Organizers today announced the second wave of performing artists/groups coming to the Montana Folk Festival in Butte July 10-12.
“Thanks to the continuing artistic programming collaboration of the National Council for the Traditional Arts and a Montana music programming committee, this is shaping up to be another stellar lineup for this July's Montana Folk Festival” says Festival Manager George Everett. "Everyone should come expecting to find plenty that's familiar but also to be amazed at the variety and diversity of the event.”
There is no admission charged at any of the performances on all three days of the festival although festival organizers are asking that attendees consider a minimum $10 contribution for individuals and $25 for families.
More than 200 artists representing a broad diversity of musical and cultural traditions will perform on the festival's six stages in Uptown Butte.
The latest performing groups confirmed for the 2015 Montana Folk Festival are:
Grammy-nominated Kahulanui (The Big Dance) is an inspiration passed down three generations from Grandfather Robert Kahulanui Naipo, to Dad Rodgers L.L. Naipo Sr., to Grandson and Kahulanui band leader, Lolena Naipo, Jr. Lolena remembers stories of his Grandfather who was a member of the Royal Hawaiian Band during an era when horns and drums were a part of Hawaiian music. He was a band leader, arranger and composer in Hawaii back in the 1930s.
His signature style married jazz and Hawaiian vocals in way we haven’t heard for many years.
Kahulanui members include grandson Lena Naipo (vocals and guitar); Pat Eskildsen (bass); Robert Duke Tatom (ukulele); and Tim Taylor on drums. The bandleader is Lena Naipo.
“Throughout Hawai‘i in the 1920s and 1930s, one could find orchestras playing Hawaiian Swing and the house would be jumping. Kahulanui borrowed from these influences and performs classic Hawaiian songs in a syncopated style making Hawaiian Swing vibrant and alive in Hawai‘i today.
Today his grandson and his band have captured the fabulous sound of Hawaii’s music of the Big Band Era and bring it to Montana for the enjoyment of the audiences at the 2015 Montana Folk Festival.
Homayun Sakhi & Salar Nader
Afghan Traditional Music
Rubab and Tabla
Homayun Sakhi is the outstanding Afghan rubâb player of his generation, a brilliant virtuoso endowed with a charismatic musical presence and personality.
Despite Afghanistan's long years of armed conflict, when music was heavily controlled, censored, repressed, and, finally, totally banned, the classical rubâb style to which Homayun has devoted his career has not only survived but reached new creative heights.
Afghan music represents a confluence of cultural influences whose sources lie to the east, north, and west of present-day Afghanistan, in the great historical empires of Persia, Central Asia, and India. Each region has contributed instruments, genres, and performance styles to Afghanistan’s diverse musical landscape. The rubâb itself is of Central Asian origin - one of a family of double-chambered lutes that includes, among others, the Iranian târ, Tibetan danyen, and Pamir rubâb. While rooted in the raga tradition of North India, the cultivated art music performed on the Afghan rubâb also has strong stylistic links to Iran. The tabla, the pair of drums that accompany the rubâb and express the music’s sophisticated rhythmic element, is indisputably Indian, but its creators seem to have drawn inspiration from older forms of Central and West Asian kettle and goblet drums.
Homayun was born in Kabul in 1976 into one of Afghanistan’s leading musical families. From the age of ten, he studied rubâb with his father, master Ghulam Sakhi. Homayun’s study of the rubâb was interrupted in 1992, when his family moved to the Pakistani city of Peshawar, a place of refuge for many Afghans from the turmoil in their native country. After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, many Afghan musicians in Peshawar returned to Kabul, but by this time, Homayun was on his way to Fremont, California. He brought with him the sophisticated and original rubâb style that he had developed during his years in Pakistan. His exceptional talent and unswerving dedication to his art have brought him success on the concert stage, and he maintains an active performance schedule that takes him around the world.
Salar Nader is one of the most sought-after young percussionists of his generation. He was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1981 to Afghan parents forced to flee their home during the Russian-Afghan war. Nader was just five-years-old when his family settled in the Bay Area. At age seven, he began studying with the legendary tabla virtuoso Ustad Zakir Hussain. Nader already played tabla and was familiar with the basic rhythms of Afghan and Indian folk and pop music.
Nader began his professional career when as a young teen he began accompanying world-renowned classical musicians from South Asia during their visits to San Francisco. He performed with master Pakistani vocalist Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, as well as his virtuoso sons Shafqat, Sharafat and Sukhawat.
From there, Nader began performing onstage with master musicians visiting from India. Even as he made his way with the greats of Indian and Pakistani classical music, Nader kept up ties with his ancestral tradition, accompanying Afghan singers.
In the mid-90s, Nader then began his long association with Homayun Sakhi, one of the great exponents of the 18-stringed rubâb, the national instrument of Afghanistan. Sakhi deepened Nader’s understanding of the distinctive tunings, modes, pitch bends and rhythms of Afghan folk music. They co-founded the Afghan music ensemble SARA, featuring percussion, dance, vocal and instrumental elements. The group debuted in December, 2009, in Abu Dhabi, and has performed since throughout the United States to packed theaters. Following the Abu Dhabi performance, they went to Afghanistan¬a first for Nader¬and they performed concerts around Kabul, a deeply gratifying experience for both musicians.
Their performances at the Montana Folk Festival are sponsored by the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Grupu Rebolú is an Afro-Colombian musical ensemble comprised of some of the finest Colombian musicians in the United States. The group was created by Ronald Polo (vocalist/composer/gaitero) and Morris Canate (master percussionist) to promote the rich musical traditions of their ancestors, the Afro-descendants of Colombia's Caribbean coast.
Many people are unaware that, of all the Spanish speaking countries in the world, Columbia has the largest population of people of African descent. Along Columbia's Caribbean coast people of African, Spanish, and Indigenous heritage have been intermixing for centuries. If you look closely, you can see this blending of cultures in the traditional dance forms, taste it in the cuisine, and hear it in the music. Even the musical instruments in a traditional gaita ensemble are a blending of these three cultures.
Rebolú includes a mix of indigenous and African instruments, while the songs are sung in Spanish. Typically, there are one to two wooden flutes called gaita, (made of cardon wood of an indigenous cactus plant); several maracas; a llamabor, (a small drum native to the Caribbean coast of Columbia) which plays the upbeat; an alegre, a hand drum similar to an African djembe, and a tambora drum. A horn section and drum set add to the energy.
In addition to performing Cumbia, these musicians know their way around other traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms including tambora, chalupa, and bullerengue, the last being the most African in feel.
From traditional songs to original compositions, Rebolú's repertoire is loaded with energy, history, and -- very important to the audiences of the Montana Folk Festival -- danceabilty.
The Western Flyers are one of the most exciting new bands to glide on to the music scene in years. Their unique brand of music is a cross section of the Great American Songbook: classic Western swing, Hot jazz & Swing standards, toe tapping Cowboy songs and electrifying Old-time fiddle tunes.
After 10 years of touring with The Quebe Sisters Band (Joey was the Quebe's fiddle/vocal teacher, musical arranger and guitarist), Joey McKenzie is stepping into this exciting new musical journey.
The award winning multi-instrumentalist and archtop guitar slinger brings his signature style and archtop rhythm guitar expertise to the group along with Katie Glassman - 2-time National Fiddle Champion and vintage-style singer extraordinaire, and the incomparable world-class upright bass playing of Gavin Kelso. Blending tradition with musical innovation, McKenzie and Kelso comprise one of the most electrifying and swinging two-man rhythm sections in the business, and when you add Katie Glassman's phenomenal fiddle playing and singing you get one of the most exciting trios on the music scene today.
Mark Halata and Texavia
There was a time when learning to play the accordion was on par with learning to knit. But being Texas State Accordion Champion at the age of 13 didn't exactly make Mark Halata a big man on his junior high school campus during the MTV '80s.
Mark is unfashionably in tune with the Czech-Moravian music of his ancestry. He taught himself to play during his formative years. The songs he performs today are songs he has performed his entire life. Weekend trips to Moravia, Texas and exposure to Texas polka bands such as Joe Patek, Wence Shimek and The Red Ravens kept Mark in touch with the music and culture that has always been a part of his life.
As a teenager, Mark was exposed to other forms of accordion-flavored music. He is proficient in country, Cajun, Zydeco, Tex-Mex and even rock 'n' roll. He has performed with The Rounders and the Romeo Dogs, both hybrid retro country and roots rock bands. Mark would occasionally slip in a Czech polka to educate and entertain the crowds on the Texas roots rock circuit. He has jammed with Dave Alvin and Los Lobos. In 1998, Texas Polish fiddler Brian Marshall wanted Mark to play on his acclaimed Polish roots CD.
For Texavia, Mark wanted simple, uncluttered arrangements. He recruited renown Austin bassist Mark Rubin from the band Bad Livers. It would be easier to list the people Mark Rubin hasn't played with. On rhythm guitar and drums are Bruce and Jeff Brosch, respectively, sons of legendary Czech band leader Jimmy Brosch, who wrote the famousCorn Cockle Polka.
So grab a cold beer, a dance partner and have a listen. If you close your eyes, you may find yourself in Hallettsville, Moravia, Praha, Shiner, a country beer joint or a Catholic church picnic. Welcome to Texavia, the Texas-Moravian accordion heaven.
The Whitetop Mountaineers is made up of the duo, Martha Spencer and Jackson Cunningham. They both live in Whitetop, VA, at the highest mountains in Virginia. Their shows feature old time country duet singing, up-tempo old time fiddle, clawhammer banjo, bluegrass mandolin and guitar instrumentals as well as high energy Appalachian dancing.
Performing for over eight years together, Jackson and Martha have played concerts, festivals, workshops, and dances throughout the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, including such venues as: Merlefest, Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC, National Folk Festival in Richmond, GrahamfestUSA, San Francisco Bluegrass and Old Time Festival, Folklore Society of Greater Washington, Cornish Bluegrass Festival in England, Tamworth Country Music Festival in NSW, Australia, Open House Festival in Belfast Ireland, and Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia, The National Folk Festival in Canberra, Australia, The National Folk Festival in Butte Montana, The Port Fairy Folk Festival in Port Fairy, Australia, The Apollo Bay Music Festival in Apollo Bay, Australia, along with many other festivals and venues.
In Fall of 2007, they were also included on the NCTA: Crooked Road Mountain Music Tour of the West that included Butte's own Mother Lode Theatre, and again in 2010, The Crooked Road East Coast Tour.
Along with performing as a duet act, they also are members of the Whitetop Mountain Band, which is made up mostly of the Spencer family and is one of the most popular old time bands in Southwest Virginia. The band has won many competitions and awards in band, vocals, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, duet singing, and dance throughout the years in Fiddler’s Conventions throughout the Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and other southern states. The Spencer family and Whitetop Mountain Band has also been featured in a number of magazine articles, books, and television and radio programs. They have recorded four CDs, the most recent, "Fees Ridge," was released in January, 2015.
Brazilian Dance/Martial Arts
Capoeira is Brazil’s fast and graceful Afro-Brazilian art form, which blends dance, martial arts, and acrobatics into one beautiful art like no other. The martial art was created by Africans brought to Brazil from many parts of Africa as a means of self-protection and as a way to fight for their own freedom. During its early years, Capoeira was disguised as a dance in order to be practiced openly. Today, Capoeira is widely known and practiced in more than 100 nations around the world.
Capoeira Luanda is an organization that practices, teaches, and preserves the Afro-Brazilian martial art of Capoeira. Capoeira Luanda practices a style of Capoeira known as Capoeira Regional Contemporanea. This style is derived from movements and sequences developed by Mestre Bimba, as well as influences and evolutions of Capoeira from the founding Mestres of Capoeira Luanda.
Capoeira Luanda was founded in 2007, after a long process of research and study under the direction and guidance of Mestre Jelon Vieira. Today, Capoeira Luanda has spread internationally with centers and academies in the United States, Holland, Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Peru, Colombia, Italy, and Turkey.
The root of the name Luanda is a homage to Mestre Eziquiel Martins, who founded the Grupo Luanda de Capoeira in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil in 1963. Another inspiration behind the name Luanda was meaning of the word Luanda in Yoruba language which means “the junction of the moon and the earth” and “Peace and imaginary land” in the dialect Bantu. Luanda is the capital of Angola and was one of the most important ports during the slave trade when Africans were taken to the Americas as chattel.
Luanda is one of the cities in West Africa where Africans said the last good bye for those who never returned. It was the Africans from the slave trade that contributed to the richness of the African Culture in Brazil.
Performers previously announced --
The Campbell Brothers (Gospel)
Dale Ann Bradley (Bluegrass)
Preston Shannon Band (Blues)
Savoy Family Cajun Band (Cajun)
Cambalache (Son Jarocho)
Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill (Irish)
Khmer Arts Academy (Cambodian Ballet)
For details about the Montana Folk Festival, visit www.montanafolkfestival.com or on Facebook at mtfolkfest.
The Montana Folk Festival in Butte, Montana this July 10-12 is produced by Mainstreet Uptown Butte with major partnership and support from Butte-Silver Bow County and the Imagine Butte Collaborative in cooperation with the Montana Office of Tourism and Butte Convention and Visitors Bureau. Artistic programming services are provided by the National Council for the Traditional Arts.