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.
Eric Andersen's musical biography fills pages. He has released 21 albums to date, and his songs have been covered by such names as Johnny Cash, The Grateful Dead and Francoise Hardy. Singer-songwriter Andersen, influenced by such diverse luminaries as Elvis Presley, Miles Davis, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, arrived in Greenwich Village in the 1960s and quickly befriended the likes of Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan. He put out his first album, "Today Is The Highway", in 1965. In the 1970s he often toured in Europe and also travelled through Canada on the legendary "Festival Express" music train with Janis Joplin, The Band and The Grateful Dead. His most successful album, "Blue River", was released in 1972. He withdrew from the public scene for much of the 1980s. In 1989 he finally released the LP "Ghosts Upon the Road", picked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the decade's best records. "Blue Rain", his 2007 live album, shows Eric Andersen in true form as the master of the ballad, as Bob Dylan dubbed him in the 1960s.
Langhorne Slim is originally from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and today lives in Brooklyn. New York's pulse gave his originally purist music a new edge as his banjo and harmonica-driven bluegrass and folk took on the energy and bitter humour of punk rock. On the heels of his 2004 debut, "Electric Love Letter", and the ensuing "When The Sun’s Gone Down", Langhorne Slim released "Engine" in 2006, a headstrong and convincing mixture of country-, folk- and indie-rock.
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.