The 2016 Folk Alliance International Conference and Music Fair was held for the third year in a row in Kansas City, Missouri February 17-21. KC Cafe Radio was there once again, providing live coverage of the conference from our booth at the exhibit hall.
This year turned out to be a significantly rewarding year for us. Not only did we have the opportunity to catch up with several old friends, we made several new ones as well. Stay tuned to KC Cafe Radio, over the next several weeks and months you will begin hearing new music and voices, a direct result of these new friendships.
Since the conference, we were saddened to learn of the passing of a very good friend to KC Cafe Radio and Folk Alliance International, Louis Meyers. Louis had served as Executive Director of Folk Alliance International for several years, and had co-founded the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival. Louis died on Friday, March 11, the first day of the 2016 SXSW festival.
Louis is also responsible for connecting us at KC Cafe radio with Folk Alliance International. He had personally invited us to one of the regional conferences. The following year we returned to the Folk Alliance Region Midwest conference with our live microphones. Since then, we have attended and covered two regional and two international conferences. Our involvement with this outstanding organization may not have happened without his invitation.
Here are archived recordings of the conversations we had during the conference:
Hali Hammer has lived a life that is as eclectic as her music. She grew up in New York surrounded by music. “My mother and father were always singing,” she recollected. “My mother always had the record player on, and she would sing me to sleep at night.” In college, Hali was wowed by the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Peter Paul and Mary. This was during the Vietnam war, and the words and songs she heard during that time would go on to play a significant role, not only in her music, but in her “public voice” as well.
Hali joined her first band in 1968 while she attended Queens College, and went on to play both with other musicians and as a solo act. She was a member of Citizens to Save Minnewaska in upstate New York, and had the inspiration for and helped produce the compilation album Save the Mountain in 1981 which aided in funding the legal fight. The property is now Minnewaska Lake State Park.
Hali later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and joined Freedom Song Network in 1985. She was a member of the chorus that sang onstage behind Nelson Mandela at the Oakland Coliseum. Her song Bottom of the Ninth was aired on KNBR-San Francisco preceding the first game of the 1989 Bay Bridge World Series. She became active in the San Francisco Folk Music Club (she is currently the Vice President) and was the coordinator of the 2003 Berkeley Free Folk Festival. Hali created and produced Sing Out for Earth Day, a video montage of 33 groups across the nation singing This Land Is Your Land on April 22, 2012, in the same key (D) and at the same time (noon Pacific, 1 pm Mountain, 2 pm Central, 3 pm Eastern). It debuted at a screening in San Francisco that July 14th, the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birthday. She has been listed in Who’s Who of American Women.
Hali’s latest album, Eclectic Circus is preceded by three other albums, I Refuse To Believe, Gypsy-O, and The Best of Hali Hammer. Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste visited with Hali via Skype. They talk about her various political and musical causes, her upbringing, and the significance of the “voice” behind the music.
Listen to the interview here:
Music by Hali Hammer on KC Cafe Radio:
The 2016 Folk Alliance International Conference returns to the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri for the third year in a row, February 17-21. Folk music musicians, industry professionals, presenters, media and fans of the genre gather at this 28th annual event.
Keynote speaker at this year’s conference is folk legend Judy Collins, who will speak and perform on Friday February 19th. Other events include nightly music showcases, late night private showcases, mentoring sessions and workshops.
KC Cafe Radio will be set up in the Exhibit Hall at the conference, located in the Century Ballroom, booth 204, 10AM to 1PM Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you are attending the conference, please drop by and say “hello.” We are looking forward to catching up with many KC Cafe Radio Performing Artists at the conference, as well as meeting new friends that would like to share their musical talents on The Cafe. Listen for conversations from the conference daily here on KC Cafe Radio!