WHAT: A Folk Music Concert
WHO: Gordon Bok
SPONSORED BY: Susquehanna Folk Music Society
DATE & TIME: Saturday, April 28, workshop at 4 p.m., potluck dinner at 6 p.m. and concert at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, 5300 N. Front Street, Harrisburg
COST: $20 General Admission, $16 SFMS members, and, $10 Students ages 3-22
INFORMATION: www.sfmsfolk.org, 717-763-5744
The incomparable Gordon Bok, hailed by Time as “the poet laureate of those who go down to the sea in ships,” appears at a Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert on Saturday, April 28, at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, Harrisburg. A free 90-minute workshop entitled “Moving Poetry Towards Music” at 4 p.m. will be followed by a 6 p.m. potluck dinner and the 7:30 p.m. concert.
Bok sings in a rich baritone and plays six-string guitar and 12-string guitar. He also plays a self-built instrument he calls the cellamba, a six-string, fretted cello. As a songwriter, Bok draws on his experience in and around the working boat culture of the Gulf of Maine. He spins into song the diverse voices of fishermen and other sea-folk, crafting a penetrating vignette or a full-fledged ballad-song as the material demands. At times he reaches deep into the wealth of sea myth that haunts the North Atlantic. To animate these legends of Selkie-folk, sea fairies and boat spirits, he resorts to freer forms, producing works like the Seal Djiril’s Hymn, where song and spoken verse are interspersed.
Sometimes unable to find songs that conveyed his own experiences or needs, he took to writing his own, and throughout his career has produced many poems, songs, stories, and choral and instrumental works. He reinvented and developed the cantefable/”folk opera” now widely used by storytellers and musicians. He is also an instrument builder and a master craftsman, mainly dealing with sea themes done in wood carvings.
Bok’s legacy includes 34 recordings of his own compositions and traditional and contemporary folk songs from around the world, along with two books and a handmade limited edition of his poetry and the wood engravings of Capt. Edward Porter. He has toured throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. Owing to his extensive repertoire, he says he has never sung the same solo concert twice, thus guaranteeing a unique experience everywhere he performs.
In a free workshop before the concert, Bok will give examples of poems that folks have successfully set to music and look for some principles in that work. Participants should come with a poem or short personal story they have written. The end result isn’t a polished product, but the understanding of how to approach a poem and some tools to get them singing. Reserve a workshop place by calling (717) 319-8409. The workshop is supported by a grant from The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
Join us for a free 6 p.m. potluck dinner before the concert. Bring a covered dish to share; drinks and place settings will be provided. Concert tickets are $20 General Admission, $16 for SFMS, and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006 or online at www.BrownPaperTickets.com. Susquehanna Folk Music Society programs are supported by funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, administered locally by the Cultural Alliance of York County. Additional support for the workshop comes from the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society.