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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. 


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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