The 19th Annual International Folk Alliance Conference will present US Congressman-elect John Hall and songwriter Buffy Saint-Marie as keynote speakers. With more than 2,000 attendees, the conference offers a complete view of the world of traditional and contemporary folk music and dance through showcases, films, workshops, and a networking-rich tradeshow. The conference will be held at the Memphis Convention Center and Memphis Marriott Downtown February 21 - 25, 2007.
Singer and guitarist John Hall, leader of the band Orleans was studying physics at Notre Dame University before he quit to pursue music full- time. Already having songwriting credits for Janis Joplin and session experience with Seals & Croft, Bonnie Raitt, and Little Feat, he formed Orleans in 1972 in Woodstock, New York. The rock group scored Top Ten singles with "Dance With Me" and "Still the One". A musician and small business owner John has worked tirelessly as a political and environmental activist. He became active in the anti-nuclear movement and cofounder Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE). John Hall's platform favors swift and orderly withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, universal healthcare, intensive alternative energy initiatives, and more complete funding of No Child Left Behind. His Folk Alliance address will come less than a month after he is sworn in as one of the newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Buffy Sainte-Marie has enjoyed a long career in music and activism. Her songs address the plight of the Native American, with "Now That the Buffalo's Gone" and "My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying." She has skillfully addressed broader themes of war and justice with her song "Universal Soldier," which was one of Donovan's early hits and romance with "Until It's Time for You to Go". Sainte-Marie has been one of folk's most prominent stars since the '60s and was the only widely- heard performer articulating Native American viewpoints. Her song "Until It's Time for You to Go" became a big British hit for Elvis Presley in the early '70s. "Cod'ine," a '60s anthem addressing the dangers of drugs, was covered by Quicksilver Messenger Service. She has stayed active with a long running stint on Sesame Street; organized and performed benefits on behalf of Native Americans; and composed for movies, winning an Oscar for the theme to An Officer and a Gentleman, co-written with her husband-producer Jack Nitzsche. In addition to her keynote address, the Folk Alliance will screen her documentary film Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life. The documentary chronicles the achievements of Sainte- Marie and her personal journey as a singer, songwriter, artist, teacher and activist. It features interviews with Joni Mitchell, Randy Bachman, Stepppenwolf's John Kay, Robbie Robertson, Bill Cosby and folk legend Eric Anderson. Sainte-Marie has remained one of the most influential artists in any genre through the past five decades.