Sinai Mountain Ramblers have been performing in this area since the late 90s. The group has it’s own unique take on klezmer music which is eastern European traditional Jewish folk music. Sinai Mountain Ramblers blend in southern swing and old time elements to fashion an energetic sound that brings big smiles and lots of toe tapping fun.
NC Folk Festival 2019
Sam Frazier‘s music blends emotional and musical complexity with the heart of a rock-n-roller. Originally from Greensboro, he has played guitar with Tornado, Bruce Piephoff, Martha Bassett, Molly McGinn & Laurelyn Dossett and has opened for The Neville Brothers, Joan Armatrading and Root Boy Slim.
The Alley Rabbits are an eclectic bunch of string musicians focused on fast and fun interpretations of tunes from all over the radio dial. Bluegrass instruments set the timbre of the music, but the set lists can span from Bill Monroe to Fats Domino, and from the Stones to the Carter Family. Sharp playing, delicate harmonies, and as many songs about death and flowers as any one group can deliver! The Rabbits have been a local favorite in Greensboro for many years, now moving into their third decade of playing as a full band. Wide open fun is on the menu!
Founding members Dan Clouse, Mark Dillon and Christen Blanton Mack met at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as founding members of UNCG Old-Time Ensemble. Bassist Ryan Mack joined soon after. Recognizing a mutual love for traditional music, they started The Zinc Kings to explore the old-time, early bluegrass, blues, and folk music of the North Carolina Piedmont. The Zinc Kings continue to be inspired by traditional music as they take on projects writing original music. Their original music for Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” (with the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, Raleigh Little Theatre and Bare Theater) was nominated for Best Original Music by IndyWeek. The Zinc Kings’ upcoming album is their most ambitious yet, featuring original music recorded live in the historic Sunset Theater in Asheboro, North Carolina. All four of the members of The Zinc Kings are full time musicians, professors, teachers, and studio musicians. Individually, they are sought-after musicians but are perhaps at their best, and most entertaining, when working as a cohesive unit.
Our Band will win your heart. Steeped in the tradition of great male and female duets such as Johnny Cash and June Carter, Sasha Papernik and Justin Poindexter bring their award-winning songwriting, intimate harmonies and Eastern-European flair to a rich Americana soundscape. Together, they have performed for audiences in some of the world’s greatest venues, from Carnegie Hall to Lincoln Center to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. In 2018-19 they toured Poland, Germany and Estonia as ambassadors of American music for U.S. State Department. Their new album, featuring American music legend David Amram, will be released in 2019.
If it’s Irish traditional music you’re looking for, look no further—you can count on The Last Rays of Sunday to always deliver a brilliant assortment of Irish tunes and songs in “pure drop” fashion. Three highly accomplished traditional musicians seamlessly blend their many talents when they join forces as “The Rays”— Megan Bennett Irby (vocal, bodhran), Don Penzien (guitar, whistle), and Bella Issakova (fiddle)—and they never fail to delight their audiences no matter the setting!
Don Penzien has long been a top-flight performer of Irish traditional music. In addition to performing with The Rays, he frequently is on the road with Gailfean, the Máirtín de Cógáin Project, Shared Madness, and others. Widely acclaimed for his reserved backing style, Don’s dexterous work on DADGAD-tuned guitar provides solid, driving rhythms to traditional tunes as well as perceptive and sensitive accompaniments to songs and airs.
Growing up in Wilmington, NC, Megan Bennett Irby began performing at a young age before her pursuit of an academic career lured her away from music. Having now completed two master’s degrees and a PhD, Megan once again found the inspiration to pursue her love of music—this time in the Irish tradition. She applies her own powerful and emotive singing style to much-loved traditional songs that tell stories of revolution, liberty, loss, and love.Many years a successful and acclaimed classical violinist, Bella Issakova received her classical education in the Sofia Music School in Bulgaria as well as at Tel Aviv’s prestigious Thelma Yalin School. Although it was classical music that first took her around the world (e.g., she’s shared the stage with such notables as Zubin Meta, Kurt Mazur, Krystian Zimmerman, Martin Chalifour among many others), a chance encounter with Irish Traditional music in 2000 compelled Bella to travel to Ireland to study the music from its source. Since 2003 Bella’s travels now have her performing (as well teaching) Irish music at festivals, concerts, and tune sessions around the globe!
Lee Atkinson has been plunking on a guitar, tapping on a piano, or trying to learn any new instrument for years, but her first love is acapella singing, especially with her daughter Sarah. In 2009, Lee and Sarah came in second in the National duet contest and were featured on “A Prairie Home Companion ” and have been harmonizing ever since.
Sarah Atkinson Gosch is a Greensboro native now living in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children. She is a Hospice nurse, enjoys gardening and sings whenever possible. She is honored to have been asked to perform at the Folk Festival this year, and gladly flew home!
Kate Musselwhite Tobey is a maker of music, stories and spaces. She recently returned with her family to her hometown of Greensboro after a decade in the Washington, D.C. area. She has worked in journalism, production and innovation, but music has always been her soul food – particularly voice and violin.
Chris Frisina was born in the rustic town of Olean, New York to a family of northeastern wiseacres and intelligent hillbillies who remain hell bent on living full, rich lives despite brutal winters in a persistent economic downturn. Runt of the litter, according to his only sister. Not one to commit easily, he skirted the compulsive hunting and fishing tradition held close to his father’s heart – instead cultivating a sensitivity more suited to artists and vagabonds. In illustrations, his pen swirl meanders towards an eventual finish only understood upon completion – just as in his music. In songwriting, Chris uses what can only be explained as a genetic link to ancestral angst and talent to search for his place in a world out of sync. Part unquiet soul. Part young fool. Chris hopes to share his observations on our shared journey through life in mutual search of something pure. Chris continues to pull from a constant and pervasive sense of disquiet–gleaned from his childhood, solo travels, work experiences, sullen periods of insomnia and close friendships–to create mournful tones, pulsing with lost opportunity, longing and regret. Except for those few magical times, when it goes the other way.
Big Ron Hunter is known as “the happiest bluesman in the world”. He describes his guitar style as “red bank squirrel scratching blues”. He has performed all over the world including France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austalia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala He is the 2019 recipient of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society’s prestigious “Keeping the Blues Alive” award. He has also performed all over the USA including performeances at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, the French Quarter, Joe’s Pub in NYC, and has even performed with Derek Trucks. He counts Guitar Gabriel, Roy Roberts, and many other Music Makers masters among his friends and influences.
The Minor Swing Band specializes in re-invigorating the gypsy jazz genre. Taking inspiration from the great Django Reinhardt, members Keith Buckner, Jim Carson and Kevin Dollar and “Doc” Fribush play traditional tunes with frequent modern twists. Toe-tapping and finger-snapping, their live performances transport listeners back to 1930’s Paris!