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Welcome to the web home of the Atlanta Area Friends of Folk Music!

This site lists information about folk music and related activities in the greater Atlanta area and the Southeastern U.S. It contains:

  • General and recurring information in an expanded directory format
  • Links to other folk resources

See the EVENTS Tab for Fiddler's Green and other AAFFM- sponsored concerts, workshops, and pickin' parties, as well as other events of interest in and around Atlanta.

In email blasts, you'll find details about current events and information on member-only activities like our famous "get-togethers".   If you'd like to host a pick-'n-grin, let us know!   See the EVENTS tab for upcoming concerts and pickin' parties.

Contact us at membership@aaffm.org  to host a pickin' party, join our organization, find out about an upcoming concert, party or workshop, or to submit listings to the website.

See the 'History' tab for the history of the organization.

AAFFM sponsors a local monthly coffeehouse, Fiddler's Green, that features concerts that included traditional music, singer-songwriters, poetry and storytelling.  It is located at Steve's Live Music in Sandy Springs, GA.  AAFFM Membership benefits include the email blasts (our mailing list will always remain private) and discounts on AAFFM sponsored concerts.  Annual membership dues are $15 for individuals and $20 for families, $35 sustaining members.  E-mail membership@aaffm.org for membership information.

FIDDLER'S GREEN HAS MOVED TO STEVE'S LIVE MUSIC!

As announced earlier, AAFFM has relocated its Fiddler's Green coffeehouse concert series to Steve's Live Music in Sandy Springs. Since opening in June 2012, Steve's Live Music has generated plenty of positive buzz among local folk music fans. The cozy club/restaurant features international and American grassroots music including blues, bluegrass, Celtic, jazz, singer-songwriters and folk of all sorts. The rustically alluring 120-seat venue offers an intimate setting with seats and tables up near the stage, a state-of-the-art sound system, professional lighting, a full bar and eclectic menu, plentiful and convenient parking, and other folk and acoustic music throughout the week. Owner Steve Grossman, a long-time fan of AAFFM and its mission, is generously giving us the coveted 7-9 PM slot each third Saturday of the month at no charge other than a nominal fee for the sound tech.

We bid a fond farewell to Anthony's Pizza and Pasta, Fiddler's Green's home since we restarted the series in March of last 2012. The management has been very kind to us, and we urge you to continue giving that fine Italian restaurant your patronage and enjoying its diverse, high-quality live music presentations. But now it's on to an exciting new era as AAFFM and Steve's begin a partnership that was meant to be. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

CURRENT NEWS

We are very sad to announce the passing of Mary Strawn-Hamilton (obituary included below). We offer her husband, Frank, our deepest condolences.

Obituary of Mrs. Mary Strawn-Hamilton

Fare thee well, O green-eyed beauty, who graced our lives with what now seems like such a short while. We'll sing songs 'til we follow, hoping to see you again on the other side.

How can a life lived so vibrantly be summed up and who knows the entire scope of her influence? As the effervescence of the life of Mary Susan Doyle Smith Strawn-Hamilton bursts in the hearts of those who love her, the testimonies of those who have been inspired by her continue to be heard from around the world. The walls rang with many voices singing in remembrance from the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago a week after her passing. A simple email arrived from India expressing not only shock and sorrow but also enduring appreciation for the Giraffe song. A Facebook prayer from Taiwan offered, "May there be solace in these days of grief. May there be strength and peace." Her husband Frank said of her, "She was the most wonderful person I ever had the fortune to know, giving, caring, compassionate, strong, optimistic, a terrific sense of humor and the light of my life."

Stories of her empathy and wisdom, enthusiasm and wit are continuing to be told. Tears of loss are still being shed. Songs about her are being composed. The breadth and depth of the impact of the life of this woman are still unfolding.

As a lifelong music, art, cuisine and animal lover, Mary, with her husband Frank, committed many hours to community activism, sharing songs & raw food recipes, and healthy habits as a way of life. Whether performing music for large or small audiences, hosting musical jams with colorful and tasty raw food platters or singing songs at peace and social justice protests, Frank and Mary created lively celebrations.

Her children remember her as a vivacious, witty and multi-talented mother who shared her passion for new experiences, art, music, food, and fun at every turn. Singing folk songs and Christmas carols in the car. Childhood days at Old Garden Beach. The Newport Folk Festival in the early 1960s. Jokes, puns and laughter at the dinner table.

Many years ago in Marblehead, MA, she named her sail boat, "Egret." Since its seaworthiness was questionable, she said she could always add an "R" and call it the "Regret" if it sank. It didn't. And neither did she. Through any challenge or difficulty, she proved unsinkable; a women with deep reserves of strength, determination and humor.

Descended from Edmund Greenleaf who settled in Newbury, MA in 1634, Mary doggedly pursued genealogy for both Frank and herself over many years, visiting the genealogical archives in Salt Lake City and tracking down records and relatives in the US, Canada and Ireland. Her grandmother, Jessamine McEachern Greenleaf taught her piano as a child and fostered a lifelong pursuit of music. Her great-grandfather, William Henry Greenleaf, Sr., captained his first Gloucester Schooner ship at a young age and had an eventful career out of Gloucester, MA. Mary's mother, "Peg" Greenleaf Doyle Boone, described his language as colorful but not irreverent. She said "He could cuss a person up one side and down the other and never use a swear word." She also told of how Mary as a baby would sit on her grandfather's lap and listen to him talk and talk, watching him intently with those big eyes. He exclaimed, "She understands everything I say to her!"

As the daughter of a physician and nurse, part of her DNA was in valuing and sharing healing. There are many stories of her understanding and intelligent care of others. Her stepson, Evan, credits her with saving his life by nurturing him after a near-fatal accident and teaching him how to take better care of himself by choosing healthy foods. Her most recent favorite song is "The Music of Healing" written by Tommy Sands, a songwriter and activist from County Down, Northern Ireland.

Mary and Frank invested in their community in many ways including heading up the neighborhood watch program. Neighbor Cindy Cross wrote, "We all have a story of 'first meeting Mary' that is 'ours' - unique and personal; yet we all share a common thread and that is Mary's warmth and welcoming spirit at that first meeting." Many have spoken and written of her spiritual light and warmth that will be sorely missed.

As adventurous travelers, Frank and Mary frequently visited Chicago, California, New England and Florida and their world travels included China, Ireland, Germany, and Prince Edward Island. Mary retired from the Delta Airlines Reservation office in Atlanta but began her career with the yellowbird, Northeast Airlines, in the Boston office in 1968 before they merged with Delta.

In addition to being a valued employee and supervisor with multiple years of perfect attendance, Mary also pursued many artistic expressions throughout life. Besides singing, she loved to sketch, paint, knit and sew. Her inventive raw food creations in the kitchen were amazing and delightful. She played and taught the guitar. She played many instruments including banjo, ukulele, autoharp and began learning the electric bass guitar six months ago.

On the evening of December 15th, 2014, Frank was at the piano and Mary on her bass guitar and they were practicing the song, "Plaisir d'amore." She suddenly came over to tell him she was experiencing pain in her neck, chest and back. They called 911 and she opened the front door for them but collapsed in her husband's arms and could not be revived. What a tragic and sudden loss for all those who love her.

Survived by her husband, soul mate and musical partner, Frank Strawn-Hamilton as well as her children Melissa Smith Abbott (Charles), Shelley Smith Laine (Mark), Susan Smith Dzuro (John), Robert M.C. Smith, Jr., stepson Evan Hamilton (Teresa); grandchildren Benton Smith, Avery Lucas Woodard (Todd), Elizabeth Dzuro, Katherine Dzuro, Victoria Laine, Michael Dzuro; sister-in-law Margaret Doyle; nieces Dr. Rebecca Doyle, Renata Doyle Greene, Johannah Doyle Curtis (Ernie), Sonja Doyle Doucette (Scott); great nephews Lynds Jones, Rich and Tyler Curtis; great nieces Talia and Hali Doucette; cousins Pat Sarrau Charleton (Dan) and David Greenleaf Moore; and many, many beloved friends.

Born in Gloucester, Massachusetts to Dr. George Melvin Doyle & Margaret Greenleaf Doyle, RN, she was predeceased by her parents, stepfather Howard Boone, stepmother Rita Doyle and brother Peter Austin Doyle (aka Tapio Talvitie). She attended St. Ann School and Gloucester High School. She lived in Gloucester, Rockport, Magnolia, Georgetown, Marblehead and Swampscott, Massachusetts before transferring with Delta Airlines to Georgia in 1985.

After major surgery in 2013, Frank Hamilton wrote this song and sang it to his beloved wife nearly every day:

"Mary in the Morning"

Mary in the morning
with the sunlight dancing in your eyes.
Mary in the evening
with your warm smile lighting up the skies.
There'll never be another one like you
So passionate and so true.
I'm the luckiest man to find such a woman
To make my life complete.
Mary you're my darlin' and I'll hold you always in my heart.
Mary, you're my darlin' and we'll never, ever be apart.
You're the one I've waited for
So tender and so strong
You're the inspiration and the reason for this song.

Here's Frank Hamilton singing at the Open House the week of her passing:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4Z_d3aw2vc

 

Musical memorials are being planned in her honor. A Memorial Concert in Georgia this Spring and a Memorial in Massachusetts this Summer. Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Honor-of-Mary-Hamilton/795532800525368?ref=br_tf

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

January 15, 2014 - Yes, dear members, you're again receiving something much less than the complete monthly AAFFM newsletter. The fact is that we've once again lost our editor, and this time we have no prospects for a replacement. So we're turning adversity into an opportunity to bring our communications into the 21st century.

After some three decades we're discontinuing the newsletter. It's the end of an era -- but the beginning of another. We'll instead focus on three electronic vehicles to fulfill the information-sharing part of our mission.

First, you'll continue to receive a monthly email blast about Fiddler's Green and other activities in which AAFFM is directly involved. You'll find January's information below this message. If you're one of the few members who have still been receiving the print version of the newsletter by mail, and you simply don't have access to email, we'll print out the monthly notice and mail it to you. Please contact us at  membership@aaffm.org .

Secondly, we'll continue to carry much of the erstwhile newsletter material on our website, aaffm.org. Much content has been duplicated for some time anyway. And when you think about it, we're fulfilling our mission better when we share news of folk-music-related activities with the world -- not just with our members.

Thirdly, thanks to the tireless efforts of our invaluable webmaster Teresa Powell, we have an additional way to raise visibility for AAFFM, compensate for the lack of a newsletter, and to make it easier to share information and attract new listeners/members. We've upgraded our Facebook page. It's important that you visit the page at https://www.facebook.com/AtlantaAreaFriendsofFolkMusic and "like" it, as well as adding it to your interests list and select notifications. This will make it much easier to keep folks up to date with the Fiddler's Green Concert Series, and acoustic music venues including coffeehouses and house concert series are invited and urged to post their shows on the page. From now on this will be the mechanism for you to update your talent listings and other information that changes month to month. Be sure to also invite your music-loving friends to join the page as well!

Being a traditionalist (hey, I'm a folkie, after all), I'll miss the newsletter. Perhaps you will as well, and if you don't feel you're still getting your money's worth for your membership, we'll refund your dues. But we hope you'll agree with your AAFFM Board that members are richly benefited by the discounted admission at Fiddler's Green, the monthly email notice, and the satisfaction of knowing they're helping promote and educate about folk music and related activities in our region. We appreciate your support as we adapt to and try to take full advantage of the Digital Age.

P.S. Thanks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, writer Helen Cauley, and photographer Hyosub Shin for the wonderful January 10 article on Fiddler's Green and its move to Steve's Live Music. We've had a splendid response to it!

Chris Moser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Atlanta Area Friends of Folk Music, Inc., is an all-volunteer IRS designated 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional folk music and arts in the greater Atlanta and Southeast regional areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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