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8 in Saskatoon the Winter by Hugh Hendry havebeensomewhat Opportunitiesto hear live folk musicin Saskatoon limited sinceCafe Domingoclosed down and there were no more weekly concerts,but through the efforts of a number of different individuals and groups,including the Saskatoon Folk Music Associationand Club 23 Below, last winter offered many choicesfor the folk music addict. In November,Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy played to a packed house at ConvocationHall, University of His by Saskatchewan. concert, sponsored Tools for Peace,CUSO, Oxfam, OscarRomeroRefugeeCommittee,the Latin AmericanSolidarity Front and the Nicaragua SupportCommittee,wasone stopin a cross-Canada tour. Singing only in Spanish,he delighted the audienceand charmedthem into singing along. Severaltimes, his referencesto Central American songsbrought audible sighs, gaspsof recognition and shoutsof encouragement from different comersof the hall. A continuoustranslationof his comments, donewith enthusiasm, sincerity and humourby Nancy Allen, brought thoseof us who don't speakSpanish right into the "inner circle". Mejia Godoy singsbeautifully and, by dedicatedas he is to spreadinga political and social message his music, certainly didn't fail in his efforts to infonn, entertain and delight his audience.With his diverse program, ranging from the simple singalong song "Banana"to the moving "Yo Soy de un PuebloSencillo", and the backing of only his own highly rhythmic guitar, he won the audienceover and really spoketo us with his music. If he comesyour way, or you go his, don't miss him! SeldomdoesGroundhogDay heraldthe end of winter in Saskatchewan, it seemedbut almost to do so this sun, year,with spring-like temperatures, and melting snow.And Saskatchewan loversof home-grown acousticmusic the were treatedto the perfect concen to celebrate occasion.At Club 23 Below "Ookpik and Friends" gavea concen to launch their new tape, Sister Earth. Randy Wilson led the company of performers through a range of that performances includedNative Indian music,Irish fiddle tunesand a considerable numberof original songs.The "friends" were The Pockets(AI Bond, SusanBond and Randy Ruppel), the Echoing Green,Joe Naytowhow and Bettina Grassman. The Pocketsare well known throughoutthe province and beyond for their beautiful hannonies in traditional, modern and original material -- their performances and backup didn't disappoint their fans. The Echoing Green, with their hard-driving traditional and original material, have been entertaining Saskatchewan for audiences a coupleof yearsnow, and over the past year havecontributedsignificantly to programsat 23 Below, Joe both on stageand behind the scenes. Naytowhow played drum and sang,and blendedperfectly with the more modernmusic and rhythms. For me, Joe's Native Indian Blues was one of the highlights of the evening.A relative newcomer to the Saskatoonclub scene, Bettina Grassmanplayed fiddle beautifully, with rich tone and great sensitivity for the music of the other performers.All in all, it was a fine way to launch the tape -- if you want to hear what you missed,buy it! by Other bright spots of the winter were the first visit to Saskatoon The Chieftains, a Don Freedconcert and a visit by David Essig, organizedby the stalwartvolunteersof the Saskatoon Folk Music Association.As spring (and summer?) rolled on, Ookpik returnedfor a full concertof their own, and finally, in early June(winter no more!) the JamesKeelaghanTrio performed to a packedBassment(our local jazz club) before they headeddown to the ReginaFolk Festival. There's no questionthat folk music is alive and well in Saskatoon!
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