Bay Area Documentary Team Strikes a Chord with Folk Fans

Bay Area Documentary Team Strikes a Chord with Folk Fans

 

Tamsin Orion and Rebecca Seeman of Tamzina Films are the co-producers currently on the final stages of the documentary “Folklore Center Blues: The Life of Izzy Young”.  It so happens former Diablo Gazette’s graphics wizard, from Walnut Creek Shane Louis is part of the social media crew for the East Bay production company.

With most of the footage having been gathered, Tamzina Films launched an online crowdfunding campaign with Indiegogo early February to help finance the post-production phase including archival research, animation, editing, color-grading, and distribution of the film. They raised $15,485- short of their goal of around $40,000.

Tamsin Orion is founder and principal of Tamzina Films.  She holds an M.A. in Documentary Filmmaking from Stanford University.  Her films have won Telly, Cine Golden Eagle and NEMN awards and have been screened at film festivals worldwide.

 

Rebecca Seeman is a musician who grew up playing folk guitar.  She never lost her love of folk music and popular culture and is a good friend of Izzy Young.

Rebecca and Tamsin met at the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert. Tamsin was intrigued by Rebecca’s stories about her friend Izzy Young, who waxed profane about his experiences with the great figures of folk, old time music, blues, jazz, and other arts in New York. Their journey with Izzy begins at the Folklore Centrum in Stockholm, where he has lived since 1973.


The documentary film explores how Izzy Young, the son of Jewish Polish immigrants, opened the Folklore Center in Greenwich Village and became a central figure of the 1960s American folk music revival.

Young became the go-to man for musicians and songwriters starting careers in New York City during the 1960’s folk music revival. He produced the first New York concerts of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchel, Emmylou Harris, Tim Buckley, and many others.

Dylan wrote many of his early songs on Izzy’s typewriter in the back room of the Folklore Center and absorbed Young’s extensive library of books on folk music. He also gave Young one of the early interviews in which he spun tales of his fictional circus past. Young and the Folklore Center helped introduce urban youth to blues legends of the South, fueling the budding rock-n-roll scene.

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress recently purchased Young’s journals and notebooks that chronicle every detail of the folk music scene during this vital and turbulent time in American history. Folklore Center Blues features rare interviews and musical footage including one of Pete Seeger’s final interviews before he passed away in 2014. Tamzina Films also interviewed folk music icons like David Grisman, Steve Earle, and John Sebastian.

The crew uncovered Folklore Center concert recordings that have not been heard in 50 years, including Elizabeth Cotten singing her original song “Freight Train.”

Folk music is still relevant today, with Lady Gaga singing part of the folk protest song, “This Land is Your Land” during the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show. The song was originally written by Woody Guthrie and popularized by Pete Seeger who sang the entire song with Bruce Springsteen at President Obama’s second inauguration in 2014.

At almost 89-years-old, Young still produces concerts at the Folklore Centrum in Stockholm, Sweden, where he moved in 1973.

We look forward to seeing this film.