Edmonton Folk Music Festival 2017

Edmonton Folk Music Festival 2017

I have volunteered at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival for about 15 years, albeit not all years in a row. There were times that I could not get off work or I got a job working in the country at the last minute so I missed those years.

It has been fun although the last couple of years I have slowed down and feel more aches and pains. I do not go to the volunteer parties any more because imagine this, I need to sleep! I do like the main stage shows but my favourites are the sessions at the smaller stages, where often a few musicians will jam and those magical moments happen. One of the memorable sessions was at Stage 3, ” Northern Exposure”with The Jerry Cans, Dylan Menzie, Altameda and Colleen Brown. The magic for me happened when Dylan Menzie from PEI sang a lovely tribute to his Aunt’s memory and one of the  singers from The Jerry Cans accompanied him with throat singing. I found that emotionally powerful. The ironic part was that I left my camera home so have no photo but perhaps that allowed me to be totally in the moment without any distractions. I enjoyed the rhythm and vocals of two locals, Colleen Brown and Altameda, both of whom I hope to hear again  here in the city.

       Tim Williams, Tony D of MonkeyJunk, Kit Johnson and Steve Dawson


I did get photos of another favourite session (lots of favourites) where various players of the blues genre really joined the audience in having a good time. Amos Garrett and the House Band, Cecile Doo-Kingue, MonkeyJunk with Paul Reddick, Steve Dawson and Tim Williams.

Paul Reddick, Rusty Reed, Steve Marriner of MonkeyJunk


Cecile Doo-Kingue

IMG_0154-2Also enjoyed a session at Stage 3 on Saturday entitled ” Ancient Cultures.” Artists included Mohsin Zaman, Huun Huur Tu, Logan Alexis Singers and William Prince. Huun Huur Tu did a variety of Mongolian throat singing which was mesmerizing and we were treated to pow wow style dancing that accompanied the Logan Alexis Singers with great vocals and drumming. William Prince, an indigenous man from Manitoba sang some  thoughtful pieces with a pleasing  voice and told some good stories as well. Mohsin Zaman , who is originally from Pakistan and now lives in Alberta in a residency program where he is really “giving  back” as a mentor to students, sang haunting melodies and introduced some deep throat tones that sounded great.

Mohsin ZamanIMG_0103-2

Some of the Logan Alexis Singers and Dancers


IMG_0078-3I have been a fan of Amadou and Mariam, from Mali, West Africa for a few years now, having first heard them at this festival.My aches and pains were forgotten as the infecious West African rhythms  spurred me on to dance beside the main stage at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

IMG_0269-2IMG_0270-2I enjoyed the festival and  my co-workers on the Beverage Crew. We were busy serving drinks on those hot days and all that counter wiping kept the wasps at bay. When I wasn’t taking photos memories were being made. Brandi Carlisle is one of those memories that always reminds me of the fact that her voice is amazing and the band works together so beautifully.

The only unpleasant memory was the wind on Thursday evening. It swept up the hill and carried many items away as people scrambled to grab their gear. The worst was seeing one of the giant video screens come loose but not detached , and seeing it flopping upside down back to front and side to side. Shortly after, the grounds were evacuated. Good call , I say, as patron safety is of utmost importance and it was possible that worse cells were going to hit. We missed Shakey Graves and The Decemberists but they have been invited back next year.

The next morning a few of us chipped in and helped do dishes in the Festival Kitchen that were abandoned when the evacuation order was announced. That is part of the spirit of this festival, the hard-working, friendly volunteers who help keep this festival going. Bravo! That is a big reason why I keep going back, it is like a family reunion. Volunteering has its perks, with a free pass to the festival, t-shirt and  delicious food-the best I eat all year.  That, and definitely not least, the love of the music!

Heritage Days -A Sell Out Crowd

Heritage Days -A Sell Out Crowd

In Alberta, the first weekend of the month is a holiday weekend with Monday being Heritage Day. Here in Edmonton the celebration goes all weekend where over 100 tents are set up around Hawrelak park where one can sample entertainment, food and crafts from over   particular country. It is HUGE and this year we broke attendance records with a total of 360,000 people on Sunday alone. That was more than the whole weekend last year. I went on the last day, Monday when the clouds looked ominous so there were much smaller crowds. I always enjoy the dancing and sampling the food from different cultures.

Time was a factor so saw a few, such as the newest one from Syria where I watched folk dancers and smelled Shawerma Damas and Mushabaks, in other words wrapped pita bread containing chicken shawarma, garlic sauce, pickle and pepper sauce and the latter a mix of fried sernolina dough dipped in syrup.

I just realized I don’t have a photo of the Syrian Pavilion. Well then, on to the Arab culture. There were dancers here as well and Sharwarma sandwich, Shish kabob, Falafel to name a few.IMG_0022-2

I enjoyed hearing Latino beats at one place where the young man led the crowd in Cha Cha and Salsa. That was a sight to see-people in all sorts of ethnic wear joining in to the impromptu dance lessons. Wanted to protect identity of the crowd but since this Latin man is in the public had no qualms about posting his photo.IMG_0014-2

I always go to the Aboriginal tents with the fried Bannock and Bison Burgers and saw lovely bead and quill earrings! There were two guitarists playing accompanied by two dancers moving more slowly than I usually see, but very flowing and graceful. One  was a shawl dancer and the man as you see here was a hoop dancer.IMG_0032-2

A glimpse of part of the set-up at one end of the park, the aboriginal tent. IMG_0025-2

A little bit of the Ukraine where you can get pierogies and sausages. It is like going around the world in one weekend. Unfortunately this barely demonstrates the massive crowds that were present the day before, but that makes it easier to get your food tickets line up for the food.IMG_0008-2


A Pleasant visit to a Lake in the City

A Pleasant visit to  a Lake in the City

My friend and I wanted a respite after a frustrating day so had a pleasant picnic on a bench beside a storm run-off lake in the northern part of the city. What a blessing! I stated that I was hoping to see the “Penguins”  which got my friend Diane heartily laughing. When I realized my mistake I corrected my choice to “Pelicans”  and quipped, “It was so cold yesterday that they just might show up.”

The water was calm and there was no breeze so it was quite enjoyable, although there were a lot of weeds in spots which reminded me of the tragedy recently when a girl was walking her friend’s dog which ran into the water and was having difficulty. She ran in to rescue it , got caught in the weeds and mud and drowned. Horrific! Thinking of the family and friends who have suffered this loss and sending a caution out to others who may be tempted to wade in.

The light was lower and I did see a Pelican preening itself on the raft with a Cormorant and a Duck. Well gee, can you two turn around?


Got some success at wishing they would pose for me.IMG_0215-2

It was nice to see different families of Mallards of varied ages this late in summer.IMG_0213-2

I was oblivious to this group until I almost walked into their space huddled on the shore.IMG_0236-2

Come to think of it, this may be the same brood.IMG_0264-2

I am grateful for the time with a friend  and a visit with nature.

Just Ducky!

Just Ducky!

I am at the library so thought I would take advantage and post photos of my favourite duck images that I have with me. Now that I am offline at home, I take photos and download them to my computer, then put them on a USB stick and take that to the library for publishing. A bit of a process but I am grateful that I have a way to share my photos. Enjoy!

Looks like this guy is skidding in for a landinguntitled-0246-2

I love watching the ducklings half run half swim acrooss the top of the wateruntitled-0309-2

A handsome Lesser Scaup in the early eveninguntitled-0398-2

A Mallard Drake Chillin’ at the ponduntitled-0025-2

Nice pose with good lightmallard drake-4

Sputtering Ruddy Churning up the Waterpictures 046-2

Aw-w-w…cuteness itself with this baby Mallardpictures 050-2

No Rain Going to Spoil this Parade!

No Rain Going to Spoil this Parade!

K_Days parade was today to kick off K-Days  for the next week or so. It did rain on this parade but it didn’t pour and no spirits were dampened. I love the horses and bands, and the floats although there weren’t too many floats. There was lots of enthusiasm from the crowd and the participants. K-Days used to mean Klondike Days but we don’t dress up for it as a lot of people can’t afford it or do not bother. Judging from the crowds, a lot of people got out for the fun!

Got to love the horses! This group is called the Sheriff’s PosseeIMG_0030-2

Spiderman was a big hit with the crowdIMG_0043-2

And so was Batman!IMG_0045-2

this clown like the others was riding a unicycleIMG_0049-2


Like the creativity of this puppet master!IMG_0065-2

One of my favourites! The kids were elated!IMG_0070-2

Look at this team…gorgeous! And the rigging too!IMG_0096-2

The Chinese community was well represented in the parade and had great dancing . IMG_0143-2

What’s a parade without the other attractions?IMG_0190-2

Unfortunately there are the downsides, like the stuff that people leave behind. Be responsible for putting it in the garbage can, please.IMG_0194-2




A Snake in the Bush

A Snake in the Bush

I went for a drive to Wetaskiwin a small community south of Edmonton. They have a wonderful park called “Park by the Lake” where a lot of birds hang out and there are trails around the lake as well as a concession that sells many flavours of hard ice cream.

It was great to spot the pelicans resting on the wharf across the pond and I spotted a pair gliding above me.untitled-0069-2



I saw three families of geese, one with the “teenagers”…untitled-0045-2

untitled-0048-2and one with a younger brooduntitled-0043-2

The highlight of the day was finding a snake in the bushes which I observed for a while. It is a Prairie Garter Snake, about a metre long.untitled-0020-2


Though tempted, I skipped the ice cream and considered seeing the snake the real “treat of the day”.

Happy (belated) Canada Day!

Happy (belated) Canada Day!

I enjoyed the fireworks, it was a big show celebrating our 150th though tempered with thought and empathy for the first Nations people who have been resisting all this time , and rightly so since we stole the land from them, then took the children forcibly from their homes and abused them in the residential schools as the settlers tried to assimilate them . Lots of damage done but they survived and are thriving. An apolog I look forward to the next 150 with renewed relations  focusing on meeting the charters “Calls to Action” on Truth and Reconciliation.

I just had to take a photo of everyone with their cell phones, getting ready for the first start of the show.