The Mohawk Hudson Folklife Festival is BACK for its second year! Join is on Sunday, October 2nd for another year of artist demonstrations, musical performances and new this year – cooking lessons! The festival will begin at 11:00 am and end at 5:30 pm at the Washington Park Lakehouse Amphitheatre.
Celebrate the moving tapestry and rich cultural traditions of the Capital Region. Join us for a fun filled day of music, dance, art, food, crafts, and food demonstrations. Artists will demonstrate traditions like henna, pysanky, embroidery, and blacksmithing. Engage and participate with practitioners and the living traditions right here in the Capital Region. Practitioners hail from New York, Republic of the Congo, Greece, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and more! New this year is a series of food demonstrations by community cooks. Members of the Congolese, Karen. and Caribbean communities of the Capital Region will showcase their favorite dishes.
Two Young Karen girls dance at the 2021 festival
Musical performances will be on all day by folk favorites like the The Desi Trio and Capital Region staple, Mixed Roots.
Food Demonstration Schedule
11:30 am -12:15 pm Karen fried gourd and fish with Saw Dabu
1:30 pm -2:15 pm Dominican empanada with Santa Cabrera
3:30 pm – 4:15 pm Congolese Samusa with Huguette Tshiamua
11:05 am- 11:30 am Karen Music and Dance by Pinya and Eshue Aung
11:45 am -12:30 pm Puerto Rican Music by Tony and Rosario Madera
12:45 pm – 1:30 pm Pakistani and Desi Music by The Desi Trio
1:45 pm -2:30 pm Albanian Dance with Tatijana Gjergji
2:45 pm – 3:30 pm Congolese Music by Wa Lika
3:45 pm – 4:30 pm Puerto Rico and Afro-Cuban with ArtPartners/Tsehaya & Company
4:45 pm – 5:30 pm Mixed Roots
The full festival program is: TBA
The Upstate Regional Initiative is a program initiated by the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts. The project was developed to conduct field documentation and programming in counties underserved by the Folk Arts program of NYSCA, with the goal to serve as a catalyst for community-based projects and to identify artists and cultural traditions within these regions. The initiative continues in 2022 in the Greater Capital Region. The Festival is sponsored by NYSCA, Discover Albany, HumanitiesNY, and the City of Albany.
Pysanky by local artist Sarah Bachinger
The nominating committee of the New York Folklore Board has announced their slate for the 2022-2024 Board of Directors. Thank you to these talented individuals who have agreed to offer their expertise to New York Folklore!
As is stated in the New York Folklore Society’s bylaws,
Members of the Board of Directors shall be elected by a The Board of Directors, functioning as a nominating committee, shall prepare a slate of candidates for those offices which are open. The slate of candidate shall be presented to the membership. Election shall be by majority vote of those members Voting shall be by mailed paper ballot, or by electronic means such as email, on-line survey, or other electronic medium. New offices shall assume their offices immediately upon completion of the election. The term of office for elected officers shall be two years.
Please take a moment to read the biographies of these members and vote for their election to the board at the following link: Vote Here
We will present the results of this poll via our website. These new members will join continuing members: Maria Kennedy, President; Jim Hall, Treasurer; Mira Johnson, Secretary; and board members Wilfredo Morel, Mackenzie Kwok, Ed Y.J.Millar, Will Walker, Evelyn D’Agostino, and Tom van Buren as past President. With this election, we also express our appreciation to outgoing board members Naomi Sturm-Wijesinghe and Gamileh Jamil.
Not a member of New York Folklore? Please consider joining us in our work!
Slate of New York Folklore Board Members – 2022-2024
Sandra A. M Bell – NYC Region (Production Manager, Producer, Teaching Artist) is a third generation Carnival Costume Designer. Ms. Bell is CEO of Journeyagents, Inc an artist booking and special event production company. Co-Founder of JOUVAYFEST Collective preserving and presenting Trinidad & Tobago classic style J’ouvert locally, nationally and internationally. Ms. Bell has co-produced 3 CD Recording with Natural Expression Rhythm Band, Punta Rock Explosion & World Connection B.V and Arufudei Wanichigu with Garifuna International Band. Additionally, she is the Production Manager & Agent for Something Positive Inc, premier Afro-Caribbean Performing Arts Company. She has worked with major cultural venues and festival organizations in the United States and abroad. As a teaching artist consultant in schools, museums & community centers, Ms. Bell assists students in creating visionary and inspiring art. She is a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellow and has earned numerous grants & awards. Ms. Bell has a BA in Arts Administration from NYU & Certificates in Film & Television production from WNET/TV Film & Video School. Ms. Bell is also is the Individual of The Year for Best Costume Design 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019 by the Brooklyn Carnival J’ouvert City International and Trinidad & Tobago Traditional Mas competitions.
Nada Odeh – Central New York (teaching artist, museum professional) is an artist, museum curator, and educator who holds a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Damascus, Syria and an MFA in Museum Studies from Syracuse University. She has curated exhibitions throughout the United States and in Belgium, and served as a Middle Eastern folk arts consultant for exhibitions and art programs, including NYSCA funded programs at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn and at New York Folklore. Currently, she is working on a NYSCA-funded Individual Artists’ grant to design and execute a mural.
Aaron Paige- Hudson Valley (ethnomusicologist, public folklorist, performing artist, educator) He is the Director of Folk & Traditional Arts at ArtsWestchester where he works in collaboration with many cultural, ethnic, immigrant, and occupational communities to identify, document, safeguard and present the diverse cultural heritage and artistic practices of the region. He holds an MA in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University and is completing a PhD at the same university. Prior to taking up his position as Director of Folk Arts, Aaron worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Denver. His academic work focuses on issues of race, class, caste, and language in the popular music of Tamil Nadu, India, as well as the Tamil diasporas of Malaysia, Singapore, and Canada. He has been studying and performing South Indian percussion for the last two decades under mrdangam artists David Nelson and Palladam R. Ravi. His research has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship, the Watson Foundation, the Society for Asian Music, the US Department of Education, and the American Institute for Indian Studies.
Vicie A. Rolling– Southern Tier Region. (retired educator, storyteller, writer, arts educator) As a retired Professor of Health and Wellness, Vicie has gone on to more artistic pursuits. She is a “StoryCatcher.” Her avocation is storytelling that includes poetry, short stories, and historical re-enactment. She works as a teaching artist in a variety of settings including, schools, museums, historical societies, churches, and festivals. She has produced two chapbooks and two CDs of poetry and short stories . Vicie has participated in the Culture, Community and the Classroom program of Local Learning, in collaboration with the Arts Council of the Southern Tier as a teaching artist.
For Re-election to a Third Officer Term:
Kay Turner – NYC Region (folklorist, educator, author) Vice President, Board of Directors
Born in Detroit. BA Rutgers University 1971 (Literature/Philosophy), MA/PhD University of Texas Austin 1989 (Folklore/Anthropology). Interim Director, Folk Arts Collections, San Antonio Museum of Art 1982-1984; Co-Founder/Associate Director, Texas Folklife Resources 1984-1991; Folk Arts Director, Brooklyn Arts Council 2000-2014. AFS: member since 1972, Executive Board 2006-2008; Elli Köngäs-Maranda Prize 2000, AFS Fellows 2013, Benjamin Botkin Prize 2013; Women’s, Public Programs, LGBTQA, and Folk Narrative Sections; New York Folklore Society: Board 2011-present; folk arts panels, consultancies, lectures, publications 1979-present. Adjunct Visiting Professor, Performance Studies Department, NYU 2000-present: courses include: women’s folklore, oral narrative theory, urban folklore, pedagogies of the ephemeral, ghost ontologies. Books include: Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars, Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms (with Pauline Greenhill). Support includes: Woodrow Wilson, NEA, NYSCA, SSHRC, American Express, and MetLife. Public programs/exhibitions: Art Among Us/Arte Entre Nosotros (with Pat Jasper), Brooklyn Maqam: Arab Music Festival; Days of the Dead in Brooklyn: Diverse Traditions of Mourning and Remembrance; Folk Roots of the Black Brooklyn Renaissance, 1960-2010; Harborlore/Sandylore; September 11th Rethinking Memorial Series (2005-2011).
Felix Nelson, conducting a dance lesson as part of a Ghanaian drumming and dance residency
as part of the Schoharie River Center’s Middleburgh, NY Advantage Afterschool Program in 2021. Photo by Ellen McHale
Local Learning and New York Folklore are pleased to welcome Mira Johnson to the role of New York State Folklore in Education Network Coordinator. With a doctorate in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning from Penn State University and an M.A. in folklore from the University of Oregon, Mira is excited to bring her expertise from both the fields to the New York Folklore in Education Network.
Due to the growing interest and need to support authentic pathways between diverse tradition bearers and both formal and informal learning spaces, in 2021 Local Learning and New York Folklore partnered to hire a shared staff position at .5 fte who could engage and coordinate our growing folklore education network. We continue to invest in this position to connect and coordinate between sites where Culture, Community, and the Classroom programs have happened, as well as other arts, humanities, and culture activities of New York Folklore. In a recent survey of program participants in Local Learning and educational folklore programs, 84% of the respondents ranked their interest in participating in the New York Folklore in Education Network at the highest level, including participating in hybrid, face to face, and zoom gatherings. Mira will help conceptualize network activities to engage artists and educators from across the state.
As a regional culture specialist for Pennsylvania’s state folklife program, Mira conducted fieldwork with rural and urban folk artists and tradition bearers, and served as the program coordinator at FolkArtPA, Pennsylvania’s statewide folklife program. She later served as the Folk Arts and Education Coordinator at the Pelham Arts Center in Pelham, New York, where she oversaw the folk art performance and workshop series and worked to integrate folk art education into the center’s studio art curriculum.
Mira is also an adjunct assistant professor at Bronx Community College in the English Department and the First Year Seminar Program. She is currently board member and board secretary for New York Folklore. Her research addresses the role of traditional knowledge and ecological relationships in community-based education, as well as regional belief practices.
Mira started in this role September 1, 2021. She will be available at [email protected]
The Capital District (Albany and Rensselaer Counties) Upstate Regional Initiative is ending with a BANG this Fall. On October 3rd from Noon to 5 pm join us in Albany’s Washington Park at the Lake House Amphitheater for the Mohawk Hudson Folklife Festival. The festival will feature the artists, tradition bearers and musicians identified by our Community Fieldworkers Ladan Nikravan, and Edgar Betelu.
Artists will display and demonstrate their work throughout the day for visitors to engage and participate. Demonstrations will include; African Hair Braiding, Iconography, Wood Carving and more! Adults and children will have the chance to try their hand at crafts inspired by these traditions in workshops and activities.
Photo of Carved Birds by Majaliwa D Maulidi. Photo by Ladan Nikravan.
Chinese Papercut by Anping Liu. Photo by Anne Rappaport
Musical performances by the Wa Lika Band and Mundeo Nuevo will bring the day to a close starting at 3pm! See the full performance schedule below.
11:30 am Washington Park Drummers
12 pm – 1pm Karen (Myanmar) Harp by Pinya Aung
1 pm –2pm Mixed Roots
2 pm – 3pm Pakastani Music by Shaman Awan and Aurelius John
3pm – 4pm Wa Lika Band
4 pm – 5pm Mundo Nuevo
The full festival program is available here: Mohawk Hudson Folklife Festival Program
Photo of Mbaya Patrick Kasongo of Wa Lika Band. Photo Courtesy of the Artist.
The Upstate Regional Initiative is a program initiated by the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts. The project was developed to conduct field documentation and programming in counties underserved by the Folk Arts program of NYSCA, with the goal to serve as a catalyst for community-based projects and to identify artists and cultural traditions within these regions. The initiative continues in 2021 in the Mohawk Valley
Here we grow again!
As we look towards new projects and programs for 2021 and in the future, New York Folklore is growing – with new leadership and members for the Board of Directors, and with the addition of several new staff members and partnerships.
In partnership with Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education, we are pleased to announce a shared position of Outreach Coordinator to the Folk Arts in Education Network in New York State. Suzanne Kolodziej is an arts educator who brings vast experience to the role. She holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Arts Education and she worked previously as the outreach coordinator for Cornell University’s East Asia Program. Concurrent with her work at Local Learning/New York Folklore, Suzanne also works at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, where she is a Teaching Artist, Museum Educator, and Program Assessor in the Expanded Learning Collaboration with the Rochester City School District.
Due to the concerns with the spread of COVID-19, New York Folklore’s NYSCA Upstate Regional Initiative has gone through some revisions, rendering the ongoing project to be stronger and more connected to community. Because of delays caused by the pandemic, we are also working concurrently to document and conduct folklore fieldwork in more than one region of the state. We are pleased to welcome Anne Rappaport as a full-time staff folklorist to the New York Folklore staff, working within the Mohawk Valley communities of Montgomery, Fulton, Southern Herkimer, Oswego and Southern Hamilton Counties. New York Folklore also welcomes three part-time community fieldworkers to work within Albany and Rensselaer Counties: Ladan Alomar, Khizra Awan, and Edgar Betelu. These talented individuals have complementary skills and interests and they are working together to provide a better portrait of the cultural traditions found within the greater Capital District. New York Folklore will also have an intern beginning in May 2021.
Reyers Brusoe, a graduate student at the University of Kentucky in the department of ethnomusicology/musicology will be interning with New York Folklore during the summer months. New York Folklore’s reach has expanded and we look forward to continuing to serve folk and traditional arts in New York State. Photo of a performance of the Jamestown Swedish Dancers with members of the Allegheny Dancers as part of a program of the Upstate Regional Initiative, 2015. Photo by Ellen McHale
Gratitude. That is a difficult word to embrace this year, as we collectively battled a pandemic, a tumultuous election, and the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives – some of whom were friends, neighbors, and family. However, I would like to take this moment to thank everyone who has been a part of New York Folklore this past year – in no particular order!
- New York Folklore was fortunate to be able to draw upon the expertise of colleagues and artists to move programming online. Early in the pandemic, New York Folklore inaugurated a daily series – May 2020: 20 Folk Artists in 20 Days – in which we were able to present the diversity of folk culture found in New York State. This series was partly educational for staff at New York Folklore, as we sought new ways of reaching people in the virtual space. I am grateful for the many artists and fellow folk culture professionals who paired up to present folk arts from every end of our vast state. If you missed the series, you can re-visit it on our vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7104335
- With help from Elinor Levy, Outreach Coordinator for Mentoring and Professional Development, the talented Karen Berelowitz helped us launch a virtual Business 101 series for folk and traditional artists that was so successful that we ran it again! Her down to earth presentations were augmented by the performing arts acumen of Dave Ruch, and arts education expertise of Lisa Rathje of Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts Education. We are grateful for the “sold-out” nature of the workshops, and for the many artists who were introduced to New York Folklore through the series. We received overwhelmingly positive reviews from participants who remarked upon the importance of interacting with fellow folk and traditional artists from throughout the state.
- New York Folklore has joined forces, and resources, with Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education, to create a shared half-time Folk Arts Education Network Coordinator position. Applications are being accepted now for a position that will begin in January. The job description and information on how to apply can be found here: https://www.locallearningnetwork.org/we-are-hiring/
We are excited that our organization is once-again in a growth mode and that we will be able to provide enhanced opportunities for artists and educators in New York State!
- New York Folklore is governed by an increasingly diverse board of directors who are passionate and pro-actively pursuing the health and vitality of New York’s folk cultural landscape. Our annual meeting which will include an election of new board members and officers will take place on Saturday, January 16, 2021 at noon. We hope you’ll plan to attend! To register, please follow this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_tMYErAGvSYipnzM6rcabwg
I want to thank outgoing board members Julie Tay (NYC) and board treasurer, John Braungard (Capital District) for their many years of service on behalf of New York Folklore. I also want to express my appreciation for the six years of Presidential leadership by Tom van Buren who will remain on the board in the “past President” role. On January 16th we will formally elect new officers and members, including Maria Kennedy as the incoming President and Jim Hall (Rochester) as our new NYF treasurer. They will be joined by new board members Evelyn D’Agostino Sasso (Rochester); MacKenzie Kwok (NYC); William Walker (Cooperstown); Ed Millar (Niagara); and renewing board member, Wilfredo Morel (Peekskill). Please join us for this joyous occasion!
- New York Folklore staff, Ellen McHale and Laurie Longfield, are joined in their work by those who provide specific programmatic expertise, including Acquisitions Editor Todd DeGarmo and Editorial Assistant, Patti Mason; Elinor Levy, folklorist and outreach coordinator for our Mentoring and Professional Development Program; and this years Upstate Regional Fieldworkers – Khizra Awan, Ladan Alomar, and Anne Rappaport – who will be continuing to document Albany and Rensselaer Counties in 2021. These programs and partnerships will continue in 2021 with the addition of increased activities around advocacy for folklore and folk arts collections and archives, increased support for building support networks for artists around New York State, and a new e-commerce site to extend the reach of our gallery to a much wider public. Look for these developments in the new year!
New York Folklore is dedicated to supporting the work of artists, community leaders, and folk arts professionals to better understand, to recognize, and to amplify the significant contributions that folk and traditional culture has for the state and the nation. We are ALWAYS happy to welcome you to our ever-widening circles of activity. If you haven’t joined us already, please consider it today!
The headline photo is from July 2019, with a visit from Kyrgyz students pictured here (Aselia, Vera, and Nurbolot) and leaders (Anisa Mambetalieva and Nazgul Akylbek Kyzy of Youth of Osh of Kyrgyzstan, as part of an international exchange program betweenYouth of Osh and New York Folklore, with support form World Learning through a grant from the US State Department. Pictured New York youth participants include Ula, Saoirse, Corey, and New York Folklore Staff Ellen McHale and Kira Born. Photo by Nurbolot Esenbek.