For the past twenty years, Wes Weddell has worked multiple shifts in the engine room of Seattle’s roots music scene as frontman, sideman, writer, teacher, and community-builder. “Always heartfelt and well-constructed” (Seattle Weekly), listeners have come to expect Weddell’s regionally-rooted songs to “speak for themselves” (No Depression).
Bong Lang Ruam Jai Band (วงโปงลางร่วมใจ) is made up of community members in the Pacific Northwest who have a passion for Southeast Asian Music. Bong Lang Ruam Jai was founded after the Thai temple in Auburn Washington brought traditional Thai Language, Dance, and Music instructors to the United States for a summer school program. The band is named after the standing xylophone called a bonglang or ponglang that is used in the Isaan (Northeast) region of Thailand. Other regional instruments the band features include a pin (a three stringed instrument similar to a guitar), the long drums, the khaen (a multi-chambered bamboo instrument) and various percussion instruments. The group ranges in size from 2 to 10+ members depending on the season and size of the show. They play a mix of energetic village party, dance, and folk music.
Akhi Abu Bakr is a poet, entrepreneur, and youth advocate from Seattle. He has been writing and performing poetry for almost an entire decade. He’s been invited all across the globe to share his art and his story. He has made it his goal to inspire young Muslim poets in his community and across the globe to use this outlet of expression He is the co-founder of Glad Tidings Clothing an urban apparel and accessory company. He’s co-founded 3WU (Third World United) a record label and non-profit dedicated to amplifying the voices of Muslim youth.
Essam Muhammad's career took off in 2016 with the release of his debut video “West Is My Home.” In the four years since, he’s been invited to perform on different continents, sharing his journey and creativity in countries like South Africa, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and The Netherlands. He has also maintained a constant presence in the South Seattle community where he grew up, helping to cultivate safe spaces for young poets to grow and share their work.
Deionte “PettyPro” Petty, is a true Seattle native whose deeply vested into the welfare of his community. Having deep roots in music production audio engineering and youth programming, he reverted to Islam in 2014 while attaining his Bachelors at Seattle University. He now serves as the Director of Fund Development at the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and the CEO of Third World United, a growing multimedia platform striving under Islamic guidelines.
This segment is produced by Seattle Sacred Music & Art (SAMA), also a sponsor of the 50th annual Northwest Folklife Festival. SAMA curates, produces, and collaborates on an immersive series of music and art performances that share the healing power of global sacred music. Through partnerships with music and arts presenters in the Pacific Northwest and around the world, SAMA connects global and local artists with our region’s communities to promote cross-cultural understanding and create space for healing and dialogue.
Third World United will be performing live on June 19th at the Orcas Island Eastsound Village Green as part of a concert presented by Seattle Sacred Music & Art and Orcas Center (the Orcas Island Center for Performing Arts). Admission is free and open to the public!
206 Zulu is a Seattle-based community organization, established in 2004, that uses Hip Hop culture and the arts as platforms for community service, education and empowerment.
Over the years, 206 Zulu’s diverse membership expanded throughout the Pacific Northwest and a wide array of programs flourished to include free and all-ages events, concerts, festivals, parades, dance competitions, workshops, classes, conferences, multimedia programs, and more.
The Pandemic Ukulele Orchestra is an informal ukulele group that meet weekly in Skagit Valley. When they could no longer meet because of Covid 19 (the Pandemic) they decided to do some split screen collaborative videos.
Sound & Fury Morris & Sword have been dancing around Seattle and the rest of the west coast of North America since the waning days of last century (1999 to be specific). These are dance traditions dating back, well, a long time, from various regions of England. Sound & Fury is proud to bring them to you, residents of the Pacific Northwest!
Side of the Tide is a Border Morris dance team from Oregon’s south coast. Enthusiastic musicians provide the lively tunes as the troupe performs high energy dances with knacking staves and ringing bells. Side of the Tide embraces an ancient English dance tradition while keeping it fresh for today’s audiences.
Peruvian dance & culture group from Ellensburg, Washington. It was originated to celebrate Peruvian culture in the Northwest. TusuyPeru pursues to bring you an imaginary voyage to the beautiful beaches, the wonders of the majestic Haciendas, and keep going to the elevated Andes continuing to the warm rainforest of Perú.
RG&SOP perform both as a quartet and an acoustic trio giving audiences an experience both subtle and complex. The ensemble includes Reggie Garrett (vocals/acoustic guitar), Richard Middleton (acoustic/electric guitars & keyboards), Will Dowd (drums/percussion) with the addition of Keith Lowe (bass) for the quartet. The sound has strong rhythmic underpinnings, beginning with Garrett’s almost percussive guitar style. His singing reflects the folk/ rock/gospel traditions with which he grew up. He has been compared to acoustic legends Richie Havens and Bill Withers by the national folk publication Dirty Linen. As a songwriter Garrett’s specialty is creating and enhancing a mood. Reggie doesn’t consider himself to be a Bluesman - even so he was featured in an article in the August 2018 issue of Living Blues magazine. From Pistol River, OR to Rock Island, IL; from Duncan, BC Canada to San Luis Obispo, CA to Seldovia AK Mr. Garrett and his group have delighted audiences of all ages.
From Canada and the US, Jocelyn Pettit & Ellen Gira are a dynamic fiddle & cello duo. First meeting in Scotland, they joined their musical forces, and have since been gracing stages and captivating audiences in both North America and the UK.
Fusing together traditional and contemporary influences, they create powerfully uplifting and soulful music. Their instruments weave a rhythmically driving and textured sound, with nuanced fiddle-cello interplay through delicate and fortissimo arrangements. They bring life and fire into their own original melodies, and high-energy tunes from Scotland, Ireland, North America, and Scandinavia - with Canadian stepdancing.
For the last 40 years Jeff Quill has performed with his band at Folklife, where he once opened before Pete Seeger, and once for the Total Experience Gospel Choir and another time for Jenny Riley. This band has entertained from prison, to Pike Place Market and many churches and festivals in between. The content is a warm humor and accent on love, faith, family and friendship. The music is all original, except for the melodic rework of a few old hymns. The lyrics are engaging and the sound is fresh and unmistakably folk.
If one were to cross Sarah Silverman with Joni Mitchell, you might get Seattle songwriter Debbie Miller. Miller's ability to walk the line between seriousness, humor, and honesty creates a unique live performance. In October 2018, Miller appeared on PBS’s “The Great American Read,” which highlighted her song, “Queen of Hearts.” Following that, the musician released an anticipated 7-inch vinyl called Two Sides. Miller’s songs have also appeared on WNYC’s Freakonomics and the New Yorker Radio Hour. But her dream is to write a Broadway musical, which she absolutely-freaking-will one day.
Siam Smile has been perform Thai Classical and Folk Dance with the Northwest Folklife Festival since 2006. They are proud to be a part of the festival of the Northwest Region. They perform Thai Classical and Folk Dance which Thailand had four regions. The audience could see many types of Thai dance from the central/northern/north eastern/southern and traditional dance.
Oishii Cooking is a group of cooking/baking siblings based in Seattle. Mika, the lead chef, taught a baking class with sous chef Aki during the summer of 2020. Kai taught specialty classes like how to make Ramen and Yakisoba.
Oishii Cooking will premier live on Sunday, May 30th at 5:50pm on Folklife Premiers.
Vidya Chandra Sekhar, aka Diya is a former Miss India USA, holds two world records in longest solo dance performance
for her Bharatanatyam marathons to raise awareness and funds for non-profit causes. Diya
has written/performed as a lead singer for several groups including:
Hindi band in North America, in the 1970’s, Toronto's Naya Afsana;
Chicago’s East-West band; and the Vidyanjali Orchestra. In 1987, she
founded Ishara, her own band which toured for a decade and a half around
the U.S., performing at restaurants and arenas,
and at major events and conferences. Diya sang for Motown legend, Aretha
Franklin's 50th birthday, as her mother, the renowned dancer Sudha
Chandrasekhar performed; and she sang with legendary Indian singer
Hariharan on tour in Europe. She was a finalist in
the Zee-TV singing competition Sa are Ga Ma in 1999. Since the onset of
a couple of debilitating diseases, Diya is challenged with mobility and
energy issues, while continuing to persist in creating and sharing her
artistic works. By day, she is a cybersecurity
professional who spends her free time collaborating with volunteers from
Microsoft, UW, and Boston University to support efforts against human
trafficking for REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and the NTSA
(National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance) to develop
a platform to help match services and advocates with victims and
survivors. She is grateful to SCARF for the opportunity to use her art
As part of the SCARF showcase, she will be singing a song asking what it will take to stop modern child trafficking affecting 12 million children each year.
SCARF Core Dance Company is a group of young dancers who are really inspired by the vision of SCARF and by prior choreographic works by the Dr. Joyce Paul Siamak, the founder of SCARF. They hope to learn the art of using classical Bharatanatyam to create awareness about the struggles of first generation Indian Americans as well as other immigrant children.
Today the SCARF Core Dancers will be presenting Bindis and Braids - a choreographic presentation on the challenges faced by 2nd generation Indian Americans.
Bindis and Braids is an output of deep discussions with choreographer Dr. Joyce Paul Siamak during regular dance classes about growing up "brown" in the US. Disciple Astha Soni wrote the poem inspired by these talks and Disciple Vennela Kadavakollu took her first leap into experimenting with creating music. This work is a representation of the struggles faced by 2nd generation Indian Americans immigrants who walk the narrow tightrope between the two cultures. It is a hopeful piece about what could change to create a smoother “growing up” for children of first generation immigrants in the US across nationalities.
An Indian classical dancer by heart, and a marketer by profession, Chinmayi has been a lifelong student of the Bharatanatyam dance style. She started learning in India under gurus Vidushi Mandakini Udupi, Vidushi Ramya Udupi, and Vidwaan Ramamurthy Rao. She continued her dance learning with guru Ramaa Bharadvaj in Los Angeles and joined her dance troupe while attending UCLA. She moved to Pittsburgh to get an MBA at Carnegie Mellon University where she gave a performance/talk at TEDx CMU, and then to Seattle where she has continued to dance. Chinmayi works at Microsoft, has been teaching BollyWorks cardio and yoga classes during lockdown, and is a certified Yoga instructor.
As part of the SCARF showcase, she will be presenting "Naari" - a story of a woman, her dreams and her dilemma.
Bluegrass-leaning Americana quartet Kristen Grainger & True North is a powerhouse of award-winning original songs, lush vocals, and crazy-good instrumentalists Dan Wetzel (guitar), Josh Adkins (bass) and Martin Stevens (fiddle, mandolin, octave mandolin). On stage, the band delivers Grainger's storied songwriting with the mind-blowing vocal harmonies and mad instrument skills of a band deeply rooted in folk and bluegrass genres. Their new album, Ghost Tattoo, is was #1 this past fall on national folk radio charts and #2 on roots music charts.
Annie Staninec and John Kael are a Portland duo with a passion for traditional bluegrass and early country, and their shows prominently feature Annie's fiery fiddling and winning smile. Annie has toured the world with artists spanning from Peter Rowan to Rod Stewart, has won multiple awards throughout her career, and is fluent across many genres. John plays guitar, banjo and mandolin equally deftly, has a repertoire of literally hundreds of traditional songs, and is an award-winning songwriter himself.
They have been a band since 2000 having performed numerous events and major festivals throughout the Northwest. The band has evolved through the years but has always held to a traditional bluegrass sound but is not afraid to push the limits at times.
Pat Chessell has performed across Canada, the United States, and his ancestral home of Ireland. To capture the essence of a Pat Chessell performance, take a lively blend of traditional, original and contemporary songs, add a liberal sprinkling of stories and humour, then sit back and enjoy this young troubadour! Pat has opened for acts such as Jim Byrnes, Delhi 2 Dublin, Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones, and more. His latest album "The Road Not Taken" is now available on all digital music platforms.
Eva Abram is a storyteller, public speaker and award-winning actress. Her storytelling grew out of an appreciation for the value of history and the desire to inform larger audiences of lesser-known American history. She takes on the voices of historical characters, taking her audiences back in time - bringing history to life.
She presents folktales to ages ranging from adults to elementary aged children to entertain, inspire and remind us that we are linked together. Eva performs in schools, universities, business diversity programs and community organizations.
Donate directly to Eva through her Zelle account at firstname.lastname@example.org
Filipinas Performing Arts of Washington State (FPAWS) is a cultural group that nurtures awareness and appreciation of various Filipino cultures and traditions in the community. One of its goals is to collect, preserve, perform, and express in art forms the way of life of the Filipino people.
The FPAWS shall showcase the various dances, attires, music and songs of the Philippines’ indigenous communities through authentic and contemporary performances and cultural learning workshops in order to preserve and further strengthen the pride of the Filipino American community.
45th St Brass is an exciting mix of jazz, soul, and funk wrapped up in the guise of a New Orleans brass band. Driving horns, a strong groove and electrifying vocals define the band's unique appeal. You can check out their January release, "The Digital 45" out now on Color Red records where ever music is streamed.
Their new release, "The Digital 45" is available now on Color Red Records and streaming everywhere.