“What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be.”Read More
Industry professionals got intimate concerts and opportunities to connect with artists at the 31st Folk Alliance International conference in Montreal, Canada. Artists showcased their music all around the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel.
Conference attendees and folk friends around the world were invited to join a live-streaming a performance of “Give Peace a Chance” from their own beds on February 16th at 9:30 am ET.
“In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged a bed-in at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montréal, Canada where they penned and recorded the iconic pacifist song “Give Peace a Chance.” 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of this historic moment in music history, and our conference is taking place in the same hotel!” Folk Alliance International~
This weekend 78-year-old singer -songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, who had a string of hits in the 60’s and 70’s was honored at the event. She is a peace activist and a very private person who seldom leaves her farm in Hawaii. She recently released a biography.
In what was a folkies paradise, thousands of folk music fans came together to hear music legends in the historic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. While it was frigid outside, the warmth inside between old friends was palpable. I was sitting next to Tom Paxton as he whooped it up and gave a thumbs up to Livingston Taylor after he performed Somewhere Over The Rainbow. As soon as the set was over, Paxton approached the stage and the two embraced. Both artists have been able to maintain longstanding careers in the folk industry.
The reporter I was working with and I looked for every opportunity to slip into the space where Livingston Taylor was giving his delightful performances. His warm and inviting style was very engaging; his vocals soothing and his guitar playing joyful. But what made Livingston special to me was his performance charisma. Frequently interrupting himself, as to never let a teaching moment pass, he's filled wisdom and humor and eager to share both with his audience. This says a lot, when you think that more than 1,000 singers, songwriters and musicians from around the world were competing for the attention of industry professionals.
There is just something about Livingston that speaks heart to heart.
~~Young artist connected to industry professionals and each other, while showcasing their own music.
Story by award winning reporter Mike Sangiacomo, Cleveland Plain Dealer. https://www.cleveland.com/arts/2019/02/folk-alliance-conference-unites-musicians-from-around-the-world.html
Next years event will be in New Orleans.
VIDEO OF LIVINGSTON TAYLOR SINGING SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW ABOVE WITH APPROVAL OF TOM PAXTON AT THE END.
By Karen Pulfer Focht
Memphis, Tenn. –On a bleak mid-winter Thursday morning in Memphis, Tenn. three veterans were buried with honors; but with no family members present.
The men all died in the fall but no one ever stepped forward to claimed their remains.
What could have been a very lonely funeral service was attended by hundreds of community members that packed the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery. Cars lined up and down Forest Hill Irene Road, waiting to get in even as it started.
Veterans and soldiers created a sacred space for the caskets to pass through. They saluted each casket as it passed by.
An overflow crowd stood out in the rain. A few lucky people who arrived early sat in chairs inside the rotunda in front of the three caskets. They listened to taps. Amazing Grace was played on the bagpipes and there was a gun salute. Many people, forced to stand in the rain outside, strained to hear the service where guests sniffled and cried as they thought of the soldiers who served our country and then died alone.
Leading the service, Memphis Funeral Home director Gary Taylor remembered the call he got December 31, 2018. He was told of three men, “all who were honorable veterans who proudly served the nation that we all love, with no one to claim them as their own.”
He thanked the Patriot Guard Riders, “thank you for your willingness to escort your brothers to their place of rest.”
He continued, “Thank you for answering this call, the call to bring your brothers home.” He addressed the crowd, “to each one of you here today, thank you for your presence. Thank you for answering a call, the call to claim these men as your own. We are all here today to render honor to whom honor is due; three men, three soldiers, three Americans, three hero’s.
The three men who were honored were Wesley Russell, 76, Arnold Klechka, 71 and Charles Fox, 60.
A moment of silence followed and the fallen warriors prayer was spoken. The flags that covered the casket were respectfully and deliberately folded. With no family present to accept the flags, the flags were then passed through out the crowd. Attendees cried, clutched, and kissed the flag and held them with reverence and dignity.
Taylor finished, speaking to the caskets he said “today, we salute you, today we all claim you as our own. “
Jan. 17, 20019 © Karen Pulfer Focht
Aretha Franklins Birthplace in MemphisRead More
AUG. 2018 ~~Women leave kisses on the wall of what was once the bedroom of Elvis Presley. This apartment, was home to Elvis Presley during his teenage years in Memphis. It is now open for tours.
Elvis fans can sleep in Elvis's bedroom, eat in the kitchen he ate in and sit in the halls where he played guitar because NOW they rent out the unit by the night for $250.00.
Presley lived in public housing with his family at Lauderdale Court before he reached stardom in 1956 as an entertainer. Regular tenants have occupied the income based apartment all theses years until what was Lauderdale Courts public housing underwent renovations. The units are now called Uptown Square apartments. Elvis lived there with his parents at 185 Winchester, apartment 328, from 1949 until 1953. The unit has been decorated to look like it would have during that time and then personalized with photos of Elvis and his family.
Uptown Square is just north of downtown Memphis.
Need you ask? Yes, I left a lip print of my own for the king.
© Karen Pulfer Focht
August 11, 2018-
Today Andy Childs, Joel Weinshanker (left) (managing owner of EPE), and Lisa Marie Presley took the stage at Elvis Presley's Memphis at Graceland on Saturday to discuss the release of the latest album Where No One Stands Alone. Lisa Marie became emotional. Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley sing a duet on 'new' Elvis gospel album. Lisa said about working on this album "this is the best experience I have ever had." Her business partner and the albums co-producer Joel Weinshanker said of Elvis "What he’d want more than anything in the world is for Lisa to have some peace.
Lisa Marie Presley opened up about how she has overcome her addiction to drugs this week in Memphis.
Aug 13- 2018
Elvis fans renewed their vows in the brand new Graceland Chapel in the Woods at Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee during the 2018 Elvis Week Celebrations.
Miss Jubilee entertains diners at Evangeline's during a Sunday jazz brunch in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri. Valerie Kirchhoff, @ http://miss-jubilee.com/ the lead vocalist, sings from a great set list of music from the 1920s and 30s. Ethan Leinwand @ http://www.ethanleinwand.com/ is a St. Louis-based barrel-house blues pianist. GREAT FUN! GREAT BRUNCH!
Diana gets the whole pool rocking during her water workout class at the Cordova, Tennessee YMCA. This fun video clip says more than I ever could.
“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
MUSIC SAMPLE ABOVE-
By Karen Pulfer Focht ©
They are sisters and they sing like angels. Four of their albums hit the top of the charts. Now, reluctantly, they are breaking up for God's sake!
Yes, for God's sake. They are the nuns of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, at the Catholic monastery in Gower, Mo.
“We are breaking up,” explains Sister Scholastica, assistant prioress. The angelic sound that has blessed them with 10 successful CDs--and four that reached #1 —may never be the same.
This makes their latest album, The Hearts of Jesus Mary and Joseph at Ephesus, even more special. It could be their last recording together as a relatively new religious order and musical group.
In this case, breaking up is an exciting thing. The order has grown so fast that they have outgrown their current monastery. They believe 30-40 sisters should be the maximum size. “I think more than that might start to feel like an anonymous crowd, where one might be among a circle of friends, but not necessarily a family” she explains.
This very traditional order of nuns started with two members in 1995. They currently have thirty-five women, ages 17-94--and more coming in every day. Ready to commit (or seeking admission) are five postulants. Nine have officially signed up for early October and 20 or so more are in consideration.
The monastery began to fill up. In the chapel, they moved from choir stalls to ordinary pews. Then, the new postulants started filling up the back pews normally reserved for guests. As more women came to join the order, Mother Cecilia, the prioress, realized they'd have to build again. They started this tenth recording adventure to help with the financing the project.
“It would be very nice to stay together, but it is very much like in family life: there is a time when the older children grow up, and must begin their own families and carry on the family line” says sister.
In an effort to branch out, they have begun a search for another place of peace and some holy ground to dig in to. “When the family grows large enough that we begin to lose sense of the family, it is time for some "repotting," transferring portions to new soil “ she says with a bit of a broken heart. “While the details are still pending, I can say it will be the most painful thing we have ever experienced as a community since we have such deep sisterly love for each other.”
They are actively looking at different properties and locations to begin a new house. They'll have several sisters go and start a new monastery. “We are still gathering all the information and praying about where God wants us” explains Sister Scholastica.
So, it's possible that the earthly gift of this temporal union of women vocalists may have an uncertain future. But surely there will be more music coming from this sacred homestead?
“We know our sound just won't be quite the same! “ says Sister, “recording again seems a great improbability since several sisters will be sent, but one never knows what God has up His sleeve!”
By Memphis Photojournalist Karen Pulfer Focht © All Rights Reserved
Their CDs can be purchased and donations can be made at http://benedictinesofmary.org
The Festival of Colors was celebrated at the India Cultural Center and Temple on Saturday in Memphis on March 24, 2018. Hundreds of participants playfully throw brightly colored powder on each other while shouting "Happy Holi". This Festival of Colors is to welcome spring in the mid-south. Photo By © Karen Pulfer Focht-
Winnie the baby hippo at the Memphis Zoo.
The 87th Annual Terrapin Derby was held along Main Street in Lepanto, Arkansas on Saturday October 7th, 2017. The Terrapin Derby features fair food, music and entertainment but the festival’s main draws is the turtle race. The race features turtles racing down a 60-foot racetrack, all vying for the finish line while being cheered on by the locals. The Lepanto Terrapin Derby is a festival that has been held in Lepanto (Poinsett County) every year since 1930.
The animals showed only mild changes in behavior at the Memphis Zoo during the eclipse, on August 21st 2017---except for the alligators, which became very active. The cicadas were heard singing their evening song at the time of the eclipse, some of the animals acted a bit sleepy or like they were ready to go inside.
At 1:22 p.m., the moon was covering 94 percent of the sun.
Winnie the Hippo was said to have gotten out and played in the sand, during what normally would have been her nap time.
I have created a photo gallery and short video of what I observed while there.
The zoo provided a great backdrop as people waited for the eclipse to unfold. A fourth baby reticulated giraffe has been born at the Zoo; three giraffes have been born there in the last four months. The three that have been born since spring were all out on exhibit, Panya, ‘Bogey’ and Wakati. Angela Kate, Panya’s mother, was the first giraffe calf born at the Memphis Zoo for a decade when she was born in 2006. Wakati slept a great deal today, Panya stuck close to her mother and Bogey just played around. At the time of the eclipse, the giraffes started to head back into the barn.
In the past 15 years, the population of wild giraffes has decreased from 140,000 to 80,000.
Short Video Below
Lisa Marie Presley most graciously greeted her father’s fans at Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee on the 40th anniversary of his death. Fans lit their vigil candles as she thanked them for their devotion to her father. (Photo by Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters©)
Forty years ago, Aug. 16, 1977, the world became all shook up when news broke about the unexpected death of Rock and Roll star Elvis Presley, of Memphis, Tennessee. Since then, fans and pilgrims flock to Memphis from all over the world, every August, for what has become known as "Elvis Week." With this, the 40th anniversary of his death, Elvis Presley Enterprises will show off many changes and renovations that have taken place at Graceland, the Presley home, and the entertainment complex. The new Guest House at Graceland is also now open with 450 hotel rooms. Photo gallery below.
Martin Luther King was was fatally shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.Read More
Bees are disappearing in the United States.Read More
A duel drinking fountain left over from the days of segregation, Memphis, Tennessee.Read More
Miss Jackie Mikell, gave a wonderful presentation about the Gullah people who once lived and built the brick slave quarters on a South Carolina plantation that has been producing crops for over three centuries.Read More
Ghostly Orangutan for Halloween at the Memphis Zoo.Read More