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DURBAN FOLK CLUB (article first published : 2003-07-1)

The Durban Folk Club was founded for the purpose of promoting local music and providing musicians with a venue for performing. The previous folk organisation, The Natal Amateur Folk Music Association, had faded out in the late 70ís, leaving a need for a new platform for amateur musicians. The Folk Club is a non-profit organisation catering to the interests of its members; the membership is made up of music lovers from all walks of life, as well as amateur and professional musicians.

The motivation for setting up the new club came from a couple of local folk musicians who wanted somewhere to play their own kind of music, The first meeting was held at the Blue Waters Hotel in February 1986. After several years at the Hotel Winston in Umbilo Road and several more years at the Le Plaza Hotel, BAT Centre, Tusk Inn, Burn and then moved to its current venue in December 2002.

You can now find the Folk Club at the Durban Wanderers Club, Montclair. it meets every Monday night, with the music starting from about 20h00. Entrance is currently R10 (R5 for members).

The club meeting is divided into two sessions. The first half of the evening is for local musicians to come along and play a few songs. They may be beginners, accomplished amateurs trying out new material, or professionals who just want to play a couple of songs for the sake of the music. The second half of the evening features an invited guest, who may be local or visiting artist from another town, In this way, the needs of the audience are catered for as well as the needs of the musicians. The featured artist is advertised every week in the newspaper, as well as in the monthly Folk Club Newsletter, and on the Folk Club Internet Web page.

The folk movement encompasses many styles of music, and the music usually performed at the club ranges from contemporary folk to blues, light jazz and rock, with occasionally traditional folk or a heavier rock band.

If you're a musician and would like to play, be there early on a Monday with your instrument and book a spot with the evening's master of ceremonies. If it is already fully booked, you may be able to play after the feature or book a spot for the following week. Alternatively, you can phone the MC in advance to book a spot.

The sound engineer may record various artist music for the purpose of either playing at subsequent folk evenings or to make up a compilation tape from time to time, that may be sold to club members, with funds going towards improved equipment or at the interest of club members. If you do not want your music recorded, please inform the sound engineer prior to your performance.

There are many benefits to becoming a member. Apart from the reduced door fee on Monday night, members also receive a monthly newsletter informing them of who is lined up to play for the next few weeks. Social events, usually in the form of braaiís which evolve into jam sessions, are held regularly at member's houses, with the occasional weekend in the berg being arranged. Workshops are also held on a variety of topics, such as sound engineering, performing or guitar techniques, for which members receive a discount. Annual membership subscription is R50 (R35 students and R75.family membership for couples)

Contact Jim Fowkes on 031 701 0088.




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