dancers, storytellers, and just plain folks generate a special magnetism, and this event brings together their friends from near and far. Once a year, it feels really good to welcome so much talent, and so many happy people, to our little village. We hope you'll join us!"
"Parking isn't a problem, but it is an issue in Caspar, so plan to carpool if you can," Potts suggests. "And we're sorry, but smoking and dogs don't fit into a gathering like this." For more information about the Festival, visit CasparFest.org or call 964-4997.
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