Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ category

Meet the Folklife Family

December 29, 2010

Since the New Year is just around the corner, we wanted to introduce you to one of our lovely ladies, who helps Folklife tick. Please welcome Christina Halverson, the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator! In her own words, here’s what she has to say about Northwest Folklife:

This spring, I’m absolutely thrilled to join the Northwest Folklife staff as the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator.  I grew up in Seattle and the Northwest Folklife Festival has been a part of my life since before I can remember. I’ve always had an interest in event planning, and started volunteering in the office a few years ago by helping out with administrative tasks in preparation for the Festival.

I’ve volunteered for Folklife because I believe exposure to other cultures, arts and traditions are vital to understanding one another and crucial in allowing us to live in such a diverse world.  After volunteering at Folklife for the Festival, I knew immediately I wanted to be more involved with the organization because they do just that: bring communities together.  Therefore, this past October I applied for the Fall Events Intern and started working with the Marketing and Development staff for A Night For Folklife events– a series of fall fundraisers that raise essential funds for the organization.

Now that my work as an intern is waning down, I’m already excited to join the staff in February to help produce the 40th Festival. Folklife has provided me with a plethora of knowledge and experience; I can’t wait to see what these next few months bring!

See you at the Festival,


CD Release Party Pictures

October 26, 2010


Cliff Perry & Laurel Bliss

The Raggedy AnnsNoah Gundersen & the Courage

Noah Gundersen & the Courage

Noah Gundersen & the Courage

Noah Gundersen & the Courage

Smithsonian Folkways

April 14, 2010

So I was doing my netizen duty, voting for the Buffy vs Edward mashup over on the Webby People’s Voice Awards page (I know, I know – a pop culture reference on a folkie blog!), when I found out that the Smithsonian Folkways site is a contender in the cultural institutions category!

Lead Belly

You want songs from the Civil Rights movement?  You got it.  Classic Appalachian Blues?  Uh-huh.  Brazilian protest songs?  Yessirree.  Woody Guthrie, Hazel Dickens and Lead Belly?  Check, check and check.   And that’s just barely scratching the surface.

Head on over to the website and get lost for hours, what with the blog and the podcasts and the streaming audio…

New T-Model Ford CD w/Seattle band GravelRoad

January 8, 2010

Old school blues musician T-Model Ford is about to drop an album with some new school friends from Seattle, the duo GravelRoad.

New CD from T-Model Ford w/GravelRoad

Turning 90 this year (though no one’s sure of his exact birth date), Mississippi-born T-Model Ford shows no signs of slowing down.  With a national album dropping on January 12 and a national tour kicking off in February, he still rocks harder than musicians half his age.  And though his new CD features young musicians from Seattle-based GravelRoad and Kansas-based Moreland & Arbuckle, it’s T-Model’s acoustic(!) guitar playing and gravelly singing that shines through.  Not to mention his choice of eerie blues songs.

Check out T-Model with GravelRoad live on KEXP:


The Northwest is home to a growing movement of new blues bands.  Inspired by the hypnotic sounds of blues singers like Mississippi Fred McDowell and R.L. Burnside, these bands mix deep blues with raunchy punk to create the new sound of “Dark Blues.”  Portland band Hillstomp brought this music to the Northwest Folklife Festival a few years back, and bands like Portland’s Cicada Omega, Eugene’s Sidestreet Reny, and Seattle’s GravelRoad all draw inspiration from the darker corners of country blues.

So check your local record stores for T-Model Ford’s new album “The Ladies Man.” And listen to a sample below of the song “Two Trains” from the CD.

Two Trains — T-Model Ford

Weekend Events Jan 8-10

January 7, 2010

Grand Hallway, Amateur Radio Operator plus Black Whales

ARO with Grand Hallway this Friday at the Tractor

Friday, January 8, 2010, 21+, 9:30pm
at Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA

Don’t miss Amateur Radio Operator and Grand Hallways at the Tractor Tavern for a night of haunting vocals and lush rock sounds. We are thrilled to have Amateur Radio Operator’s song “The Wind (Dead Soldiers)” featured on our Roots & Branches, v.1. Purchase your copy now: Roots & Branches

The Raggedy Anns with Red Dress and Let’s Get Lost
Friday, January 8, 2010, 9:30pm/$7
at The Sunset, Seattle, WA

Don’t miss the hot, swinging rock of the Raggedy Anns!

Water Tower Bucket Boys, Purty Mouth plus Tumbledown
Saturday, January 9 2010, 21+, 9pm
at El Corazon, Seattle, WA

It’s a night of hard hitting bluegrass, so kick up yer heels and get ready for the Water Tower Bucket Boys and Purty Mouth at Seattle’s hard rock club. El Corazon will be hoppin’ with this line up! Catch the Water Tower Bucket Boys hot and sizzling performance of “Train on the Island” on the 2008 Folklife Festival Compilation: 2008 Folklife Compilation

Clinton plays this Saturday.

Clinton Fearon & The Boogie Brown Band
Saturday, January 23, 2010, 9:00 PM
at Nectar Lounge

A living legend amongst reggae musicians and fans, Clinton Fearon has packed out the Mural Amphitheatre at past Folklife Festivals.  We were able to capture Clinton’s performance last year of “Feel The Spirit” on Roots & Branches, v.1.  Don’t miss the chance to see the Clinton and the Boogie Brown Band light up Fremont.

More Holiday Recipes: Eggplant Dressing & Ro-Tel Dip

December 22, 2009

Here are two family recipes this holiday season, both from my mother: Eggplant Dressing and Ro-Tel Dip.  They both bring back memories of my Texas childhood.

My mother found the Eggplant Dressing recipe in our local newspaper, The Houston Post, in the late 1960s.  It was in a recipe section for Southern turkey stuffing, and it was from a Mrs. Jimmy T. Watson.  (You can tell it’s old-style Southern because Mrs. Watson didn’t give her own first name!) I remember that as soon as the word “eggplant” came out of my mother’s mouth, my brother and sister and I made it clear that we weren’t in the least interested.  Eggplant?  Nope.  It looked weird.

Mom paid no attention to us, and she made it for Thanksgiving dinner.  Somehow she got us to try a bite.

And we loved it!  I still make it for holidays.

The Ro-Tel Dip is a whole ‘nother story.  One of my earliest memories is of my mother making a cheese dip in her double boiler on top of the stove.  Back then tortilla chips weren’t readily available in stores, so she always used Fritos to dip into the cheese.  I never liked Fritos, but I learned to love her Ro-Tel Dip.

The name comes from the canned tomatoes that she used—the labels said they were from Ro-Tel, Texas.  They’re a mix of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices. I searched for the history of Ro-Tel tomatoes online, and it turns out that the canning factory opened in Elsa, Texas, in the 1940s—the family business of Carl Roettele.  He shortened the name to Ro-Tel.  Until the late 1950s, Ro-Tel tomatoes were available only in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. But by the early 1960s, you could find them on grocery store shelves throughout the South.  These days there are several kinds of Ro-Tel tomatoes, each with a different color label.  I really like the Cilantro and Lime flavor—it’s in the blue can!

My friends are usually horrified when I tell them what’s in the dip, but this stuff is totally addictive.  And talk about cachet—evidently Velveeta was one of President Reagan’s favorite foods. The only trick is actually finding Velveeta in the grocery store.  It’s not in the dairy case!


1 Tbs bacon drippings (Mom now substitutes olive oil)

1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced

1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup cooking sherry

2 cups cooked rice (we use wild rice)

1 cup pecans, chopped (we toast these beforehand)

Heat the bacon drippings and combine eggplant, beef, pork, onion, celery, garlic, and parsley on medium heat, stirring frequently to keep the beef and pork in small pieces. Simmer 20 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain, then add the sherry, rice and pecans.  Toss mixture.

Place in greased casserole and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Note: The earlier you make it, giving some time to let the flavors meld, the better it tastes.


1 can Ro-Tel Tomatoes

1 lb Velveeta

Cut the Velveeta into cubes and put into microwave-safe bowl.  Pour can of Ro-Tel tomatoes onto the Velveeta and mix well.  Microwave until ready (I usually nuke it for about three minutes, stir it well, and repeat until it’s all melted).

That’s it.  Really.

Happy Hanukkah!

December 14, 2009

Tonight is the third night of Hanukkah and to celebrate the holiday, I will be making latkes- traditional potato pancakes fried in oil. I learned to make them when I was a kid and the (slightly modified) recipe below can be found in The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns.

Potato Latkes


  • 5 medium sized potatoes, grated (to cut down on time, I thaw a couple bags of frozen shredded hash browns)
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 eggs
  • vegetable oil


  • Preheat oven to 250° to keep latkes warm after frying
  • Grate potatoes and remove excess water using a sieve (or just use the hash brown shortcut)
  • Combine potatoes and onions in a large bowl
  • Beat eggs in a small bowl and add to potato and onion mixture
  • Add the flour, salt and pepper, mixing well
  • Pour enough vegetable oil into the bottom of a large frying pan so that it is approx. 1/4 inch deep and turn the burner on at medium to medium-high heat
  • Put a heaping tablespoon of batter into the oil and press it with a slotted pancake turner into a thin pancake
  • Turn latkes as the edges brown, when done they will be golden brown and crisp
  • Blot off excess oil with paper towels as you remove latkes from the pan and place them in a shallow pan in the oven
  • Serve warm with applesauce and sour cream