Another blog about singing outdoors.  How many of you have actually opened your door and belted out a song recently?  A good tune with lyrics like “Summertime and the livin’ is easy…” or even “If I were a rich man…” or “Dream a little dream for me…”

Show of hands?  Well, I haven’t sang outside all year.  Not a single song.  Maybe a hum or whistle on walks, but nothing which resembles a complete song.  Which is probably a good thing, unless I’m way back in the woods or swamp.  Because it’s always been a bit challenging to carry a tune.

Last night, however, music aficionados in Baraga County were able to listen to the White Water family stringband from Amasa, a town two hops and skip down the road near Crystal Falls.    Do listen to some of their clips especially some of their popular folk songs like The Log Driver’s Waltz and Windigo.  Unfortunately, you can only listen to really short clips of their songs. 

At least a hundred or two hundred folks gathered, mostly wrapped in blankets, as a cold fog moved in over the Keweenaw Bay.  It added a mystical edge to the songs.  The voices of Dean and Bette Premo, and their college-aged daughter Laurel weave together to create fabulous harmonies.  (Their son, Evan, another member of the band who plays the stand-up bass, and his new musically-talented wife Mary will join them next month for another concert down in Crystal Falls.)  They play all sorts of instruments such as the fiddle, the guitar, the hammered dulcimer, the mandolin and the banjo.

White Water sings outdoors at the L'Anse Waterfront

White Water sings outdoors at the L'Anse Waterfront

They sing tunes about people who lived and settled in the Great Lakes.  From the Native Americans to the loggers to the Finnish folk…their music tells stories of those who have known these trees, these winds, this Keweenaw Bay, this fog.

The audience knew all about the fog, so a song could have been written about our evening.

Dean did note, “I was thinking only in the U.P. could you have an audience in blankets and sweaters and kids swimming in the Keweenaw Bay!”  (I did not glimpse the swimmers, but have no doubt they existed.)

Here is what I saw:

Fog obscures the Keweenaw Bay, but doesn't keep the crowd home

Fog obscures the Keweenaw Bay, but doesn't keep the crowd home

Years ago, when our son Christopher and their son Evan were attending the University of Michigan, Bette called up looking for a ride for her son down to Ann Arbor.   It never worked out because Evan was transporting his upright bass which wouldn’t have even fit in Chris’ tiny car. 

They have been playing at the Aura Jamboree since the kids were small, and we’ve watched them grow up.  Every year they kept getting better and better!  I think they’re one of the treasures of the Upper Peninsula. 

The sun attempts to shine through the fog

The sun attempts to shine through the fog

P.S.  After writing this blog, I think it’s time to sing at least one song outside.  So that’s the assignment for this weekend.  Just have to decide what to sing…and where…

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