Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Anchorage Folk Festival

So after seeing Babel Friday afternoon and having dinner at the Saigon Pho, I did a little work in the office and then we walked over to the Wendy Williamson Auditorium to catch a bit of the Anchorage Folk Festival. This wonderful show happens for two weekends every January, plus various other shows and workshops during the week. Most of the performers are local, but they also bring up one or two guest groups from Outside. And it is all free. You can see their website by clicking on the title above.
Anyway, we got there in time to hear the Alaska Native Heritage Dancers and the guest group from Hawaii, Ho'Omalie.

There's nothing I can say that can really capture the mood and great music, so I'm adding a short video clip. Alaska Native music and dance - and there are a lot of different language groups that have different traditions and ways of making music and dancing - are not something I was used to when we arrived in Alaska. It was hard to take the first few times I heard it. I really didn't know how to listen to it. But over the years I've grown to appreciate it. No, more than that. It really reaches inside me and touches vital parts of me. I used to think that Hawaiian Natives were luckier because their music is so easy for outsiders to appreciate. But, listening to the Alaska group followed by the Hawaiian group, I found myself saying, "Wow, the Hawiaains have nothing on the Alaskans tonight."

But you can judge for yourselves. I've made a tape with some short snippets of both. (I looked carefully through the program booklet to see if there was anything about not videotaping and could find nothing. Even so, I've kept the clips short like they do on sites that let you sample music before you buy it. I'm hoping that maybe someone might want to hear more of this. Or come to this weekend's part two.

You can see the schedule of events by clicking on the title of this post and going to the Festival website. Another part I haven't mentioned is all the groups hanging around the lobby and hallways jamming. The video starts out with such a group.

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