September is Revival Month in Harvard Square

It was an unprecedented honor for the love story about two songwriters, set in the Cambridge folk scene. It was also, as Bogie said in Casablanca, “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”‘

“September is like our New Year,” says HSBA director Denise Jillson. “It’s such a time of renewal, with the students coming back and all these events celebrating tradition and innovation in ways that have always defined Harvard Square. We’d been looking for a way to connect it all, and then we found out about this wonderful novel, Revival. It was perfect.”

Alarik was a regular Revival Month presence in 2011 and will be in 2012. Club Passim is hosting a Revival First Birthday Bash on September 19, with Alarik joined by folk stars Meg Hutchinson, Alastair Moock, Jake Armerding and his father Taylor Armerding, a longtime member of the legendary bluegrass band Northern Lights.

Other Revival Month events include Club Passim’s Campfire Festival, the New England Americana Festival, a Hootenanny at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, CD release concerts for local folk heroes Antje Duvekot and Session Americana, and Revels’ RiverSing on the banks of the Charles River (a complete list is attached below).

“For Revival to create a tradition like this is such an honor,” says Alarik. It also won the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Popular Fiction. “The novel is very much about seeing tradition as a living thing, not a relic of the past, so Cambridge was the perfect setting. The book’s main character realizes that tradition is another word for community. In Harvard Square, that’s a way of life; the past and the present are such good neighbors there.”

Passim manager Matt Smith says the response to last year’s Revival Month was so positive he wasn’t surprised that it’s become an annual tradition. He’s excited about the Revival Birthday Bash, which will be the same friendly song-swap the release show was.

“The audience loved it last year,” he says. “It was really unique, tying together the songwriter and literary worlds. As with a lot of song swaps, the performers related to each other in fun ways, creating an arc for the night with their spontaneity and camaraderie. And the Revival Month theme is perfect for Passim: there’s a revival going on here all the time.”

National folk star Meg Hutchinson is happy to be part of Revival Month again. “What Revival does so well,” she says, “is to create this intersection between the personal landscape that actually creates the art and what it takes to do that, along with the beautiful tradition to which we all belong, and how we draw different strands from that to create our own cloth.”

When you think about it, that Revival intersection sounds a lot like Harvard Square every day of the week. No wonder it’s become such a beautiful friendship.

14th Annual Labor Day campfire. festival, Club Passim

9/02 Bread & Puppet Theater: The Circus of Possibilitarians, Cambridge Common, 3pm

9/07–9/09 Antje Duvekot CD Release, Club Passim; Liz Longley opens

9/12 Club Passim Film Night: “Troubadour Blues,” Passim School of Music, 7pm

9/13–15 New England Americana Festival at Club Oberon, Passim, Tommy Doyle’s, Charlie’s Kitchen & Winthrop Park

9/15 & 9/22 Children’s concerts with Celtic star Shannon Heaton, Club Passim, 10:30am

9/16 Hootenanny. Open to all! Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 2pm

9/19 Revival 1st Birthday Bash. Concert and party with Meg Hutchinson, Alastair Moock, Jake Armerding, and Scott Alarik, Club Passim, 8pm

9/20 Club Passim’s Session Americana CD Release, Brattle Theatre, 8pm

9/23 9th Annual Revels RiverSing on the banks of the Charles, 6pm

9/29 Exploring Folk Music with Scott Alarik. Workshop with live and archival music. Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 1pm

9/30 Celebration of Voice: A Benefit for the Voice Health Institute. Club Passim, 7pm

For information on Revival Month festivities and other events in Harvard Square, please visit