about Karl Finger

Karl Finger is an accomplished, internationally-known recording artist, folk singer and guitarist, and a leader of folk dances from around the world. (He also calls squares and contra dances.) For over 30 years he has been leading trips to over 50 countries around the world conducting workshops, learning dances and music from the local folk and bringing American travelers with an interest in cultural exploration into friendly music-and-dance-sharing contact with their local counterparts. The enthusiastic non-dancers and dancers alike, non-musicians and musicians alike, who have joined him on these trips number in the thousands.

Karl has appeared on radio and TV in the U.S. and abroad and has performed on over 40 music album recordings and several singles. He has lectured on folk music and its role in history and social movements at schools, colleges and universities and has produced and performed on a series of albums of folk dances and singing games for children. His appearances include nightclubs, festivals, colleges, schools, concert halls, resorts, cruise ships... Internationally, he has performed in venues in many of the foreign lands he has visited.

In addition to teaching dances from around the world, Karl Finger has choreographed for and performed with several international folk dance troupes. He also organizes and leads weekend-long festivals of workshops, classes, dance parties, music concerts and jam sessions. Over 11,000 people have taken part in these weekend festivals of music, dance and camaraderie.

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Karl's interest in folk music and folklore was stimulated during his 8 years as a camper and counselor at Camp Woodland in upstate New York that emphasized research into and learning about the people and history of the area. Campers, counselors and music/folklore staff would go into the surrounding communities to meet the people and learn their history, their stories, songs and dances. During his years there many songs, stories and dances of the region were collected and have found their way into books, scholarly journals, concerts and recordings. Speaking of "scholarly", Karl has a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Chicago and 2 years of graduate study at the Columbia School of General Studies.

Karl Finger's entire life experience is consistent with his view that music and dance are fundamental and essential to human existence. A main feature of his trips abroad is the use of folk music and dance to break the barriers of language and culture, to enable people from different worlds to get to know one another as human beings and to develop a respect for one another's culture and heritage. Among the over 50 countries Karl has taken travelers to, learned from and performed in are: Greece, Bulgaria, Israel, China, Romania, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Yugoslavia, Norway, Sweden, Barbados, Jamaica, Georgia, Armenia... (See elsewhere on this website for a more complete list.)

Karl is a firm believer in the philosophy that learning can and should be fun. Both learning (acquiring knowledge and perspective) and actually experiencing the music and the culture are significant components of his classes. Students achieve this through the unmitigated joy of the songs and dances themselves, by feeling them through active participation.

# of people on Karl's Trips # of countries visited # of people at Karl's "Weekends"
almost 2,000
about 67
over 11,000
  Call me Carl Finger, I'll still smile