2007, Sat, Oct 20

Biff Rose / Dufus: Free Flow of Ideas

Greenwich Village - Folk and Anti-Folk

Dufus | (c) Amy Barwell

Dufus | (c) Amy Barwell

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.

Though David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen have sung his songs, Biff Rose could not build a career on this. Neither his records nor his live performances fit into any music industry scheme. He usually combines his classical songs with comedy breaks, grotesque mental leaps and short piano etudes in a unique and self-willed flow.

Dufus, no less headstrong, are a variously composed band constantly on the verge of spinning out of control. Contradiction is Dufus' element. Their music is at once aggressive and comforting, chaotic and structured, experimental and melodic, apolitical and revolutionary. Their chief instigator is Seth Quankmeyer Faergolzia – a multifaceted artist who has exhibited with Jean-Michel Basquiat and written an experimental rock opera titled "Fun Wearing Underwear".

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.