June 22, 2018
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American Folk Festival reveals another round of performers

By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Seven new groups were added to the lineup for this year’s American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, Aug. 27, 28 and 29. They include the Other Europeans, Paddy Keenan, Rahim AlHaj, Kenge Kenge, the Pine Leaf Boys, the Pride of Maine Black Bear Marching Band and Noreum Machi.

Executive director Heather McCarthy made the announcement Friday morning, less than one month after the first group of artists was announced, including Le Vent du Nord, Dale Watson, The Holmes Brothers, Linda Lay, and Springfield Exit and Viento de Agua.

Six of the seven groups are new to the festival, while the Pride of Maine Black Bear Marching Band is returning. The band’s Saturday performances at last year’s festival were canceled because of rain.

New genres for this year include the Kenyan group Kenge Kenge, who use homemade instruments and vocal harmonies, and the Korean percussion and dance group Noreum Machi.

“Kenge Kenge is a West African type of music we’ve never done before,” said McCarthy. “It’s a great visual performance, and it really speaks right to your heartbeat as you’re listening and watching them. Noreum Machi is also something new. They’re a Korean group that play[s] a very exciting style of percussion.”

Paddy Keenan plays uilleann pipes and will share his Irish music with festival-goers. Rahim AlHaj is a virtuoso of the oud, an instrument similar to a lute, and plays traditional music from Iraq. Louisiana’s Pine Leaf Boys play good old-fashioned Cajun music, a consistent festival favorite. Rounding out the lineup are the Other Europeans, an international gathering of 14 gypsy and klezmer musicians, who play a mesmerizing, virtuosic blend of the two traditions.

The artist announcement comes on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement of the creation of an endowment fund, to ensure the long-term sustainability of the festival. McCarthy said that the final batch of performers would be announced in mid-June. Meanwhile, preparations for the August festival are coming along nicely, ac-cording to McCarthy.

“What’s really great about this time of year is that we’re now under 100 days, and everyone is getting really excited,” she said. “We’re really ramping up volunteer recruitment and all the vendors. There’s a lot of great energy around the office.”

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