Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
We should be celebrating Caffe Lena every day, but, of course, we tend to take it for granted because it’s always there. OK, well not exactly “always” – but for 55 years. And for the past 20 of those years, it’s been the guiding hand of manager Sarah Craig that’s has been at the helm, steering the Caffe into the 21st century with a delicate balance of adventure and tradition.
So for “Raise the Rafters” – the dual anniversary concert celebration for Craig and the Caffe – Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs hosted a half-dozen Caffe favorites from the past two decades. There was the jugband vaudeville of the Wiyos, the father-and-son Beaucoup Blue duo, the wry bluegrass of Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys, the fab fiddling Sara Milonovich & Greg Anderson, rollicking one-man band the Suitcase Junket and the husband-and-wife team of Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion – each playing a short, 20-minute sampler set.
Yes, it was a delightful sonic smorgasbord that somehow stretched from blues to ballads, from a reggae-tinged polka to a Cajun two-step, and tunes plucked from the songbags of folks from Woody Guthrie to Led Zeppelin.