Foodie Friday: Seattle Coffee Fest 2013

Since sometime between the 14th and 15th century people have been cultivating and processing the coffee bean. Power packed and delicious this unassuming seed is used in a multitude of fantastic ways in almost every major culture around the globe. From the coarsely ground French press coffee method to the finely ground and steam brewed espresso, if you are looking for a little extra energy you can count of the coffee bean to get you going.

Last weekend, a few thousand coffee lovers gathered to taste and sample the coffee and tea industry’s current up-and-coming products as well as a few tried and true products. Coffee Fest was held this past weekend at the Washington State Convention Center. The three-day, caffeine-filled event included vendors of all kinds showing their coffee-related products to a very receptive and, obviously, energetic crowd.
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The Mid-Week Beat: The Varied Sounds of Folk Music Today

lomax-jp-1-popup1Music is as old as civilization itself. From Day One people have been banging on drums, strumming strings and blowing through hollowed out plants, bones and whatever else they could find. Thousands of styles of music have been born from cultures all over the world. They speak to the heartbeat of the people, the environment, the times.

“Folk Music” as a genre is an attempt to classify all these varied musical cultural traditions under one over-arching banner. Most American’s think of the likes of Woody Guthrie (pictured), Pete Seeger, early Bob Dylan or Joan Baez, which was decidedly “American” folk music but, the genre continues to thrive. Many artists around the country keep the fire alive by offering their own interpretations to “folk” as a genre but modern day folk artists tend to incorporate more global influences than their predecessors in the 1950s and 60s. Which makes sense as American culture becomes increasingly multi-cultural.

This week’s Midweek Beat explores three folk acts that are currently haunting the gardens and bars, concert halls and pubs of modern day America.

Simple Gifts

simple giftsWho or what is Simple Gifts?

Simple Gifts is two women and twelve instruments that draw upon an impressive variety of ethnic folk styles. Simple Gifts is all tuned up and ready to go TONIGHT, Wednesday, May 15, for their gig in Warsaw, New York.

Get in the mood for lively Irish jigs, down home American reels, hard-driving Klezmer frailachs and haunting gypsy melodies. But it doesn’t stop there. The ladies will also be spicing it up with the distinctive rhythms of Balkan dance music, the lush sounds of Scandinavian twin fiddling, and original compositions written in traditional styles.

Combining tradition, culture and innovation, Simple Gifts creates some of the finest arrangements in folk music today. Listen closely as a swing fiddle creeps into a Romanian dance, spoons show up in an Irish reel and the concertina ventures far beyond styles considered traditional for that instrument.

Based in the hills of central Pennsylvania, Simple Gifts plays an amazing array of instruments, sounds and styles that borrow from folk traditions from around the world.


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