Saratoga Springs’ own Caffè Lena is getting a lot of a buzz lately due to a recently released ethnographic book entitled “Caffè Lena: Inside America’s Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse,” written by Jocelyn Arem ’04. The book tracks the folk legacy of Caffè Lena through oral histories, photos, and a CD box set audio archive, featuring the likes of Don McLean, Arlo Guthrie, and Bob Dylan strumming at Lena’s humble open mics when nobody knew their names.
Yesterday the New York Times published a piece promoting Arem’s book and celebrating the history of Caffè Lena, claiming it “Folk Music Heaven.” They went on to say of the multi facets of the book, “together they make a case for the club as a landmark outpost of folk music in America, and for [Lena] Spencer as a sharp-eyed and nurturing force for the music.”
Loads of to-be famous people have played their piece at Caffè Lena along with just as many shaky Skidmore students, but the place holds true as a modest force in folk music history and deserves it’s newfound remembrance.
Check out the NYT article, check out the book, and be sure to stop by Caffè Lena whenever you get the chance. Open mics every Thursday. Missy Raines and the New Hip this Friday, A Night of Murder Ballads this Saturday, and so on.