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Highlights from the Winnipeg Folk Festival from Saturday:
ADAM COHEN at LITTLE STAGE
Adam Cohen is the son of poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen. At first
listen, one could hear the resemblance in the voice, but a more
thoughtful listen tends to convince otherwise. The thoughtful and
self-deprecating poetry of his father is foregone for several songs
about love and sex, and presumably more of the latter. Within the
first four songs, Cohen made at least three references to the way
women taste, which may entice some, but came off as a creepy romance
novel to others.
STRANGERS ON A PLAIN at GREEN ASH
The Head and the Heart, Blitzen Trapper, Bahamas, The Barr Brothers
This was my first opportunity to see The Head and the Heart and
Blitzen Trapper, both bands I was excited to see at this festival.
This was paired with one of my favorites from the festival thus far,
Bahamas, and a band I had yet to discover.
My favorite moment of this workshop came as Bahamas' Afie Jurvanen
introduced his cover of a D'Angelo song.
“What are the great unifiers?” he asked. “Is it Neil Young? Is it Bob
Marley? That works for a lot of people,” he said to some applause. “I
looked at these guys. They have beards. They wear their pants the same
way as me. I know they like the exact same things that I do...so
here's a D'Angelo song.”
MAIN STAGE AND BIG BLUE @ NIGHT
CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS
My friend had a great tarp location on Saturday night, so I used the
opportunity to get up about two rows from the front during the
Carolina Chocolate Drops. The traditional stringband played through a
set of enthusiastic fiddle and banjo tunes, but dropped a cover of Blu
Cantrell's “Hit 'Em Up Style” in the mix, as well. The most exciting
moment of the set was when guitar and banjo player Dom Flemons stood
up from his chair and began to showboat with his guitar. Fiddler
Rhiannon Giddens followed shortly after by setting her fiddle down to
dance a jig on the side of the stage, returning to her instrument just
in time to join back in.
The rest of the night, I traveled back and forth between Big Blue and
the Main Stage to catch Blitzen Trapper (openers of Wilco's recent
Bayfront Festival Park show) and The Head and the Heart. Once again, I
had fully planned to stay and watch Main Stage headliner DeVotchKa,
but was sidetracked by the lure of dancing and excitement at Big Blue.
At Big Blue, I caught celtic/electronic band Sketch, who combined
traditional celtic guitar, fiddle and vocals with a booming 4/4
backbeat, which was well received by the energetic and slightly-buzzed
folk festival crowd.