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Words & Music

Weekend of Song

Friday March 6 — Sunday March 8, 2015

At Elisabeth Irwin HS, 40 Charlton St. (south of Houston).
Concerts Friday and Saturday nights, 7:30 PM.
Workshops Saturday and Sunday at 10 AM, 11:15 AM, 1:45 PM, 3:00 PM and 4:15 PM.
Bring voices. Bring instruments.

Suggested contribution: Concert only $20.00 each, Workshops only $25.00 per day, All-day Saturday $40.00, All-weekend $75.00. Full-time students half price. Tickets available at the door or online at Eventbrite (extra fee charged). Information: President [at]
Get Directions
LREI, 40 Charlton Street

Bios (alphabetical order) and workshop descriptions

Joy Bennett and Chris Koldewey Joy Bennett (and Chris Koldewey)
Joy has been involved in folk music most of her life. As a member of the quartet Water Sign for 13 years, she explored the close-knit harmonies of both traditional and contemporary folk music. Joy is also a founding member of the all-woman chantey group The Johnson Girls. The "J-Girls" bring a sound and energy to sea and work songs that has brought entire audiences to their feet. They not only have beautiful harmonies, but raw power, allowing audiences a glimpse of the situations in which the chanteys were used. At the same time, the beauty of their ballads is unparalleled. Joy has performed solo, with Water Sign, The Johnson Girls, Chris Koldewey, and with guest artists in the US, UK, Canada, and Europe.
  • Friday evening concert
  • Saturday, 4:15 PM-5:20 PM: Shanty Blast: Everyone can sing along on these sailors' work songs.
  • Sunday, 11:15 AM-12:20 PM: Ballads & Songs of the Sea & Shore: Joy and Chris Koldewey will take you on a wondrous journey to the past, via the songs and stories of the vocations, avocations, celebrations, and sorrows of our ancestors who lived and worked the land and seas.
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Andy Cohen Andy Cohen
has been a professional entertainer for about half a century, and has spent a considerable chunk of that time playing blues and related music. While maintaining the spirit and substance of the particular pieces he does, he does 'em "his way" now, for better or worse. To keep himself honest, he's studied as many "source" players as he could get near enough to, which was a lot. He considers himself fortunate for that reason.
Andy's website
  • Saturday, 11:15 AM-12:20 PM: Blues in the Extreme: an inventory of the dozen or so of the earliest blues numbers recorded, showing the variety of song forms rightly called blues. All the songs I'll do were recorded between 1923 and 1929, and their makers would have learned to play them in their youth, anything from a few years to forty years before they were recorded. Most bear the traces of earlier song forms.
  • Saturday, 1:45 PM-2:50 PM: Jug Band Free-for-All, with everybody we can muster playing anything you can get your hands on: A guided tour down Beale Street at the turn of the Crump Era. Participation mandatory.
  • Saturday evening concert
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Double Trouble Jean Farnworth and Evy Mayer were already solo performers when they started performing as Double Trouble in 1989. Evy sings and plays ukulele, guitar, dumbek and other percussion instruments. She collects popular songs of the early 1900's and also performs rounds, humorous songs, International, singer/songwriter and children's music. Jean sings and plays Celtic harp (32 strings, 45" tall), and 12-string guitars. She includes Renaissance, traditional Celtic music, vintage blues, as well as songs she has written, in her repertoire. It is easy to see why "What kind of music do you play?" can be a difficult question for Double Trouble to answer.
  • Saturday evening concert
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Phyllis Elkind enjoys many different styles of music as a singer, guitarist and pianist. She is the founder of Freddi & the Drumsticks, a women’s rock band, a member of Triboro, with Evy Mayer and Don Friedman, and a member of CrossStitch, with Alice Backer. She teaches Doo Wop at the McBurney YMCA and Country/Bluegrass Harmony at Jalopy Theater. She is also one of the leaders of the very popular NYC Bluegrass Slow Jam at Paddy Reilly's.
  • Friday evening concert
  • Sunday, 3:00 PM-4:05 PM: Old Time Rock 'n' Roll Singing: Come by to sing some Rock 'n' Roll from the '50s and '60s. We'll sing in unison and also learn the harmony and backup parts that put the sha-la-la in the ram-a-lam! The goal of the workshop is to have fun. All levels of experience are welcome. Here is a sample of the songs we'll sing: "Chapel of Love," "In the Still of the Night," "Come Softly to Me," "My Boyfriend's Back."
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Jean Farnworth Jean Farnworth got her first 12-string in 1968 and has been collecting blues by and about women ever since. She is fond of the music of Bessie Smith and other vintage blues singers, as well as more traditional material.
Jean's website
  • Saturday, 3:00 PM-4:05 PM: Uppity Women's Blues: See how far you can push innuendo.
  • Saturday evening concert
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Don Friedman
comes from the old-time and bluegrass mecca, Brooklyn, NY. He sings, harmonizes, and plays and teaches guitar. He plays in two trios in the New York area, Triboro and Just Left Town, and on occasion performs with a semi-unnamed band with Emily Eagen and Trip Henderson. Don also co-teaches old-time and folk harmony singing with Emily at Brooklyn’s own Jalopy Theater and School of Music. He has, for decades, led jams and sing alongs at a variety of venues. By day, he is an attorney with a New York-based anti-poverty agency.
Don's website
  • Friday evening concert
  • Sunday, 4:15 PM-5:20 PM: Songs by Artists who Performed at Woodstock & Monterey Pop: a sing-along featuring the songs of individuals and groups that performed at Woodstock or Monterey Pop; from Credence Clearwater to John Sebastian to the Grateful Dead. Most of the songs will be familiar or pretty easy to learn, and we'll pass out booklets with the lyrics. It’s just an opportunity to have fun singing. Tie-dyed tee shirts permitted, but not mandatory.
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Ben Grosscup Ben Grosscup
performs songs of struggle and social critique in the tradition of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and Phil Ochs. He uses his powerful voice and thumping guitar-playing to nurture our longing for a freer society. His songs make no apology for their biting critique of current events. Based in Greenfield, MA, Ben is the executive director of People's Music Network, a group of activists and musicians using song to promote progressive politics and social change.
Ben on Facebook and YouTube
  • Friday evening concert
  • Saturday, 10:00 AM-11:05 AM: Sing Along for Freedom: Join in with and learn zipper songs and songs with rousing choruses. We'll focus on songs that generate a hopeful approach to the future as well as unity in the course of struggles for social justice. Please bring voices, harmonies, and extra verses to help make freedom ring. If you want to lead a freedom sing along during the session, please make it known at the beginning, and we'll try to fit you in.
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Hubby Jenkins Hubby Jenkins
is a NYC based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter known for his authentic and soulful interpretations of traditional American music. He specializes in early blues, old time, ballads, and ragtime. Hubby developed his style and repertoire from busking in NYC subways and many other cities around the US. Hubby has performed at many NYC venues including: The Jalopy Theatre, The Mercury Lounge, and Joe's Pub and is currently on tour with the Grammy award winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. As part of Music Maker Relief Foundation Hubby has performed at the Shakori Hills Festival of Music and Dance and The 5th Annual Congressional Blues Festival. He also performed and participated at the 2nd Black Banjo Gathering.
Hubby's website
  • Friday evening concert
  • Sunday, 10:00 AM-11:05 AM: How Can I Keep From Singing? Come labor in the vineyard of the Lord in a workshop led by Hubby Jenkins of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. In this sing and play along we'll dig into the rich and soulful roots of American Gospel music. Come ready to sing, clap, shout, and play!
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The Johnson Girls The Johnson Girls
The Johnson Girls have been a force on the folk and maritime music scene for almost two decades as the leading all-woman, a cappella maritime group in the world. Believing that sea chanteys and sea songs were the first real “World Music”, Joy Bennett, Alison Kelley, Bonnie Milner, and Deirdre Murtha each bring a special influence to the group. Whether performing at packed international folk festivals, intimate venues, or presenting school and library programs, The Johnson Girls remain true to their mission of keeping chantey singing alive, bringing women’s voices to the fore, and encouraging everyone to join in the revelry. Widely acclaimed for their powerhouse performances of rousing work songs, sensitive renderings of haunting ballads and laments, and hair-raising harmonies, they sweep their audiences along in a tidal fervor. The Johnson Girls have released their fourth CD, On Deck & Below (Folk Legacy Records).
The Johnson Girls' website
  • Friday evening concert
  • Saturday, 4:15 PM-5:20 PM: Shanty Blast for all: Come join The Johnson Girls in this shanty workshop. Learn a little about how shanties were used and just have fun singing!

    Question: is it shanty or chantey? Answer: Yes
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Joy Bennett and Chris Koldewey Chris Koldewey (and Joy Bennett)
Chris is a teacher of children, a singer of old songs, sailor of old square-rigged wooden ships, and man of Chanteys at Mystic Seaport Museum. Chris primarily performs US and British traditional music, and he is attracted to the stories behind many of the songs he sings. He has played in concerts and festivals in both the US and the UK, and has led workshops dealing with a variety of traditional music forms. Chris can accompany himself on Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle, Concertina, and other things common to an average garage sale.
  • Sunday, 11:15 AM-12:20 PM: Ballads & Songs of the Sea & Shore: Chris and Joy Bennett will take you on a wondrous journey to the past, via the songs and stories of the vocations, avocations, celebrations, and sorrows of our ancestors who lived and worked the land and seas.
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Kristabelle Kristabelle
lives in NYC and plays Hawaiian steel guitar for hula and crooners. A fan of music of the 1920's and 1930's, Kristabelle covers songs of all styles on the ukulele.
  • Saturday evening concert
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John Krumm John Krumm
is an internationally recognized composer of rounds and partner songs. He teaches singing classes and choral workshops at Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camps, as well as folk and family music camps around the country. Currently, John is musical director, arranger and composer for Summoning the Sun, an annual event featuring vintage and traditional music and mumming. He also is composer in residence for the Living Books program. John believes singing is a right for everyone, not a gift for the elite. We are all greatly diminished for every voice that is not heard. In his other incarnation, John has spent the last 42 years as a dance caller and musician.
John's website
  • Sunday, 11:15 AM-12:20 PM: Partner Songs: When songs have the same chord progressions, they can be sung at the same time. These pairings are called "partner songs." Partner songs usually have a more contrapuntal feel than simple harmony singing, but because of the distinctive melodies, they are fantastic vehicles for audience participation. We'll explore song combinations from the sublime to the subliminal and take away a goody bag of sing-a-long trickery.
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Jan Maier Jan Maier
is a choral conductor, performer, composer, and recording artist, and has been teaching her harmony workshop for over 15 years. She has produced a multiethnic folk CD, Mountain Skyes, and founded the Boston-based ensemble, Constellations. Jan is one fifth of the Rounds Galore and More Singers, and appears on all three volumes of the Rounds Galore and More recordings. When not singing or teaching, she presents nationally on the benefits of music for people with dementia and their caregivers.
  • Saturday, 11:15 AM-12:20 PM: Harmony Improv: If you can sing a melody, you CAN learn how to improvise harmony. No music background needed—it’s 100% by ear. Workshop leader Jan Maier has developed a method that’s simple and intuitive. She says it just takes a tiny bit of courage (she brings extra in case you need it!) and the willingness to add more joy to your singing. It's a really fun way to learn - she weaves archaeology, navigation, culinary science, and architecture into her approach! Geared toward adults and teens.
  • Sunday, 4:15 PM-5:20 PM: Rounds Just for FUN: Come and sing rounds that are easy, tricky, clever, silly, beautiful and FUN. Led by Jan, Evy Mayer, and Sol Weber.
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Evy Mayer Evy Mayer
sings and plays ukulele, guitar, dumbek and a host of other percussion instruments. She currently performs with Jean Farnworth as Double Trouble, with Phyllis Elkind and Don Friedman as Triboro, and also sings and leads workshops with the other members of The Rounds Galore... and More Singers. She has produced seven albums, with an eighth (Triboro), currently in production. She has also produced some well-received events, including two Hawaiian Music and Dance Nights. Evy is the current President of the Folk Music Society of New York.
Evy's website
  • Friday evening concert
  • Saturday evening concert
  • Sunday, 4:15 PM-5:20 PM: Rounds Just for FUN: Come and sing rounds that are easy, tricky, clever, silly, beautiful and FUN. Led by Evy, Jan Maier, and Sol Weber.
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Don Meade Don Meade
came to New York City from California in 1976 and soon immersed himself in the local Irish music scene as a performer, columnist and concert producer. He produces the "Blarney Star" concert series at NYU's Glucksman Ireland House and leads a weekly Monday night traditional music and song session at the Landmark Tavern in Hell's Kitchen.
Don's Blarney Star website
  • Sunday, 1:45 PM-2:50PM: Irish and American Songs: Don will present several English-language songs from the Irish and Irish-American folk traditions, with lyrics provided to participants.
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Jason Poole Jason Poole
was born in Pittsburgh and trained as a classical singer. He fell in love with the music of Hawai'i. His kumu (teacher), Pilipo Solatorio, told him his kuleana (responsibility) was to preserve and share what he learned of Hawaiian culture so it might continue to flourish. Jason's repertoire comes from Hawai'i's golden age of song, especially the songs of the island of Molokai.
Jason's website
  • Saturday, 4:15 PM-5:20 PM: The Evolution of a Hawaiian Song: Explore a Hawaiian song from its origins in a traditional chant through being set to the tune of a gospel song in the late 1800s.
  • Saturday evening concert
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Steve Suffet Steve Suffet
is an old fashioned folksinger in the People's Music tradition. His repertoire is a mixture of railroad songs, trucker songs, coal miner songs, cowboy songs, union songs, old time ballads, blues, ragtime, Gospel, bluegrass, topical-political songs, Woody Guthrie songs, and whatever else tickles his fancy.
Steve's website
  • Sunday, 10:00 AM-11:05 PM: Union Songs Song Swap: This is a fully participatory workshop. Bring songs to share that celebrate organized labor, that tell of its triumphs and its tribulations, and that look to the future as well as at the past. Songs from all nations and in all styles are welcome, especially songs that have choruses or refrains.
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Eleanor Trillana Eleanor Trillana
shares her love of the Hawaiian culture through hula, with the local Hawaiians in New York, and with those who are Hawaiian at heart. Co-founder of Aloha Hula NYC, LLC, a Polynesian dance troupe, she is also a member of a hui (group,) Na Lehua Melemele, where she teaches hula every Monday.
  • Saturday evening concert
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Triboro Triboro
hails from the boroughs of New York, but looks beyond the Hudson, to other places and other times, for songs and inspiration. They are an acoustic vocal trio that applies fine three-part harmony to an eclectic mix of musical genres. Hear great old-time, new-time, Carter family, country, Western, Hawaiiana, bluegrass and beyond. Phyllis Elkind (Manhattan) plays guitar in Triboro and her first and remaining love is singing harmony. Don Friedman (Brooklyn) has a great ear for harmony, and plays rhythm and lead guitar, banjo and mandolin. Evy Mayer (the Bronx) enjoys singing harmony, plays ukulele, dumbek and other percussion instruments.
Triboro's website and on Facebook
  • Friday evening concert
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Triple Play All Stars Triple Play All Stars
Rich Rainey, Drew Smith and Robbie Wedeen are the Triple Play All Stars. They play sweet melodies, seasoned with blues and hot licks. National & international autoharp champion, Drew Smith, has played the autoharp for over 40 years. He has an unusual style of playing that is both melodic and exciting. Robbie Wedeen plays autoharp, guitar and banjo, has performed widely in the NY metropolitan area, and has toured in Europe. Over the years she has contributed to the folk music scene as a performer, songwriter, and producer of creative programs. Rich Rainey brings to Triple Play the distinctive and compelling sounds of his bluegrass banjo, and his high lonesome vocals. He has a great passion for bluegrass and traditional country music.
  • Saturday, 3:00 PM-4:05 PM: Old-Time, Bluegrass, Blues, and Beyond: Rousing and high-energy music with plenty of opportunity to sing along.
  • Saturday evening concert
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Sol Weber Sol Weber
is the Johnny Appleseed of rounds — collecting, leading, spreading the word. He has produced Rounds Galore, a book with over 300 rounds. Sol is one fifth of the Rounds Galore and More Singers, and appears on all three volumes of the Rounds Galore and More recordings.

Photo: Sol and Evy Mayer with Pete Seeger
  • Sunday, 4:15 PM-5:20 PM: Rounds Just for FUN: Come and sing rounds that are easy, tricky, clever, silly, beautiful and FUN. Led by Sol, Jan Maier, and Evy Mayer.
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Robbie Wedeen Robbie Wedeen
is a singer/songwriter whose original songs draw from diverse musical forms, such as blues, ballads, gospel, country and women’s songs. She has contributed to the folk music scene as a performer, songwriter, and producer of creative programs. Robbie also has been awarded a “Meet the Composer” grant.
  • Saturday, 3:00 PM-4:05 PM: Old-Time, Bluegrass, Blues and Beyond: (with Triple Play). Rousing and high-energy music with plenty of opportunity to sing along.
  • Saturday evening concert
  • Sunday, 4:50-5:20 PM: Woman, Where's Your Song? Program for Brooklyn-Queens NOW. Reflects the ambiguities of contemporary life, and finds significance in the experience of women fulfilling multiple roles in our society.
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Ellen Weiss Ellen Weiss
has been a singer/songwriter and vocal instructor in Manhattan for 25 years. It is her pleasure to create an environment where everyone feels safe to express themselves fully. Empower and express your deepest song from within! Ellen was also a member of the folk music quartet Water Sign, for 10 years. She hopes to release her first CD by the end of this year!
Ellen's website
  • Saturday, 1:45-2:50 PM: Singer/Songwriter Song Swap. Bring voice, instruments and a song to share. This is a chance to bring out your buried and unburied treasure.
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Erica Weiss Erica Weiss
has been teaching music workshops as well as playing for dances up and down the East Coast and in the American South for more than fifteen years, with bands including Jesse Lege & Bayou Brew, Square Peg Rounders, Lightning in the East, and Killer Bees. After exploring her love for Balkan music as director of the Yale Slavic Chorus, she added Cajun and Appalachian Old-Time to her musical passions and has since made many treks south to learn and play with the masters. Erica has taught, called dances and performed at camps and festivals including Pinewoods Folk Music Week, Stephen Foster Old-Time Music Weekend, Chesapeake Dance, Music Camps North, Ashokan Fiddle & Dance New Years', The Dance Flurry, Lincoln Center NYC, Black Pot Festival Louisiana, Summer Acoustic Music Week (SAMW) and many others. When she is not on the road, Erica teaches private lessons to children of all ages in the Greater Boston area.
Erica's website
  • Sunday, 1:45 PM-2:50 PM: Cajun Songs: A Cajun jam, "jam-packed" with details about Cajun music structure, instrumentation, singing styles, and more; lyric sheets provided, all instruments and dancers welcome.
  • Sunday, 3:00 PM-4:05 PM: Balkan Singing Workshop: Explore funky rhythms, dissonant harmonies, powerful vocalizing and learn a Balkan song or two.
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Heather Wood Heather Wood
is a veteran singer from the English revival for some 50 years, dating from her days with The Young Tradition. She has a great repertoire of ballads, historical songs, love and agricultural songs, and a lot from the humorous side. In addition to the old songs, she has written some dynamite new ones.
Heather's website
  • MC, Friday evening concert
  • Saturday, 10:00 AM-11:05 AM: Ballad Song Swap: Bring a ballad to share.
  • MC, Saturday evening concert
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