Lowell Folk Festival a feast of music from around the world

Music at the Lowell Folk Festival spans the globe. (Photo courtesy Lowell Folk Festival)
New music at the Lowell Folk Pageant spans the world. (Photograph courtesy Lowell People Competition)

It took Kevin Dwyer a long time to get his household to understand that people music is more than Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Tons a lot more.

“It’s not just Newport Folk Pageant in the ’60s, it goes over and above that,” Dwyer mentioned.

He would know. As the govt director of the Lowell Folk Pageant, which runs July 29 – 31, Dwyer functions beneath the widest definition of folk, a single that includes bluegrass, Argentine tango, Manouche jazz, western swing, West African balafon and dozens of other designs.

“Folk is about oral traditions that are handed down from technology to era, from neighborhood member to group member,” Dwyer said. “It’s not a little something acquired in school or analyzed at a faculty, you have to be a member of a group to master (quite a few people kinds), whether which is understanding from a grandparent or as a member of a precise church. At the competition in 2019, we observed polka and blues bands and Irish new music, but we also noticed tuvan throat singing and Indian Kuchipudi (dance).”

Celebrating its 35th anniversary calendar year, the Lowell People Pageant is unlike anything else in the area (and arguably in the place). It is the longest-jogging free of charge people fest in the country, boasting a rating of acts throughout 4 stages and a few days. Spread across downtown Lowell, the fest consists of 18 food stands operated by community non-gain local community teams furthermore instrument maker showcases, artwork and artisan booths, and a relatives pleasurable activity region.

(Dwyer factors out that the complete fest is admission free of charge, but donating a couple dollars when you wander from phase to meals stand to phase goes a long way in ensuring a productive 2023 celebration.)

There are hundreds of reasons to appear — perogies, hand-made jewelry, demonstrations in the art of carving water drums. But it always will come back to the music.

“When you see a performer of a custom of new music, even just one that you have under no circumstances read of, I can ensure that this performer is on the shortlist of the ideal in the place for what they do,” Dwyer explained. “We genuinely do our homework to deliver in the ideal.”

Right before he was the fest’s government director, Dwyer labored as a stage manager at the fest. In advance of that, he covered the event as a college DJ. Obviously he has a vast assortment of tastes, but he does acknowledge staying partial to Latin American dance music and has not long ago been having into oud music — the oud is a lute-style instrument performed throughout the Center East and Western Asia.

“We have a pair of Armenian oud gamers coming to the pageant and one particular of them is a genuinely youthful guy who grew up around right here,” he said. “He’s a the moment-in-a-technology phenom at this oud custom. We intended to get him in 2020, when he was however a teen, but we haven’t been able to have the competition. So now we get him as a higher education college student and are just so psyched to eventually see him enjoy.”

Of study course combining the music with the food stuff and tradition always makes the best final results.

“I experienced a minute in 2018 or 2019 the place I was having Filipino meals when watching a Greek band on the stage and about to go down the avenue to verify out a Puerto Rican dance band,” Dwyer reported. “It’s definitely fun to have all of these distinct things converging at once.”

Strategy your go to to the Lowell People Competition at lowellfolkfestival.org.

The Lowell Folk Festival is back after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic. (Photo courtesy Lowell Folk Festival)
The Lowell Folks Pageant is back right after a two-yr hiatus due to the COVID pandemic. (Picture courtesy Lowell Folks Competition)


Angelia S. Rico

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