Frank Fairfield Returns to Chattanooga!

He’s back!! Frank returns to Chattanooga to celebrate our first World Music Weekend, and share with us some songs and tunes from a truly multicultural America.

Doors open at 7pm, when Lon Eldridge will host a Victrola listening session, showcasing some favorite 78 recordings from a century ago!

Frank Fairfield Concert :: Saturday, May 31, 8pm :: at green|spaces, 63 E. Main St., Chattanooga

$10 at the door. (free for teens participating in the World Music Weekend teen track)

He is Frank Fairfield. A musician. A banjo picker. A fiddle hummer. A song singer. We’ve heard him described as someone who was discovered at a farmers market out in California, as if he were some long lost treasure or mythical land. As we see it, it isn’t some deep yearning for a time long forgotten that drives Frank Fairfield, he isn’t trying to be something that no longer exists, because in fact, he DOES exist. The music he plays, creates, and performs is the music that carried all of us, from all over the world, to the place (wherever that place may be) we are now. He plays the American landscape, the one he himself sees and experiences. He goes about it with the only tools necessary, as any good craftsman would. Its not some ship filled with Spanish doubloons, or some ancient Amazon city of Gold, its Frank Fairfield. A musician. A banjo picker. A man not competing with time, only living in his own.

“Fairfield is worthy of your consideration, even if you’ve never heard or considered the old-time music. He plays with a rare integrity, offering up his life in a way that does exactly what folk music must do– it relates the world as the singer sees it, mixing sadness with sweetness, excitement with low-down and miserable depression. This has nothing to do with genre; hip-hop, jazz and rock all feel this way, too. Like the best of it all, Fairfield’s music seems inexorably real and entirely necessary.” – Grayson Currin, Pitchfork

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Guest Blog Author: Zhivko Vasilev

[In this video, you’ll see two Bulgarians playing tunes they learned from a recording of an English musician.]

From Zhivko:
Ian Stephenson – a great musician, guitarist from the UK has inspired us, two Bulgarians, to play Celtic music. He was just one of so many great musicians we met at Ethno Flanders. Like almost everybody there he is an amazing musician. He is familiar with folk music not only in the UK but almost everywhere. We were so influenced by the people we met at Ethno, and the music we played there that we decided to keep playing it here in Bulgaria. We found an amazing piece recorded by Ian, “Castlerock Reels,” which by the way is super fun to play, and we decided to learn it and make a cover of it with my kaval and Viktor Dzhorgov with his guitar.

Musicians who bring the world to us

Two Fridays ago, Micah Spence and Christie Burns visited two classes at Howard High School with a presentation all about our musical lives: how we learn music, and how we share it with others. Micah wanted to show an excerpt of this video because he’d had a memorable learning experience several years ago when Cheick Hamala Diabate stayed with his family in Atlanta. Being the youngest musician in the household, and according to Cheick’s cultural practices, Micah was expected to sit with Cheick and have a lesson. In our presentation, Micah told the Howard students about Cheick’s technique on the banjo, how they communicated in broken French, and how through this musical encounter he found out about an instrument called the ngoni, an ancestor of the banjo. In sharing these memories (and this video) with the students, Micah conveyed how even just one hour of sitting with a musician from another culture can create lasting memories, teach you things you never even thought to ask about, and squeeze the continents just a little closer together.

Introducing… Myriam DeBonte!

Listen to this beautiful original tune by our Flemish friend Myriam DeBonte, performed here with the Transatlantic Chilean Folk Ensemble in a yarn shop in Scotland. Does that sound like a bunch of cultures all mixed up? Maybe that’s part of what makes it sound so beautiful! If you are in Chattanooga at the end of May you’ll be able to learn some tunes from Myriam, and join a discussion about how music can transcend cultural boundaries, promoting creativity, tolerance, deep listening, and genuine appreciation for the diversity of our planet.