Hearth Music Guide To Bumbershoot
Sadly, I’ll have to miss Bumbershoot, Seattle’s huge annual arts+music festival, this year, as I’ll be cooling my heels in Hawaii (not that sad!). But I usually go every year, and have seen some amazing shows. I had my best celebrity sighting ever at Bumbershoot: Ajay Naidu (Office Space) break dancing with Midival Punditz. House-raising sets from Gogol Bordello and The Decemberists were incredible experiences, and it was even kinda cool to see Public Enemy. But Bumbershoot this year is a different kind of festival, thank god, smaller and more locally and folk oriented than before. The producers have clearly scaled back the size and scope of the festival, looking for a more sustainable, locally-based programming vision. Great idea, and I hope it helps the festival. For us, that means we might not get to see Fergie, but we can see some great bands from closer to home.
Hearth Music Guide to Bumbershoot
It’s great to see Bumbershoot scheduling more and more programming for kids. I don’t remember this being a high priority a few years ago, but this year there’s a whole schedule track for kids that includes stuff like a Blue Man Group Drumming Station, Ghanaian drumming and Zimbabwean marimba, tap dancing, a reading from Colin Meloy’s (The Decemberists) intriguing new YA novel, and more. But you know the best part of Youngershoot? Kids 10 and under are FREEE!!!!
This is always my favorite part of Bumbershoot. The Fisher Pavilion’s huge warehouse space gets converted into a labyrinthine space covered in posters, poster designers, and gawkers. This is THE place to go to spice up the walls of your house, and I’ve been picking up great posters over the years. It’s also a great chance to meet the designers, most of whom are nice and engaging and willing to talk about their art. It’s an inspiring place to hang out, whether or not you’re an artist yourself.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
Look, I don’t get it, but for some reason, all the awesome folkie/world/roots artists are on Saturday. Lots of great stuff the other days too, but damn you would NOT want to miss Saturday.
Caleb Klauder Country Band, Saturday @ 12:45pm
Caleb’s a frequent guest on Hearth Music’s pages, ever since we ran publicity on his beautiful album, Western Country. He’s well known from his years in the seminal Foghorn Stringband, and now after two solid albums of roots country as “The Caleb Klauder Country Band,” the rest of the US is discovering his music. The guy just lives and breathes American roots music; that’s really all there is to it. He’s unmatched in his talent for touching the heart of an old song and making it feel brand new.
Caleb Klauder: My Time Is Gonna Come
PS: We got a sweet deal on Saturday tickets to Bumbershoot to see Caleb (and much more!). Check out the Hearth Music Facebook page to pick up discounted Saturday tickets.
Campfire OK, Saturday @ 12pm
It’s no secret by now that Seattle’s got one of the best indie roots music scenes in the US. Or if it was, The Head and the Heart changed all that. Now national bookers and tastemakers are scouring Ballard and Columbia City looking for the next big band. I’m hoping that Campfire OK will be quickly discovered. This grassroots collaborative filter in the handclaps and honest folk singing that we’ve come to love, but have a larger, more gothic vision. Brass lines collide in their music, piano lines roil beneath the melody, and singer Mychal’s heart-breaking voice will suck your heart from your chest.
Campfire OK: We Lay In Caves
Väsen, Saturday at 4:15pm
Gotta say I didn’t expect to see folk-heroes Väsen at Bumbershot, but kudos to the festival for recognizing one of the great folk bands! Väsen have been around for years and are seminal figures in the late 20th century revival of Scandinavian (specifically Swedish) folk traditions. If you’ve never seen or heard the nyckelharpa before, I HIGHLY recommend you take the time to check out leader Olov Johansson‘s playing. It’s an instrument that’s a cross between a fiddle and a hurdy-gurdy, and its all-organic, wooden tones are quite soothing. Of course, in Johansson’s hands, it’s a powerful sound indeed, and Väsen are as much known for their blazing tunesmanship as they are their beautiful, slow instrumentals.
Yeah, the hype is all true. Shabazz Palaces will change hip-hop, probably already have changed hip-hop. And not because they’re out to do that, but because they’ve can’t help but think differently than most hip-hop artists. Lead vocalist Ishmael ‘Butterfly’ Butler may have been a huge star in Digable Planets, but these days his rap sounds more organic, more closely rooted to his home in the Pacific Northwest. Together with Zimbabwean-American artist Tendai Maraire, this duo have built a new aesthetic that’s at once informed by the inner city that birthed hip-hop and also by a global view of African and American culture. It’s ancient African traditions refracted through the windows of a modern high-rise, psychedelic beats and the crunching buzz of music in a city night. It’s a new sound and a new vision for hip-hop, informed by history but invented by the future.
Shabazz Palaces: free press and curl
Jayme Stone, Saturday @ 7:30pm
Banjoist Jayme Stone is not only a monster picker, he’s also a modern-day explorer. His albums bring the banjo back to its roots, either in the music of Africa (his award-winning album From Appalachia to Africa, with Malian kora player Mansa Sissoko) or in world dance traditions (his newest album, Room of Wonders). He’s like a non-academic ethnomusicologist, as comfortable bumming around Mali with an ngoni looking to learn from the locals, or working with on a jazz suite for a chamber symphony (according to his Twitter). No small feat, and he can still manage to burn up the stage playing traditional bluegrass in his John Hartford Tribute. Sounds like the kind of player you’d want in your corner at any jam.
Jayme Stone w/Casey Driessen: You Can’t Run Away from Your Feet (John Hartford)