Oly Old Time Festival: Evie Ladin and Keith Terry

By Molly Walsh

Crossing old-time folk with percussive dance, Oakland, California-based duo Evie Ladin and Keith Terry bring a fresh take to the longstanding old-time-music tradition. Echoing the rich sounds of Appalachia, Ladin and Terry marry notes from a clawhammer banjo, bass and guitar with dance and storytelling.

A daughter of a folk-dance teacher, Ladin grew up on the East Coast, immersed in old-time culture as she learned banjo, clogging and square dancing. Traditional Appalachian musicians were regular guests at Ladin’s home, with impromptu sets performed regularly in her living room. Ladin went on to study African roots in Appalachian music, earning a degree in African studies in dance at Brown University, followed by a study of eastern Nigerian dance through a Fulbright fellowship.

Terry is a percussionist and rhythm dancer. In addition to his work with Ladin, he’s a figure in the contemporary Body Music scene and the founder of the International Body Music Festival. As a pioneer in the Body Music genre, he’s forged connections to create international dance and musical collaborations in addition to his work with educational outreach. On stage, Terry’s musicianship is multifaceted, using the bass as tonal percussion along with bells and other instruments.

As a touring duo, Ladin and Terry will both perform and host workshops at Oly Old Time Festival. They initially became familiar with the festival through connections with the old-time community. “Old-time music is far and wide,” said Ladin. “It’s a very strong subculture in this country, and the people who are interested in this music and dance tend to find each other.”

Ladin and Terry bring a set full of string instrumentals, jam sessions and dance elements true to the impassioned folk songs at the heart of old-time music. During their festival set, Ladin will also call a square dance for the audience. Her workshop series includes instruction on partner dancing, square dancing and old-time harmony singing.

Ladin said she is excited to both perform and teach at the festival, because of old-time music’s participatory nature. Old-time culture isn’t based solely on listening to the music, but on learning new skills, interacting with fellow listeners and engaging in traditional dances. “The music is very rich and interesting, and there is a lot of participation,” said Ladin. “It’s not just about consuming. We experience it by jumping up and down, dancing or taking music or singing workshops, and it’s definitely very inclusive — really open to all kinds of people and it’s really about the music and dance.”


Eve Ladin and Keith Terry


7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14


South Bay Grange, 3918 Sleater Kinney Rd NE, Olympia


$5 – $20



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