Music & Dance

Traditions Showcases

The Great Lakes Folk Festival strives to not only present great music but to inform audiences about the history and social context of the music. Each year, a few on-stage sessions are devoted to musicians who share stories about their art as well as compare...

Participate

Not only can you listen to great music from many different cultures at the Great Lakes Folk Festival, you can also make your own music or dance the day away in audience participation activities, including an Old Time Jam , Community Sing , Ukulele Strum ,...

Irish Session hosted by Cara Lieurance, Dave Marlatt, and Steve Rohs

Cara Lieurance is a flutist and button accordionist who has been playing Irish traditional music for nearly 20 years. A resident of Kalamazoo, she and long-time playing partner, fiddler Dave Marlatt, are the co-hosts of a weekly Irish music session, a ...

Folk Song Jam with the Bath Market Minstrels

The Bath Market Minstrels have been providing music for the Bath Township Farmer's Market every Thursday since the market started in 2010. Originally Mike Ross and Jake Goodwin, both Bath residents, alternated performances at every other market, however...

Cajun Jam with Sel de Terre

Sel de Terre ("Salt of the Earth") plays Cajun and Creole music: driving 2 steps, beautiful waltzes, all sung in Cajun french. It is the music of the dancehalls and traditional house dances of Louisiana. This group is the sound of twin fiddles, rhythm g...

Old Time Jam with the Pretty Shaky String Band

The Pretty Shaky String Band is an East Lansing institution. Shakies have been meeting each Wednesday night for nearly forty years. Many of Michigan's finest folk musicians are Shaky alumni. Primarily an old time folk music jam, the Shakies also perform...

Slow Jam with Mike Ross, Mary Ross, and John Suppnick

Mike and Mary Ross have taught fiddle tune workshops at Elderly Instruments to musicians of all skill level. Mike has played fiddle and harmonica for around 30 years and is also an accomplished guitar and banjo player. He plays regularly with the Scarlet...

Dulcimer Jam hosted by Judi and Glen Morningstar Jr.

Judi Morningstar has been playing hammered dulcimer since 1978. She plays piano & hammered dulcimer for traditional American Historical Dances, English Country Dance and Contra & Square Dances both locally & throughout the U.S. With husband...

Klezmer 101 hosted by Heartland Klezmorim

Heartland Klezmorim plays Yiddish Folk Music, Klezmer, and lots of fun dance music. On August 13 at the Great Lakes Folk Festival, members of Heartland Klezmorim will be presenting a workshop on the basics of playing Klezmer. The workshop, entitled...

Ben Hassenger - Uke Strum Leader

The ukulele, a small guitar-like instrument typically with four strings, originated in Hawaii in the 19th century. Its name derives from the Hawaiian words uku (the gift that came from here) and lele (to come). With support from royalty like Queen Liliʻuokalani ...

Sally Potter - Community Sing Leader

Dedicating a stage session at the Great Lakes Folk Festival to participatory singing began in the summer of 2010. Sally Potter , local musician, producer, and educator, started the Mid-Winter Singing Festival in 2003. Since that time, Potter strongly encouraged t...

Festival Performers

The music and dance program features performances ranging from Blues to Bluegrass, Celtic and more diverse cultural expressions and traditions. Musical artists usually perform two to four times throughout the weekend, so visitors have a chance to see...
Anna & Elizabeth

Anna & Elizabeth

What began in 2011 as two artists sharing a love of Appalachian music has evolved into a visionary project that utilizes multimedia such as visual art, movement, and experimental film. Through their immersive creative process and bold interpretations,...

Bandolero Durán

Bandolero Durán explores the many sounds and styles of Latin American Music.   Their music is played in Solidarity of Social and Cultural Movements.   They are a window open to, and from, Latin American Music and Culture.
Bryan Bowers

Bryan Bowers

For over four decades, Bryan Bowers has been to the autoharp what Earl Scruggs was to the five-string banjo. Born in Yorktown, Virginia, Bowers was raised in New Bohemia near Petersburg of the Civil War's Battle of The Crater fame. As a child, Bowers...
Chris Jones & The Night Drivers

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers

Chris Jones is a quadruple threat as a singer, a songwriter, a guitarist and—thanks to his role hosting SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction —one of the most widely heard broadcasting voices in bluegrass music. Following apprenticeships with bluegrass legen...
CommonWealth Dance Collective

CommonWealth Dance Collective

The CommonWealth Dance Collective (CDC) is an ensemble of step dancers based in lower Michigan.  Founded by Sheila Graziano in 2004, the CDC presents a review of many styles of percussive dance, including Irish, Appalachian, English, Canadian, American ...
Connla

Connla

With a name taken from a character in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology, Connla hails from the cities of Armagh and Derry in Northern Ireland.   From Derry City, Ciaran Carlin (whistles) began to learn tin whistle at eight years of age....
Duane Malinowski

Duane Malinowski

Duane Malinowski grew up in Toledo, Ohio's Polish-settled Kuszwantz district, and at the age of seven, became fascinated with the accordion. He began accordion lessons with a local teacher, which were cut short when his instructor died, and Duane's interest...

El Guero Estrada

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Jacob “El Guero” Estrada’s family originated from Carrizo Springs, Texas and Nueva Rosita Coahuila, Mexico, and Jacob is the fourth generation of a family a rich history of musical talent in its bloodline. His grandfather, who h...
Guy Davis

Guy Davis

Guy Davis once said, "I like antiques and old things, old places, that still have the dust of those who've gone before us lying upon them." Growing up in a family of artists (his parents were Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis), Guy Davis fell under the spell of...
Heartland Klezmorim

Heartland Klezmorim

Heartland Klezmorim co-founders violinist Susanne Garber and trumpet player David Klein have been dedicated to klezmer music since 2004. That year, they attended a Yiddish workshop in the Catskills, KlezKamp, where they both mentored with legendary klezmer...
Joni Harms

Joni Harms

Once upon a time, Country Music was known as “Country & Western.” Somewhere along the way, the “Western” was dropped. “I personally can’t live without Western music,” says Joni Harms. “I like a lot of today’s country music, but the truth of the m...

Orquesta Ritmo

Born in Havana, Cuba, Michael (Mike) Eyia started classical guitar lessons at the age of 10 under the tutelage of world-renowned Cuban guitarist and composer Dr. Leo Brower. After leaving Cuba due to the unstable political climate, Mike came to the U.S....
Sam Gleaves

Sam Gleaves

Born and raised in Wythe County in southwest Virginia, Sam Gleaves performs innovative mountain music with a sense of history. Under the direction of local teacher and barber Jim Lloyd, Sam took up stringband instruments as a teenager, including the banjo,...

Scarlet Runner String Band

Scarlet Runner String Band has been together in this configuration since about 1990. They play regularly for the monthly Looking Glass dances in the Lansing area and also have played for dances for the Ten Pound Fiddle in Lansing and in Oakland County,...

Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project

Jazz violinist Steve Gibons leads Chicago’s Gypsy Rhythm Project, playing Romanian Gypsy music and American Jazz, and a blend of the two. He came to this genre (in Romanian Musica Lautareasca) through Klezmer music, whose roots go back to the northeastern p...
T’Monde

T’Monde

Drew Simon (accordion) was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana and developed an interest in Cajun music in his late teens.  At 20, he began playing the accordion and started learning the words to many of the songs in his huge Cajun music repertoire.  A...