‘Usually fun’ Fiddle Tunes concerts on tap

43rd festival runs Thursday through Saturday

PORT TOWNSEND — An intentional, international community has just formed at Fort Worden State Park.

It’s called Fiddle Tunes, and it sounds like joy. Centrum’s 43rd Festival of American Fiddle Tunes brings singers, players and dancers from New Mexico and New England, Iowa, Norway and Ireland — to play together in workshops, band labs and four public concerts.

Joel Savoy, a leading figure in the American roots music world and winner of multiple awards including a Grammy, is artistic director of this gathering. Among the dozens of players he’s brought to Port Townsend are Earl White, a rare performer of the old-time music of the African American community; the Irish duo Frankie Gavin and Theo Paige; the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian women of Fru Skagerrak and the New Mexican trio Lone Piñon.

“We’ve been trying to get them here for a few years,” Savoy said of that group. Lone Piñon — multi-instrumentalists Jordan Wax, Leticia Gonzales and Noah Martinez — play songs in Spanish, Nahuatl and P’urépecha.

“It’s kind of wonderful that there are so many young people here this year. It’s really fantastic,” longtime program manager Peter McCracken said at Sunday’s Fiddle Tunes orientation. Along with 300 adults participating in the Fiddle Tunes workshop this week, 40 came for the Teen Track and 48 for the Kids’ Track.

Everybody’s invited to the culminating concerts — “those are usually fun,” quipped McCracken.

Here’s the schedule of shows at Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way. The venue is McCurdy Pavilion unless otherwise noted. For tickets, which range from $16 to $32 except at Friday’s free lunchtime event, call 800-746-1982 or visit Centrum.org.

Thursday

• 1:30 p.m.: Fiddles on the Fourth with Frankie Gavin and Theo Paige of Ireland, Vivian Williams and Barbara Lamb of Washington state, Lone Piñon of New Mexico, David Bass of North Carolina and Ben Townsend of West Virginia.

• 7:30 p.m.: “Fireworks and Fiddles” with Louisiana Cajuns Mitch Reed, Jimmy Breaux and Randy Vidrine; Daniel Lapp and friends from western Canada; Al Murphy, Art Rosenbaum and Marc Janssen from Georgia and Iowa and New Englanders Donna Hebert and Max Cohen. Despite the name, this concert does not include fireworks; instead the Old School 4th celebration on Fort Worden’s Parade Grounds will have a laser show at 10:20 p.m. For information see Thunderbullproductions.com.

Friday

• Noon: The Free Fridays at the Fort series presents a Fiddle Tunes showcase concert on the Fort Worden Commons lawn.

Saturday

• 1:30 p.m.: Fiddle Tunes Finale with Earl White and friends from Virginia, Genticorum from Quebec, Canada; Danish-Swedish-Norwegian trio Fru Skagerrak and Joseph Decosimo and Travis Stuart from North Carolina.

________

Diane Urbani de la Paz, a former features editor for the Peninsula Daily News, is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.

Earl White is among the elder statesmen at the 2019 Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, which has its finale concert at Fort Worden this Saturday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Earl White is among the elder statesmen at the 2019 Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, which has its finale concert at Fort Worden this Saturday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

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