Genticorum (Quebecois) is a traditional Quebec group that has become a fixture on the world, folk, and Celtic music circuit. With five albums under their belt, Genticorum weave precise and intricate fiddle, flute and accordion into their music with amazing vocal harmonies, energetic foot percussion and guitar accompaniment. The result is a distinctive sound and a sense of humor and stage presence that make Genitocum a crowd pleaser.
Orquesta el Macabeo (Puerto Rico Salsa): Puerto Rican punk musicians turned hardcore salsa masters, Orquesta el Macabeo, have hit a nerve within their community, connecting an old-school sound and message with a modern edge. Their music is gritty, and more socially conscious than many other groups out there. In the face of recent hurricane destruction of their home island, their music is also the soundtrack of the resilience of a people, rebuilding and staying strong in the face of adversity.
Chinese Folk Art Workshop (Chinese Arts): Since 2003, the students at the Chinese Folk Art Workshop have showcased the grace, beauty, and power of Chinese folk arts throughout the Boston and New England areas. Featuring both male and female performers, the Chinese Folk Art Workshop is the only performance group of its kind in the Greater Boston area. These young performers participate in over 30 performances each year, sharing their talents in traditional Chinese performance and visual arts.
Black Umfolosi (Zimbabwe Vocal Harmony): This quintet has been performing together for more than 35 years. The group formed when all of the members were school-age and taught themselves how to perform a cappella in order to contribute to their community. Black Umfolosi has toured extensively, representing Zimbabwe in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Black Umfolosi brings incredible harmonies to imbube music, as well as the art of gumboot dance and Zulu dance.
Charm City Junction (Oldtime, Celtic, Bluegrass): Charm City Junction takes roots music to new places with an eye on tradition. Based in Baltimore, the quartet draws from a variety of musical backgrounds to bring foot-stomping Irish melodies, Old Time rhythms, and hard-driving Bluegrass together for a powerful musical performance.
Navatman Music Collective is a one-of-a-kind choir that aims to bring out the depth and beauty of South Indian classical Carnatic music while imbuing it with a soul and energy that borrows from the members’ contemporary and diverse influences. Their sound is simultaneously nostalgic and boundary-breaking, aiming to engage the discerning and uninitiated alike. Their respect for rich musical tradition is paired with an honest joy for the music they sing and a desire for self-expression, quirk, and judgment-free community. Come and celebrate the power of group voice!
Jeanette & Johnny Williams (Bluegrass): Jeanette and Johnny have played and sung bluegrass all over the world for nearly 30 years. Jeannette has performed with the likes of Ralph Stanley, Alison Krauss, and Larry Sparks, and Johnny is a powerful singer and songwriter who has performed with soul and blues bands before returning to his roots to perform bluegrass. The married duo perform independently and together, creating a force of musical collaboration and inspiration.
Gus La Casse & Eamon Sefton Gus: These two performers met when they joined forces at the 2018 Boston Celtic Music Festival. Eamon is a Boston-based guitarist known for percussive rhythm and clever harmonies, and Gus is based in Downeast Maine performing with speed, savage energy, and dedication to the Acadian and Cape Breton fiddle traditions.
The Floor Lords: The Floor Lords use the positive aspect of hip hop dance to reach and empower young people worldwide. The Floorlords have performed for nearly 40 years and have focused on the positive impact of dance, specifically helping inner city and local youth to understand how to direct their energy toward positivity.
Wayne Hancock (Honky Tonk): Wayne blends honky-tonk, western swing, blues, Texas rockabilly and big band to create a sound that has brought crowds to the conclusion that he is the undisputed king of Juke Joint Swing. Hancock began writing songs at the age of 12 and now has 12 albums since his debut in 1995. Hancock’s website describes him as “the embodiment of genuine, house rocking, hillbilly boogie.”
Vieux Farka Toure (Mali): Vieux’s father is legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Toure. Vieux knew at an early age that he wanted to be a musician, although his father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced. Vieux convinced his father to give him his blessing to be a musician shortly before he passed away in 2006. Since then, Vieux has released a total of nine albums consisting of collaborations, and live and studio recordings. He has performed at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and his latest album released in 2017 is being hailed by critics as his finest, most well-rounded and mature album to date.
Open the Door for Three (Irish): is the name of a tune that has been showing up in collections of music in Ireland and Scotland for well over two hundred years. Group members Kieran O’Hare and Liz Knowles started playing a version collected in the southwest of Ireland by a piper named James Goodman in the mid-nineteenth century, and published by the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin in 1999. For the group, the tune is emblematic of two of their interests: breathing new life into old and forgotten melodies, and adding their own fresh harmonic component to their arrangements of music in the Irish tradition. They figured it was emblematic enough to stand as the title of their first CD with Pat Broaders, and then the name just stuck as they started working more and more as a trio with an evolving approach and sound.
Fairfield Four (Gospel): To contemporary audiences, the Fairfield Four are perhaps best known for their work on the soundtrack to “O Brother Where Art Thou”. However, the group, founded out of the Fairfiedl Baptist Church in Nashville, TN in 1921, has been beloved by gospel audiences for nearly 100 years! Masters of the quartet-style of singing, the Fairfield Four connects to a higher power using only their voice-no instruments necessary. in 1989, the National Endowment for the Arts designated the group National Heritage Fellows, the highest honor the U.S. government bestows on traditional artists.
Tuba Skinny (New Orleans Jazz) Both parading and performing at the festival this year, Tuba Skinny is part of a younger generation infusing that traditional New Orleans jazz swing sound with a new energy all their won. Fronted by soulful singer Erika Lewis, the group has performed at festivals in Australia, Spain, France, Italy, and the U.S. Winners of the 2014 Best of the Beat Award for Best Traditional Jazz Album, In addition to live performances, Tuba Skinny’s latest album was released in August of 2017, and the group was featured on HBO’s “The Treme” in 2012.
Annika Chambers (Texas Blues) Houston Texas-based blues-belter, Annika Chambers can trace her love of the music back to her early childhood, “I grew up singing in the church,” she says. Citing the gospel influences of Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, Dottie Peoples and Whitney Houston, you can’t help but feel the Spirit moving through the entire room when Annika throws herself into the heart of a song. But it was during her two tours of duty in the US Army that Chambers realized the gift she had. “One of my colonels heard me singing, and he said, ‘Why don’t you sing the Anthem for one of our ceremonies?’” She was an immediate hit and became their first choice for all their music events, joining the gospel choir and even winning the talent show on her base. From there, Chambers became part of a touring band making the rounds through Kosovo and Iraq. Eventually making her way back to Texas, her blues/soul style brought her international recognition as one of the strongest voices in the tradition. Get ready Maine, Annika will knock your socks off