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Free Range Choir offers up folk songs from around the world
Vashon’s Free Range Folk Choir will inaugurate its fifth season with an all-ages concert at 7 p.m. Friday, at the Methodist Church. Selections will include “Što Mi E Milo,” a well-known Macedonian folk song; “Aralo,” a rousing piece from the Republic of Georgia; “Freedom Road,” from the Civil Rights movement, and a round that the audience will be invited to join in on.
“We took great care in choosing new and diverse material to begin the season,” said director Shane Jewell. “We wanted songs that were particularly heartfelt, poignant and joyful.”
The choir will also share a poem by the beloved Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, set to music by the Jewish-American cantor Linda Hirschhorn. “It’s a beautiful and haunting song,” Jewell said.
The concert will also be a celebration of the choir’s growth and place in the Vashon community. Jewel, along with his wife Emily Pruiksma and brother-in-law Tom Pruiksma, started the choir with 20 singers, and the group has now grown to 80 members, and concerts are often standing-room-only affairs. The group has also performed at community events, including the Strawberry Festival. On Thursday, they’ll perform for the residents of Vashon Community Care.
According to Jewell, the choir is about more than making music.
“What we do when we sing together is breathe together,” Jewell said. “For an hour and a half, a group of 80 people is in harmony. There is something very healing about that, very fulfilling for all of us. It’s a way to reach real peace.”
Friday’s concert is free, with donations accepted. For more information on hearing or joining the choir, visit freerangefolkchoir.blogspot.com.
Get a taste of Ireland at an intimate house concert
Aficionados of traditional Irish music have a treat in store, with an upcoming house concert starring acclaimed two-row button accordionist Paddy O’Brien.
The concert, organized by Islander Will Morgan, is set for 7 p.m. Monday at a private Island home. Call Morgan at 276-0842 for reservations and information about the location. The suggested donation to attend is $20.
O’Brien, from County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland, is an award-winning player with a career that has spanned almost 40 years. During that time, he has collected thousands of compositions — jigs, reels, hornpipes, airs and marches — and played and recorded with the Castle Ceili Band, Ceoltoiri Laighean and numerous other acclaimed players. His new solo CD, “Mixing the Punch,” was released by New Folk Recordings/Cló Iar-Chonnacht.
He’s also taught at numerous music schools and workshops and has received grants and fellowships to record and catalog 1,000 tunes from his vast repertoire of traditional music. In 2012, O’Brien was selected as Ireland’s TG4 Gradam Ceoil Cumadóir, or Traditional Composer of the Year, among the highest honors in Irish traditional music.
At Monday’s concert, he’ll be joined by Irish fiddler Dale Russ and guitarist Nancy Conescu. Russ is a well-traveled fiddler with numerous honors, recordings and collaborations to his credit. Conescu has played Irish music festivals and clubs in Ireland, Japan and the United States and performs regularly in her hometown of Portland, Oregon.
And at the Bike, get funky
Soul Senate, a seven-piece Seattle band with a funk and party sound, will take the stage at 9 p.m. Saturday at Red Bicycle Bistro. Bring along your dancing shoes to enjoy music reminiscent of Stevie Wonder and the Stax Label of Memphis, complete with a sizzling horn section and powerhouse vocals.