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Club Passim is a folk music club in the Harvard Square area of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was opened by Joyce Kalina (now Chopra) and Paula Kelley in 1958, when it was known as Club 47 (based on its then address, 47 Mount Auburn Street, also in Cambridge; it moved to its present location on Palmer Street in 1963), and changed its name to simply Passim in 1969. "Passim" in the name is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable and as if that were "seem"; it derives from passim (usually pronounced differently), commonly found in footnotes. It adopted the present name in 1994; a combination of the earlier two names. At its inception, it was mainly a jazz and blues club, but soon branched out to include ethnic folk, then singer/songwriter folk.
In the 1960s, the club (when known as Club 47) played a role in the rise of folk-rock music, when it began to book folk/rock bands whose music was unrelated to traditional folk, such as the Lovin' Spoonful. The club's importance to the 1960s Cambridge folk scene is documented extensively in Von Schmidt's Baby, Let Me Follow You Down: The Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years. Scott Alarik described Club 47 as being "the hangout of choice for the new folkies" during that time.
Today there is a Passim School of Music and Culture for Kids program. The School of Music offers workshops and classes to teens as well as adults.
Passim shares a space and features food from the vegetarian and vegan restaurant Veggie Planet. Veggie Planet is open every day and serves lunch and dinner to patrons of Club Passim beginning 90 minutes before showtime and continuing throughout the show.
The restaurant specializes in meat-free and dairy-free pizzas, meals on rice, soups, salads and vegan desserts.
Joan Baez described to Rolling Stone's Kurt Loder how she began performing at Club 47 in 1958 as a largely unknown BU student, playing on Tuesday nights as a means of providing entertainment because the jazz musicians who played there had Tuesday nights off; she would continue to perform regularly there through the early 1960s.
In 1961, Bob Dylan was said to have played at the club between sets for free so that he could say he had played at Club 47. Dylan: A Biography gives a detailed account of Dylan's first visit to Club 47, where he saw Carolyn Hester perform and performed between Hester's sets in the hopes of impressing club manager Paula Kelley.
Bill Staines mentions Club 47 in his autobiography, The Tour. He saw his first coffeehouse performance there in 1962, as a sophomore in high school, and described Club 47 during the 1960s as "one of the premier folk venues in the country."
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