Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (HSB), thanks to its benefactor the late Warren Hellman, has been a magnificent showcase for traditional music in the Bay Area since 2001. Presented across 6 stages on the first weekend in October, upwards of eighty acts each year perform music from bluegrass, folk, country, blues, and rock genres. But this year it was quite literally “hardly strictly bluegrass” at the Porch Stage, situated just inside the Main Gate off of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park where Sunday’s lineup featured a bevy of multi-ethnic multi-cultural acts that provided attendees that day with a fresh insight into the festival’s moniker.
We arrived just in time to get a viewing spot near the stage for one of our favorite groups, Dakhabrakha from “free Ukraine” – a country near and dear to our hearts the extent of which you can readily explore via the numerous posts and videos we’ve posted on this website. As usual, the three women multi-instrumentalists – Iryna, Olena, & Nina stole the show with searing vocals and pulsating percussion — with the lone male Marko providing mid-range “narrative” vocals, sound effects, and comic relief. “Ethnochaos” en flagrante dilecto!
Next up was the Latino rock group Y La Bamba [not featured here] highlighting the vocals of Luz Elena Mendoza followed by Mdou Moctar, a Tuareg-influenced Desert Rock quartet from Niger that rivaled Jimi Hendriks in intensity and guitar pyrotechnics.
Pan-cultural stories, sounds, and rhythms shared via the medium of music; animating, informing, and inspiring the World. What a festival!
Thank you, Warren!
© Kazkar Babiy ™ MMXX
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