Folk Music Month in Harvard Square

Bob Morey 1967
Harvard Square has long been considered an epicenter of critical thinking and social and political reform. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the Folk Music scene that had its inception in the mid-1950s at Club 47. Club 47, located on Mount Auburn Street, was a coffeehouse where students and residents were regaled with socially conscious yarns by up and coming artists such as Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. In 1963, the venue, now called Passim, moved to its current location on Palmer Street. In addition to holding over 400 concerts a year, this non-profit organization also operates as the Club Passim School of Music, teaching a variety of classes and workshops in everything from songwriting to voice to numerous acoustic instruments.

October 27th – BOB DYLAN IN AMERICA – a prelude to Folk Music Month
Cambridge Forum hosts Princeton historian and cultural commentator, Sean Wilentz, discussing his new book, BOB DYLAN IN AMERICA. Written through unprecedented access to tapes, notes and photos, this critically acclaimed, bestselling biography, is now in paperback.

How is Dylan the product of a particular time and place? How was Dylan influenced by America’s oldest religious music, founded in New England and preserved in the South, the shape-note hymnal, The Sacred Harp? Would civil rights and anti-Vietnam War marchers have stayed at home without Dylan’s 60’s stirring protest songs that inspired a generation of activists? What are the roots of his continuing influence?

Sean Wilentz is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University. He is the author of The Rise of American Democracy, which received the coveted Bancroft Award and, most recently, of The Age of Reagan. The historian-in-residence for Bob Dylan’s official website, he has also received a Deems Taylor Award for musical commentary and a Grammy nomination for his liner notes to Bootleg Series, Vol 6:Bob Dylan, Live 1964: The Concert at Philharmonic Hall.

Scott Alarik, writer, folk singer and songwriter, will moderate the discussion. His most recent book is Revival: A Folk Music Novel. Books will be available to purchase, courtesy of Harvard Book Store.
Cambridge Forum, 3 Church Street, (617) 495-2727, www.cambridge

Throughout the Month of November – Forever Young Community Gallery Window Show
“Forever Young: Bringing the Legacy to Life” presents photographs and graphic memorabilia from the folk revival of the 1960’s to today, crossing the generations. Music posters, album art, unique event calendars and photographs bear witness to some of New England folk music’s most important cultural moments.

The exhibition features the works of photographic artists of the folk scene including Dick Waterman’s pictures of blues musicians; Boston’s long-time editorial and arts photographer Don West; rare festival and club images by Bob Morey; an extensive selection of contemporary folk photography; together with the artistic renderings of Eric Von Schmidt and Byron Lord Linardos.

Peek in the following Harvard Square windows in the weeks to come to see these artifacts: The Tannery – 93 Brattle Street (‘Contemporary Folk’ – colors photos by Rich Gastwirt), Mint Julep – Church Street (‘Folk Women’ from the NEFMA collection with select photos by Bob Morey), JP Licks – 1312 Massachusetts Avenue (‘The Old Vienna Kaffeehaus’, photos by Chris Yeager), Harvard COOP – 1400 Massachusetts Avenue (‘Classic Folk, circa 1967’ photos by Bob Morey – beginning November 3rd), and Irving House at Harvard – 24 Irving Street (NEFMA Collection)

Throughout the Month of November – New England Folk Music Archives Gallery
To celebrate Folk Music Month in Harvard Square, the New England Folk Music Archives (NEFMA) will be displaying 50 years’ worth of photographs of musicians who helped create the vibrant folk scene in Cambridge. Highlighting the exhibit will be photographs of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Joan Baez amongst others. The Gallery space is located in the former location of the Globe Corner Book Store. The NEFMA wishes to thank Harvard Real Estate Services and The Harvard Square Business Association for its assistance in securing this location. Gallery hours: 2pm – 6pm, daily.
NEFMA Gallery, Former Site of the Globe Corner Book Store, 90-92 Mount Auburn Street.

Throughout the Month of November – Exploring Folk Music with Scott Alarik
Tuesdays [6:30 pm – 7:45 pm] Nov. 8, 15, 22, 29, Dec. 6, 13
What does the term folk music mean in the 21st century? What connects the blues guitarist to the Irish fiddler, the urban songwriter to the Cajun band, the folk-rocker to the cowboy singer? What is the difference between a folk song and a pop song? How was folk music used in the lives of ordinary people, back when it was passed from singer to singer, generation to generation? What does the modern folk musician share with the composers of the great ballads, fiddle tunes, and songs? How did those ancient folk traditions transform into today’s folk world?

Using live, recorded, and rare archival music, sprinkled with colorful tales about folk music, author, journalist and folksinger Scott Alarik takes us on a vibrant journey down the ancient tributaries of tradition, to see how they shaped our modern musical landscape, and how folk music filled people’s lives, then and now. This is a new kind of class for the Passim School, meant for the entire folk community, fans and musicians, newcomers and aficionados, aimed at deepening everyone’s enjoyment of folk music.
Passim, 47 Palmer Street, (617) 492-7679,

Throughout the Month of November – Hidden Sweet Promotion
To celebrate Folk Music Month, Hidden Sweets will be offering a gift with any $30 or more purchase of “Life is Good” brand apparel.
Hidden Sweets, 25 Brattle Street, (617) 497-2600,