Kansas City’s place in the wide world of music is undeniable. We honor our long and important association with jazz and blues. We’ve built a palatial home for classical music, opera and ballet. We’re a honky-tonk town with a thing for slingers of doleful and danceable country songs. Our city spawns top-notch vocalists, hip-hop stars and phenomenally talented guitarists.
And this week we again become the center of a mostly acoustic music universe, when the Folk Alliance International gathers for its annual conference and new Music Fair. The events span five days in the two Crown Center hotels, draw nearly 3,000 musicians from at least three continents and showcase many local musicians among scores of concert spots in the evening schedules.
This is the Folk Alliance’s second turn here since its leaders moved the organization’s home base from Memphis. The conference won raves from local musicians last year, and the alliance has done a great job reaching out to Kansas City music institutions and inviting collaborations and sponsorships for various projects. One of those is a Kansas City music directory, just published, which lists musicians, recording studios, agents, organizations, instrument makers and other segments of the local industry. Although far from complete, it’s the start of an important process to help measure the music industry’s economic impact on the metro area.
With its classes and workshops for young and old and the energy of performances throughout its event, the Folk Alliance adheres to the noble mission of ensuring that the music under its wings passes on to future generations.
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Music is a life force. It seems inconceivable that one could live without the rhythms, beats and melodies that help shape the human experience. When Kansas Citians tote up the pieces that define our cultural landscape, it’s gratifying to include the Folk Alliance among the important assets.