Week in Eek
Says Tom Druckenmiller in Sing Out! (spring 2001): 'Ken Waldman is a fiddler and a poet living in Anchorage Alaska and A Week in Eek is a wonderful fusion of music and verse. . . . I think Ken has hit on something here and it's success is due to the quality of the writing and the sincerity of the playing.' Says Jeanie Murphy in Victory Music Review (July 2000): 'If you enjoy Alaska, old-time fiddle, or poetry, or even (as in my case) all three, you gotta have it!' Says Bob MacKenzie in Sound Bytes (January 2001): 'A Week in Eek has a certain rustic charm, a sometimes complementary and sometimes conflicting mix of literacy and homeliness, a quirkiness some will love and some will hate. I must confess that I enjoy old-time fiddle music, spoken word performed in interesting ways, and quirkiness for it's own sake. Ken Waldman, 'Alaska's Fiddling Poet' as he calls himself, fills the bill in all respects. . . . A Week in Eek is different. It's interesting and it's fun. I believe it may also turn out to be an important cultural artifact, at least in the Alaskan places (including the small village of Eek) that it makes reference.' Says Lyle Lofgren in The Old-Time Herald (Spring 2001): 'This is not your usual folk poetry. What we have is a subtle, accomplished poet who likes to play traditional fiddle tunes and wants to seduce us into listening to his poetry by playing the fiddle for us. His fiddling has a raw sound that feels to me like it belongs in Alaska, or maybe in Kentucky in the company of some high-octane corn squeezin's. This is not a fault: I would rather listen to one Gid Tanner than five Clayton McMichens. . . . Andrea Cooper plays on almost every tune, and I think she deserves equal billing on the CD. Her clawhammer banjo playing is tastefully traditional. On some of the pieces she plays flute, but it sounds compatible with the old-time fiddling. That's quite an achievement.' Says Pat Walke of KROS AM-1340, Clinton, Iowa (August 2000): 'This is a great, delightful CD!' Ken Waldman is a fifteen-year Alaska resident who has lived in Fairbanks, Juneau, Sitka, Nome, and now Anchorage. A former college professor, he has traveled widely through the state, and currently teaches and performs throughout North America, working regularly at schools, theaters, festivals, universities, and coffeehouses. A grant-winning, much-published writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Fairbanks--and a recent full-length poetry collection out, Nome Poems, which is distributed by University of New Mexico Press--he is also an accomplished old-time fiddler, who plays both archaic Appalachian tunes, and also original music he has composed in that style. His first CD, A Week in Eek, a collaboration with Andrea Cooper, a clawhammer banjoist and flute player from Vancouver B.C., has been well-received. In August, the CD was ranked 22nd on the folk DJ list-serve that rates folk and bluegrass CDs internationally, based on radio airplay. In September, the CD again cracked the top 60. Ken Waldman does not have a web page, but entering his name in a search engine will yield various articles about him. If you want to contact him personally, write him at Ken Waldman/3705 Arctic #1551/Anchorage AK 99503. His next CD, another collaboration with Andrea Cooper (plus they're joined by a number of ace Fairbanks musicians), was recorded in December 2000. Titled Burnt Down House, it's due out May 2001.