A blog sponsored by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sharing news and information about the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Quilt Index, the MSU Museum's traditional arts activities, Great Lakes traditional artists and arts resources, and much more.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Awardee, Alex Smith

Among this year's Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program awardees is Alex Smith, apprentice to master marimba builder Matt Kazmierski. Alex is a master's candidate at Michigan State University, studying percussion performance and musicology with a focus on sustainable instruments and their builders.

MSU Today generated a piece about Alex last winter, highlighting the film he produced to chronicle his attempt to create a completely sustainable marimba.

You can view his film here: http://vimeo.com/80535177#at=0

Image courtesy of Alex Smith

MSU Today Student View: Alex Smith
Dec. 4, 2013 
Alex Smith, a master’s candidate in performance and musicology at MSU, has taken on a project that pushes the boundaries between musical eloquence, attainable and sustainable materials and the artistry required to construct a complex and precise instrument like the marimba. 

As a percussionist, Smith understands all too well what is required to play the marimba skillfully. But as a traveler abroad, he sees the challenges of conserving the diminishing and highly desirable wood materials needed to manufacture particular instruments. 

Smith knew that rare woods, like rosewood and padouk, were often used for the production of marimba bars. He also learned that international labor was often involved in constructing percussion instruments. 

After taking those two things into consideration, he wanted to discover what it might take to make a quality instrument closer to home. Thanks to funding from MSU and the help of local luthier and marimba craftsman Matt Kazmierski, Smith set out to make a sustainable, affordable marimba from resources obtained here in Michigan. 

Before coming to the MSU College of Music, Smith received his undergraduate degree from East Carolina University. He is a percussion performance and musicology/ethnomusicology master’s student who is also interested in the music of the world, having lived in both Brazil and Ghana. Smith’s creative endeavors combine his local and abroad experiences with his compositional identity and passion for teaching and researching.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

An Amazing New National Resource: The Civil Rights History Project Web Site

The Civil Rights Project Homepage

After almost five years of work, an amazing new educational resource has just been made available to the public. It is truly a gift to all of us, and especially to educators. On May 12, 2009, the U. S. Congress authorized a national initiative by passing The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009. The law directed the Library of Congress, American Folklife Center, and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture to "conduct a survey of existing oral history collections with relevance to the Civil Rights Movement to obtain justice, freedom and equality for African Americans and to record new interviews with people who participated in the struggle, over a five year period beginning in 2010."

The activists interviewed for this project belong to a wide range of occupations, including lawyers, judges, doctors, farmers, journalists, professors, and musicians. Their recollections are just as diverse, covering topics such as the influence of the labor movement, nonviolence and self-defense, religious faith, music, and the experiences of young activists.

Many of the interviewees were active in national organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Other interviewees were key members of specialized and local groups including the Medical Committee for Human Rights, the Deacons for Defense and Justice, the Cambridge (Maryland) Nonviolent Action Committee, and the Newark Community Union Project. Several interviews include men and women participated in the struggle for civil rights in areas not always recognized as hot beds of turmoil during the Civil Right Movement, providing a more complete picture of the cultural climate throughout the country at this time.

This site also guides researchers to collections in several Library of Congress divisions that specifically focus on the Civil Rights Movement as well as the broader topic of African American history and culture. The Civil Rights History Project Collection contains 401 items consisting of video files, videocassettes, digital photographs and interview transcripts, with several more such items to be added once the interviews conclude in 2015.

Take a moment and visit this site. It is a powerful tool for our understanding of the history and promise of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement during the year when we are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision and the 50th anniversary year of the U.S. Civil Rights legislation. 

Go to: http://loc.gov/collection/civil-rights-history-project/about-this-collection/

Written by Kurt Dewhurst

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tiny Pop-Up Museum in New York Freight Elevator

Check out this story from NPR!
Three filmmakers from New York have converted a vacant, unusable freight elevator into a tiny museum. It is simply called "Museum." They collect objects that interest them and display them in this unique space. View their website here.

Pop-up libraries, museums, restaurants, and shops are happening all over the country. They encourage us to view our environments in new ways, and to dream about what treasures our cities can hold.

What space in your city can you convert into a museum?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ciesa Design Great Lakes Folk Festival Poster Takes Home the Gold

The Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance awards were held on February 13, 2014. Long-time Great Lakes Folk Festival poster designers, Ceisa Design, took home 7 awards, including a Gold award for the 2013 Great Lakes Folk Festival poster. We sure loved this design, didn't you?
Ceisa's 2013 GLFF poster design

Monday, February 17, 2014

Classic Performances from the 1989 Festival of Michigan Folklife: Howard Armstrong and Ted Bogan

African American String Band Musicians Howard Armstrong (1909-2003) and Ted Bogan (1910-1990)

The one-and-only Howard Armstrong made several memorable appearances at folklife festivals produced by the Michigan State University Museum, beginning with the 1988 Festival of Michigan Folklife and ending in 2002 with its successor, the Great Lakes Folk Festival. None were more memorable than when he performed with his long-time friend, guitarist and South Carolina native, Ted Bogan. Armstrong and Bogan first met during the early 1930s in Armstrong’s home state of Tennessee. With fellow musician Carl Martin, they joined the Great Migration, ending up in Chicago where they worked as street musicians, made recordings, and―according to Howard—played for Al Capone! During this time, they made several trips into Michigan to play at juke joints and restaurants. Armstrong did not settle in Michigan until after World War II, when he took an assembly line job in Detroit’s auto industry in order to support his family. He retired from Chrysler in 1971. The following year, with interest in older forms of African American music on the rise, Armstrong reunited with his old friends Bogan and Martin, touring as the “last of the black string bands.” They played throughout the U.S. and internationally until Martin’s death in 1979. Bogan and Armstrong continued as a duo until Bogan’s death in 1990. Among the many awards and recognitions Armstrong received during his long and colorful life were a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1990) and a Michigan Heritage Award from the Michigan State University Museum (1989).

The following video excerpts come from the 1989 Festival of Michigan Folklife and were filmed by Gary McCuaig. The first shows Howard Armstrong singing an old hymn learned from his mother, “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me,” while accompanying himself on fiddle. The performance captures Howard’s inimitable stage personality and the conflict between church and fiddle (what his mother called the “devil’s box”). The second excerpt features Bogan and Armstrong playing a blues medley, with the two men trading solos.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pete Seeger, In Memoriam

On January 24th, 2014, acclaimed folk singer, activist, and inspiration Pete Seeger passed away. Our colleagues at Smithsonian Folkways have produced a wonderful piece paying tribute to his life and memory. Please read it here.

"To my old brown earth
And to my old blue sky
I'll now give these last few molecules of "I."
And you who sing,
And you who stand nearby,
I do charge you not to cry.
Guard well our human chain,
Watch well you keep it strong,
As long as sun will shine.
And this our home,
Keep pure and sweet and green,
For now I'm yours
And you are also mine."
-Pete Seeger, 1958, "To My Old Brown Earth"

Pete Seeger performs at a Valentine's Day party in 1944.
Photo by Joseph Horne, public domain
Pete Seeger performs on the Nation Mall at the 2009 inauguration.
Photo by Donna Lou Morgan, public domain

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Meet Andy Birko, Bandura Maker from Rochester Hills, Michigan

Andy Birko plays a bandura of his own design, November 12, 2013.
Photo by Laurie Kay Sommers
To meet Andy Birko is to be immersed in the world of the bandura, a fretless, plucked stringed instrument that is the national instrument of the Ukraine and an important identity symbol for Ukrainian Americans. On a blustery April day in 2013, I traveled to Sterling Heights in Metro Detroit to attend the spring concert of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus (UBC), part of fieldwork funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. There I met Andy, currently the UBC concertmaster and the third generation of his family to participate in the ensemble. 

The Ukranian Bandurist Chorus in performance at the Sterling Heights 
Performing Arts Center, April 20, 2013. Birko is sixth from the right, in the front row.
Photo by Laurie Kay Sommers
The Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus is a unique Ukrainian American ensemble that traces its roots to a group founded in the Ukraine in 1918. It is both an all-male chorus that is accompanied by instrumentalists (bandurists) and an orchestra of bandurists (all male) that sing while playing. The UBC is distinctive in that it maintains the Kharkiv or Poltavka style of bandura playing, in which the player holds the instrument parallel to his body and uses both hands to play the full range of the instrument.

UBC bandurists in rehearsal. From left, Walter Babiky (Toronto Ontario),
Yuri Petlura (Hamilton, Ontario), and Andy Birko (Rochester Hills, Michigan).
Andy is playing a Kharkiv-style instrument by the late Detroit maker, Yurij Pryjmak.
Photo by Laurie Kay Sommers, April 20, 2013.
The UBC moved to Detroit in 1949, drawn to the city by plentiful auto industry jobs. With assistance from the International Institute and the Federation of American Ukrainians of Michigan, the ensemble held its first North American concert on October 2, 1949 at Detroit’s Masonic Auditorium. The performance launched a grand tour of major US and Canadian cities. Although the UBC now has membership drawn from across North America, Detroit remains its official home. 

Flyer from the UBC's first North American concert after emigration.
From the UBC archives, courtesy of Wolodya Murha.
The emigration of the UBC transformed Detroit into a center for bandura makers who then trained the next generation. Andy plays a bandura built by the late Detroit maker and bandurist, Yurij Pryjmak. The Honcharenko brothers (Alex and Petro) were also important Detroit bandura makers, who, prior to 1949, had been prominent luthiers and bandura makers in the Ukraine. The Detroit instrument making tradition continues today with Andy Birko (born 1970), who was mentored briefly by Alex Honcharenko, but who draws more on his engineering background, online luthier forums, and trial and error than on tips and techniques gleaned from the older generation. 

Birko in his workshop, comparing a hand-carved scroll and one
he produced on this CNC machine, November 12, 2013.
Photo by Laurie Kay Sommers.
Andy Birko is one of just two North American bandura makers. The other is Canadian Bill Vetzal, another Honcharenko protégée. As a player, Andy understands the distinctive characteristics of the instrument. As a maker, he uses that knowledge to design instruments with improved sound production. He builds banduras that combine traditional handwork with innovative modeling in CAD (computer assisted design) that is then produced with a CNC machine. The result is a unique combination of old and new. 

Hear Andy Birko describe the characteristic features of the bandura and what he hopes to accomplish with his own bandura designs. 

Visit Andy Birko’s workshop and hear him discuss his approach to bandura making. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Michigan Folksong Legacy: Alan Lomax’s 1938 Folksong Collecting Trip

“Michigan proved to be the most richly varied region for folk music that I had ever visited, combining as it did the lusty tradition of the Northern woods singer with an infinitely varied pattern of immigrant European, Indian, and even Appalachian and Southern Negro music.” Alan Lomax, 1939

 In 1938, a young folk music collector named Alan Lomax—destined to become one of the legendary folklorists of the twentieth century—came from Washington, DC to record Michigan’s folk music traditions for the Archive of American Folk-Song at the Library of Congress. Michigan was experiencing a golden age of folk song collecting, as local folklorists mined the trove of ballads remembered by aging lumberjacks and Great Lakes sailors. Lomax was eager to record these uniquely American song traditions. He also was the first collector to document a broad spectrum of Michigan’s ethnic folk music. In just ten weeks Lomax recorded more than 120 performers from Detroit to the western Upper Peninsula. 

Alan Lomax demonstrates Presto disc recorder at the
 Library of Congress, ca. 1940, a machine similar to the 
one used in MichiganFrom Alan Lomax Miscellaneous 
Photographs, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. 
Courtesy of Alan Lomax Estate.

 During 2013-2014, the Michigan State University Museum is coordinating public programming to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Lomax’s seminal Michigan journey. This includes the traveling exhibition “Michigan Folksong Legacy: Grand Discoveries from the Great Depression,” and a multimedia performance event “Folksongs from Michigan-i-o” (“Michigan-i-o” is the name of a lumberjack ballad). Major funding has been provided by the Michigan Humanities Council and the Great Lakes Traditions Endowment at Michigan State University Museum, with additional support from the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress; the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures at the University of Wisconsin; and the Association for Cultural Equity. For more information, see the Michigan Folksong Legacy home page.

 This still image from Lomax’s color movie footage shows Pajo Tomic 
singing a Serbian epic accompanied by gusle, Detroit, 1938.

 Lomax began his Michigan odyssey in Detroit—then an industrial metropolis of 1.6 million—but spent most of his time in small towns and rural areas. Lomax recorded an astonishing variety of vocal and instrumental styles, among them sailor and lumberjack ballads, African American blues, Hungarian czardas, Serbian epics, Polish wedding marches, Irish reels, French Canadian songs, and Finnish waltzes. He recorded in taverns, hotels, net sheds, ethnic clubs, back yards, and family homes, cutting 12-inch discs or shooting silent color movie film on the spot. The recordings captured traditions handed down orally from generation to generation, sung and played for homegrown entertainment.

Listen to harmonica player Hjelmar Forster of Calumet play the Finnish waltz “Kulkurin Valssi/Vagabond Waltz,” recorded by Alan Lomax, 1938.

 Listen to Beaver Island fiddler Patrick Bonner play the Irish reel “Up and Down the Broom,” recorded by Alan Lomax, 1938.

Patrick Bonner, pictured here in the 1950s, was a former lake 
sailor and long-time Beaver Island fiddler who recorded tunes, 
poems, and songs for Lomax in 1938. 
Courtesy of Beaver Island Historical Society.
 Lomax was especially interested in what remained of Michigan’s lumberjack culture. Between supper and bedtime, lumber camp bunkhouses or shanties once resounded with homegrown entertainment: stories, songs, stag dances, card games, and music played on instruments like concertina, fiddle, dulcimer, and bones. To locate singers, Lomax collaborated with Michigan folklorist Earl Clifton Beck at Central Michigan College of Education (now Central Michigan University), whose life’s work was collecting songs and lore of the “shanty boys.” For Beck, these songs were “commentaries on a rapidly disappearing mode of life.” 

Lumberjack cook shack, Antrim County, 1880s. Lumberjacks were the 
source of a rich occupational ballad tradition. 
Courtesy of Michigan State University Museum.

For the most part, lumberjack songs have vanished along with the great virgin forests of Michigan’s past. Native Minnesotan Brian Miller is one of the few contemporary singers to research and perform songs of the lumberjacks. Miller took part in the multimedia program “Folksongs of Michigan-i-o,” held as part of the Lomax Michigan Legacy project at Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library, October 22, 2013.

 Listen to Brian Miller perform “Once More A-Lumbering Go,” a lumberjack ballad learned from Lomax’s 1938 field recording of lumberjack Carl Lathrop (St. Louis, Michigan).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Classic Performances from the 1989 Festival of Michigan Folklife: Wade and Julia Mainer- Old-Time Country Musicians

The legendary banjo picker Wade Mainer is perhaps most associated with his North Carolina mountain roots, where he developed his distinctive two-finger banjo picking style that set the stage for the three-finger bluegrass banjo styles of Snuffy Jenkins and Earl Scruggs. Throughout his life, Mainer maintained the distinction between the hard-driving bluegrass sound and his own tradition drawn from old-time hymns and ballads learned during his boyhood. Mainer had a successful recording and radio career, performing first with his brother J.E. in J.E. Mainer and the Crazy Mountaineers and then, beginning in 1936, with his own group, Sons of the Mountaineers. He married his wife, old-time country vocalist Julia Brown, in 1937, when she was performing on North Carolina radio as “Hillbilly Lilly.” Mainer quit the music business in 1953, and he and Julia joined the tide of Appalachian migrants moving to Michigan in search of jobs. The couple settled in Flint, where Wade worked for General Motors until his retirement in 1972. During this time he performed non-professionally, often in church. Beginning in the early 1970sas interest in old-time music experienced a revival―Mainer again began to perform the traditional country banjo tunes of his early career, as well as gospel songs and hymns. Accompanied by Julia, he played at numerous festivals and resumed his recording career with such labels as Old Homestead (based in Brighton, Michigan) and June Appal Records. When he died in 2011 at the age of 104, Wade Mainer had spent more years in his second home of Michigan than in his native North Carolina. He was the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, among them a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1987) and a Michigan Heritage Award from the Michigan State University Museum (1996).

 In 1989, videographer Gary McCuaig filmed these two performances at the Michigan State University Museum’s Festival of Michigan Folklife. Together, they capture the twin facets of Wade Mainer’s career.

The first, the banjo tune “Crick in the Water,” illustrates the two-finger banjo picking style that grew out of his North Carolina mountain roots.

The second, the old-time gospel song “I Can’t Sit Down,” illustrates his later career when he frequently sang religious songs with Julia.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Family Tradition of Laotian-Hmong Weaving

Nhu Fang Yang (1911-?) and Ia Moua Yang, Detroit
1989 Festival of Michigan Folklife, East Lansing

Nhu Fang Yang learned the art of weaving on a back-strap loom from her mother, a master weaver in their small northern Laotian village. By the time Nhu married at age 16, she had mastered the skills necessary to make the intricate batik and appliqué skirts worn by all Blue Hmong women. The family moved to the U.S. in 1984. In recognition of Nhu Fang Yang’s exceptional artistry, she was awarded a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988. These Laotian-Hmong textiles are associated with rites of passage and New Year’s celebrations. In Michigan, many Hmong mothers still carefully create the decorative clothing needed by their children during the age of courtship and for marriage ceremonies, and daughters and daughters-in-law fashion the special squares customarily required for the burial of their elders. This video excerpt, shot at the MSU Museum’s 1989 Festival of Michigan Folklife by Gary McCuaig, shows the fruits of a Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship between Nhu and her daughter-in-law, Ia Moua Yang. As a White Hmong, Ia Moua Yang learned embroidery and appliqué skills but did not learn to weave or batik. In 1988, the two women received a Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship award, a program that encourages cultural preservation, pride, and respect through small grants made to master artists to teach their skills, techniques, and knowledge to others in their communities. The 1989 festival, with its theme of family traditions, provided a perfect vehicle for demonstrating the skills transmitted during the apprenticeship. For more information about MTAAP, visit http://museum.msu.edu/s-program/mtap/mtaap/mtaap.html.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Family Tradition of Ice Fishing Decoys

Myron “Mike” Ballard (1917 – 2005)
1989 Festival of Michigan Folklife, East Lansing

The 1989 Festival of Michigan Folkife, produced by the MSU Museum and held on the campus of Michigan State University, featured the theme “family traditions. One such family tradition was carried on by three generations of ice fishing decoy carvers: 1990 Michigan Heritage Award winner Dave Kober (currently living in Tustin, Michigan), his son Travis, and his uncle and mentor, Myron “Mike” Ballard. This video footage, shot by Gary McCuaig of the MSU Department of Communication Arts, shows Mike Ballard as he demonstrates the decoys in a water tank. The video excerpt clearly illustrates the family trademark: use of the natural wood grain combined with metal painted fins, a skill Mike learned from his father, Lester Ballard. Footage of completed decoys also show another family technique—carving the dorsal fins so the decoy “stands” on these fins when out of the water. Most carvers choose not to place the fins below the fish in the natural position, but the Ballard-Kober family insists on this practice. For more information on the Michigan Heritage Awards, see http://museum.msu.edu/s-program/mh_awards/mha.html. For more information on the Kober-Ballard ice fishing tradition, see http://www.koberdecoys.com/.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Keeping Polish Traditions Alive in Lansing

The Federated Polish Home of Lansing, Michigan has been a center for local Polish American culture and social life since 1929. The home houses branches of three national organizations—Polish Falcons of America, Polish National Alliance, and White Eagle Association. In 2013, a National Endowment for the Arts grant to the Michigan State University Museum supported my fieldwork with the home’s two food-based public festivals and fundraisers. These events express ethnic identity while sharing and teaching Polish American foodways. Via the Polish Home’s Facebook page, the community is invited to learn how to make pierogi and golabki. Everyone is welcome.

Lansing, Michigan's historic Federated Polish Home during Pulaski Days, 2012.
Photo by Laurie Kay Sommers.
The first weekend in October, I secretly loosened my belt and sat down to an ample plate of Polish American specialties. It was Pulaski Days, when visitors can enjoy a dinner of kielbasa, cheese and potato pierogi, kapusta (sauerkraut), and golabki (cabbage roll), and then work it all off by dancing the polka!
Making golabki is a communal activity at Lansing's Federated Polish Home, 2013.
Photo by Laurie Kay Sommers.
Pierogi Days, the newer of the two events, originated with the Federated Polish Home’s booth at the Taste of Traditions Food Court during the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing. After learning how to prepare and serve large quantities of pierogi at the festival, the group decided to devote its resources and energy toward raising funds for the Polish home. Pierogi typically are half-moon shaped, filled dumplings made of unleavened dough—popular throughout central and Eastern Europe and among North American ethnic groups with roots in these regions. As a dedicated researcher, I naturally had to try each of the five kinds sold at Pierogi Days, the different fillings representing diverse regional and family traditions. (Did I mention that these are unusually large pierogi, which devotees top with “the works”—sour cream, bacon pieces, and sautéed onion? Once again, I found myself loosening my belt....) Lansing is crazy about pierogi. In 2013, dedicated group of 29 members and volunteers assembled a staggering 9065 pierogi—representing 1100 hours of work—that are fried in bacon grease and sold the first Saturday in May. They are plump, mouth-watering, and not recommended for a heart-healthy diet! Next year they plan to make even more. Mark your calendars.

Frying pierogi at the 2013 Pierogi Days.
Photo by Laurie Kay Sommers

Hear Pat Krawczynski talk about Lansing’s Federated Polish Home and the origin of Pulaski Days and Pierogi Days. Pat has adopted the Polish traditions of her husband’s family and is president of the Polish Falcons of America Nest 652.

See golabki-making during the week leading up to Pulaski Days.

Learn how the best-selling cheese and potato pierogi are made.

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


Cultural expressions from across America and around the world converge at the MSU Museum’s Great Lakes Folk Festival in downtown East Lansing!

-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.

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

Quilt Index Year in Review

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

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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.

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Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog hopping.