Music: The Brooklyn Folk Festival takes place this weekend

Brooklyn Folk Festival
Musician Jackson Lynch opened the fifth Brooklyn Folk Festival at the Bell House.
Credit: Eli Smith

For all the clatter of New York’s mechanized soundscape, an earthy twang can still be distinguished through the grinding steel, honking horns and buzzing technology. Whether plucked on an old guitar in the subway or blown through wheezy harmonicas in Washington Square Park, the city’s storied folk sound still keeps time with the urban rhythm.

The hootenanny of the year, The Brooklyn Folk Festival, thrown each year by the Jalopy Theatre and Down Home Radio Show, goes beyond the familiar jugs, fiddles and banjos of American folk. The 30 bands of this year’s edition demonstrate a global perspective of folk, including performances of Indonesian Gamelan, North Indian classical and Chinese acapella.

Festival co-producer Eli Smith considers the festival more authentic than most, along the lines of the influential Newport and University of Chicago folk festivals in the 1960s.  “There are a lot of festivals out there today advertised as ‘folk,’” he points out, “but only present singer-songwriters and forms of rock derived from it.”

This year’s festival focuses on old time string band music from the United States and is bringing dozens of performers from the South. For the musicians themselves, the three days, beginning April 18, offer more than just a chance to show off musicianship, it allows them to pay tribute to the spirit. “It’s about community, plain and simple,” Ernesto Gomez, guitarist and singer in Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues, explains. “It’s the people’s music.” Perhaps the most impassioned tribute this year is a group singing along led by the Jenkins Family band dedicated to folk icon Pete Seeger, who died last year.

Although the festival’s popularity has forced it to change venues several times in its six-year history, the Bell House, a converted 1920’s warehouse in Gowanus, remains host this year. In addition to the music, vocal and instrumental workshops taking place, there’s also square dancing and film screenings — plus the famous Banjo Toss contest, in which participants compete on distance.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

Movies

Shia LaBeouf disorderly conduct case pushed to September

A judge on Thursday adjourned until September the disorderly conduct and harassment case against actor Shia LaBeouf, who was charged with disturbing a Broadway theater…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.