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Folklife Cafe at the Northwest Folklife Festival

Folklife Cafe at the Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington

This is a 30 minute block, so don't be late! In fact, come early and hear hundreds of great acts during the festival. 



Karjam Saeji and Ralf Illenberger

7 Centers Yoga Arts, 2115 Mountain Road, Sedona, Arizona

15 in advance, 20 at the door

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Karjam's "Drashi" on new Compilation CD

Friend and belly dance sensation April Rose compiled a CD of new music to do belly dance to~ check it out!

Tibet from the Heart author: Tommy Tran At first glance the casual browser of music may dismiss this as yet another one among mountains of hackneyed New Age yoga pop sitar strumming, but right from the start in the first track "Teacher and Student," like a good teacher Karjam Saeji immediately dispels such illusions. What the listener is presented with is a truly frank and humble expression of the singer's ancestral homeland of Tibet. The performance is at the same time both professional and down-to-earth. The rhythms throughout the album are for the most part steady and easy, allowing the listener to take in the atmosphere as he or she follows Karjam Saeji along into a Himalayan landscape in audio. In addition to being an expression of the singer's Tibetan heritage, the album also appears (or I should say "sounds") like dialogues between an identity anchored in the highlands of Tibet and the status of a global citizen, traditional conventions and contemporary reinterpretations, and the rich wisdom of Tibet with the cultures of the world. While the track "Lopez Island" brings Tibet to the shores of the North American West Coast with its juxtaposition of a contemporary Western guitar and Tibetan musical expression, "Lihged Tangsem" brilliantly melds the vigorous Tibetan vocals and traditional strings with the nasal hum of the Korean haegeum instrument. The greatest strength of this album is that it does not pretend to be more than it is. It delivers precisely what the title says. Even with the track "Gesar," which is a reference to a great legendary figure in Tibetan lore, we are not presented a fantastical Shangri-la of glistening palaces but rather the narrow, winding weather-beaten paths of the roads on which the story was carried across an ancient landscape. Despite the lyrics being entirely in Tibetan, Karjam Saeji's composed yet soulful performance successfully overcomes the linguistic barriers and collapses the distance with the listener. ” - Tommy Tran

— CD Baby

Roots and Branches, vol. 2: Live from the 2010 Northwest Folklife Festival. 2010. Northwest Folklife Recordings. I’m a completely biased source to review this recording, because I helped restart the Northwest Folklife Recordings label a few years ago when I worked for the organization. But that also means that I know how tricky it can be to produce a CD of live festival recordings. It takes careful mastering and even more careful choosing of the material, and with a festival the size of Folklife (800+ bands, 25+ stages, 200,000+ people in attendance) this task can be overwhelming. So kudos to producer and festival coordinator Kelli Faryar for working so hard after the Festival to put this fun compilation together. There are plenty of solid folk music performances and a handful of stand-out, amazing tracks on this compilation. Just like the Festival itself, this album lets you browse the many performers who play every year and lets you choose your own favorites. And like Folklife, there’s a surprise or a new favorite band around each corner. The biggest surprise for me was Tibetan singer Karsangjamtso “Karjam” Saeji, now living on Lopez Island. Tibetan singing is otherworldly and transcendent, and Karjam’s voice floats like a prayer flag in the air. Karjam Saeji is a huge talent in our region and a new discovery to me. I was also pleasantly surprised by young folk duo The Parlour Hoppers, who turned in a powerful version of “Wild Bill Jones.” I really shouldn’t be surprised by this, since mandolinist and singer Ethan Lawton is one of the best roots musicians in Seattle (and one of our best-kept secrets). In fact it’s something of a tradition for him to be featured on a Northwest Folklife recording. He’s been on the past three (including this one), though no one realized this until recently. He’s just so good that he kept popping up on our list of best recordings from each festival!” - Devon Leger

Northwest Folklife Festival Website

Karjam Saeji - Pilgrimage2007, Karjam SaejiKarsangjamtso (Karjam) Saeji is a singer/songwriter and dancer originally from the grasslands near Maqu in China's Gansu Province. He has been actively performing since 1991, relocating to the United States in 2007. That year he recorded his first album as a solo performer, Pilgrimage, which won a 2009 Just Plain Folks award for Best Asian Album (he was also nominated for Best Asian Song). Saeji is known for his strong, clear voice and a tendency toward a Cappella singing. Saeji was also invited to play at the 2008 World Festival Of Sacred Music in Los Angeles. Saeji follows somewhat in the footsteps of Kelsang Metok, imbuing his songs with elements of Chinese Music and Western Pop.Pilgrimage opens with Danlih, a catchy-but-gentle song that reminded me strongly of Iroquois Indian chants I heard at a Council Of The Nations event when I was young. Ga-Ik Lihji is a thing of beauty, fleshed out by an absolutely haunting flute part that will stick with you after the CD has stopped playing. Banchen Danlih has an arrangement that's heavily influenced by the West. Oddly enough this hybrid brings an almost Celtic flavor out in the music. This isn't surprising as Banchen Danlih is fairly typical of the strong Bardic style present in Tibetan popular music (which is also prevalent in the Celtic tradition). Saeji slips into gar style forTserjih Tsomo, flying primarily a Capella throughout while performing vocal gymnastics that make Mariah Carey sound plain.Saeji turns Westward again for Poem Of The Sixth Dalai Lama, opting for more of a free-form, bardic style of storytelling in song. The arrangement isn't overly complex and is exceedingly pleasant.Manglih returns to the glottal gar style, this time entirely a Cappella. I entered this experience with no hope of understanding what Saeji was singing, and yet Manglih was moving and powerful in its simplicity. The Tibetan Alphabet Song is helped along by a children's chorus exchanging lines with Kaeji, call and response style. It's a pleasant listen. Pilgrimage is sung in both Tibetan and English, a Cappella with bells, and is a powerful experience. As a western listener, Saeji takes a bit of getting used to, but his voice is strong and clear. Once you get used to some of the glottal turns and stops, there's a ruddy beauty to his voice you're likely to appreciate. Saeji closes out with Drashi, a rhythmic chant that once again brings to mind Native American chants.Karjam Saeji is very much outside of my usual musical experiences, infusing Chinese and Western Popular music styles into Tibetan chants and story songs. The resulting album, Pilgrimage brings both a strident reserve and a sort of quiet grace that is rare. Make sure to check out Pilgrimage and Karjam Saeji. This might be a little bit out of your usual frame of reference, but Pilgrimage is definitely worth the detour.Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)You can learn more about Karjam Saeji at or You can purchase Pilgrimage as either a CD or Download” - Wildy

Wildy's World (Music Review Site)