Harborlore Festival

Dance, Music, Storytelling

WHERE THE RIVER MEETS THE SEA IN BROOKLYN'S FOLK IMAGINATION

May 10 - June 15, 2013

Brooklyn Arts Council's Harborlore Festival was a series of 12 free dance, music and storytelling events throughout Brooklyn exploring the role of water in the artistic traditions of the borough’s diverse immigrant and diaspora communities in a post-Sandy world.

Harborlore Festival featured folk arts such as tashlich, a Rosh Hashanah (New Year) rite of renewal that in Brooklyn is performed at the East River (among other places) by observant Jews; the symbolic  boats paraded life-size at Scandinavian and Italian festivals in Bay Ridge and Williamsburg; the baptismal spirituals such as “Dip Them Leeward” sung in the African-Caribbean churches of East Flatbush; songs and chants sung in praise of water deities, such as the African-Brazilian mother of the ocean, Yemaja, a fishing feast dance called hukilau from Hawaii and more. 

It’s no secret that Brooklyn is surrounded by over 50 miles of water from Greenpoint to Canarsie, and is also home to thousands of immigrants hailing from coastal locales across the globe—Jamaica, Bangladesh, Italy, Guyana, Egypt—where water is omnipresent. These immigrants, especially the artists among them, have brought cultural traditions to Brooklyn that capture the beauty, meaning and vulnerability of living at water’s edge. In post-Sandy New York, Harborlore Festival signals the importance of learning new respect and reverence for the power of water. 

We are excited to work with an amazing array of folk artists and partner organizations for Harborlore Festival

HARBORLORE FESTIVAL SALUTES IRVING BURGIE

Harborlore kicks-off Caribbean Island-style with old time calypso and reggae. This jamming evening pays tribute to Irving Burgie, songwriter of the world famous “Day-O."

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SAILING THE SYMBOLIC SYMPOSIUM

Presentations and performances about the pervasiveness of water symbolism in the borough’s diverse communities, ending with audience Q&A.

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WATER IN BROOKLYN’S FOLK IMAGINATION

An afternoon of water-based folk songs, stories and dance performances from Jamaica, Bangladesh, Grenada and more.

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BAY RIDGE HARBOR TRADITIONS

Harborlore brings immigrant traditions of water—both new and old—to the annual Bay Ridge Viking Festival.

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FISH TALES

Harborlore brings lore of the fishing world to the annual Bay Fest, with Garifuna storyteller James Lovell from Belize and New York Harbor diver Lenny Speregen telling fish tales and more.

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HANDS ACROSS THE HARBOR

Hop on the ferry and meet us in Snug Harbor for performances and interactive learning with artists from Brooklyn and Staten Island at the Noble Maritime Collection at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. 

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SONGS OF THE SEA

A musical conversation between diverse singers performing traditional maritime songs including English sea shanties, spiritual Baptist hymns, Jamaican banana boat folksongs and more.

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DANCED INVOCATIONS FOR RED HOOK RECOVERY

A musical conversation between diverse singers performing traditional maritime songs including English sea shanties, spiritual Baptist hymns, Jamaican banana boat folksongs and more.

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DANCING THE WATERS

A musical conversation between diverse singers performing traditional maritime songs including English sea shanties, spiritual Baptist hymns, Jamaican banana boat folksongs and more.

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TRIBUTE TO OUR ANCESTORS OF THE MIDDLE PASSAGE

Join hundreds of New Yorkers who attend Tribute annually to drum, pray, remember, wade in the water and leave flowers at the shoreline.

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SANDYLORE SYMPOSIUM

Here's what you need in your "go-bag" to prepare for the next natural disaster: cultural knowledge. Symposium about traditional ideas, practices and arts approaches to managing the trauma of natural disasters. 

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WATERLORE AT THE WATER’S EDGE

Harborlore comes to a close with performances and workshops for all ages on water lore found in stories, dance, drumming and ritual.

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Schedule of Events

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SPONSORS

Harborlore is sponsored by TD Bank.

BAC Folk Arts is sponsored by Con Edison.

Major support for Harborlore is provided by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. Additional support is provided by New York Council for the Humanities. 

Promotional Partner: Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. Media partner: WNYC Radio.