For the past three months, the traditionally quiet streets of Takoma Park have come alive with the sound of traditional folk music on Thursday nights. That's when the House of Musical Traditions, recently expanding from its Berkley Springs, W. Va., base, returned to its town of origin. Like the fabled McCabe's in California, it brought home the idea of acoustic concerts in a store dedicated to varied folk traditions. Says store manager Terry Leonino, "There's a need for a place where musicians can get together as well as supplying a cultural center for all kinds of music." That means a fingerpicker is likely to play surrounded by tambouras, celtic harps, kalimbas, balaphons and tablas, as well as guitars, banjos and dulcimers. The store also stocks folk records, song and instruction books and a wide array of strings.
Leonino and partner Greg Artzner are well-known in Washington as Magpie, a fine folk and blues duo that has recorded an album for Folkways. They'll be performing on March 4. This week's concert features 1980 fingerpicking champion Rolly Brown. Coming up are the Shamrock Aces (March 11), the Critton Hollow String Band (March 18) and labor singer Joe Glazer (March 25); the concerts start at 8 p.m. A dulcimer workshop will be held on March 13 at 11 a.m. "Our series provides a focus for local musicians to show their abilities to their own community," says Leonino. She also admits that people stopping in during the day may be treated to an impromptu concert. "Greg and I do sit around and play--and practice--during the lull periods."