Richmond Folk Festival

Richmond Folk Festival Poster 2015

This year’s festival poster was created by RVA’s own Bizhan Khodabandeh

The Richmond Folk Festival has brought world class musicians to the City of Richmond since 2005.    It is a FREE event and attracts thousands of people to Richmond’s riverfront (Brown’s Island and environs)  to celebrate the richness and diversity of America’s culture through music, crafts, dance, storytelling and food. It also provides an excellent opportunity to experience music and performances that are not commonly seen in Virginia and to appreciate different musical styles.

This year’s festival takes place October 9th-11th and features an amazing mixture of performers such as:

DJ Grandmaster Flash

DJ Grandmaster Flash

Hip hop legend DJ Grandmaster Flash from New York, NY, best known for “The Message” and his work with the Furious Five. (We have several CDs, DVDs, and other resources featuring his work or information about it in our collection.

Cambodian American Heritage Dance Troupe

Cambodian American Heritage Dance Troupe

The Cambodian American Heritage Dance Troupe will perform in elaborate costumes with traditional instrumental accompaniment. You can find assorted resources to help you learn more about Cambodian classical music and dance in the library and online.

Feedel Band

Feedel Band

Feedel Band, an Ethio-jazz band from Addis Ababa via Washington, D.C. Ethio-jazz is a fusion of traditional Ethopian music with jazz, funk, soul and Latin rhythms.

Grupo Rebolu

Grupo Rebolu

Grupo Rebolu is an Afro-Colombian ensemble that plays a mix of indigenous, African and modern instruments and sings in Spanish. Their music is rooted in traditions of the Caribbean coast of Colombia and dancing is encouraged!

The Alt

The Alt

If you’re into Celtic music you can see performances by The Alt, a trio of master Irish musicians. The group takes its name from The Alt, a storied glen on the slopes of Knocknarea in County Sligo, said to be the final resting place of the ancient Irish warrior-queen Maeve.

In honor of the Richmond Folk Festival (and in case you can’t make it since it’s happening during Fall Break), the Parsons Music Library has created a small exhibit featuring examples of the types of music that you can find at the Folk Fest this year as well as some examples of specific performers that will be attending.   Items include books, CDs and DVDs. You can check out the exhibit in the library through the end of October.

We also have an assortment of streaming audio from musicians participating in the folk festival that can be accessed if you are a UR Student, Faculty or Staff Member. You will need to sign in with your UR email address and password to access most of our streaming content.

The Campbell Brothers - Sacred Steel

The Campbell Brothers – Sacred Steel On Tour

Sacred steel is a musical style and African American gospel tradition that developed in Pentecostal churches during the 1930s. Per the Richmond Folk Festival’s website: “Named for the metal bar – often made of steel – that players slide over strings to vary the pitch of notes, steel guitarists have provided the driving musical force for spirit-filled church services for nearly eighty years. The signature sound remains one characterized by single-note passages that uncannily imitate African American vocal styles. This unique musical tradition, rarely heard outside the church before the early 1990s, has since captivated the ears of the nation and world. Among the finest ambassadors of sacred steel are the Campbell Brothers.”

Here is a link where you can hear some of their music:

Shemkia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland

Schooled in Texas blues by her father and raised in Harlem, Shemekia Copeland creates music that reflects gritty urban realities and weaves together blues, soul, and rock and roll.

Here’s a link to some streaming audio of her for you to enjoy:

You can also have a listen to streaming audio by artists like rockabilly icon Sleepy LaBeef or out of this world big band free jazz groups like the Sun Ra Arkestra (which bears the name of its founder and bandleader, Sun Ra, who named himself after Ra, the Egyptian God of the Sun, and claimed to be from Saturn!).

The Richmond Folk Festival offers something for everyone and is well worth investigating further either by attending the FREE event yourself or by visiting the music library to learn more about resources that we offer relating to it!

Richmond Folk Festival Logo

Happy Birthday, Julie Andrews!

"Julie Andrews Park Hyatt, Sydney, Australia 2013" by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia - Julie Andrews. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons -,_Sydney,_Australia_2013.jpg#/media/File:Julie_Andrews_Park_Hyatt,_Sydney,_Australia_2013.jpg

“Julie Andrews Park Hyatt, Sydney, Australia 2013″ by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia

Today (October 1, 2015) is Dame Julie Andrews‘ 80th birthday!

Julie Andrews (née Julia Elizabeth Wells) was born in 1935 in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England.

She is probably best known today for her roles in the 1964 Walt Disney film Mary Poppins and for the 1965 film production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound Of Music. 

In addition to these classics, which are both available to borrow at the MRC in Boatwright Memorial Library,  the Music Library has some other items featuring Julie Andrews that are worth a look.

Julie Andrews - "Don't Go In The Lion's Cage Tonight"


Don’t Go in the Lion’s Cage Tonight is new addition to our collection.   It’s a reissue of a 1962 album of “Heartrending Ballads & Raucous Ditties” in British Music Hall style.

We also have vocal scores and cast recordings of some of her London and Broadway stage shows such as My Fair Lady and Camelot

My Fair Lady - Original London Cast Recording

Camelot - Original Cast Recording


The Music Library also has an assortment of DVDs featuring Julie Andrews like her last screen musical, Victor/Victoria  or the documentary series Broadway: The American Musical, in which she serves as host.


Broadway: The American Musical

These items and many more fabulous resources are available for you to check out now at the Music Library, so come see us!

This ain’t your grandma’s ballet.

Editor’s Note: The following contribution is a guest post by UR undergraduate James Fong, who is a Student Assistant working at Parsons Music Library. Thanks, James, for the insights on the in-famous work of Igor Stravinksy!

Ever see a ballet that made you want to riot? If that sounds strange, that’s because it is. The brainchild of composer Igor Stravinsky and impresario Sergei Diaghilev, The Rite of Spring caused its audience members to do just that.

Prior to May 29, 1913, ballet was a rather docile thing. From its first beginnings in Renaissance Italy as a courtly activity for the aristocracy, to its transformation as a formalized discipline involving grace and technique by the late 19th century, ballet was fairly content with itself.
There would be an added creative wrinkle here or there (poses, costumes, etc.), but its fashionability in the day gave it no reason to revolutionize itself.
Then May 29, 1913 happened.

“The theater resembled a prison yard: shouting, howling whistling, slapping, punching.”

“A beautifully dressed lady in an orchestra box stood up and slapped the face of a young man who was hissing in the next box. Her escort arose, and cards were exchanged between the men. A duel followed next day.”

480 px width, cropped version of original by Flickr poster "Piano Piano!"

Sacre du Printemps – London Philharmonic Orchestra

“Exactly what I wanted.” – Diaghilev

That is only a microcosm of the reception of a ballet centered around the creative forces of Spring. That and a sacrificial virgin dancing herself to death to appease the god of that very season.

Set in pagan Russia, The Rite was, for all intents and purposes, an uncontrolled experiment in music and dance. Musically, Stravinsky pushed the limits of meter, tonality, and dissonance, which must have caused quite some discomfort for an audience raised on formal music from the glory days of the Common Practice Period. Meanwhile, Nijinsky’s choreography blew the doors off of anything that had preceded it. Angular, violent, and downright convulsive, it was as much a powder keg as the score. So much so that Nijinsky’s choreography was scrapped from 1920 until its resurrection by the Joffrey Ballet in Los Angeles in 1987.

Despite its beginnings in obscurity (at best), or disaster (at worst), The Rite – particularly the score – has since emerged as an enormous commercial and artistic success, lending credibility to the Russian ballet scene, even being featured in Walt Disney’s color trick film, Fantasia. That being said…
Read up on the mayhem, witness the performances, and explore Stravinsky’s other (equally chaotic) works at Parsons Music Library, located on the second floor of Booker Hall. We hope you’ll be better behaved than the original audience.

photo credit

Additional CD’s added in May!



Berio – Chamber Music
Peter Serkin – Beethoven Sonatas


Michael Daugherty – American Icons


John Coltrane – Africa/Brass
Donald Byrd – Early Byrd


Foy Vance – Joy of Nothing
Bruce Springsteen – Human Torch
Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town

Soul Music

Allen Toussaint – What is Success: The Scepter and Bell Recordings
Charles Wright – Express yourself the best of Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
Gladys Knight – The very best of Gladys Knight & the Pips : the early years

Soundtracks/Film Music

Various – BaadAsssss Cinema (The Sounds of Blaxploitation)
Various – The Best of Blaxploitation

Hear and see our own Richuan Hu in action!

Editor’s update (1/17/13): Here is video of our student assistant, Ruiquan (Richuan) Hu performing with the UR Orchestra last semester. Bravo, Richuan!

As a part of the upcoming concerto performance that features the Music Library’s own Richuan Hu, we’d like to present a previous blog submission that Richuan wrote about his thoughts on studying a famous piano work by Franz Liszt. Please come out to the UR Orchestra concert on Wednesday, December 5 at 7:30pm in Camp Concert Hall, so you can hear Richuan in action as he performs the first piano concerto by Chopin. Richuan is the winner of the 2012 concerto competition!

UR orchestra and Richuan Hu

UR orchestra and Richuan Hu


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