How We Got Here

The community of talent and spirit supported by Lark Traditional Arts has been growing for over 40 years in Mendocino. Mickie Zekley – the founder of Lark Camp – is only one of an incredible group of eclectic musicians and dancers who found themselves on the California coast, came together, and proceeded to introduce new music, new instruments, and scores of new world cultures to eager audiences throughout the West. Mickie’s personal take on how it all started is an amusing and engaging tale you can find as an iTunes podcast titled “Adventures of a Street Musician”.

Over the years, the traditional scene in Mendocino has never failed to be active and exciting. Dozens of Mendocino folk and traditional arts enthusiasts have worked to present music workshops and residencies that feature touring musicians from everywhere, including The Boys of the Lough, Sylvia Woods’ Harp Extravaganza, Irish fiddle legend Tommy Peoples, and the first American Uilleann Pipers Convention. The local band, Mooncoin, featuring Mickie Zekley and multi-instrumentalist Michael Hubbert, was only one of countless homegrown performers and bands who kept the scene hopping and maintained Mendocino’s long-standing reputation as a haven for traditional arts.

Mickie Zekley started Lark Camp as a Celtic and American musical weekend retreat. Under his direction, it evolved into a weeklong, world music education event that includes traditional dance, instrumental, and vocal music. When he retired as the organizer of Lark Camp in 2019, Lark Traditional Arts was formed with his guidance to ensure the continuation of camp. A sad loss for our community, Mickie passed away on October 28, 2022 – but not before he was the recipient of a much-deserved WESTAF Lifetime Achievement award in 2021.