Elation Center for the Arts presents “An Evening with Dan Levenson,” a concert of Appalachian folk music, Saturday, 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.
A treasure trove of tunes, songs and stories, Levenson is a true a steward of the rich American musical heritage that laid the groundwork for styles like country music and bluegrass. Coming to the backwoods of the San Juan Mountains from the backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains, his rousing tunes and early American folk songs will take you way back to the covered wagon days.
Levenson sings and plays the fiddle, banjo and guitar. One of the highlights of his show will be his unusual ability to fiddle and clog dance at the same time — a real treat to see! Levenson’s wife, Jennifer, will be accompanying him on his trip to Pagosa and will join him on a stage for a few numbers.
A modern day troubadour, Levenson is known for his performances, CD recordings, workshops, and his instruction books published by Mel Bay. His work has contributed to the dissemination of Appalachian folk music throughout the world.
Born to a musical family, Levenson was raised with the traditional old-time music he performs. His father was a caller for square dances, and his parents actually met at a square dance. Levenson’s early memories were of the dances and music parties his parents hosted. “I can remember these music parties from at least the age of five,” he said. “These parties went on for years, into the time I began performing old-time music myself.”
Appalachian folk music — often referred to as “old-time music” — is one of the few regional styles of American folk music that is played in all areas of the United States and in many other countries. A number of American classical composers, including Aaron Copland and Henry Cowell, have composed works that merge the idioms of Appalachian folk music with the Old World–based classical tradition.
Appalachian old-time music (also referred to as “old-timey” or “mountain music”) has its roots in the traditional music of the British Isles. This music developed in America to accompany folk dances such as square dance, buck dance and clogging. The genre also encompasses ballads and other types of folk songs. The fiddle was the primary instrument. The banjo, which was derived from a West African skin-covered lute, became an essential partner to the fiddle. Guitar and other stringed instruments later became important elements of the music.
Old-time music experienced a great revival in the early 1960s and has been gaining popularity ever since. The movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” caused an upsurge in people from urban areas wanting to learn and perform the music. The movie, “Songcatcher” — about a musicologist researching Appalachian folk music - has been another inspiring influence.
Levenson is one of the leading musicians who are dedicated to performing, teaching and preserving this great American music tradition. Come immerse yourself in the power of Appalachian folk music, at “An Evening with Dan Levenson.”
Advance tickets for $12 are available online at elationarts.org and at the Higher Grounds Coffee Company. Tickets at the door are $15. Young people 18 and under will be admitted free of charge.
Please help us continue the tradition of sharing a dessert at the concert intermission social.
Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. in the Vista subdivision of Pagosa Lakes. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Boulevard; turn north on Vista, then left on Port. The clubhouse is at the end of Port in the PLPOA complex.
Elation Center for the Arts is a nonprofit organization that provides cultural arts programs to the community of Pagosa Springs. For more information, call 731-3117.