New York State

Reflections & Vision

NYF Presidents Gabrielle M. Hamilton (2010-14) and Tom van Buren (2015-17) share their thoughts about the organization’s infrastructure, its history and role in the state and the vision for the NYF.

Artist Spotlight

George A. Olsen, Jr., practices the art of wood turning to craft tools, including rolling pins, spatulas, and pepper mills.

A Transitional Interpretation

The curator for the exhibition, A Transitional Interpretation” at the Folklife Gallery, Crandall Public Library, 2015, presents stories behind five photos on exhibit of Lyle Lovett, Frank Zappa, Mal Waldron, Dave Van Ronk, and Lucius by their photographers (Lawrence White, Enid Farber, Joe Deuel, Bryan Lasky, and the curator Andrzej “Andre” Pilarczyk.)

Voices of New York

Sara Milonovich, a brilliant fiddler, singer, songwriter, and bandleader, released her CD Daisycutter in 2009. Described as “rural roots with an urban/world edge,” this album’s songs and music encompass folk, bluegrass, Celtic, zydeco, and American roots-rock music.

Songs to Keep

This essay describes the Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY) project to share the documentation of traditional folk music of the North Country with recordings made between 1942 and 1967 by Marjorie Lansing Porter (1891–1973), with the production of a 40-page songbook, a 17-song CD, and a PBS documentary.

Good Read

A book review of Saratoga Springs: A Centennial History, edited by Field Horne.

Book Review

A book review of Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson
Valley by Jonathan Kruk.

Artist Spotlight

Joe Crookston defines himself as “an artist,
writer, singer, guitar picker, painter, claw
hammer banjo player, fiddler, eco-village
member, and believer in all things possible.”

The Danzaq of South Peru in New York

This article discusses, from the perspective of transnational cultural studies of performance-based symbolism, the practice of New York-based dancers, who learned the tradition in urban migrantcommunities in Lima and have practiced the dance there, as well as in the rural settings of their origin and now abroad in the US.

Good Spirits

Some Binghamton legends describe ghosts who struggle to reach their lost loved ones…. we think about connections between the past and the present, and bonds between the living and the dead. The column describes notes that Rod Serling’s ghost is said to haunt a carousel in his hometown of Binghamton.


What was on the minds of Adirondackers in 1906? Through its weekly column “Neighborhood Notes,” The Warrensburgh News gave simple sketches of what mattered. The author wandered away from a genealogical search to discover the flavor of everyday life in upstate New York over a century before.


High banter is a key ingredient of folk culture andfamily folklore. It’s also the essence of the poetry duels… Both on street corners and stages, poets riff off each other in rhyme, participating in traditions ranging from extempo in Trinidad, in Portugal, contrasti in Italy, freestyle rap in the US, and repentistas in Brazil. The banter between couples and others is also reminiscent of what happens when jazz musicians riff off one another.

In Her Own Words

These stories were told by Alice Testrake at her home in Ripley, NY, in the winter of 2013–2014. Family members were sometimes present. Her memories were collected and illustrated by Art Facilitator Valerie Walawender, MA, as part of Hospice of Chautauqua County’s Art Enrichment Program.

Remembering Yacub Addy

Yacub Addy, Ghanaian drum master from Latham, New York. A master of traditional music of the Ga ethnic group, a creator of new works rooted in tradition, and a committed educator, Yacub Addy is part of the renowned Addy family of drummers, singers, and dancers from Avenor, Accra, Ghana.

Remembering My Grandfather’s Left-Wing Bungalow Colony in Dutchess County

There’s a common perception that all of the old-time Jewish bungalow colonies in New York State were in the Catskills. Maybe the majority were, but not all. Off NY State Route 9D, in Dutchess County, at the foot of a mountain, lies a large parcel of land with several modern houses on it. If you went back 50 years, during the era of my childhood, however, you would have found one medium-sized house and a group of wooden bungalows, painted white with red roofs; a swimming pool; two see-saws and a jungle gym for kids; and a social hall (called the “casino”).night, and waiting cars and trucks quickly collected the barrels and boxes of imported liquor. The bungalow colony was where my
Belarusian-born maternal grandfather,
Harry Rothstein, and his friends held
forth every summer.