Last weekend’s Brooklyn Folk Festival, presented by Down Home Radio Show and Jalopy Theater, at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church presented a diverse and, on the whole, excellent group of musicians. Wyndham Baird (photo), just back from a tour of England and Scotland, sang a variety of folk and blues songs, accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica.
King Isto’s Tropical String Band–left to right: Ellen Oettinger on banjo ukulele, Christopher “King Isto” White on Hawaiian guitar, Steve Sasso on guitar, bass player not identified–brought some island warmth with their set of Hawaiian songs and old pop standards done in Polynesian style.
St. Ann’s Interim Director of Music M. Chad Levitt demonstrated his talent and the power of the church’s Peabody Memorial Organ, completed in 1925 by master organ builder E.M. Skinner.
Later that afternoon Uncle Shlomo’s Brooklyn Kids, consisting of Shlomo Pestcoe, some of his music students, and some of his adult musician friends, did some lively string band music.
Also on Sunday afternoon Nancy Groce (photo), of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, spoke about the Center’s collection of folk music recordings, acquired from researchers like Alan Lomax and from other sources. A panel of musicians, including banjo and fiddle ace Art Rosenbaum (at left in photo above) then each played a song they had learned from the Center’s collection.
On Sunday evening Peter Stampfel and Jeffrey Lewis (photo) did a frenetic set of what my friend Michael Simmons would call “utterly twistoid” songs, beginning with “The Birds in the Wood Are Up To No Good” and closing with “Bottlecaps are Cool”, during which photos of specimens from Stampfel’s collection were projected on a screen.