2007, Fri, Oct 12

Jeff Lewis / Professor Louie: Beatnik Family

Greenwich Village - Folk and Anti-Folk

Jeffrey Lewis | (c) Eric Lippe

Jeffrey Lewis | (c) Eric Lippe

Since the times of Pete Seeger, New York's folk music scene has gathered in Greenwich Village. In the 1950s, dissatisfied with the elaborately produced commercial popular music and the ever more abstract jazz of the period, folk musicians began to search for simplicity, authenticity and roots. They discovered bluegrass, the blues, gospel, work songs and British murder ballads. Out of these, as well as other nearly forgotten forms, the folk music genre arose. Bob Dylan brought folk music to international audiences in the 1960s. Even today the Village is home to numerous improvised small clubs in which young, and not quite so young, people sing poetic and political songs – usually to the sole accompaniment of a guitar – that take a firm stance against commercially produced pop music. At HKW veterans of 1960s folk will share the stage with young exponents of so-called anti-folk, who are often strongly influenced by punk rock.


The "New Musical Express" said he was the Big Apple's best-kept secret. "Uncut" called him the ace up the city's sleeve. Jeff Lewis is without a doubt one of the smartest and most original representatives of the anti-folk scene and deserving of far greater recognition than he so far has received. The multitalented Lewis has not only released three albums on the renowned Rough Trade label, but also is the creator of the comic "Fuff". At performances he likes to entertain his audience with self-drawn "videos". Professor Louie, none other than Jeff's uncle, will give one of his rare rap and spoken word performances in the style of beatnik poets such as Lord Buckley, Allen Ginsberg and Tuli Kupferberg.

more about Professor Louie


The programme "Greenwich Village" is curated by Detlef Diederichsen together with Jeff Lewis, himself an anti-folk singer and a leading connoisseur of the history of the genre.