Montana Folk Festival organizers this week announced the first seven performing artists/groups coming to the 2016 Montana Folk Festival in Butte, Montana, July 8-10.
Admission is free to all performances during the three days of the festival, although organizers encourage attendees to show their appreciation with a contribution of $20 per person a day and $25 for a family each day to sustain the festival for years to come.
More than 20 performer groups representing a broad diversity of musical and cultural traditions will perform on the festival's six stages in Uptown Butte.
"Here's a go, folks. This is the sixth year in Butte for the Montana Folk Festival and our ninth year of presenting this festival which was the National Folk Festival in its first three years,” says Festival Director George Everett. “Everyone planning to attend, no matter how well they think they know this festival by now, should come expecting to be amazed."
This first set of performers only represents about one third of those who will perform in July.
The first seven performing artists/groups confirmed for the 2016 Montana Folk Festival are:
Born in 1991 in St. Louis, Missouri, Marquise hails from a musical family deeply entrenched in the Blues. He learned how to play guitar from his grandmother Lillie whose family were sharecroppers and whose great, great grandparents were slaves.
For Marquise, Blues is his heritage and a way of life. He spent his early teenage years in St. Louis mentoring under the late great Blues legend, NEA Heritage Fellow and Grammy Award winner Henry James Townsend. Marquise's talents have earned him performing rights with some of America’s most notable blues performers such as blues legend and Grammy Award winners B.B. King, Pinetop Perkins and David “Honeyboy” Edwards (the latter two also NEA Heritage Fellows). He has also performed at dozens of festivals, and has toured Germany and played the Baden Blues Festival in Switzerland.
Knox’s debut album MANCHILD was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. The album was recorded when he was 16. The release received worldwide acclaim, including Living Blues' Best Debut Artist Award and a Blues Music Award nomination for Best Debut Artist. Marquise recently released his third album, Here I Am, once again recorded at the legendary Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas.
Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band
Born on July 1, 1967 in Churchpoint, Louisiana, Chubby is the third generation of zydeco artists with such famous relatives as Roy Carrier (father), Warren Carrier (grandfather), and cousins Bebe and Calvin Carrier who are presently considered legends in zydeco history.
Chubby began his musical career at the age of 12 by playing drums with his father's band. He began playing the accordion at the age of 15. By age 17, Chubby had begun to play with Terrance Siemien and toured the world for 2 1/2 years, before forming his own band in 1989.
Since then, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band have recorded 10 CDs.
A highpoint of his career, Chubby was honored with the Grammy Award for the Best Zydeco or Cajun Music album for Zydeco Junkie at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011.
The Jerry Grcevitch Orchestra
Jerry Grcevich, born into a musical family in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, studied tamburitza (Croatian string music) with his father and uncle, both musical directors and performers.
At 10, he began performing with his father’s orchestra. When he was 21, he traveled to Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, to study with tamburitza prim player and orchestra leader Janika Balaz. He has also studied with tamburitza singer and composer Zvonko Bogdan, and with Romani from Novi Sad, as well as learning western European music theory and harmony at Seton Hill College. Grcevich has performed with tamburitza groups throughout the country, including Sviraj of Harrisburg, Slanina of Chicago, and the Yesta Brothers of Los Angeles.
In 1980, he began composing and recording his own musical pieces. Because he mastered all five of the instruments of the tamburitza ensemble – the prim, brac, tamburitza cello, bugarija, and tamburitza bass – he often uses "sound-on-sound" recording techniques, to construct an ensemble featuring only his own playing. As a result of his special musical skills, he is able to capture the characteristic melody, harmony, counterpoint, and rhythm of the tamburitza orchestra.
Grcevich is generally recognized as the most accomplished prim player in the world. In 1993, he formed his own ensemble in Pittsburgh, The Jerry Grcevich Orchestra. They play for many Croatian social events, Balkan folk dance festivals, and Croatian ethnic festivals. Grcevich is also equally in demand in Croatia, performing there at a variety of occasions.
In 2001, Grcevich was awarded the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ Fellowship in the Folk and Traditional Arts, the highest honor a folk artist can receive from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In that same year, he was inducted into the Tamburitza Hall of Fame, the youngest musician to receive that honor.
Adonis and his fraternal twin Alexis, now better known as Alex Cuba, were born in 1974 in Artemisa, Cuba. Their father, Valentin Puentes is a well-respected musician and teacher, and at six the twins were playing in a children’s guitar ensemble. At 14, Adonis was singing and writing original songs, music that has ripened and matured into the poetic, sensuous song-cycle, Sabor a Café (TumbaKing Records/Pacific Music).
Puentes has been nominated for a Juno Award with his brother and garnered a Grammy Award nomination for his lead vocalist work with the nine-piece, L.A.-based Mongorama, directed by well-known radio host Jose Rizo. He has toured with Irakere veteran Maraca Orland Valle and sang at L.A.’s Greek Theater, Hollywood & Highland, and Lincoln Center, where he shared the stage with Latin music luminaries Larry Harlow and Ruben Blades before 24,000 New York fans. He has performed at festivals around the world from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas to Java Jazz in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Puentes Brothers’ award-winning 2001 CD, Morumba Cubana and Adonis’ 2005 solo debut, Vida were critically acclaimed, the latter earning Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year in the Island Music Awards.
Puentes has gained a reputation as a great singer and an elegant composer and lyricist grounded and nourished by his Cuban roots and worldly experience and he is bringing all of that to the Montana Folk Festival this July.
Born into a respected multi-generational singing tradition, Fawn Wood's vocal artistry reflects the confluence of her Cree and Salish tribal lineages. Her debut recording, Iskwewak (meaning "women" in Cree), collects songs of honor and celebration along with Round Dance songs that mirror the world seen through the eyes of a Native American woman. Iskwewak honors the qualities of strength, intuition and love that form the cultural inheritance of Indigenous women. Fawn Wood continues to redefine the standard for North American indigenous vocals in her first solo album Iskwewak. Released in 2012, Iskwewak is produced and distributed by Canyon Records and is Fawn’s first solo album with the label and features a beautiful collection of songs reflecting both Fawn’s traditional cultural heritage of the coastal Salish people and contemporary round dance as well as solo vocals and collaborations with her husband Dallas Washakat.
A widely recognized couple in Indian Country, Dallas and Fawn became a symbol of old-fashioned “Indian love” when Dallas proposed to Fawn live at North America’s largest powwow – the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their collective voice, on the powwow trail and beyond, is renowned and well featured in Iskwewak: Songs of Indigenous Womanhood.
Titled Kikāwiynaw meaning “our mother,” Wood’s latest collection honors the female spirit. Her clear, warm, and expressive voice is an open door—guiding you into her round dance, hand game, and traditional songs. Once inside, you’re greeted with layered, ethereal harmonies and occasional gentle instrumentation that gently wrap you in their warmth.
Wood’s music invites you to connect with your spirit as she travels through themes of longing, loss, remembrance, family, celebration, and gratitude and it's an invitation that can't be refused by your ears and heart.
Since 2003, Éric Beaudry, André Brunet and Pierre-Luc Dupuis have been exploring and performing time-honoured melodies from the stomping grounds of Quebec’s musical past. Using fiddle, accordion, harmonica, guitar, bouzouki and other instruments, these three virtuosos blend boundless energy with the unmistakable joie de vivre found only in traditional Quebec music.
De Temps Antan is a super-group of Québécois folk music. Each member of De Temps Antan (French for From Times Long Ago) was a leader in the massive, multi-platinum Québec folk band La Bottine Souriante and have toured the world over on some the biggest stages. Now they’ve taken the energy they brought to arena performances and channeled this into a shockingly powerful trio. These musicians are virtuosic performers, and their interpretations of the music of Québec are as much informed by their world travels as by their fieldwork and family ties. Their music is explosive and they put out as much sound and energy as a much larger band. Their sound is anchored by the “tac-tic-a tac” of les pieds (a form of seated clogging found only in French Canada), the blazing fiddle of André Brunet, the brash accordion playing of Pierre-Luc Dupuis and the pristine voice and exquisite guitar accompaniment of Éric Beaudry.
Fiddler/vocalist André Brunet won the 2008 Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championship, the first time a Québécois musician has won this honor, and is the best fiddler of his generation. He appeared live during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Opening Games and toured for years as La Bottine Souriante’s fiddling star. His impact on French-Canadian fiddling is huge.
Pierre-Luc Dupuis fronted the La Bottine Souriante after the departure of Yves Lambert. These were big shoes to fill, but Pierre-Luc’s rowdy songs and raging accordion playing brought La Bottine around the world. His rich voice brings time-worn Québécois chansons à réponse (call-and-response songs) to a new level.
Éric Beaudry is a dedicated fieldworker who has traveled throughout Québec collecting songs and tunes. He’s currently leading La Bottine Souriante with his close friend Benoît Bourque, and splitting his time touring the world with La Bottine and lighting up stages with his subtle, emotional singing and richly layered guitar work in De Temps Antan.
From Kolkata, India, Debashish Bhattacharya started learning Indian music from his parents before he learned to read. In his childhood he mastered many Indian classical instrumental styles as well as vocal music from different musical teachers in Calcutta. He became a disciple and student of Brij Bhushan Khabra, the father of Indian classical guitar, for 10 years, and also trained under Ajoy Chakraborty, the eminent Indian vocalist. He has also studied with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
As a performer, Debashish gave his first guitar recital at the age of four on the All India Radio, and in a public concert. In his twenties, he evolved a unique style of playing guitar, synthesizing selected features of various other instruments such as the Veena, Sitar, Sarod and Sarangi. He has given to the world a new schooling of Guitar...Kolkata Gharana.
Debashish developed his innovative Hindustani slide guitars after years of research and experience. It consists of three self designed and patented guitars named Chaturangui, Gandharvi and Anandi. Debashish plays these guitars while sitting cross legged, with the guitar held on the lap and played with a small steel bar, metal picks and a celluloid thumb pick.
Debashish is one of the greatest slide guitarists of the world who has contributed to the guitar world a new standard and style of playing the guitar. Over more than 30 years he has cut a niche in the world of music.
He has received numerous aficionados, his compositions, his music, and his philosophy of teaching has changed the life of many. His has also given to the world of music, the actual design of the instrument, and through his incredible talent and discipline, elevated the Hindustani slide guitar to be the highest evolution of slide guitar anywhere.
To develop his playing, he has undergone decades of disciplined study of Indian vocal technique combined with his instrumental work. As a student of Indian Music (Hindustani) he has redefined Indian Classical Music on Slide Guitar. His path has taken him to perform at more than 3,000 concerts worldwide including many music festivals across India, training more than 1,000 students, and he has designed different 19 guitars. Of his 15 albums, three have won international awards.
The BNSF Railway Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the national railway company BNSF Railway, has announced their commitment as a major sponsor of the Montana Folk Festival returning to Butte this coming July 8-10.
"We are grateful that BNSF Railway has decided to support the Montana Folk Festival,” said George Everett of the Montana Folk Festival Executive Committee. "It is a hopeful sign for the future of the festival in Butte that has become a signature event for Montana and surrounding states," Everett added.
“The BNSF Raiulway Foundation is proud to support this year’s Montana Folk Festival," according to BNSF Railway Spokesperson, Matt Jones. "An event like this contributes so much to the local economy, it’s one way we give back to the communities we serve."
BNSF Railway Foundation's sponsorship will be doubled too thanks to the ongoing challenge by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation to match business sponsorships up to $50,000.
For more details about the Montana Folk Festival returning this July 8-10, visit www.montanafolkfestival.com or on Facebook at Mtfolkfest.
Several sponsorship opportunities are still available for companies that want to take advantage of the exposure to the large crowds that are expected at this event this year.
For more details about how the festival is shaping up including available sponsorship opportunities and benefits, visit www.montanafolkfestival.com or call 565-2249.