In this video the audience claps at the beauty of Cisneros voice, the mesmerizing warble of her vibrato and the length of time she holds a note. Cisneros hails from Texas and that’s about all I know. She is completely forgotten, has no profile on the internet and it seems that she hasn’t even released any records. But with her lovely voice she performed at the 1969 Big Sur Folk Festival blowing everyone’s mind in the process.
In 1971, Celebration At Big Sur was released as a documentary film. It featured Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young with Greg Reeves on bass and Dallas Taylor on drums, John Sebastian, Mimi Fariña and Julie Payne and Gospel singer Dorothy Morrison with The Combs Sisters.
I’m sure you know that Mimi Fariña is Joan Baez’s sister and was married to singer/songwriter Richard Fariña who was tragically killed in a motorbike accident as a pillion passenger in 1966 just two days after the release of his cult classic novel, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me – he was just 29 years old. Baez’s Sweet Sir Galahad is about Mimi’s courtship with producer Milan Melvin after Richard Fariña’s death – they were married at the Big Sur festival in 1969.
In the film there’s a classic Joni Mitchell performance of Woodstock as well as her singing with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Sebastian. It’s a peace and love, family and kids, Folk festival. You can see the whole documentary film (mostly) below complete with altercation between disgruntled audience member and Stephen Stills and a rousing version of Down By The River by CSNY
The festival was held between 1964 and 1971 – the 1969 festival was held one month after Woodstock. There’s also performances by Incredible String band, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Ruthann Friedman. (Friedman wrote Windy for The Association, a major sixties hit). Unfortunately these three acts were not filmed.
As a document of the times, it’s oddly rather overlooked, possibly because it’s mainly acoustic but it’s filmed in the same style as Woodstock and is rather enjoyable if you are in the mood for transporting yourself back to the hassle free Californian Pacific coast line of 1969.
Mimi Fariña died of cancer in 2001 aged 56. Dallas Taylor died of kidney disease earlier this year at the age of 66.