Spirituality, rich cultural traditions and irresistible rhythm are just some of the things the six new artists announced for this year’s American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront will bring to the lineup.
This year’s festival, the 10th annual event, is set for Aug. 26-28 and will feature a total of 16 groups hailing from all over the globe. Festival executive director Heather McCarthy announced on Friday that the groups ReVeillons!, the Brotherhood Singers, the Stooges Brass Band, the Pedrito Martinez Group, Samba Ngo and musician Bing Xia will perform, in addition to already announced groups Super Chikan, LeRoy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners, Rich in Tradition, Hot Club of Cowtown and Eden Brent.
ReVeillons!, whose name means “Wake up!” and is a Quebecois group, will bring the music of their home province to the Waterfront. Maine’s strong, vibrant Franco-American population means Quebecois music is a crowd favorite at the festival.
The Brotherhood Singers is a vocal group that performs soul-stirring a capella gospel, one of only a few similar groups left in the country who perform quartet-style — even though there are five members of the group. The group is based out of Covington, Ky., and has sung intricate four-part harmony for the past 25 years.
The Stooges Brass Band, the first New Orleans brass band to play the AFF since the inaugural year in 2002, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The eight-person-strong group, which has performed together since 1996, incorporates hip-hop and funk into its traditional New Orleans sound. They’ll lead the Folk Festival parade this year, and you’ll undoubtedly be able to catch them in the Dance Tent as well.
Afro-Cuban music will be performed by the Pedrito Martinez Group, fronted by the Cuba native Martinez, who is a world-class conga player and vocalist. A New York City resident since 1998, he has been featured on countless recordings over the decades. The beautifully, deeply rhythmic traditions of Cuba’s musicians of African descent will be performed for the first time at the AFF since 2004.
Samba Ngo is a guitarist and vocalist who plays the bubbling, breezy, funky music of his home nation of the Congo. He has been performing for several decades, singing in English, French, and Lingala, his native tongue, all in his own unique style. His music is politically potent and draws on his tumultuous past in the Congo, but carries a message of hope.
Finally, Bing Xia is a master player of the guzheng, the Chinese zither. She was trained at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and now resides in New York. She will perform at the AFF with her apprentice.
The rest of the lineup will be announced at a later date, according to McCarthy. As always, the AFF will feature food, crafts, workshops, storytelling and children’s activities all weekend. For information about the 2011 American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, visit www.americanfolkfestival.com or contact the American Folk Festival at 40 Harlow Street, Bangor 04401, 992-2630.