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Saskatoon in the Winter


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                                        Saskatoon the Winter
                                                  by Hugh Hendry

         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,
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

          SeldomdoesGroundhogDay heraldthe end of winter in Saskatchewan, it seemedbut          almost to do so this
year,with spring-like temperatures, and melting snow.And Saskatchewan         loversof home-grown acousticmusic
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
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
audiences a coupleof yearsnow, and over the past year havecontributedsignificantly to programsat 23 Below,
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!

         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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