"We're gonna give you our heart, soul, body and anything we have have left," said John "Doodle" Thrower of Tallapoosa, Ga., last night as the 43rd Annual National Folk Festival continued at Wolf Trap.
Thrower wasn't just whistling Dixie. He and his southern string band, the Golden River Grass, delighted the small but receptive crowd with an infectious blend of old-time music. Each member of the five-piece band proved himself a talented instrumentalist, but it was Thrower's down-home humor as well as his exuberant vocals and harmonica playing that made their brief set so enjoyable.
A vivid example of the diversity of musicians appearing at this year's festival followed with an impressive performance by Kubata. Most of the members of this large dance and percussion ensemble were professional musicians in Cuba until recently. They performed traditional rumba dances and the music of certain Afro-Cuban religious sects with great color and authenticity.
Other highlights included a spirited hillbilly jam session led by mandolinist Red Rector and banjo player Don Stover; and a rare glimpse of norteno or Tex-Mex music by accordionist Santiago Jimenez. In addition, bluesmen Piano Red and J.C. Burris, who performed Thrusday at the Library of Congress, won the crowd over immediately with their considerable talent and charm. The festival runs through tommorrow afternoon with numerous daytime and evening performances scheduled.