Calvin Arsenia / Photo by Fally Afani

This week folk musicians from across the globe flew into Kansas City to share their musical talents on the unlikeliest of stages. Folk Alliance International kicked off at the Westin, showcasing musicians on large stages and inside small hotel rooms. While it’s a treat to see what the world has to offer in this genre, it’s always the locals that catch our eye. Highlights from Thursday’s performances include:

  • Watching Making Movies steal the show from John Oates. When a small performance room limited who had access to the longtime (and well-known) musician, festival-goers wandered into the hallway and were immediately lured by the sounds Making Movies’ wild live show.
  • Victor and Penny knocking it out of the park for the hotel room showcases with old-timey vaudevillesque jazz. Their newer songs are so much fun, you’ve got to be fairly soulless to not bounce along.
  • The Lost Cowgirl Records label putting female-fronted acts in the spotlight not just at Folk Alliance, but year-round in this region.
  • Calvin Arsenia going full Calvin Arsenia at Folk Alliance. Watching the statuesque angel float down the hallway was akin to watching The Diva Plavalaguna in “The Fifth Element.” He shimmered, floated on air, and distributed flower petals across the hotel prior to his performance. Though it was only 20 minutes, it left everyone smitten as he plucked away at his harp, jewels and gold chains adorning his hair and cascading down his temple. And is that a lit incense stick protruding from his bun? What a time to be alive in the era of Calvin Arsenia. He is truly the crown jewel of Kansas City.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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