Meet Ken Langell

Ken LangellBack by popular demand! Ken Langell—a crowd favorite at Alumapalooza 5—will return to the main tent with folk tunes and fascinating tales on Friday, May 29.

Ken has spent his life doing the things he loves most. A career in professional flyfishing took Ken and his wife Sandy to Belize to manage a fishing lodge on the Turneffe Atoll; he later trained guides and established a flyfishing destination in the Bahamas. “Belize was great preparation for Airstream life,” said Sandy. “We lived in a 10×10 room and shared the shower room with the rest of the staff.”Langell 3

Jim also performed with Sandy for twenty years as a US Colonial period reenactor as both a musician and demonstrator of Colonial style flyfishing. After leaving his fly shop several years ago, Ken then apprenticed himself to a master furniture craftsman and learned to restore irreplaceable items in historic homes in Indianapolis.

Always a musician, Ken grew up in Indiana, making music with his friends. “Since his high school days he has been surrounded by fantastic musicians,” recalled Sandy.

For more than fifteen years Ken was a member of Hogeye Navvy, an Indianapolis based Celtic/Folk band. “The band is a close-knit group that are more like our family than our friends,” said Sandy. “We have travelled with them to Ireland and Scotland, where they performed in a variety of settings. Ken recently retired from the band; those weekend gigs were interfering with Airstream travel!” Today, Ken continues to sing and play  traditional music of the working people of America and the British Isles, as well as many contemporary songs, while he accompanies himself with a guitar, octave mandolin, and sometimes a Tylenol bottle. (Ask Ken for the related funny story.)Langell 2

Ken often performs with his friend, storyteller Bob Sander. “When Ken and Bob were young long-haired hippies, they liked to visit one of the malls in Indianapolis, and sneak into the stairwell and sing,” said Sandy. “Folks would gather in the stairwell on the floors above them, looking down and listening.”

Ken and Sandy travel in their 1985 31′ Excella—their second Airstream. First came a 1976 31′ Sovereign that was already promised to another buyer who planned to saw it in half for use as a prop in a Broadway play. The Langells sweet-talked the owner out of it: “We heard his stories about his family’s many years of camping and his great love for the trailer,” said Sandy. “We learned that he and Ken were fellow flyfishermen. I decided to play the ultimate Airstream card. ‘Oh, Bob,’ I said sooo sadly, ‘wouldn’t you rather see your Airstream back on the road again, traveling like she was meant to, instead of cut in half and sitting on a stage?’ The next day he called us back and told us we could have the trailer!”Langell 4