Folklore Center Blues stars American folk music legend Izzy Young, an iconic figure in the folk music revival in the 1960s
Folklore Center Blues stars American folk music legend Izzy Young, an iconic figure in the folk music revival in the 1960s. Izzy was the go-to man for starting a career in folk music in New York City. He helped launch the careers of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Tim Buckley, and others. He introduced the world to the music of the blues legends of the South, fueling the budding rock-n-roll scene. At nearly 90 years old, Izzy still produces concerts at the Folklore Centrum in Stockholm, Sweden.
WHO IS IZZY YOUNG AND WHY IS HIS STORY IMPORTANT?
The son of Jewish Polish immigrants who ran a bakery in Brooklyn, Izzy opened his Folklore Center on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village in 1957. It quickly became the locus of the folk music community, where musicians and enthusiasts would stop by to buy supplies and records, hang out and find out what was going on, and leave and pick-up messages for each other. Izzy produced the first New York concerts of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Tim Buckley, and many others, including Patti Smith's first professional poetry reading. As a member of the Friends of Old Time Music, Izzy helped to bring the blues legends of the South to NY, helping to fuel the budding rock-in-roll scene in the US and England. In 1961, he organized a protest to allow folk musicians to continue to play in Washington Square Park on Sunday afternoons. He also kept meticulous notebooks, covering every detail of life in the folk music world in his tell-it-like it is, cutting manner. As an archivist, his recordings of events present a uniquely detailed view of this vital time in American history. In 1973, he moved to Stockholm Sweden, where at nearly 90-years-old, he continues to produce concerts at his Folklore Centrum.
With no sense for business, Izzy's devotion to folk music comes entirely from the heart. He is a picaresque, unique, loud-mouthed, big-hearted soul, full of New York Jewish passion and occasional bluster. He has begun to receive long-overdue recognition, and his meticulous archives and journals were recently purchased by the Center for Folklife at the Library of Congress.
Rebecca Seeman is a musician with wide ranging musical interests. She grew up playing folk guitar and Swedish folk dancing, and then became infatuated with the world of voice and classical music as a young adult. She holds a Bachelor's and Master's in Voice and Conducting from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Iowa. She teaches in the Music Program at the University of San Francisco, where majors receive a degree in Performing Arts and Social Justice. She is also the director of Sacred and Profane Chamber Chorus in Oakland. She never lost her love of folk music and popular culture, and she is excited to share Izzy's remarkable story.
Tamsin Orion is founder and principal of Tamzina Films, a full-service production company that creates films from conception to broadcast. Tamzina Films produces documentaries on a variety of social issue and arts topics, as well as promotional, marketing and educational programs. Working as Producer, Director and Cinematographer, Tamsin has a wide-ranging knowledge of what it takes to turn real human stories into compelling film. Tamsin holds an M.A. in Documentary Filmmaking from Stanford University, and her films have won Telly, Cine Golden Eagle and NEMN awards. They have screened at film festivals worldwide, and are in international distribution. Before becoming a filmmaker, Tamsin earned a bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Vassar College, directed programs at homeless shelters, and was a commercial salmon fisher in Alaska.
Rebecca and Tamsin met at the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert, and quickly developed a strong connection over their mutual commitment to the arts. Tamsin was intrigued by Rebecca's stories about her friend Izzy Young, who waxed profane about his experiences with the great figures of folk, old time music, blues, jazz, and other arts in New York. Their journey with Izzy begins at the Folklore Centrum in Stockholm, where he has lived since 1973.
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