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 the bands they like and discover new genres and favorites.

Festivals visitors have the chance to sing, dance and play at the festival, including a Community Sing, Jam Tent, Ukulele Strum, and dance workshops. Younger folks can try hands-on activities in the Kidlore area.

Anna & Elizabeth

Old-Time Ballads
Cedar Springs, Virginia

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, Anna & Elizabeth pioneer new ways of understanding old songs and stories.

 

Anna Roberts-Gevalt is a voracious and curious musician who nestles in the space between ancient ballads and new sounds. After spending years in Baltimore’s underground art scene,

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The Soldier and the Lady

Bandolero Durán

Voices and Colors of Latin America
Detroit, Michigan

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.

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Guanabacoa Bella

Bryan Bowers

Autoharp
Sedro-Woolley, Washington

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 would tag along with the field workers and gandy dancers and learned to sing old call-and-answer songs. In the late 1960s, he enrolled at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, but dropped out just three credit hours short of earning a degree in Spanish.

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Lakes of Ponchetrain

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers

Bluegrass
Nashville, Tennessee

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 legend Dave Evans and Chicago’s durable Special Consensus, Chris moved to Nashville in 1989 as a member of the band Weary Hearts, where his colleagues included Ron Block (Alison Krauss & Union Station), Mike Bub (Del McCoury Band,

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Range Road

CommonWealth Dance Collective

Percussive Dance Ensemble
(Various Points) Michigan

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 tap, historic routines and original choreography.  

Sheila discovered her passion for dance as a child, when she started taking tap dance lessons at the Shirley St. Mary School of Dance in Detroit.  As a young adult, her enthusiasm for percussive dance grew with the discovery of Appalachian clogging and other forms of traditional dance.  Read more »

Connla

Irish Celtic
Armagh, Derry, Northern Ireland

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. Brought up in a well-known musical family, the O’Carolans, he and his two siblings were sent to take lessons in tin whistle and fiddle at a local Comhaltas branch,

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Pilot

Duane Malinowski

Slovenian/German/Czech Polka
Toledo, Ohio

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 in the accordion waned, and he gave it up for a few years. At the insistence of a neighborhood friend, Teddy Knapik, Duane picked up his accordion to reacquaint himself with the instrument.  Soon, Duane and Teddy formed a band,

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Hey Musicians Polka

El Guero Estrada

Tejano
Toledo, Ohio

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 had a band with his four brothers that performed regularly in the Toledo area, served as an early mentor to Jacob, and passed the tradition along to him. A versatile musician, Jacob plays accordion,

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Solamente Tu

Guy Davis

Blues
New York, New York

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 Blind Willie McTell and Fats Waller at an early age.  Guy has had his musical storytelling influenced by artists like McTell and Big Bill Broonzy, his musicality via artists as diverse as Lightnin’

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Louise, Louise

Heartland Klezmorim

Klezmer
East Lansing, Michigan

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 musician, Pete Sokolow. Sokolow introduced them to the repertoire and approach to playing klezmer, and since then, Susanne and David have played in klezmer dance bands of Sokolow and Ken Maltz.

Since 2006, the East Lansing-based Heartland Klezmorim has been performing klezmer music throughout the mid-west.

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Heartland Hora Suite

Joni Harms

Traditional Country Singer
Canby, Oregon

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 matter is that I’m very serious about keeping the western side of country music alive.”

Joni Harms has been praised for her pure country voice since she signed her first record deal with the famed producer Jimmy Bowen,

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Let's Put the Western Back in the Country

Orquesta Ritmo

Salsa
Mid-Michigan

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. and settled in Lansing, Michigan. Mike studied music at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College, and later became an instructor at LCC, teaching various music courses for over ten years.

Over time,

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Mama Guela

Sam Gleaves

Appalachian Banjo
Berea, Kentucky

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, guitar, fiddle, autoharp and dulcimer. With his mentor ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams, Sam found his voice and fell in love with the mountain love songs, which he carries into his generation with pride.

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Working Shoes

Scarlet Runner String Band

Old-Time
Greater Lansing Area

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, Traverse Bay area, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Flint, Remus, Michigan and Louisville, Kentucky, as well as at the Ann Arbor Dawn Dance. Scarlet Runner has also played for the Spring Michigan Dance Heritage Weekend and has been one of the featured bands for the Looking Glass Music and Dance Festival in Lansing and the Wheatland Music Festival near Remus.

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Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project

Balkan/Gypsy
Chicago, Illinois

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 part of the country, the regions of Moldavia and Bucovina. He traveled there and throughout eastern Romania, seeking out and recording Roma and Folk musicians, meeting, among others, the Taraf de Haidouks in Clejani,

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Karsilamas

T’Monde

Cajun
Lafayette, Louisiana

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.  Although not owning his own accordion until he was 25, Drew has been a go-to guy for many Cajun bands in need including Balfa Toujours, Jesse Lege and the Lake Charles Ramblers,

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Bombay Bounce