Brooklyn Folk Festival Off to Roaring Start

If the quality of last night’s performances at the Brooklyn Folk Festival holds up through the rest of the weekend, this will be the best Festival yet, and that’s clearing a high bar. The opening act was Tenores de Aterúe, an a capella quartet who do traditional music from Sardinia, an island to the west of Italy. Their harmonies were spine-tingling, especially on their rendition of the Agnus Dei from a mass sung on Sardinia’s northern, French neighbor, Corsica, which history buffs and Francophiles will recognize as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte.

IMG_1358Jake Xerxes Fussell is a blues and country singer and guitarist originally from Georgia but now living in North Carolina. This former Floridian was especially taken by his rendition of “The River St. John’s,” which you can hear here.

IMG_1365La Cumbiabamba NY perform music of the Caribbean coast of Colombia, a syncretic style combining indigenous American, African, and Spanish influences. Their rhythms were so compelling that the whole front of the room was soon filled with enthusiastic dancers.

IMG_1371Jontavius Willis is a 22 year old bluesman fron Georgia, looking forward to college graduation this May. He proved himself a master vocalist, guitarist, and harmonicist in a performance that spanned many styles. This rail buff particularly enjoyed a piece in which he did train sounds on his harmonica, calling on the audience to supply whistle sounds at appropriate moments.

IMG_1374While these acts were performing on the mainstage, there was a Louisiana dance party in the Parish Hall. The Revelers, a hot band from Lafayette, capital of the Bayou State’s Cajun country, had a large crowd dancing.

IMG_1378The final act was by two local favorites, Feral Foster and Ali Dineen. They did a mix of classic and original country and folk, including a rendition of the Sons of the Pioneers standard, “Cool Clear Water.”

There’s plenty more to come today and tomorrow; the schedule is here.

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  • Andrew Porter

    I ran into Feral Foster and Ali Dineen on the way to Saturday’s festival; they’d just parked on Henry Street.

    “Little” Nora Foster has grown a lot since last year, and now sports braces. She seemed more uncertain in her performance.

    The Saturday performances were outstanding; I was especially impressed by “The Mammals,” with their wide repertoire, and ditto for “The Lovestruck Balladeers.”

    I left last night at 11:30—as usual, things were running 30-45 minutes late—and missed the final performance, “The Big Dixie Swingers.”

    I haven’t downloaded and worked on my photos yet. As usual, they need to be color corrected (as here I did for yours):