The Richmond Folk Festival is one of the most anticipated music events of the year, visited by thousands of folk music fans. The major goal the organizers of the festival pursue is to present the best traditional musicians found all across the country and to let the audience enjoy their unique talents. There is a local Programming Committee that is tasked to make a thorough selection of the participants. This meticulous preparation makes the festival a truly impressive event to attend.
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While visiting Richmond Folk Festival, I shot videos of three bands: Innov Gnawa, Hot Club of Cowtown, and Corazón de Granada: Flamenco Joven y Jondo. The reason for the choice is that all the three bands represent different cultures. Therefore, their performances were totally different, which allowed me to demonstrate the diversity of the festival.
Innov Gnawa is a young band that explores and promotes the gnawa music tradition (originated in Marocco). The group was formed in 2014 and included Moroccan expats, gnawa musicians. All the members are deeply interested in the roots of their culture, which attracts a lot of public interest. The band mostly plays in New York. I recorded them as their performance resembled a ritual and was compelling indeed.
The Hot Club of Cowtown is a different story. This trio (violin, guitar, and double bass), singing in three-part harmony, attracted my attention because their songs united western swing and hot jazz. Besides, the voice of the vocalist seemed charming to me.
Finally, Corazón de Granada: Flamenco Joven y Jondo is a flamenco group from Spain. The reason for recording them was that flamenco interests me as a performing art because it unites elements from different cultures. This intricate blend of Spanish, gypsy, Jewish, and Islamic influences creates really unique compositions.
The process of recording was challenging indeed. The crowd was large and it was not easy to get close to the stage to make the musicians’ emotions visible. Besides, I managed to record the beginning of the festival, its decorations, food offered to its guests, and other aspects not related to music. However, when I was editing the video, I was given a useful tip to speed up these episodes since the viewer is more likely to be interested in music. I believe that it was a good idea to insert them in-between the performances to give viewers time to think about what they have just seen.
Uploading the video was not a difficult task. YouTube instructions are rather simple and comprehensible. However, it is hard indeed to attract attention to the video when it is not professional. I think that artists who do not have big record contracts can benefit a lot from YouTube, which is a perfect channel to promote their music. Yet, they must bear in mind that this will hardly be enough: additional advertizing is required to appeal to a wider audience and get them interested in certain clips or channels. This could be done via social networks.
Non-professional videos have both their pros and cons. On one hand, the quality of sound and video leaves much to be desired. It is difficult to estimate a performance accompanied by shouting, whistling, and other sounds coming from the crowd. Yet, on the other hand, artists who are recorded not in the studio are more relaxed and behave more naturally. This makes them attractive as performers because the viewer feels familiar with them.