Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2012, Part III
Here’s my final post from this year’s 35th anniversary Vancouver Folk Music Festival. Sets one and two are already up, so check ’em out! This time around you’ll see the following artists: River City Extension, Wazimbo, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, Alejandra Robles, The Head and the Heart, Dan Mangan, e.s.l., The Cave Singers, K’naan, and the Johnny Clegg Band. If you still have a hankering for an even larger collection, head over to my flickr set for some more context, audience and musicians.
So, what caught my ear this year? Well, everyone you see here – that’s why I shot ’em! The best part of this festival is discovery – with more than 60 groups, that’s a serious amount of talent to uncover. New Jersey’s River City Extension really blew me away at their concert and in the workshop setting. I suspect these guys (and gals) are onto something big here. Their new album Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger is solid through and through – great songwriting, fantastic arrangements and a real push/pull feel to the song cycle. I’ve listened a number of times since the weekend and love it – a new summer soundtrack.
Wazimbo from Mozambique had an incredible voice that drew me in immediately. H’Sao from Chad/Quebec sure knew how to throw a party. The Wood Brothers had a great feel – stompers, chasers and ballads with a minimal three-piece set up. British Columbia’s e.s.l. were super fun, particularly on the 1-5 Meets The 99 workshop where they were paired with Dan Mangan, The Cave Singers (personal faves I’ve yearned to see at Jericho for some time – that’s new member Morgan Henderson above), and The Head and the Heart (buzzed about Seattle band with those sweet harmonies). It was one for the books and they wrapped it up with a raucous Rocky Raccoon. Hungary’s Besh o DroM killed it each time I saw them, especially with Geoff Berner at the Wedding Party workshop. K’naan is a bonafied superstar if the audience reaction was any indication. And closing out Friday night was Vancouver’s Dan Mangan and his tight nine-piece who drew more photographers to the pit than anyone in recent memory.
Regrets? With such a stacked lineup, there were a few but I really wish I caught NYC’s Blitz the Ambassador who were absolutely incredible by all accounts. Sidi Touré, all the way from Mali, would have been nice, too. Dang. Well, there’s always next year and all those other, unbeknownst-to-me acts ready to blow my socks off. Congrats to the 1400+ volunteers and VFMF staff for pulling off an incredible weekend on the beach. Here’s to another 35!