Meeting Date for New Folk Project: Monday, February 6, 2012

Let’s meet to talk about how to make more folk music happen in Ottawa.

Yes, I know I said this last September and then never set a date. It has been a crazy time in my life, with two moves in one year, and lots of other pressing concerns. I want to thank the many people who responded appreciatively to the original post and I apologize for the delay in moving forward with this project. I hope you will be even more eager to be part of it now that you have had an opportunity to think about what I wrote in September concerning my desire to engage in a new folk revival, here in Ottawa. If you don’t know what I am talking about, please read my September post.

Now I am ready to set a date for a meeting. Please clear your calendars for Monday, February 6, 7:30-9:30 pm. I don’t have room for a meeting at my home, so we will meet at the home of Jackie Huston in Westboro. I do not want to publish her address, so please contact me by email (maura.volante at gmail) and I will be glad to give you the address. If you are interested but cannot make this meeting, I would love to hear from you. There will be lots of opportunities along the way to be part of the project.

At this meeting I hope we develop a plan to create more opportunities to sing, play and listen to folk music in this city. I have some ideas, such as creating a directory of songcircles, nurturing more songcircles for specific interest groups (people who want to meet in the daytime, people who live in specific areas, etc.) and offering skill-training sessions for those who would like to lead singing. Some of you may have other interests, such as instrumental sessions or specific song styles. I hope many of you will come to the meeting with your ideas, and we will discuss the possibilities.

The purpose of this group will not be to create an incubator for professional singer-songwriters, duplicating the work of Spirit of Rasputin’s. This new organization is meant to focus on folk music (my use of this term is explained in the September post) rather than new songs by contemporary songwriters. Performances of folk music may be part of it, because it is inspirational and educational to hear folks doing this kind of music. Another important part will be the development of recreational singing and playing opportunities for those who like to sing and play folk music in non-performance settings.

I am glad there are many people playing with elements of tradition in their original music, and I enjoy the music of many singer-songwriters who write songs with beautiful poetry and interesting musical juxtapositions. I am not trying to work against anything anyone is doing within the diverse musical streams that flow around us. I just want to make a space for the learning and practice of the wealth of music that already exists in oral tradition. I want us to keep it alive by continuing to sing and play it.

I look forward to meeting with you on Monday, February 6, to gather our thoughts and energies for a new folk revival in Ottawa.



About Maura Volante

Maura Volante is a talented and experienced performer. Although she has written many songs over the years, her main focus these days is traditional folk songs. These are songs that have stood the test of time and have an enduring quality that speaks directly and clearly to the human experience. They also tell us about our history. Because these songs are not commonly sung in these post-folk-revival times in which folk music generally means singer-songwriter material, Maura has taken on the project of helping to keep this valuable material alive. Her specialty is Canadian folk songs, but she knows many songs from the British Isles and the USA as well. All her concerts and other programs are designed with group singing in mind. Whether in a concert, a tour, a social gathering, a classroom, a festival or a conference hall, Maura creates an encouraging atmosphere, relaxed and inclusive. She uses her strong voice and facilitation techniques to bring out the best possible music with these voices in this moment. Maura firmly believes that everyone can sing and, moreover, that everyone has a right to sing and be part of group singing activities, without judgement or criticism. No matter what the various skill levels of participants may be in any group singing activity, it always sounds good in a group, because the voices naturally attune with each other. Maura also teaches and calls contra dancing and simpler forms of traditional dancing suitable for all ages, often incorporating group singing into the dancing through the use of play party songs, which are sung by the whole group as they dance.
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