Thursday, August 1, 2013
Anshu Varma was born in north India and grew up in Calcutta and New Delhi. As a child she was fascinated by the tradition of meh'ndi, a paste of henna used to decorate the hands and feet with ornate patterns, the result being like a temporary tattoo. Greatly inspired by her mother's artistic creations meh'ndi, Anhsu learned the art of meh'ndi, sometimes simply called henna, at home.
Henna plays an important role in maintaining cultural and traditional identity in India. The tradition in India is associated especially with wedding ceremonies where putting henna on the bride's palms and feet represents "dressing" the bride. It is, however, appropriate to be decorated with henna at all festive events. Being dressed in henna sets the celebratory mood of the community.
Today, Anshu is a master of the art. Now living in Michigan, she continues to teach the art of henna at public libraries statewide. She was a recipient of a Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship award in 2002 and 2003.
She is regular participant at the Great Lakes Folk Festival where, for a small fee, she "dresses" visitors with meh'ndi, then generously donates these fees to the Michigan State University Museum to support the Great Lakes Folk Festival. Join her to get a fun henna tattoo. (Unlike a traditional tattoo in which ink is inserted into the skin, henna makes a rust colored stain that stays on top of the skin and fades gradually.)
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
MSU Museum’s Great Lakes Folk Festival in downtown East Lansing!
MUSIC AND DANCE:
-Paulette Brockington | Swing Dance and the Lindy Hop | Highland Park, Mich. | 2012 Michigan Heritage Awardee
-Clear Fork Bluegrass Quartet / Boy = Girl | Bluegrass | Chardon, Ohio
-Dentdelion | Québécois | Sainte-Béatrix, Québec
-Mike Espy & Yakity Yak | Chicago and Memphis Blues | Fenton, Mich.
-Kaivama | Finnish-American | Minneapolis, Minn.
-Johnny Koenig | Slovenian Polka | Allison Park, Penn.
-Lanialoha and Aloha Lives! | Hawai'ian Ukulele/Hula | Chicago
-Les Bassettes | Cajun | Lafayette, La.
-Les Poules à Colin | Québécois | Sainte-Béatrix, Québec
-Joel Mabus / Top Drawer String Band | Old-Time Strings and Contra Dance | Portage and mid-Michigan
-Lee Murdock | Kaneville, Ill. | a special repertoire in honor of the 75th anniversary of folklorist Alan Lomax collecting songs of Northern Michigan (in partnership with the Library of Congress American Folklife Center)
-Red Tail Ring / Bowhunter | Old-Time String Band and Contra Dance | Kalamazoo, Mich.
-Cathie Ryan | Irish-American Celtic | Hartsdale, N.Y.
-Tumbao Bravo | Cuban/Caribbean | Ann Arbor, Mich.
-Svetla Vladeva and the Eastern European Ensemble | Balkan Music | Bloomington, Ind.
-Mai Zong Vue | Hmong Vocal Music | Madison, Wisc.
-Most groups play 2-4 times throughout the weekend, including sets at the Dance Stage with a 2,400-foot dance floor.
-Musicians from different groups take the stage in popular Traditions Showcases -- accordion, fiddle, bass -- to share and compare traditions and techniques of their instruments.
-Also, for festival-goers to participate: an old-time musicians' jam, community sing, and a new ukulele meet-up.
• 2013 Michigan Heritage Award honorees, recognizing the state's top tradition-bearers: Wesley V. Cooper of Fremont, a bamboo fishing rod maker, and Carlson's of Fishtown in Leland, a Great Lakes commercial fishing and fish processing.
• Taste of Traditions Foodways: with authentic regional and ethnic food, from Middle Eastern to Native American, Mexican, French, Polish, Thai and more.
• GLFF Marketplace -- featuring green lifeways, recycled arts, creative “upcycled” materials, and folk wisdom to help restore, conserve and revitalize the planet.
• Kidlore children’s folk activities include Scandinavian decorative rosemaling (painting), clogging and step dancing, metalsmithing sculptures, as well as the tradition of decorating graduation caps.
• Campus and Community sessions and demonstrations present MSU researchers and students showing creative diversity, innovation, problem-solving and the many ways universities can turn education into action.
BEST OF THE MIDWEST
A special feature for 2013: GLFF plays host for the first time to the 13th traveling Midwest Folklife Festival, a free outdoor public festival that highlights the ethnic and folk arts, customs, and practices of the Midwestern states. (See: www.midwestfolklifefestival.org.)
-James Anderson, Gladwin, Mich., Native American stone carving
-Capital Area Lace Makers, Lansing, Mich., bobbin lace-making
-Wesley Cooper, Fremont, Mich., bamboo fly rod building
-Bounxou Daoheuang, Brooklyn Park, Minn., Laotian master weaver
-Timothy Higgins, Elsie, Mich., metalsmith arts
-Carole Lanialoha “Lani” Lee-Sumberg, Chigago, Hawai’ian weaving
-Peter "Pekka" A. Olson, Chassell, Mich., Finnish American woodcarving and basketry
-Patricia Shackleton, Haslett, Mich., Anishnaabek birch bark cutouts
-Nancy Schmidt, Waukesha, Wisc., Scandinavian rosemaling (decorative painting)
-Anshu Varma, Okemos, Mich., meh'ndi (henna designs)
-Lula Williams, Detroit, African-American quiltmaking
Admission is by donation.
Festival hours: Friday, Aug. 9, 6 - 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 10, noon - 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 11, noon - 6 p.m.
For more information, call the MSU Museum at (517) 432-GLFF (4533) or learn more at www.greatlakesfolkfest.net and on Facebook and Twitter (twitter.com/GLFF).
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Help protect the images and stories of Quilts and Quilt Makers with a donation dedicated to the Quilt Index.
Whether you are a Quilt Index power user or a first-time visitor to this website, please take a few minutes to watch our new video report: Virtual Threads 2012: The Quilt Index Year in Review
The Quilt Index is a free, open access project of Matrix, Michigan State University Museum; and the Quilt Alliance.
Your tax-deductible contribution supports free access to images, stories, and information about quilts and their makers, past and present. Click here to download a letter detailing more of our accomplishments over the past year;more updates on upcoming activities; and information about other ways to contribute,including eligible employee corporate matching-gift opportunities.
Donate Now to have your funds -- up to $10,000 -- matched by the Robert and Ardis James Foundation. Together we can fulfill this vision of an inclusive international reference resource, full participation of documentation projects, new technology and access capabilities.
Thank you for using and supporting The Quilt Index.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog hopping.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Honoring individuals who continue traditions with excellence is the focus of two annual programs coordinated by the Michigan State University Museum: the Michigan Heritage Awards (MHA) Program, and the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (MTAAP).
Thursday, November 15, 2012
RIP, DJ Krogol, Highland Bagpiper
We were all saddened to learn of the passing this week of DJ Krogol, Highland bagpiper from Lansing, Mich., and a 1995 recipient of the Michigan Heritage Awards. Since 1985, the MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program has -- through its Michigan Heritage Awards -- have honored the achievements of Michigan artists like DJ for who practice traditions with excellence and authenticity. The awards recognize these traditions in the areas of performance, material culture and community leadership.
Here's more about DJ Krogol and his commitment to passing on traditions:
The Scottish heritage of D. J. Krogol's mother provided him with his first introduction to bagpipes. D.J. (b. 1949) began to play the Great Highland bagpipes at age seven when he joined the St. Andrews Junior Pipe Band, sponsored by the St. Andrews Society in Detroit. At the time, his mother, whose family name is MacEadin, said, "Jerry has liked the pipes for as long as I can remember. We have them at our family get-togethers and I guess he just takes to them naturally." He continued his study with noted piper Walter Rose during his youth. From this beginning, he has become committed to the preservation of the traditional music of the Scottish pipes.
D.J. has shared this essential element of Scottish culture through many venues, playing at weddings, funerals, christenings, and anniversaries throughout the Scottish-American local communities. He has been his clan's piper since the age of ten, playing for clan reunions and other gatherings. He has shared his talent professionally with others by participating in Senior Citizens' Programs, local school programs, charity fundraisers, and many theater productions, including Brigadoon.
Read more about DJ Krogol here.
Friday, October 19, 2012
StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 40,000 interviews from nearly 80,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.
As the StoryCorps staff points out, “We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.” As a folklorist, I fully embrace the potential of stories and shared narratives to bind us together in ways that enrich our daily lives and truly enrich our sense of community life.
One of the questions we get at the American Folklife Center is, “Who uses these collections?” At a recent board meeting we learned that among the most active users of the collections are psychologists and social scientists as there is significant data on current patterns of life and social issues. Of course, the collections are also used by artists, humanists, historians, scholars, and people from all walks of life as the stories often are about shared historical moments in time or personal journeys. Often inspiring and deeply emotionally charged, the collection demonstrates that storytelling and personal voice continue to inform our lives and inspire us. I invite you to record your story-- and also visit the StoryCorps archives at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Simply go on-line to learn more about how you can participate in this incredible window into our nation and its people: http://www.loc.gov/folklife/storycorpsfaq.html
C. Kurt Dewhurst, Ph.D.
Director of Arts and Cultural Initiatives and Senior Fellow
University Outreach and Engagement Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage/Director Emeritus
Professor of English and Museum Studies
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Of course, for most folks, the pinnacle in the form of a tribute is the release of the box set of recording, Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection by Smithsonian Folkways. While the intention here is not to promote the purchase of music or art, if you have any interest in Woody Guthrie and traditional music in America, you should consider adding this amazing centennial box set to your library as it includes 3 CD's of Smithsonian Folkways with 57 music tracks as well as never before released tracks and radio recordings by Woody Guthrie. The accompanying 150 large-format book includes essays by Jeff Place, Robert Santelli and Peter LaChappell. This commemorative-boxed set is a real treat that highlights over 150 original pieces of artwork, lyrics, photographs and writings by Woody Guthrie from the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and the Woody Guthrie Archives. Click here to order or watch a mini-documentary video about the making of Woody at 100.
During the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival the National Public Radio program Talk of the Nation broadcast live from the national mall and devoted an hour to interviews with Jeff Place and Robert Santelli who helped paint a more contemporary understanding of Guthrie as one of America’s most important folk composers, as an overlooked visual artist, and creative marketer of his music and advocacy for “the folk.” The live call in session was inspiring as it generated a massive response from listeners and reaffirmed Guthrie’s place in the hearts and minds of Americans.
There is even a deeper and richer treatment of Woody in the new book, This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song by Robert Santelli. The book traces the early years beginning in 1939 to the legacy of Woody Guthrie today. Filled with new insights and information based on interviews done with many of the Guthrie family and with Woody’s contemporaries. Beautifully designed and illustrated, it helps make the case that Woody Guthrie needs to be recognized as a significant part of the intellectual history of American music.
The tributes to Woody continue in other forms including one that will appeal to kids and families. There is a new recording entitled, Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie. This recording by Elizabeth Mitchell. It features re-imagined renditions of 13 kid-friendly Guthrie classics in CD or digital download format.
Finally, there will be a scholarly conference and concerts on September 7-9, 2012 at Penn State University in State College, PA. The conference is entitled, Woody Guthrie at 100: Woody’s Legacy to Working Men and Women. The GRAMMY Museum is partnering with the Guthrie Foundation and Archives to create the centennial celebrations of Guthrie’s life and work. Papers will address Guthrie’s legacy and influence —with regard to folk music, art, literature, rhetoric, philosophy, media studies, politics, and culture; labor history; gender, free speech, and class issues; the history of social movements; the global fight against fascism; and/or the work of the many writers, artists, and musicians whom Guthrie inspired and influenced. For more information go to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you will enjoy reconnecting with the music, life, and evolving legacy of Woody Guthrie this year as we celebrate his 100th birthday. Woody voice and message lives on in the 21st century in our land.
C. Kurt Dewhurst, Ph.D.
Director of Arts and Cultural Initiatives and Senior Fellow
University Outreach and Engagement
Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage/Director Emeritus
Professor of English and Museum Studies
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Amongst the most popular features of the Great Lakes Folk Festival, according to both attendees and musicians, are the Tradition Showcases. Several times throughout each festival weekend, we assemble musicians from the various bands and—with the help of knowledgeable presenters—explore their backgrounds and influences, ask them to demonstrate a song or tune or two, and discuss how similar instruments might be played differently (or similarly) from one tradition to another.
This year's showcases feature instruments common to bands (fiddle, accordion, percussion) instruments that we don't see every day (begena and krar, kamanche, kanun, sitar) as well as a themed set (From Blues to Bluegrass) and one in which four random musicians are assembled to see what happens.
(Photo by Patrick T. Power
Friday, August 10, 7:45 P.M. • Abbot Stage
Featuring Bua's Brían Ó hAirt (Irish Celtic), Joaquín Díaz (Merengue) and Leroy Thomas (Zydeco) Accordion Traditions will compare and contrast accordion styles from Ireland, the Dominican Republic and Louisiana.
Friday, August 10, 9:30 P.M. • Abbot Stage
The Roots of Bluegrass
Claire Lynch and her band demonstrate the musical roots of bluegrass in an informal discussion with Bob Blackman.
(Photo by Patrick T. Power
Saturday, August 11, 1:00 P.M. • Abbot Stage
Always one of the Great Lakes Folk Festival's favorites, Fiddle Traditions will compare and contrast fiddle styles as performed by Bua's Devin Shepherd (Celtic), David Bass (Old-time) and Bryan McDowell (Bluegrass), as well as the generational relationship of the three styles.
Saturday, August 11, 7:45 P.M. • Abbot Stage
String, Strang, Strung
Many people think of folk music as a guitar and banjo and fiddle. And while we certainly have plenty of those at the festival each year, many cultures have found unique ways with which to produce sounds and music... sometimes with but a string or two; sometimes with dozens of strings. In this showcase, we will feature the Indian Sitar (Hasu Patel), the Kamanche (Saeed Kamjoo), the Begena and Krar (Temesgen Hussein) and the Kanun (Ara Topouzian).
Sunday, August 12, Noon • Abbot Stage
Guitars and fiddles and accordions often get most of the attention while those that keep the beat are kept (often literally) in the background. In this showcase, we will feature the Indian Tabla (Vishal Nagar), the Iranian Daf and Tumbak (Mehdi Darvishi), Merengue Tambora (Peter Barzey) and Guira (Raul Villa Rojas) and Zydeco Rubboard (Charles Fontenot).
Sunday, August 12, 3:00 P.M. • Abbot Stage
It is not uncommon for musicians to cross paths in airports, and it's very uncommon for musicians to not want to play music together when they've got the chance. Leroy Thomas (Zydeco), Devin Shepherd (Irish Celtic) and Frank Lee (Old-Time) will each kick off a tune or two and the rest will follow.
(Photo by Patrick T. Power
Thanks to Tom for his extraordinary commitment to the MSU Museum and the Great Lakes Folk Festival. The cash we collect helps maintain the high quality of programs at GLFF helps us finish the year strong. If you see him, be sure and say thanks and drop a couple bucks in the bucket!
[Photo by MSU Museum's Pearl Yee -- and featured in our "GLFF Redux" photo exhibit now in our Community Gallery.]
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Creating a Visual Record of the Festival
Every year the Great Lakes Folk Festival relies on over 400 volunteers to make the festival possible. One of the most visible records of the festival has been the extensive photographic documentation of our festival by both long-standing volunteer photographers Raymond Holt and Patrick T. Power and our MSU Museum staff photographer, Pearl Yee Wong. Their photographs --and other forms of research and documentation-- are added every year to the Traditional Arts Archival Collections of the MSU Museum for scholarly and public use. These collections provide a rich resource for understanding living cultural traditions in our state, the Great Lakes region, nationally, and globally.
An Annual Photographic Exhibition as Capsule View of the Festival
|Photo by Ray Holt|
Share your Experience—Help us Document the Festival
Come by the museum and select your favorite photos in the current photographic exhibit. The exhibition helps convey the deep engagement our community has in the Great Lakes Folk Festival that is now in its 26th year. It is worth noting that, while the festival can feel like an ephemeral experience, the festival lives on through the research and documentation of festival experience—and in the hearts and minds of those who participate in the festival very year. I invite you to share your favorite festival moments…and your photos…with us once again this year. See you at the festival!
C. Kurt Dewhurst
Great Lakes Folk Festival
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
|Star of Bethlehem by Anna David. Photo by Doug Elbinger.|
Friday, June 15, 2012
On June 3, 2012, a new exhibition opened at the Michigan State University Museum. "Patterns of Inquiry: Quilts in Research and Education," showcases a number of the museum's historic and contemporary textiles in the context of the research and education projects with which they are affiliated. Quilting has never been more popular, and "quilt studies" is a fast-growing field of research. Studies indicate there are more than 27 million quilters in the U.S. alone, and the new exhibit explores why quilts are created and some innovative ways they are being used.