Great weather and great programming! We suggest heading down to New Bedford this weekend for the Working Waterfront Festival. If you haven’t guessed, this year’s theme is surf and turf. In promoting the festival, organizers point out that “Fishermen and farmers share a deep knowledge of, reverence for and dependence upon the natural world. Both groups pass traditional skills and knowledge from one generation to the next, often incorporating new technologies alongside traditional practices. And both communities face many of the same economic, environmental and political challenges.”
In addition to live maritime and ethnic music, there will be an open air market featuring local produce and fresh seafood and cooking demonstrations, occupational demonstrations of fishing and farming skills, tours of fishing boats, author readings, and kid’s activities.
Ever since 1982, The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded National Heritage Fellowships, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Although this year there are no Massachusetts artists in the mix, there have been in the past. Fellows from the Bay State include: Cape Breton fiddler Joe Cormier (1984), tap dancer extraordinaire Jimmy Slyde (1999), Irish American button accordionist Joe Derrane (2004), and folklorist Nancy Sweezy (2006). Be sure to check out their profiles on our online archive.
We have also nominated several other individuals. In fact, if you want to nominate someone, you can by submitting a letter and support materials to the NEA.
This Saturday, September 12 marks the 30th Lowell Banjo and Fiddle Contest at Lowell National Historic Park. Whether you are an accomplished musician planning on entering the competition, or you come to experience the music-making as an observer, this annual event promises to be entertaining. In addition to the performing contestants, some great music will undoubtedly take place in informal practice/jam sessions behind the stage and along the perimeter of Boarding House Park. Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded but contestants must follow these rules.
We are delighted to announce this year’s Apprenticeships. The following five Master Artists will work with their apprentices in a variety of music and craft traditions.
Monotype Typecasting and Letterpress Printing John Kristensen of Firefly Press, Master Artist, and Jesse Marsolais, Apprentice
Piobaireachd, Great Highland Bagpipe Nancy C. Tunnicliffe of Lanesboro, Master Artist, and Sean Humphries of Millville, Apprentice
Mridangam: Carnatic South Indian Drumming Pravin Sitaram of Shrewsbury, Master Artist, and Ullas Rao of Westwood, Apprentice
Cambodian Dance Samnang Hor of Lowell, Master Artist, and Sopaul Hem of Melrose, Apprentice
Tabla: North Indian Drumming Chritstopher Pereji of South Attleboro, Master Artist, and Nisha Purushotham of Roxbury, Apprentice
Apprenticeships are a long-standing method by which an individual learns skills, techniques, and artistry under the guidance of a recognized master. Applicants were reviewed by a panel of experts who evaluate the artistry of the master artist, skill level of the apprentice, rarity of art form, appropriateness of the pairing, and work plan. They are expected to offer a community presentation at the end of the year-long apprenticeship.