Works in Progress Magazine
Soul Songs: Inspiring Women of Klezmer, under the artistic direction of Susan Watts, was a 2018 Philadelphia Folklore Project initiative designed to bring together eleven extraordinary female klezmer instrumentalists from across North America and across generations for a concert and community master class. Watts states: “I wanted to focus on women because women don’t get the same kind of applause that men get from the institution of music. I wanted to feature these amazing women that I know, women who are writing music, who are doing amazing things behind men. Men are the frontline and they [the women] are kind of schlepping behind. But they’re like this huge force.”
When I hear klezmer music, I become filled up with joy and wonder, filled to overflowing.
Klezmer is Eastern European Jewish folk music. It is music that Jewish people in Eastern Europe, before the Second World War, lived by. They danced to it; they celebrated to it; they cried to it; they had brisses to it. They lived it. It lived within them. And that’s what klezmer music is.
Of course my personality infuses my playing. But I can’t really say how.
The Philadelphia Folklore Project’s Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change initiative has relied on an advisory committee for input and guidance regarding programming, outreach and impact for the past couple of years.
This past November, after my family had moved to our new house, I found an old journal of mine that I had since long forgotten. While reading the many diary entries I wrote as a twelve-year-old, I was blown away by the memories I had forgotten or had even misremembered.
Exemplary folk arts education practices from the Folk Arts – Cultural Treasures Charter School were featured in a dynamic session of linked papers presented at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education Ethnography in Education Research Forum on February 27, 2016.
“I was just this happy person [as a kid], always wanting to be into things,” Fatu Gayflor recalls. “I never wanted to be silent on the side. No. When I entered, I entered with fire.
The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change [LWCC] has been bringing traditional songs from a variety of Liberia’s ethnic groups to Liberian gatherings in the Philadelphia area for the past couple of years, aiming to inspire dialogue about and action to address domestic violence