Arts & Culture
11:21 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Mighty Uke Day returns to Lansing with flash mob, Capitol strum

Ben Hassenger (right) is the organizer of Mighty Uke Day. He was joined by Steve Szilagyi in WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Mighty Uke Day 5 is Friday through Sunday in Old Town Lansing. It’s promoted as a celebration of the “diminutive yet dynamic” instrument and its ties to Michigan culture. There will be performances by professionals, and opportunities for beginners to try their hand at playing the ukulele.

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Arts & Culture
11:30 am
Fri November 14, 2014

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Folksinger Cris Williamson headlines EL Women in the Arts Festival

Singer-songwriter Cris Williamson performs live from WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Cris Williamson has enjoyed a remarkable career in music. Back in 1975, she recorded an album called “The Changer and The Changed”, and released it on her own label, Olivia Records. Olivia was the first woman-owned, woman-focused record company. To this day, “The Changer and The Changed” remains one of the best-selling independent records of all time.

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3:14 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

LIVE MUSIC: Lansing's Heartland Klezmorim

From left: Ben Godoshian, Chris Hamilton, Drew Howard and David Klein.
Credit WKAR

The Great Lakes Folk Festival kicks off next weekend in East Lansing. One of the musical attractions is the traditional Klezmer group Heartland Klezmorim from the Lansing Area. They join us today as part of our Live Music Fridays series.

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Arts & Culture
1:32 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Feminist musician Near reflects on activism, career

Holly Near encourages youth to take ownership of activism.
Credit Flickr - majunznk

March is Women’s History Month, and a pioneer of the women’s movement will be here on Friday. Holly Near has been combining music and activism since the 1960s.

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1:19 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

LIVE MUSIC: Lansing's The Bard Owls

Bard Owls from left: Kirk Mason, Chris Foster, Linnea Jimison, and Meredith Brown.
Credit WKAR/Anthony Cepak

For today's live music, Current State was joined by the Bard Owls, an old-time folk group based in Lansing. The ensemble discussed their musical inspirations, the Bard Owls group dynamic, and more.

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11:44 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Folk artist Tom Chapin on career, musical family

Folk musician Tom Chapin
Credit Courtesy of Abigail Chapin

Folk singer Tom Chapin will be in East Lansing for a couple of performances this weekend. Chapin is the featured artist at this week’s Ten Pound Fiddle concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Grove Street in East Lansing. The concert is at 8 p.m. Friday. Chapin will also perform at the city of East Lansing’s Children’s Concert Series on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Hannah Community Center on Abbot Road.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:37 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Musicians pay tribute to 'Fathers of Black Folk'

Credit Courtesy of

Legendary African American folk-singer Josh White’s entrance into the world of music happened at age 7, when he took a job leading blind musicians across the states. Eventually Josh became an accomplished musician himself. He is credited with bringing gospel, blues and black folk music to the masses. In 1941, he was even the first African American musician to give a performance at the White House.

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:58 am
Fri January 31, 2014

'Sweet Honey' founder to lead first night of singing festival

In addition to her music career, Ysaye Barnwell was a professor at the College of Dentistry at Howard University.
Credit Courtesy of Ysaye Barnwell

Friday is the first night of the The Ten Pound Fiddle’s Mid-Winter Singing Festival. Dr. Ysaye Barnwell will lead the first “group sing” at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. She is a founding member of Sweet Honey in the Rock, as well as a composer, educator, and public health expert. Current State’s Melissa Benmark speaks with Dr. Barnwell about her multi-faceted career and her song choices for the festival.  

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:20 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Musician Jon Brooks tests boundaries of 'folk' genre

Jon Brooks will perform in East Lansing Saturday at 7 p.m.
Credit Courtesy

Canadian musician Jon Brooks will perform as part of the Pump House concert series in East Lansing on Saturday September 28th.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:00 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Ten Pound Fiddle kicks off new season with favorite Claudia Schmidt

Credit flickr/PhotoPhiend

East Lansing has long been a hotbed for folk music. The city is home to the Great Lakes Folk Festival every year, and for 39 years, Ten Pound Fiddle has brought great music to town.

Sally Potter books concerts for Ten Pound Fiddle. The season starts tonight with Claudia Schmidt and Dean McGraw at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Grove Street, starting at 8 p.m.

Current State's Scott Pohl talked with her about the plans for this year.

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Radio Made in Michigan
4:05 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

The Bard Owls talk new album and folk music

The Bard Owl's new album 'No Tracks' will be released this September.
Credit Emanuele Berry

The loss of folk music in the face of popular music is happening worldwide, yet there are still young musicians who find their way into the genre. The East Lansing based band The Bard Owls is composed mostly of college students and recent graduates. They play old time folk music, as well as original songs. We sat down with the group to discuss their upcoming album “No Tracks.”



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Radio Made in Michigan
4:39 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Current State #70 | April 19, 2013

Today on Current State: Lansing police chief retires; folk legend Tom Paxton; Michigan tourism; world renowned trumpeter Alison Balsom; and the Lansing Marathon.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:42 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Folk legend Tom Paxton discusses career and upcoming concert

Tom Paxton's decades-long career encompasses over 40 studio albums, a string of children’s CD’s and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.
Credit Flickr

Folk singer Tom Paxton recently said that he enjoys songwriting more than ever.  That’s especially noteworthy since he’s been doing that since the 60’s.  Then, Paxton was at the center of America’s folk revival, performing in Greenwich Village with the likes of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and others.  

Tom Paxton talks about singing, songwriting and his eventful musical career with Current State.

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Radio Made in Michigan
4:54 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Singer Janis Ian on her career, upcoming performance

Folk singer Janis Ian recorded her first hit single at the age of 13.
Credit By Peter Cunningham

This Friday, musician Janis Ian will perform at the Ten Pound Fiddle in East Lansing. In 1967, Ian wrote her first hit song, "Society’s Child," which was about an interracial relationship. She was 13 years-old. The song was banned by some radio stations, and Ian received hate mail, but it became a national hit after conductor Leonard Bernstein featured it in a TV special.

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4:53 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Peter Yarrow Speaks on Folk and Friendliness

Peter Yarrow, Mary Travers and Paul Stookey formed Peter, Paul and Mary in 1961. Yarrow will perform Sunday night at The Ark in Ann Arbor.
brizzle born and bred/flickr

Mid-Michigan has a strong folk music tradition.  The annual Great Lakes Folk Festival held in East Lansing each August has attracted international attention, and you can hear folk music on 90.5 FM WKAR every Sunday night.

One of the genre's most famous performers will appear in Ann Arbor on Sunday.  Peter Yarrow formed the folk super group Peter, Paul and Mary with fellow singers Paul Stookey and Mary Travers in 1961.  Their music was part of the soundtrack of the civil rights era.

WKAR's Kevin Lavery asked Peter Yarrow about the current state of folk music.

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