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Monday, July 18, 2011


The Montana Folk Festival is a world class event. Every year this once-fading mining town gathers the kind of the musicians you’ve always wanted to hear. It’s not a “folk” festival really but rather a “world music” event celebrating our planet’s rich diversity of cultures.

The musicians play for three days on six stages multiple times. That way, if you like, you can hearall twenty of the featured artists. Check it out at . Miami should be as lucky as this city of 35,000.

We arrived on Butte on the last day of the event. Still, in one afternoon we were able to enjoy,

  • New York’s Klezmer All-Star Band
  • Maria De Barros and her band playing the soca rhythms of the Cape Verde Islands

  • Los Texmaniacs doing an exciting set of Tex-Mex music. We got to dance to them a folk festival on the Washington Mall three years ago.
  • The Inuit throat singing sisters, ‘Nukoriit”
  • Samson Schmidt and his Django Reinhart All-Star Band (Gypsy jazz from France)
  • And closing out the show, Haiti’s own Boukman Eksperan. They brought down the house (well, a very large tent) with their fantastic fusion of Haitian, Caribbean and rock rhythms. We danced a little more and got to try out our limited creole with one of the group’s singers afterwards.

Like the posters said, the festival was “wild and free”. Local businesses picked up most of the tab. The rest was covered by volunteers who collected contributions in big, red buckets.

The musicians we weren’t able to see played blues, country, bluegrass, and cajun music. We caught bits of groups paying the sounds of Arabia, Korea, and yes, Cuba. Why don’t we all get together in Butte next July? We’ll have a great time and experience a world of music!

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