Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Folklife 2014

Ahmed, Hannah, Eva, S & J

Folklife is like turning the Seattle center into an island that represents most of my Washington-circle-of-life.

I dunno if you've lived on an island (I've only lived on Bowen and Lopez) or a small town (Haines, Giswil, Sachseln), but when you live in an area like this, everywhere you go, you're bound to run into someone you know. Every time you want to go to the store, you count on someone checking in on you or getting an invitation to come over.

I love Folklife because, for four days, it's like living in a small town where all of the circles of my friends in the Seattle-area are represented.

Square dance, contra dance, blues dancing, circus, that one group, high school, college, church, elementary school, curling, morris dancing, etc... all there in one little space so you can bump into them at frequent intervals.

I started to experiment. I'd walk around the Seattle Center and count how long it took for me to run into someone I knew. The most I'd ever get to is 3.4 minutes.

The first person I ran into was a man I didn't even know but, as it turns out, we had quite the connection.

Hannah and I had just arrived at Folklife Festival (and spotted Michael Karcher, but not talked to him) when we saw a man walking up the stairs. I noticed he had a "Dejon Delights" t-shirt on. Dejon Delights is a smoked-salmon-salmon-pack-sort-of-place up in Haines, Alaska. I had to ask him about his shirt. He told me he had gotten it from his sister, M. M. I know an M. He mentioned her daughter, M. Then I knew exactly which family they were.

"I used to hang out with Ellen all the time in Haines," I told him. "I was one of her care providers."

Turns out that the man I ran into was one of the uncles of one of my favourite clients up in Alaska. With him was her cousin. Oi!

Then I ran into M, S, B, E, S, R, and D...
and then K, A, F, M, K, J, D, P, N, P...
and then H, B, G, S, N, ...
and then Papa Duck
and then M & T
and also M, S, J, S, M, M, S, H, A, A...

etc.
etc.
etc.

A whole lot of people. Lots of them.
And more than I'm listing here. Every few minutes a new person.

It was, altogether, a dandy time to visit Seattle. How convenient to have just about all of my favourite people within the same 74-acres (.11 square miles). Quite pleasent to hear my name be shouted out and be able to reciprocate with excitement.

I guess I didn't even bother to explain Folklife.

First, if you don't know what Northwest Folklife Festival is, I pity you. I am very sorry and I hope we can someday get you to Seattle for Memorial day weekend to attend.

Folklife is a gathering of music, culture, art, dance, and awesome humans for four days. There are constant, ongoing drum circles, folks dancing around, music being made, and delicious food available. They seek to let cultures from around the world, usually living in Seattle, to represent themselves and present parts of their own culture to Seattle.

The entire center floods with people, the place is packed and there's something happening on every corner.

The pathways are lined with buskers and some 14 or so stages and centers have something going on all day for the entirety of the four-day fesitval.

Highlights of the festival included....

- walking around with Hannah
- seeing all of my favourite Morris-dancing friends I used to dance with on Bowen Island, BC
- screaming with Ahmed
- shape-note singing convention
- riding tandem with Brandon
- getting my hat stolen by Scotty
- watching a performance of ancient Russian folk songs
- reconnecting with Morna
- the crankie show
- conversations with Eva and Eva... and everyone else, I should just stop that list before it gets too long
- running into Ani over and over and over again
- dancing with Stephen (first dance in ages - maybe first one since I twisted my ankle)
- watching Rafi perform
- riding the Monorail
- watching all of the dance performances with big, big skirts

Sadly, my weekend was shortened by sickness. I left on Sunday in the middle of the day, wayyy too tired to even just sit and watch. Monday, I didn't even bother. After two hours of being awake, I was ready for my nap.

Even so, I was grateful for the few days I got of colliding into the lovely humans I adore (or love).

I barely documented this weekend. I didn't pull out my camera of the first day and only took a few snaps the second - but it was rainy, so not the best time. Here's the gist of what my Sunday morning looked like...

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