Check out select pieces from our youth producers at Kealing Middle School Fall 2014 semester. Texas Folklife partnered with Austin's African American Heritage District Project to help document the history and living culture of this important area. Austin’s African American Cultural Heritage District comprises approximately six square miles of central east Austin.
Today a new adventure in my life begins. I am super happy and excited to be back working for Texas Folklife. With the expert guidance and leadership of Executive Director Cristina Balli, I will be coordinating the Big Squeeze Accordion Throwdown. This statewide contest showcases the talented young accordion players, age 21 and younger, in the beautiful Texas musical traditions of Conjunto, Cajun/Zydeco, and German/Czech/Polish polka. This program is a great way to keep our Texas musical traditions alive and pass them on to the younger generations.
The 12th of December is a very special day for the Mexican people - the day they celebrate their mother, their patroness, la Virgen de Guadalupe. I grew up Catholic on the Texas-Mexico border and we actually had a bigger devotion to la Virgen de San Juan, the most famous one in San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, but also with another famous American shrine in San Juan, Texas.
This week I had the honor of attending a private meeting with the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dr. Jane Chu, and a few folklorists from across the country. The purpose of the meeting was to relay the importance of the folk and traditional arts field to Dr. Chu, and offer our services and support in the work of the NEA.
The Festival of Texas Fiddling was a great event-- incredible music all day, a great dance to cap it off, and a whole lot of fun overall. The picture at the top is of all of the day’s fiddlers at the plenary session, where each gave an example of their style. This is looking over the shoulders of Los Trineros at Brian Marshall playing with his sons and Mark Rubin on guitar. Directly behind Brian is Ed Poullard. To the left are Sean Orr and Howard Rains and Tricia Spencer.
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of serving on a grant panel review for ACTA, the Alliance of California Traditional Arts. It was really nice to get out of the Texas mindset and learn from distinguished colleagues all that is going on in California. Let me tell you - they've got lots going on!
All the fiddle styles for the Festival of Texas Fiddling are, at their heart, music for dancing. This Festival highlights that symbiotic perfection of fiddle and dance --all in the ideal setting of the historic Twin Sisters Dance Hall that has always been the home for it.