Jalopy Theatre and School of Music – Brooklyn, New York - Atlas Obscura
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Brooklyn, New York

Jalopy Theatre and School of Music

A community theatre in Brooklyn that brings Country to New York and New York to Country. 

The Jalopy Theatre and School of Music is creating an inclusive and comfortable community of folk music lovers.

Jumping on (and contributing to) a revival of old-style music genres across the country, Jalopy balances a unique blend of traditional musical undertones with modern, urban awareness.

Jalopy acts both as a community center for teaching traditional music and offered itself as a place where melody makers could simply jam with like-minded musicians.

The purpose of the school, according to owners Lynette and Jeff Wiley, was to create a “school for adults who didn’t have elders to learn from.” Newbies to folk are encouraged to revitalize the country in their soul with music lessons in guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and ukelele. Jalopy became a hub of New York folk music when it incorporated an instrument repair shop, cafe and music and art shows under its rural roof. A recording label is also in the works.

The performing artists and clientele of Jalopy are a surprisingly young crowd for their older, rustic sounds. Harking back to a simpler time in music composition, young New York musicians are combining their metropolitan backgrounds with old-time country chords. Homegrown New York bands are contributing to the larger musical narrative with Big Apple allusions and other urban experiences.

The Jalopy Theatre also organizes the annual three-day Brooklyn Folk Festival. The festival has been around for five years and features a large range of live music, instrument workshops, and a traditional community square dance.

Continuing a tradition of folk music in New York that is commonly associated with names such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, this musical theatre and school fosters passion for classic country music by old-time enthusiasts and young, emerging newcomers.