Northwest Folklife

50 Years of Folklife

commemorative logo

In honor of our upcoming 50th anniversary, Northwest Folklife is excited to share our commemorative logo, inspired by the special moments and the communities that make up its programs.

This celebratory 50th logo was designed to feature the core of our organization and one that encompasses who we are—and that is YOU, our community. We’re excited to share that this special logo focuses on the people and the communities who make Northwest Folklife and all of our programs what it is today. Inspired by photographs taken at programs such as the Northwest Folklife Festival and Our Big Neighborhood events, this logo highlights the true root of Northwest Folklife, which is the community.

A Look Into The Logo Creation

In celebration of the 50th logo launch, we want to showcase the behind-the-scenes story of the photos and people that inspired this creation.

Maya Soleil & Soyaya

Maya Soleil is an electric Afro-World fusion ensemble consisting of world-class performing artists from Africa, Asia, Jamaica, and the US in a multi-cultural program featuring African costumed dancers and traditional music blended with contemporary sounds. Maya Soleil performs traditional acoustic folk, eclectic world-beat fusion, and African drumming workshops. Stylistic influences range from the Afro-beat of Nigeria to the Highlife music of Ghana to the Khalandula of Zimbabwe. 

Led by Mohammed Shaibu, Soyaya (translated to “affection” in Hausa) has played indigenous African rhythm and blues called Palmwine and Highlife for more than 30 years.

This photo features artist Moye Kashimbi, who performed at the 2014 Northwest Folklife Festival as a part of Maya Soleil and Soyaya.

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Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble

The Garfield Jazz Ensemble has won every major competition on the West Coast of the United States. In February 2017, it was named the “Outstanding Festival Band” at the prestigious Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival for an unprecedented eighth time. In 2011, it was named the ‘Outstanding Instrumental Ensemble’ at the Reno Jazz Festival for a record four times. It is also a ‘four-time’ winner of the Essentially Ellington National Jazz Band Competition & Festival, held in New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. It is the only jazz band in the nation to accomplish this feat.

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Grupo Cultural Oaxaqueño

Grupo Cultural Oaxaqueño is dedicated to sharing the traditions and culture of beautiful Oaxaca in Seattle and beyond. In Oaxacan tradition, dance and music have been a collective therapy for intense and essential moments in life. Through live performances, Grupo Cultural Oaxaqueño passes the music, dancing, culture, and values to the next generation of young people of Oaxacan descent.

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Warren's Roadhouse Contra Dancing

The Northwest Folklife Contra Dance Venue Warren's Roadhouse was named for longtime board member and friend Warren Argo, who was part of our community from our first festival in 1972 until he passed away in 2010. Contra Dances—a traditional American form of partner dance led by callers—are beloved for fostering a strong sense of community, and ours at Northwest Folklife is no exception. We couldn't think of a better way to honor the legacy of a man known as a magnificent dance caller and bear hugger who lit up every room.

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Vivian Williams

Vivian Williams has played the fiddle for 60 years and is well known for her depth of understanding of many styles of fiddle music. Not only is she a champion fiddler in many different contests in the US and Canada, but she is also a composer, publisher, editor, recording artist, workshop teacher, and folk music researcher, consultant, and historian. She is an accomplished bluegrass and old-time dance fiddler, playing regularly for contra dances in the Seattle area. She has a special love of the Pacific Northwest fiddling style and is passionate about keeping the art of fiddling alive and well.

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Mariachi Huenachi

Nationally recognized as being the fastest-growing mariachi music program outside of Mexico, Mariachi Huenachi is the Wenatchee High School advanced Mariachi class. Directed by Ramon Rivera, the group consists of over 300 students aged 9-18 and has been featured on FOX, ABC, Despierta America, and the CBS evening news. Thanks to its many local supporters, the program has been able to continually provide access to musical instruments free of cost to all its students who are in turn encouraged to pay it forward. This photo features Mariachi Quinto Sol, during their collaborative performance with Mariachi Huenachi. Click here to hear more about Mariachu Huenachi and Mariachi Quinto Sol.

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Elder Anna Haala

Tlingit tribal elder, Anna Haala, is an International Peace elder and Korean War veteran.

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Radost Folk Ensemble

Radost Folk Ensemble has been performing the dance and music folklore of the Balkans and Eastern Europe since 1976. Several members are second-generation Radost dancers who grew up in the "village" of the ensemble, embodying the idea of "legacy." A number of our members are immigrants from, or have heritage from Eastern Europe and carry the traditions of their ancestors forward to future generations. Radost performs at festivals and schools around the Northwest. Our youth group welcomes new members. Click here to hear more about the significance of this photo to Radost Folk Ensemble.

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Sunshine From Polynesia

For over 30 years Sunshine From Polynesia has devoted itself to the teaching, performance, and preservation of the truly unique and beautiful storytelling dance: the hula. The group was founded in 1978 as a performance company by Lita Hoke and her sister-in-law. Hoke began teaching her daughter the art of hula, and when neighborhood children also became interested in lessons, Sunshine for Polynesia evolved into a dance school for students of all generations across Seattle. Lita continues to teach dances that she was taught when she was a student and also creates original dances for students to perform at festivals, private events, and benefits. Click here to hear more about the significance of this photo to Sunshine From Polynesia.

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