The last time Marita Brake played Springfield was in 1967, and the location was the Something Else Coffeehouse, located in an old brownstone on the northeast corner of Fourth and Capitol.
That time was a golden age for a generation of Beat-ish poets who trekked cross-country between Greenwich Village and Haight-Ashbury. Bob Dylan and Joan Baez were royalty, and groups such as Peter, Paul and Mary; the Kingston Trio; and the New Christy Minstrels played to enthusiastic audiences.
At the Something Else, a hardy ensemble of regulars — including Marita Brake, then a Sacred Heart senior — belted out the tunes of the day and traded guitar licks in a backroom decorated with a John Updike poem proclaiming, “The scum, once come/Has come for good.”
After graduation, Brake pursued her music career elsewhere and performed all over the country, including the recital auditorium of Carnegie Hall, and opened for such performers as Alison Krauss, John Hartford, Suzy Bogguss, and Béla Fleck. She eventually settled in Bloomington. Her two CDs, Gypsy Moon and The Celtic Rose, and a book may be purchased at her Web site, www.maritabrake.com.
Brake’s songs, ranging from Appalachian folk to world-beat gypsy music, will transport you back to 1967. Beneath her patina of practice and polish, she is still the smiling, effervescent fountain of joy she was back then.
Martina Brake performs at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at Imo’s, 751 S. Durkin Dr.