Tickets for WAMFEST 2013: The Appalachian Heritage are now available through Eventbrite! All WAMFEST events are hosted by Artist-in-Residence Wesley Stace, and are free of charge. The FDU community and the general public are welcome to attend. Browse our full schedule, including performances by Loudon Wainwright III, C.D. Wright, Rosanne Cash (pictured) and others, and reserve your seat before they fill up!
Monday, October 28th
7-8:30 pm, Wilson Auditorium, Teaneck Campus
The Origins: A Conversation and Performance with Five-String Banjo Player Tony Trischka, Blue Highway’s Guitarist Tim Stafford, and Old-Time Bluegrass Mandolin Player Jesse McReynolds Accompanied by Banjo Player Steve Thomas, Co-Hosted by Carol Beaugard of WFDU and Artist-in-Residence Wesley Stace
7:00-8:30pm, Lenfell Hall, Madison Campus
The Politics of Coal: Award-Winning Journalist Bob Hennelly interviews Environmental Advocate Joe Lovett of Appalachian Mountain Advocates
The Folk Song: A Conversation and Performance with Heralded Folk Singer Loudon Wainwright III (pictured)
Wednesday, October 30th
2:00-3:30 pm, Dreyfuss Theater, Madison Campus
Two Voices: A Conversation and Performance with Distinguished Poet C.D. Wright and Grammy Award-Winning Singer/Songwriter Rosanne Cash
5-6:30 pm, Lenfell Hall, Madison Campus
Songs and Stories and All That Jazz: A Conversation and Performance with Singers Tomi Lunsford and David Olney, followed by a Barbecue and an Appalachian Gathering (Open Mic Hootenany Free for All) with Olney/Lunsford and Members of The Folk Project
Save the dates – WAMFEST returns to FDU’s Madison campus on Monday, October 28th, Tuesday the 29th, and Wednesday the 30th! This year’s festival will focus on Appalachian heritage and how we can help to preserve and extend both its arts and the environment that gave birth to them.
Confirmed performers include the experimental, socially conscious and incredibly gifted poet C.D. Wright (pictured), former coal miner and iconic old-time banjo player Lee Sexton, the very talented and entrancing country/jazz songbird Tomi Lunsford (also the great niece of influential folklorist and musician Bascom Lamar Lunsford), and Joe Lovett, founder and executive director of Appalachian Mountain Advocates, an exceptional and important organization that works to save Appalachia from mountain-top removal coal mining and other atrocities. Throughout the events, WAMFEST performers and organizers will emphasize and discuss environmental advocacy relating to Appalachia and the Hudson River. As usual, our wonderful Artist-in-Residence Wesley Stace/John Wesley Harding will be hosting the festival. More performers T.B.A.
WAMFEST is free of charge. Non-students are strongly encouraged to attend; tickets will be available soon. Stay tuned for more details.
If you missed any of our October shows, or want to re-watch some of your favorite parts, check out FDU’s YouTube Channel for free streaming of every event. Enjoy!
Enjoy these beautiful photos of last month’s WAMFEST events, courtesy of Dan Landau and Scott Giglio.
We do have quite a few lovely photos from the recent WAMFEST events, but Hurricane Sandy has made it quite difficult to get them up here on our blog. Please stay tuned, they’re coming soon!
By: Becky Fine-Firesheets
Robert Pinsky’s poetry, especially when delivered in his baritone voice, is like silk. But Pinsky (pictured left) didn’t just weave tapestries with his words at POEMJAZZ, the final WAMFEST event held on Thursday, October 25th. Once he had lulled his audience to that sweet, silky spot, he would shout a graphic, realistic line into the microphone and everyone would jerk up on edge. Then he’d easily bring them back down, only to jab them again, this time with a philosophical statement that hit just below the belly, a phrase that most likely churned there for days until its meaning finally clicked, a meaning completely unique to the listener, perhaps even opposite of what Pinsky intended. But more than having his intentions completely understood, Pinsky seemed to want to be felt.
His delivery, phrasing, foot-tapping and hip-swaying all combined flawlessly with the impressive band backing him up, featuring jazz greats Ben Allison, Steve Slagle and Dave Stryker (pictured below). Slagle’s saxophone squeals, winding solos and punctuated flute lines enhanced Pinsky’s sentiments, offering a new take or a different direction on the words without losing track of their original feel. While Slagle often batted themes back and forth with Pinsky, Allison tended to actively play his upright bass throughout each piece, rooting the band in syncopated lines that mimicked Pinsky’s lilt. Guitarist Stryker bounced back and forth between these two roles, sometimes offering strange yet beautiful solos, other times strumming chords that made the piece feel like a complete, composed song rather than a poem set to improvised music.
After an engaging hour of performance, Artist in Residence Wesley Stace joined the men onstage for a Q&A. An interesting and thought-provoking conversation ensued.
“We’ve never played together before,” Allison explained. “We, as musicians, share a common knowledge that we build from.” He went on to discuss the experience of improvising and how listening closely to one another plays a major role. Pinsky added that, to him, phrasing is the most important element of jazz. Through paying attention to his poetic phrases, he can easily hear the music behind it all.
The attentive audience filled up Lenfell Hall with students even sitting on the floor. While some people viewed the performance with a bit of skepticism, seemingly everyone took something valuable away from it; the chatter floating around afterwards was not just praise but also thoughtful extensions of the themes, ideas and emotions Pinsky so expertly planted inside of them.