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Stacy Buchanan
Summer Arts Festival: Paying It Forward with Dan Zanes and Friends
By Stacy Buchanan

July 24, 2012

Dan Zanes and Friends (photo credit: Gala Narezo.)

If you’re my age (forever 29) you’ll remember Dan Zanes as the lead singer of the popular ‘80s band The Del Fuegos. And immediately upon hearing his name, nostalgia for one of the most influential musical periods of our time sets in.

But now us “forever 29ers” have become grown-ups, right? And we have kids of our own–kids who we hope will enjoy the great music we once did. Well, thanks to Dan Zanes and Friends, they can.

Zanes became a parent himself when his daughter Anna was born in 1994. As an exercise in setting a good example for her, he explored music for families and all ages with neighborhood fathers, and turned his hobby into an opportunity when he created his own independent record label, Festival Five Records.

He’s an advocate for creative collaboration, and through his life and work (and life’s work), he focuses on the good that happens when everybody is brought together to connect their pasts with their futures. Musically, he’s inspired by Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Aretha Franklin, all of whom have been influential to him since he began pursuing music as a child. This combination works well together, and over the span of eight albums (and counting) it has made Zanes a Grammy Award-winning childrens performance artist.

I myself have been a big fan since his Del Fuegos days, and am a product of the communal message from his music back then. And now I’m a parent, and wanting to relay the same message to my own son. And I love that I can do it the same way I learned (and from the same person no less), proving that music truly can bring people together and transcend all ages and times.

Dan Zanes and Friends will be performing with the South Sudanese group Dieer Dee Jieng and African Gospel Artists at the Boston Summer Arts Weekend at 1:00 pm on Saturday, July 28th.


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