Once a year the Baltimore neighborhood adjacent to the old Patterson Theater comes alive with the sound of traditions. Maryland Traditions! It may be the clang of a blacksmith’s hammer upon his anvil, or the call of the Arraber as he displays his wares of fruits and vegetables from a horse drawn cart. It may be the high, lonesome sound of the bluegrass tenor, or the heart felt appeal to God from a gospel choir. Is that the sound of the Puerto Rican Cuatro? or perhaps just the laughter of a delighted child? All this and more was in splendid evidence on Saturday as the Folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council presented the 2nd annual Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival. This is not what one usually associates as “folk” music, but the living, breathing life force of a community’s identity, expressed in music, occupation, art and religion. These are traditions as old as the state itself, but traditions that are constantly growing, flowing and expanding, as fluid and diverse as the ever-changing area that we live in. So whether you love Doo-Wop harmonies, or Cambodian classical dance, the Irish flute or duck decoys, Baltimore painted window screens or Smith Island cakes, be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s Maryland Traditions Festival. There truly is something for everyone in Maryland!


All Images Copyright Michael G. Stewart for the Maryland State Arts Council


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