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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Mackayle Weedon
Mackayle Weedon
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My name is Makaylee! I am going to be a senior majoring in Social Media Design Management. I am apart of the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority chapter on campus! I love thrifting, photography, skiing and going...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Funky Dance kicks of annual U.P. Folklife Festival

The sounds of the Mississippi Delta will be heard in Marquette on Friday, Sept. 21, as the U.P. Folklife Festival kicks off its fifth year with a Funky Folk Dance at the Ore Dock Brewing Company.

The U.P. Folklife Festival is an annual event that celebrates the variety of cultural groups in the Upper Peninsula, said director of the Beaumier Heritage Center Dan Truckey.

“The Folklife Festival began in 2008 when we were thinking of programs we could do that encompassed all of the cultures in the U.P.,” Truckey said. “We thought it would be great to have a festival that focused on all the different aspects of these cultural groups, including music, dance, art and food.”

The festival originally began as a single-day or weekend event, and remained that way for the first three years, until a decision was made to spread it out over the school year.

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“Every weekend has something going on in Marquette, so it’s often hard to try and fit everything into a few days,” Truckey said. “We noticed that it worked better and turnout was better if we spread things out over a larger, eight-month period.”

This year, the Folklife Festival will hold three or four events each month that relates to folk culture in the U.P. In the past, events have included contra and Finnish folk dance lessons, a variety of musical performances, and a number of different craft workshops.

The first event will feature a performance by the local folk band U.P. Gumbo, a Marquette-based band stylistically rooted in New Orleans-style blues, Zydeco and jazz.

U.P. Gumbo consists of Bill Hart on resophonic guitar, Dan Flesher on upright bass, Randy Seppala on percussion and Warren Hants on the keyboard and banjo.

While the overall sound and style of the band isn’t native to the Michigan, the group is composed of Marquette musicians who mix U.P. culture with other cultural styles.

“We hold the Funky Folk Dance every year, and we like to have a group that mixes folk styles with more contemporary genres,” Truckey said. “It’s really fun music to dance to.”

For some students at NMU, folk music is a reflection of the culture that attracted them to the U.P.

“We live in such an outdoorsy community that folk music from around here seems to have a big draw, and it feels pretty native to our environment,” said senior environmental studies and sustainability major Anne Noble. “Apart from that, folk shows have such a great energy that you can’t help but dance.”

The Funky Folk Dance is sponsored by the NMU Alumni Association and the Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center.

Festival events are funded through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs. The event begins at 8:30 p.m., is limited to those 21 and up and admission is free.

For more information on the U.P. Folklife Festival, call the Beaumier Heritage Center at (906) 227-3212.

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