Montana Folk Festival: The Final Eight

Butte festival announces final line-up of 21 performers coming to Butte July 12-14

On Stage

The Montana Folk Festival has announced the final addition to this year’s line-up of the 21 performers headed for Butte July 12-14.

“Now we can give everyone the complete picture of what they can expect when they come to Butte this July,” said Festival Director George Everett. He promises “plenty of excitement for everyone,” regardless of their musical interests.

The latest additions to the roster are:

Led Kaapana, master of the Hawaiian slack-key guitar, joins the festival line-up.

Led Kaapana, Hawaiian slack-key guitar: Kaapana’s mastery of stringed instruments, particularly slack key guitar, and his extraordinary baritone and leo ki`eki`e (falsetto) voices, have made him a musical legend. He has been thrilling audiences for more than 40 years and with his easy-going style and kolohe (rascal) charm, has built a loyal corps of Led Heads from Brussels to his birthplace on the Big Island of Hawaii. Recognition by his peers earned Led four Grammy nominations and two wins on slack-key compilations.

Mick Moloney, Irish traditional: Musician, singer, anthropologist and musical historian Mick Moloney celebrates the joyous and creative era in American popular song from the early 1890’s to the end of vaudeville and the start of the Great Depression on his new release, If It Wasn’t For the Irish and the Jews.

Born in Ireland, Moloney came to America in 1973 and pursued a career that uniquely combines the roles of musician, folklorist, author, presenter, radio and television personality, and educator. He’s the recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA, the highest honor a traditional artist can receive in the United States.

Rahim AlHaj Trio, Iraqi Oud, Iranian Santour and American percussion: The Rahim AlHaj Trio features Iraqi oud virtuoso and composer Rahim Alhaj, Iranian santour maestro Sourena Sefati and world percussion master Nicholas Baker.

The Rahim AlHaj Trio features Iraqi oud virtuoso and composer Rahim Alhaj, Iranian santour maestro Sourena Sefati and world percussion master Nicholas Baker.

Alhaj, who was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 2015, has performed around the globe and is considered one of the finest oud players in the world. The accomplished trio performs his intricate compositions that evoke the experience of exile from his homeland and new beginnings in his adopted country. His pieces establish new concepts without altering the foundation of the traditional “Iraqi School of Oud.”

Charlie Walden, old-time fiddle: Walden is recognized as one the best Missouri old-time fiddlers of his day and is the reigning Illinois State Fiddle Champ (an honor he won five times). He has taught fiddle and guitar to dozens of aspiring players, and has helped preserve and pass on the unique Missouri style and repertoire.

Jasmine Bell and North Bear, Native American hoop dancing and drumming: Two-time world champion hoop dancer Jasmine Bell (Good Road Woman of the Crow Creek Sioux) will perform traditional hoop dancing at the Montana Folk Festival accompanied by her husband, lead drummer in the acclaimed Northern-style drum group North Bear.

Yuliyana Krivoshapkina, traditional Yakut Khomus: Virtuoso in the art of the khomus, the national instrument of the Sakha Republic in Russia, Krivoshapkina plays an instrument that functions much like a mouth harp, but is loud and strikingly expansive in range. Yuliyana’s skill allows her to play sounds across about three octaves in a repertoire that combines throat singing and folk melodies. Audiences might hear the rustle of grass in the wind, the cry of a bird startled in the sky, and the quiet incantations of an ancient shamanic ritual. She will be accompanied by Aidyn Byrtaan-ool, a Tuvan throat singer who also performs with several traditional Tuvan instruments.

Rahzel – “The Godfather of Noyze” – comes to the Montana Folk Festival.

Rahzel, hip-hop beatbox: One of the biggest names in beatboxing today, “the Godfather of Noyze” is redefining the limits of the human voice. Beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion considered the “fifth element” of hip-hop culture, along with DJing, MCing, graffiti and breakdance. First emerging from working-class African American communities in New York City in the late 1970s, beatboxing exemplifies the hip-hop philosophy of creating meaningful artistic expressions with limited resources. Beatbox artists use their voices to mimic the sounds of the drum machine and the record turntable, but also horns, string instruments, and much more.

Through both his solo work and his stint with the live-music hip-hop group The Roots, Rahzel is credited with bringing beatboxing back to the fore of hip-hop in the 1990s. He has worked with artists from Björk to Branford Marsalis, and continues to push the limits of what a beatbox artist can create with only their lips, tongue, cheeks, and Adam’s apple.

Himilayan Heritage Band: The Boston area is home to a large and growing Nepalese community and the Himalayan Heritage Cultural Academy is at its heart. Founded by master musicians to give Nepali traditional arts and music a formal presence in the community, the Academy is also home to the Himalayan Heritage Band – a group of virtuoso musicians and teachers dedicated to ensuring the continuation of their beloved traditional music.

The Himalayan Heritage Band features Shyam Nepali on sarangi (bowed string instrument), Sushil Gautam on murchunga (jaw harp) and madal (hand drum), Ranjan Budhathoki on bansuri (bamboo flute), and Raj Kapoor on madal. Kapoor will also perform the Lakhe Mask Dance, which is associated with Indra Jatra, a religious street festival that takes place each September in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley.

Previously announced groups to perform at the 2019 Montana Folk Festival are featured on and include: Eddie Cotton, Jr. (blues); Dale Davis and the Warrior River Boys (bluegrass); Kyle Huval and the Dixie Club Ramblers (Cajun); Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros (Cuban swing); Cora Harvey Armstrong (gospel); Felipe Hostins (Brazilian forro); Carl & Buddies (waila); Garifuna Collective (Garifuna); Jason Samuels Smith (jazz tap); Carolyn Martin Swing Band (western swing); Rosa Tatuata (Italian traditional);  Taj Weekes and Adowa (reggae); and the NY Crimean Tatar Ensemble (Crimean traditional).

Rounding out the 2019 festival program are dozens of artists, demonstrators, instructors and performers in two Arts Markets, the Family Area and Montana Folklife Area.

No admission is charged for any performance over the three days of the festival but attendees are encouraged to show their love with a contribution in the colored buckets of $20 for an individual and $25 for a family to ensure the festival continues for years to come.

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