Montana Folk Festival: Final 7 announced

New Orleans brass band, jazz guitarist and Dominican blues singer join line-up in July

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The final seven performers were recently announced for the 2018 Montana Folk Festival, coming to Butte, Montana July 13-15. This fills out the line-up for the festival’s performance stages that run continuously through the festival weekend.

“We will let attendees decide for themselves as they plan how they will take it all in, but there will be plenty of excitement for everyone,” says festival director George Everett. “They should expect to be amazed.”

The 2018 Montana Folk Festival’s Final Seven

Andre Veloz, Dominican Bachata, New York: “In Spanish there is a saying: ‘De musicos, poetas y locos todos tenemos un poco.’ This translates into something like: ‘We are all part musician and poet and just a little bit crazy.’ In my case, I believe I was blessed with an extra tablespoon of those three ingredients,” says Andre Veloz.  

This extraordinary vocalist takes to the stage as if she owns it and, from the very first note, connects with the audience. Her soulful voice – pure, sonorous and effortless – is tailor-made for this genre, popularly known as the “Dominican blues.” A voice that’s at once plaintive and sure – the hallmark of bluesy music everywhere – it says: “Yes, it hurts, but I will survive.”

Treme Brass Band, New Orleans: Marching brass band, led by Benny Jones Sr., plays traditional New Orleans-style brass band music. Its shifting line-up has included trumpeters Kermit Ruffins and James Andrews, tenor saxophonists Elliot Callier and Frederick Sheppard, trombonist Corey Henry, and sousaphonist Kirk Joseph.

The band has released two albums, Gimme My Money Back and I Got a Big, Fat Woman, was featured in the 2011 non-fiction film by Darren Hoffman, “Tradition Is a Temple,” leads the Marching Krewe KOE on its Fat Tuesday Parade throughout the French Quarter in New Orleans, and received a 2006 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts – the United States’ highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Frank Vignola Jazz Guitar Trio with Vinny Rainolo and Gary Mazaroppi, Long Island, New York: Frank Vignola’s stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the Boston Pops and the New York Pops. Guitar legend Les Paul named Vignola to his “Five Most Admired Guitarists List” for the Wall Street Journal. And Vignola’s jaw-dropping technique explains why The New York Times deemed him “one of the brightest stars of the guitar.”

With more than 1,000 engagements in the last five years alone, Vignola has become one of the most popular and sought-after guitarists on the international music scene. His dynamic genre-spanning music has brought him to 14 countries on three continents, including concerts at some of the world’s most illustrious venues.

Black Whistle Singers, Lodge Grass: Group of Crow singers and dancers from the Apsáalooke Nation in Montana straddles the deep traditional culture of the Crow Nation and the spinning whirl of modern-day culture. The primal power of the drum’s heartbeat underscores the soaring vocals on Black Whistle’s debut album, Keeping Tradition Alive; a second album followed, Remembering Friends.

Black Whistle Singers represent the ancient and enduring Apsáalooke Nation in playing for tribal ceremonies, powwows and other important events.

Mamadou Kelly Band, Bamako, Mali: Mamadou Kelly hails from Goundam near Timbuktu in the heartland of Mali’s Niger River Delta. Born in 1969, Kelly first picked up the guitar at 17 and traveled up the river to the town of Niafunke to learn from the great Ali Farka Toure, legendary master of Mali’s acclaimed “desert blues” tradition. He went on to become a key member of Alkibar, and has released three albums as a solo artist.

Kelly has established himself as a formidable performer and composer. Backed by veteran sidemen collectively known as BanKaiNa, the band cooks refined rhythms into profound grooves.

Greek Rebetiko Trio, Los Angeles: Dimitris Mann and his trio are classically trained musicians who share a love of sustaining and interpreting Rebitiko music from their native Greece. The trio perpetuates a long tradition of music that represents a synthesis of elements of European music, Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical chants, often referred to as Byzantine music, and the traditions of Ottoman art music and café music – typically accompanied by instruments such as the bouzouki and guitar.

Supaman, Billings: Native American hip-hop artist makes his home on the Crow reservation in Montana, where Christian Takes Gun Parrish has dedicated his life to empowering and spreading a message of hope through culture and music. His combination of Native American and urban hip-hop culture has earned him a Nammy (Native American Music Award), a North American Indigenous Image Award, and seven Tunney Awards. He recently was awarded The Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award in Canada for best video and was voted MTV’s New Artist of the Week.

His videos “Prayer Loop Song” and “Why” both have gone viral and have received over two million views on Youtube and Facebook. He has toured extensively across the US and internationally.

Supaman will perform at the Montana Folk Festival in partnership with Native Youth Art in Action (NYAA), a new program of Indian People’s Action that brings young artists from Montana’s seven reservations to participate in the First People’s Market at the Montana Folk Festival.

Rounding out the 2018 festival program are dozens of artists, demonstrators, instructors and performers in the Arts Markets, Family Area and Montana Folklife Area.

About the Montana Folk Festival

The Montana Folk Festival evolved from the three-year tenure in Montana of the National Folk Festival from 2008-2010. Since 1934, the National Folk Festival has celebrated the roots, richness and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional craft, storytelling and food. It is the oldest celebration of traditional arts in the country.

The Montana Folk Festival continues this tradition by highlighting, exploring and celebrating the heritage of diversity and cultural richness with music and dance performances on six stages, workshops, children’s activities, folklife demonstrations, a festival marketplace and ethnic and regional foods.

No admission is charged, but attendees are encouraged to “Pony Up” with a contribution in the colored buckets of $20 for an individual and $25 for a family to ensure that the festival continues for years to come.

“You could expect to pay $40 or more to see any one of these performers at another venue,” says Everett. “These performers will all be in Butte throughout the festival weekend and admission to all shows will be the same – free, thanks to the generosity of our many contributors and sponsors.”

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