Morris men in a ring at the autumn equinox

The Pinewood Morris Men continue a festive dance style from the late middle ages in rural England. The performers wear costumes specific to their troupe, including bells, and often wield sticks or handkerchiefs in their routines. This group frequently appears in Boston Revels’ events throughout the year. Here they are greeting concertgoers to last fall’s equinox RiverSing in the Herter Park amphitheater along the Charles River in Allston.
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View from the outdoor stage

Rosi Amador and Brian Amador of the pan-Latin ensemble Sol y Canto joined us on the stage of the Herter Park amphitheater along the Charles River in Allston. Boston Revels hosts events throughout the year to enhance community through folk traditions. This scene from last fall’s equinox RiverSing.

They sound like happy fireworks

The street drum band aNova Brazil joined us last fall to help celebrate the cleanup of the Charles River two decades earlier. Here they are warming up for the Boston Revels’ equinox RiverSing last fall at the Herter Park amphitheater along the Charles River in Allston. They later fired up the procession down to the stage and performed several unbelievably complex and infectious numbers. They’re a hard act to follow, but we did it. Boston Revels hosts events throughout the year to enhance community through folk traditions.

Bells of freedom ringing

Thinking of freedom, we can see it as personal expression as well as political opportunity. For some of us, that was a big dimension of the hippie movement.

The 50th anniversary of Woodstock is coming up next month. Normally, that would mark a jubilee, some even acclaiming it as a celebration of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Alas, the dark ages we thought had passed have returned from the dead, in intensified deadliness at that.

Jubilee, by the way, is drawn from the Biblical book of Leviticus, and it’s a most radical idea. Every 50 years, all the wealth in the land is to be redistributed. The scriptural passage is inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, so don’t tell me it’s not American.

~*~

One of the passages I cut before the final version of my novel What’s Left is one where she’s asking her aunt about the hippie experience:

I’ve never asked you about your own drug use.

OK? Can I say it was just enough to convince others I wasn’t a narc?

So were you really a hippie? I mean, you had such short hair!

You trying to say a hippie couldn’t have short hair? Don’t you know how radical my style was? You ever think I could conform to anything?

Well, you’ve indicated you weren’t stoned. I’m going down the list.

Have you considered the impact of the Pill? Or free love?

Oh, I’m so glad Cassia stopped talking like this! In the final version, she’s pretty snippy.

~*~

For the record, some of the truest hippies I’ve known weren’t promiscuous or do drugs. And some others never marched in a protest.

Still, as an image of the era, let me ask: What’s your impression of Woodstock? Have you ever been to a big, multiday festival? What’s your favorite music? How do you best express your free spirit?

 

Havin’ a blast

Despite their name, the Dirty Water Brass Band joined us last fall to help celebrate the cleanup of the Charles River two decades earlier. Their New Orleans street-style band packs in soul and an R&B kick. Here they are greeting concertgoers to the Boston Revels’ equinox RiverSing last fall at the Herter Park amphitheater along the Charles River in Allston. They later led the procession down to the stage and opened the show with several numbers.

Today, let’s let them welcome the official beginning of summer.