Wales Comes to Washington

Washington Travel Blog

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Welcome to Wales!
I took some time today to visit the 43rd annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. The featured country this year was Wales.

I wanted first to see the Wales ironworking exhibit. (Among my ancstestors is a great-great-grandfather who worked in the Welsh iron industry.) When I arrived I found that an American blacksmith from Santa Fe was conducting the demonstration. Appearently, he was a visitor who had just happened upon the scene and jumped right into the action! He forged an iron flower and then the Welsh blacksmith took over the demo. Soon he and she were trading blacksmithing tips. Also in the tent was a display of molded ironware from Wales.

The representative Welsh structure built on the Mall was a small demonstration house built by Tŷ-Mawr Lime.
Information about Wales
The company uses traditional bulding materials in contemporary construction. The house featured peg construction (rather than nails or screws), plaster and mortar made from recycled glass, a slate roof, and sheep's wool insulation. I stopped next at the cooking exhibit where Pasites were being made. (Pasties are a type of small meat pie made of beef or lamb with vegetables baked in a pastry roll.) They are a Welsh tradition we learned. Miners would take several into the coal mines as a meal or snack.

Next to the Wales area were the Las Americas: Un Mundo Musical activities. This part of the Folklife Festial featured the diverse music of Central and South America. A lot was going on here, with two performance stages and appearances by multiple groups! In fact, the Latin American music really upstaged Wales! A single singer/songwriter was perfoming (in Welsh) over in the Wales area, but here in Latin America there were multiple bands playing with an energetic rhythm.
The classic town name
(There were to be appearances during the festival by the men's choirs Wales is known for, but unfortunately not while I was there.) So, I went over to check out the Latin sounds of several groups. I really liked Mariachi Chula Vista, a high school Mariachi band from California. They were very good and looked sharp in their charro concert attire. (I'm always glad to see kids involved in perfoming arts.  As a veteran of high school Orchestra Booster and Theatre Booster groups, I wondered if there is a parent's Mariachi Boosters back in Chula Vista.)

Accompanying Las Americas and its musica latina were Central Amercian and South American  food concessions. Time for lunch, so I had Pollo a la Braza and an Inca Kola, all typical of Peru. They fit in nicely with the music surroundings. (In truth, Pollo a la Braza and and Inca Kola are not unknown in the Washington region. Central and South American restaurants serve the chicken dish and many supermarkets sell Inca Kola.)

This year's Folklife Festival also featured Giving Voice, an exploraton of African-American oral traditions in storytelling, drama, poetry and radio broadcasting.
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Welcome to Wales!
Welcome to Wales!
Information about Wales
Information about Wales
The classic town name
The classic town name
Welsh enegry innovation
Welsh enegry innovation
Ty-Mawr house showing contemporary…
Ty-Mawr house showing contemporar…
Peg Construction
Peg Construction
Welsh iron and slate craft
Welsh iron and slate craft
Blacksmith
Blacksmith
Blacksmiths hearth
Blacksmith's hearth
Blacksmith at work
Blacksmith at work
Welsh blacksmith at work
Welsh blacksmith at work
American blacksmith and Welsh blac…
American blacksmith and Welsh bla…
Ironware Discussion
Ironware Discussion
Molded ironware
Molded ironware
Welsh cooking demonstration
Welsh cooking demonstration
Making Welsh pasties
Making Welsh pasties
Welsh singer/songwriter
Welsh singer/songwriter
Banner of Musica de Las Americas
Banner of Musica de Las Americas
Conjunto de Arpa Grande (Mexico)
Conjunto de Arpa Grande (Mexico)
High school Mariachi band from Chu…
High school Mariachi band from Ch…
High school Mariachi band from Chu…
High school Mariachi band from Ch…
Los Maestros del Joropo (Venezuela)
Los Maestros del Joropo (Venezuela)
Dancers
Dancers
Las Estrellas del Vallenato (Colom…
Las Estrellas del Vallenato (Colo…
Pollo a la Braza with Inca Kola
Pollo a la Braza with Inca Kola
Washington
photo by: b93sp