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79th National Folk Festival Reveals First Eight Performers

79th National Folk Festival Reveals First Eight Performers

SALISBURY, MD (February 27, 2019) – The National Folk Festival revealed today the first eight performers who will be featured in the 79th National Folk Festival, which will take place in downtown Salisbury, September 6 – 8, 2019. This will be the second year of the event’s three-year residency in Salisbury.

On hand at the announcement were government leaders and planners for the event—including Lora Bottinelli, Executive Director, National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA); Blaine Waide, Associate Director, NCTA; Mayor Jake Day, City of Salisbury; and Caroline O’Hare, Local Manager, National Folk Festival.

“As promised, the lineup for the 79th National Folk Festival lineup in 2019 is entirely new, with no repeats from last year,” stated NCTA Executive Director Lora Bottinelli. “I don’t know where else one could experience this amazing array of artists and genres—all in one event, and all for free!”

Approximately 350 artists—musicians, dancers, storytellers, and craftspeople—will take part in the National Folk Festival, with more than 35 different musical groups performing on seven outdoor stages throughout downtown Salisbury.

The Festival strives to present the nation’s very finest traditional artists. Music and dance traditions from every part of the country are represented—authentic blues, rockabilly, gospel, jazz, polka, tamburitza, cowboy, bluegrass, klezmer, R&B, old-time, Cajun, rhythm and blues, mariachi, beatbox, breakin’, western swing, honky-tonk, and zydeco, as well as traditional music and dance from Native American, Celtic, Acadian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Asian, Appalachian, Latino, Eastern European, African, and Pacific Island cultures, among others. The eight artists announced today include:

  • Adonis Puentes & the Voice of Cuba Orchestra (Cuba by way of Vancouver, British Columbia) – Cuban son
    Propelled by the vibrant horns and rhythms of his sextet, this verdadero sonero (true sonero) transports listeners to his birthplace through the mesmerizing sounds of classic son.
  • Aurelio (Plaplaya, Honduras, and New York, New York) – Garifuna
    One of the most extraordinary Central American artists of his generation, this composer, guitarist, and percussionist is a musical ambassador and champion of the endangered culture of the Garifuna people.
  • Eddie Cotton, Jr. (Clinton, Mississippi) – soul blues
    This Mississippi master of soul blues will move audiences, body and spirit, with gritty guitar work, stirring vocals, and a hard-driving style rooted in the church of his youth.
  • Hot Club of Cowtown (Austin, Texas) – western swing and hot jazz
    The preeminent ensemble in western swing and hot jazz today, this trio delivers exquisite performances with impeccable style and its trademark vintage sound.
  • Innov Gnawa (Brooklyn, New York) – Moroccan Gnawa
    This Brooklyn-based quintet immerses audiences in mystical trance music that traditionally accompanies all-night Gnawa rituals of healing and purification.
  • Jerry Douglas Trio (Nashville, Tennessee) – Dobro master
    “Dobro’s matchless contemporary master,” the greatest innovator of the resonator guitar in the last half century—possibly the greatest ever.
  • Jones Benally Family Dancers (Black Mesa, Arizona) – Navajo hoop dancing
    Led by family patriarch and world champion hoop dancer, three generations will share the beauty and richness of Navajo traditional culture.
  • Yamini Kalluri & the Carnatic Ensemble (New York, New York) – Kuchipudi dance
    Featuring a 21-year-old rising star of kuchipudi dance, this intergenerational ensemble weaves their shared heritage into a spellbinding display of South Indian music and dance.

Over a dozen people of different backgrounds, and with a deep knowledge of music and art forms, came together from across Delmarva to serve as the local Musical Programming Advisory Committee. This committee’s role is to consider—and help the NCTA select—the artists who will perform at the National Folk Festival each year. To learn more about these artists and their stories, please visit nationalfolkfestival.com/performers

The National Folk Festival will feature individual artists on Facebook (facebook.com/NFFMaryland), Twitter (twitter.com/NFFMaryland), and Instagram (Instagram.com/nffmaryland) throughout the next month.

More performers will be announced as they are confirmed.


About the National Folk Festival
Since it was first presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National Folk Festival, the NCTA’s flagship event, has celebrated the roots, richness and variety of American culture. Championed in its early years by Eleanor Roosevelt, it was the first event of national stature to present the arts of many nations, races, and languages on equal footing. It was also the first to present to the public musical forms such as the blues, Cajun music, polka, Tex-Mex conjunto, Peking Opera, and many others. Today, the National is an exuberant traveling festival, produced by the NCTA in partnership with communities around the country, that embraces the diverse cultural expressions that define us as a people in the 21st century. http://www.nationalfolkfestival.com/

About the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA)
A leading non-profit in the field, the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), is dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the U.S. Stressing excellence and authenticity, the NCTA presents the nation’s finest traditional artists in major festivals, tours, concerts, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, media productions, school programs, cross-cultural exchanges, and other activities. It works in partnership with American communities to establish new, sustainable traditional arts events that deliver lasting social, cultural, and economic benefits. Over 7,000 hours of the NCTA’s archival audio recordings dating from the 1930s are permanently housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The NCTA champions the interests of folk and traditional artists and organizations in the arena of public policy. https://ncta-usa.org/

About the City of Salisbury, Maryland
Founded in 1732, Salisbury is the county seat of Wicomico County, a place where John Smith touched land in 1608 during his exploration of the Chesapeake Bay. Situated on Maryland’s historic Eastern Shore at the crossroads of the Delmarva Peninsula, Salisbury is now one of the region’s largest cities, and serves as the capital of the Eastern Shore, a rural area defined by its agricultural and maritime traditions, landscapes, and industries. The Chesapeake Bay is central to this distinctive identity. Though a relatively small city, Salisbury is the geographic and economic hub of one of the nation’s fastest-growing Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Led by a dynamic mayor, the City of Salisbury is working to build its reputation as an arts and culture destination, and is aligning its downtown development and revitalization efforts with the arts. Salisbury believes hosting the National Folk Festival is the perfect catalyst to further a cultural renaissance and urban renewal. http://www.salisbury.md/