Asani and Cris Derksen (performing with the e.s.l. band) will be hitting a number of stages at the 2012 Winnipeg Folk Festival this weekend.
ASANI is an Aboriginal women’s trio from Edmonton. This circle of First Nations and Metis women have performed across Canada and internationally at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York, The Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. and the Saddledome in Calgary.
Mihirangi, a Moari singer from Down Under, will be hitting the free stage at the Old Market Square in WInnipeg, courtesy of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Be sure to check her out over the lunch hour on August 5, 2009.
A few years ago the Winnipeg Folk Festival started programming a second evening stage. This is something that other festivals do, but it was always one of Winnipeg's charms that the whole audience came together for the evening concert. I've had mixed feelings about this second stage and I know that some of my festival diehard friends did was well. But, this year, I checked out the alternative stage at a very specific point in the festival and the experience made complete sense to me.
The headliner at the festival this year was Ray Davies, former frontman of The Kinks, a huge figure in the landscape of popular music and a hero and idol for many. On the festival mainstage, however, he mostly plays the role of a heritage act. People loved this show because of what they were doing when they first heard these songs, and because it allowed them to relive those formative years. For those of us who just missed this period of pop music history, this show is a guy playing quaint, outdated pop songs. These songs were important at the time, but do they stand up as songs against all the great songwriters we just spend three days listening to? "You really got me, You really got me" -...
It was another whirlwind weekend of fantastic music, running into all sorts of friends and acquaintances, and drinking beers out doors. The Winnipeg Folk Festival is always over too quick and after losing Saturday this year to the crappiest weather in Winnipeg July history, the end of the day Sunday felt like it came even quicker. Maybe not so for the staff and stage crews who had to deal with all that.
For me and many music nerds like me, the workshop stages are the true heart of the festival and hold the key to what we call festival magic. Of course, these are called Daytime Stages now and feature a mix of straight up concerts, and themed multiple-act performances. But we still call them workshops. Even in the early days, these were rarely workshops in the teaching and learning sense. But the "workshop" label allows artists to talk freely about their music, and enjoy a certain casualness.
This year, I saw some fantastic music on the workshop stages, and it seemed to be the indie rock acts that took the collaborative possibilities of the workshop setting to it's furthest extreme. Maybe it's because these acts have done fewer folk festivals and have a romantic idea of...