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06 Dec 2016

Death and Mourning in American Folk Music

Musicians Eli Smith, the Four O’Clock Flowers, and Mamie Minch will play American folk songs centered around the theme of death and mourning in the down-home tradition. A conversation with the musicians will conclude the performance.

Beer will be graciously provided by Lagunitas Brewing Company.


Eli Smith is a banjo player, writer, researcher, and promoter of folk music, living in Brooklyn, NY.  Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist and produces two folk festivals annually: the Brooklyn Folk Festival in the spring and Washington Square Park Folk Festival in the fall.  He has appeared as a guest on terrestrial radio stations such as WBAI, WNYC, WKCR, and WDST in New York and KPFA, KPFK, and KUCI in California.  Eli has presented panels and discussions on folk music at the Left Forum conference and at the Podcamp podcasting conference in New York City.  In 2004 he traveled to Caracas, Venezuela, as an American delegate to the Encuentro Mundial de Intelectuales y Artistas “En Defense de la Humanidad” (World Encounter of Intellectuals and Artists “for the Defense of Humanity”).  Eli also served as music consultant for the Civil War film Racing Daylight (2007).  He has performed and recorded with his old time string band The Down Hill Strugglers, as well as with Peter Stampfel and John Cohen. The Down Hill Strugglers were recently featured on the soundtrack album to the Coen Brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), which was produced by T Bone Burnett.

The Four O’Clock Flowers are a New York-based folk and blues duo composed of Samoa Wilson and Ernest Vega.

Mamie Minch is a blues guitarist and singer. She plays songs that sound like they’ve been stored inside her 1930’s National steel guitar for decades. She has found her voice in reviving and writing antique blues songs and ballads that bridge historical record and contemporary life. Her low-down, tough tenor singing voice is supported by a guitar style drawn from Memphis Minnie and Bukka White. She lives and plays in Brooklyn.


Photo credits: (Left) Eli Smith by Lou Murray; (Right) Mamie Minch by Rowan Renee.

6:30 pm–8:30 pm

$7 members, students, seniors; $10 non-members

Reserve tickets