Preview: Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival
The 3rd Annual Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival is upon us, and in anticipation of the day-long, indoor-outdoor, multicultural event, we spoke to Michelle Stefano, the Maryland Traditions program coordinator and folklorist-in-residence. First, in the music department, there’s Lafayette Gilchrist, Baltimore’s preeminent jazz pianist and the “only participant [of the Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Awards Program] that has moved from apprentice level to master,” according to Stefano.
This year, the Maryland State Arts Council celebrates ten such apprenticeships, or in Stefano’s words, ten such “transmissions of knowledge.” The Swallows, one of the first doo wop groups to bust out of the United States, will provide the rhythm and blues. “What’s really unique about The Swallows is that their lead singer [Eddie Rich], original founding member, is still goin’,” says Stefano, “He’s in his early nineties, and he’ll be at the festival tomorrow, leading the group as he always has, since 1948.”
You’ll have to see for yourself.