On the Road with Izzy Young - the Folklorist
Israel G Young (Izzy Young), born 1928, is a noted figure in the world of folk music and was the subject of a recent documentary about his life which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 entitled ‘The Folklorist’. He is the former owner of the Folklore Center in Greenwich Village, New York, and since 1973, he has owned and operated the Folkcentrum music store and performance venue in Stockholm, Sweden.
In 1957, on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, New York City Izzy opened the Folklore Center, a store for books and records and everything related to folk music. It became a focal point for the American folk music scene of the time. From 1959 to 1969, Izzy wrote a column entitled "Fret and Frails" for the folk music journal ‘Sing Out’.
Izzy arranged concerts with folk musicians and songwriters, who often made contacts with other musicians at the Folklore Center. Bob Dylan relates in his memoirs, Chronicles, how he spent time at the Center, where Izzy allowed him to sit in the backroom of the store, listening to folk music records and reading books. Dylan met Dave Van Ronk in the store, and Izzy produced Dylan's first concert at Carnegie Chapter Hall in 1961. Dylan wrote a song about the store and Izzy Young, "Talking Folklore Center".
After developing an interest in Swedish folk music at a festival, Izzy moved to Stockholm where he opened the Folklore Centrum. In Stockholm Izzy still arranges concerts in the same intimate format with local musicians both established and upcoming whose style he likes. A recent acquaintance and local live performance favourite of Izzy’s is Maria Lindström.
Maria made her debut as a solo artist in 1983 and has released several CDs with her original songs and their musical accompaniment. She has also released CDs to interpret works by Birger Sjöberg and by August Strindberg. Maria has published a poetry collection in Swedish and has translated some of these poems into English.
In 2010, Maria was a poet in residence at No5 Cwmdonkin Drive, birthplace of Dylan Thomas and performed her poetry and music at a number of venues in South Wales.
In 2014, Maria continues her work as a poet and continues to perform music as a solo artist and in the band Brittakåren with fellow Stockholm singer songwriters Anna Eriksson and Lolita Ray. In September 2014, Maria will be the musical sidekick in ‘On the Road with Izzy Young’ as he reminisces about his life in New York City, which includes the time that Dylan Thomas made his poetry tours.
Izzy and Maria will remind us of poems, songs and artists that will take us back to the 1960s : Izzy’s old friends Pete Seeger, Malvina Reynolds, Allen Ginsberg, and some of the young artists that he promoted before they became the household names they are today : Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan to name but a few.