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Hawaiian Sounds and Folk Music Take Center Stage

Two musical performances at The Cafe.

The crowd who braved the cold Saturday night to attend January's edition of the Last Licks Cafe at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington was treated to a touch of Hawaiian music by a jazz and blues headlining act, and some original folk songs by a local musician.

Estelle Henrich of Huntington Station performed a few of her original songs while accompanying herself on an autoharp and an Appalachian dulcimer.  She also happens to be on the board of the Folk Music Society of Huntington.

“I have been writing folk music for about ten years, but I have been singing it for over 40 years,” she said. “I have been coming here for the open mic night since the beginning.”

The Cafe, which spotlights a different musical act every month after the open mic performances, started after another long running fundraiser came to an end.

“From the 1970's to 2003 the church did a yearly Renaissance Fair, but the labor that was involved to set it up every year was too much for our small congregation,” said Gerald Moss, a church member who started the Cafe along with Larry Chowrowski and Ken Farrell. “So the three of us came up with the idea for the cafe. Everyone was very open to this.”

Moss, a Northport resident, works for Entertainment One, a music and video distributor based in Port Washington. Last June they distributed Jimmy Webb's latest CD, Just Across the River.

“I have no problem finding musical acts for the cafe,” Moss said. “They normally come to me.”

The main act for the evening, the Moonlighters, is a band from Brooklyn that was founded by vocalist and ukulele player Bliss Blood in 1998. They have toured Germany, Austria and Switzerland and perform original jazz and blues songs which feature a Hawaiian influence.

“We call it romantic vocal music from the 1920's to 1930's,” Blood said. “We usually have a second guitarist and vocalist, but she (Cindy Ball) is about to have a baby so I am signing alone. I added another vocalist because one of my favorite groups is the Boswell Sisters. They were from New Orleans and had the most beautiful three part harmonies. I also love the jazz standards like Bessie Smith sang. It's really sophisticated music that has really been forgotten.”

The Last Licks Cafe, a nonprofit group run by volunteers, is held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington on the last Saturday of each month. 

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