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Joe Hickerson's
Joe's Jottings
Back again! 

PFS Members who have been around for a while will remember the thirteen articles that Joe Hickerson wrote for Local Lore, back in 2014-16. These were wonderful! Unique! Delightful! They covered: 

Joe's experiences with a traveling folk group, The Folksmiths.
His memories of folksingers from Pete Seeger and Jean Ritchie to the Kingston Trio.
The evolution of the song Where Have All The Flowers Gone, which Joe co-wrote. 
Joe's thoughts about saying "close enough for folk music" (warning: tune your instrument and don't go there). 
Marlene Dietrich even makes an appearance!

These short articles are informative and fun to read. And, unfortunately, they have been hard to find since we migrated to this website. But no longer: now you can find them in The PFS Document Library Enjoy!

The Original Folksmiths

Pictured are (back row) Ruth Bolliger, Jim, Joani, Bo; (middle row) Joe Hickerson, David, Ricky; (front) Sarah.

You'll find Ruth and Joe at most PFS events, including the Virtual Song Circles

PFS Honors a Dozen Black Singers
Black musicians and song writers, with their particular artistry, tenacity, joy, love, and anger, are integral to America's music, including the traditions we think of when use the word "folk." PFS honors these originators, truth-tellers, and innovators. Here are a dozen songs of protest and struggle from performers of the Black diaspora and Africa.
Rhiannon Giddens
At the purchaser's option
Giddens is a founder and lead singer with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. This song will break your heart.
Bob Marley
No Woman No Cry

Marley was a unique singer, song writer and performer. Everything he did was a celebration of his culture and history, good times and bad. 
Public Enemy
Fight the Power

This song was on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. A great powerful song, and I'm calling this folk music, so there.

Venice Beach Street Rapper
(Don't know!)

This Unknown Rapper Busker is one of many in Southern California, getting better every day and earning a living with music.
Elizabeth Cotten & Brenda Evans
Shake Sugaree

Elizabeth Cotten plays while her great granddaughter sings this cheerful song that acknowledges the reality of poverty.
Janelle Monáe
Hell you talmbout

There are many takes on Janelle Monáe's anthem helping us to remember the names of black people killed by police, including 
this superb version from Seattle.

Tracy Chapman
Talkin' about a Revolution

Chapman has had a series of hit songs over  30 years. Her singing is always powerful and she is a strong supporter of social causes. 
Mississippi John Hurt
I shall not be 

Hurt worked as a sharecropper and self-taught performer most of his life. In 1963, he found fame as part of the folk revival.
Sweet Honey in the Rock
Keep your eyes on the prize
Sweet Honey have been singing for almost half a century. Their harmonies are tight and inspired by Gospel music, but their sound is unique. 

Boogie Down Productions
Stop the Violence

KRS-One is the singer, BDS is the group. His songs describe life in the South Bronx with frank language; this song addresses  violence.
Miriam Makeba
Soweto Blues  

South African Makeba has influenced and worked with countless US artists. Here she performs with Hugh Masekela and Ray Phiri.
Billie Holiday
Strange Fruit

This song about the systematic murder of black people has been called the beginning of the civil rights movement. Never doubt that music makes a difference.

As you know, much music created by black people is about the struggle for dignity and equal rights in the face of poverty, lynching, mass incarceration, police brutality, and endemic racism. Choosing twelve representative songs is a ridiculous task that means leaving out hundreds of good choices. Thanks to Joe Hickerson, Joe Offer and Jay Thompson who suggested singers for this list. I made the final choices, trying to balance genres and eras, and using a very broad definition of "folk". Feel free to blame me for bad choices and omissions, but first -- please listen to this music. 

--Paul Rippey

Local Lore Cover July August 2020
July August Local Lore is out!

This is a particularly fine issue of PFS's bimonthly newsletter, Local Lore. It dives deeply into House Concerts. It surveys the House Concerts in Portland, looks at how they are feeling with the pandemic, provides lots of practical information about how to actually organize and host concerts, and includes the word of the people who actually have experience in doing house concerts.

Thanks as always to Editor and Designer, Kim McLaughlin; Ruth Bolliger, David Ingerson for proofreading; Regular Contributors including David Hutchison, Barry Gorden, Kathy Johnson, Ray Ashmun, David Ingerson; and Jeannette Warner who mails them to you!

Local Lore is one of the benefits of PFS membership. Members can have a paper copy if they want, and if they don't need paper they can download it as a PDF from this site under the For Members menu/PFS documentation. You can also pick up a copy at most PFS events, even if you aren't a member. But we're not having any in-person events for a while, so if you would like Local Lore - and we think you would like it  - consider joining PFS. In addition to Local Lore, you get reduced prices on events, and the pleasure of supporting the music you love! Now is a great time to join PFS. It is very easy and affordable. Thanks!

Online Folk

The Portland Folkmusic Society is holding Saturday Evening Virtual Song Circles. Check out highlights from the most recent workshop here!

Every Saturday evening, we open the room at six and start singing by 6:30. Come when you can, stay as long as you like. All kinds of music and all kinds of people are welcome. We'll follow the song circle practice of letting each person sing a song in turn and it is perfectly fine to listen. Get a computer with a camera and mic, light up your face, and point your browser to This is a new link and replaces the link we have used in the past.

Please click here for logistics information, and for information about how to connect by phone. We also offer occasional workshops. If you would like to offer one, let us know - just click here.

There is a LOT of other online folk music now, with opportunities to listen, to take classes, and to sing. Barry Gorden has been doing a super job posting the events he hears about, and if you have others, let him know at Look in the box for Upcoming Virtual Events.

See you on line, and stay safe.

Upcoming Virtual Events

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Join PFS
Since 1976, Portland FolkMusic Society has been active preserving, presenting and promoting folk music and arts in the greater Portland Oregon area. PFS sponsors song circles, concerts, workshops and retreats, and helps its members and the whole community pass the word around about folk music events, from old time ballads to sea shanties, from 60’s protest folk to contemporary singer-songwriters.

PFS is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. 

Portland Folkmusic Society
P.O. Box 1448
Portland, OR 97207-1448

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