Legendary Folk Singer Lucy Kaplansky at LBI Foundation

Jun 11, 2018

Lucy Kaplansky, who will be performing at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, is not your typical folk singer. Not many folk singers have earned a Ph.D. in psychology. Not many folk singers have been a third of not one, but two folk supergroups, Cry Cry Cry with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell, and Red Horse with John Gorka and Eliza Gilkyson.

Not many folk singers have performed swing with their father, as Lucy did; in 2011 she memorialized that jam when she released an EP, Kaplansky Sings Kaplansky, featuring songs written by the famed late University of Chicago mathematician Irving Kaplansky. Not many folk singers can maneuver through the lyrics of her father’s delightful “A Song About Pi”:

In all the bygone ages,/ Philosophers and sages/ Have meditated on the circle’s mysteries.

From Euclid to Pythagoras,/ From Gauss to Anaxag’ras,/ Their thoughts have filled the/ Libr’ies bulging histories.

And yet there was elation/ Throughout the whole Greek Nation/ When Archimedes made his mighty computation…

Then again, Kaplansky is a typical folk singer in many ways. She plays typical folk instruments – mandolin and piano and, most of all, of course, guitar. She tours the typical wide range of folk venues all across the country – cafés, brew pubs, wine bars, churches, music halls, performing arts centers and festivals. She writes typical folk songs in that she explores universal themes such as love, joy, loss, and dreams for the future through the private prism of her family, both nuclear and extended.

In other words, Kaplansky is a complicated person and a tough-to-label artist. That’s exactly what The Boston Globe did, however, when reviewing her 2007 release Over the Hills, saying she was “becoming the songwriter laureate of modern city folk.”

Tickets for Kaplansky’s and special guest John Magill’s show at the LBI Foundation are $30. They may be purchased online at lucykaplansky.com (navigate to “shows”) or eventbrite.com. —R.M.

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