Please note that the 59th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival schedule is subject to change at any time without notice.
Call it prairie noir or Canadiana desert rock: Toronto’s Abigail Lapell sings haunting, gorgeous modern folk songs. Her albums have won two Canadian Folk Music Awards, reaching #1 on Canadian folk radio, #17 on the NACC folk chart and over 10 million Spotify streams. She tours widely across Canada, the U.S. and Europe, performing on vocals, piano, harmonica and finger style guitar.
Adia Victoria sings the blues with powerful lyrics. After a self-released single drew the attention of Rolling Stone and others, Victoria continued to dazzle and confound with her first studio album, Beyond the Bloodhounds. Instead of following the model of the folks she saw around her who had been worn down by white supremacy, poverty, and oppression in her rural South Carolina hometown, Victoria set off to shape a life of her own making. At 18 she went to Paris and then spent time in Brooklyn, Atlanta, and now resides in Nashville. Victoria has studied ballet, acting, and written poetry before finding a home in the blues. It was when a friend gave Victoria an acoustic guitar that things began to click. In 2019, Victoria released her second full-length studio album, Silences- a personal narrative of her journey and a powerful statement of resistance.
With a voice like “gravel on silk”, Brampton-born songwriter AHI is a rare talent with the keen ability to deliver a story with the ease and familiarity of an old friend. While it’s undeniable that AHI’s voice could easily steal any show, on his second album, In Our Time, he has learned to harness his instrument’s power by balancing its range across a colourful landscape of tightly-crafted lyrics, driving rhythms, and catchy melodies. The result is a sublime collection of modern day folk-rock set off by its singular, soulful sire, a group of eleven tracks as earnest and emotive as anything being recorded today, and one propelling AHI to the forefront of the contemporary Folk/Roots scene. Debuting at #2 on iTunes, In Our Time skyrocketed to #1 on Amazon after AHI’s captivating live performance on CBS, ultimately earning him the distinction of Folk Music Ontario Recording Artist of the Year; praise from Billboard, American Songwriter, SiriusXM, and more; a sold-out US tour with platinum artist Lauren Daigle; 6 places on the Recording Academy GRAMMY ballot; and his first-ever JUNO Award nomination in the category of Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, establishing AHI as one of Canada’s most promising new voices.
Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7) is a multi-award winning Korean traditional music group, featuring six Korean traditional musicians and three powerhouse female folk singers. ADG7 performs repertoire from the sacred, shamanic and secular gut (ritual music) and minyo (folk song) traditions of the Hwanghae-do region, nowadays a western province of North Korea. Their powerful engaging performance will immerse audiences into a spiritual experience and bring blessings of positive energy originating from gut and minyo. ADG7 was organized in 2015, to the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule. Their music expresses the true meaning of liberation and South Korea’s desire for reunification. They recently won multiple awards including Best Group at the 2018 KBS Korean Traditional Music Award and Sori Frontier Award at the 2017 Jeongju International Sori festival. ADG7 has recently performed at WOMEX (World Music Expo) 2019 and globalFEST 2020 as one of their official artists, and become one of 2020-2021 Mid Atlantic Tour Roster Artists. Band Members: Hyun Soo Kim (Daeguem); Hyang Hee Lee (Piri & Saenghwang); Hyerim Park (Ajaeng); Meondongmaru Weon (Gayaguem); Hyunjun Chun (Percussian); Jinyoung Sunwoo (Percussian); Chorong Bang (Singer); Hee Rim Wang (Singer); and Minyoung An (Singer)
Al Lewis is a multi-lingual singer/songwriter from Wales (UK). His debut album ‘In the Wake’ was nominated for the Welsh Music Prize and his five Welsh language albums have all spent multiple weeks at #1 on the BBC Cymru Welsh Language Charts. Al’s music has gathered support and praise from eminent DJs across the BBC Radio Network. By invitation of Bob Harris OBE and BBC Music Introducing – Al performed at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville (USA). Al’s Christmas single based upon the Dylan Thomas story, ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ was the first containing Welsh lyrics to make it onto the BBC Radio 2 playlist. Al is a fervent collaborator – in both the award-winning duo Lewis & Leigh whose album Ghost came out to critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic and GLASLYN his project with soundscape artist Kayla Painter. Al’s latest album was a concept piece entitled ‘Te yn y Grug’ (Tea in the Heather), material from this album premiered as part of a hugely successful sell-out musical of the same name at the 2019 National Eisteddfod. Tafwyl is an annual festival celebrating the best of the Welsh language, arts and culture. It plays a key role in Menter Caerdydd’s strategy, a charity that promotes and extends the social use of the Welsh language in Cardiff with the ambition that the Welsh language becomes an integral part of life in the capital. Tafwyl’s audience has grown impressively over the years from just over a thousand people in 2006, to nearly 40,000 attendees in 2019. It’s a free event, open to all – Welsh speakers, Welsh leaners and non-Welsh speakers alike, appealing to families and people of all ages and backgrounds. Tafwyl 2020 took place as a virtual program of live music, literature, discussions, and activities for children. The music was streamed live from the event’s most recent home, Cardiff Castle, making it one of the first UK festivals to stream from the festival venue.
Alanna Royale makes classic-minded R&B and soul music for the modern age. It’s a sound rooted in big melodies, blasts of brass, percussive punch, and old-school grooves. The songs shine a light not only on frontwoman Alanna Quinn-Broadus’ larger- than-life voice, but her songwriting chops, too. The band formed in Nashville, where Alanna and guitarist Jared Colby relocated after cutting their teeth as working-class musicians in Boston. In Tennessee, they teamed up with bassist Gabriel Golden, forming a core lineup that often expands to as many as ten members (including backup vocalists and a two-piece horn section) in concert. The band looks beyond Nashville’s country-filled past and takes inspiration from Motown’s soul, Stax’s funky strut, and rock & roll’s rebellion. Tattooed, brash, and unapologetically unique, they stood out in a town dominated by Americana music, charting a unique course whose highlights have since included an appearance at Bonnaroo, a string of cross-country shows supporting acts like Lee Fields and St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and an audience that celebrates the band’s diversity.
Alfa Rococo releases their fourth album L’amour et le chaos. The light and dark are mixed on this record where the songs are linked together like a long breath. Beautiful gliding flight, which gives access to a view from above to observe this contrasting world. Carried by hyper-catchy primers and themes of guitars and keyboards of the most contagious, the duo explores the thick fog of the ambient gloom, from which pierce some reassuring clearings allowing to penetrate the heat and the hope of a radius of Sun.
On a pop music with tonic and modern arrangements, the duo poses a particular reflection on time, the time we no longer have, the time we use badly, the present time that it is hard to grasp. Then there are the obstacles to be overcome, the individuality and the imposture in this contemporary world, the dependence and happiness altered by the arrows of life. So many subjects that shape this album and on which they carry a poetic look.
Alisa Amador’s music is a synthesis of the many styles she’s voraciously absorbed: rock, jazz, funk and alternative folk, all wrapped in the spirit of the Latin music she grew up with. With a sound described by Vance Gilbert as, “Shawn Colvin meets Joni Mitchell has lunch with Amy Winehouse meets Suzanne Vega and Diana Krall,” and NPR calls, “a pitch-perfect rendition of my wildest dreams,” her soulful singing, poetically incisive lyrics, and syncopated rhythms, are likely to make you cry, laugh and dance all within one set.
Calling from Chewelah, Washington, where he grew up and has since returned, Allen Stone tells a story of rock bottoms, disappointments and eventual salvation. His 2019 album Building Balance is a textured amalgam of R&B and soul, putting front and center a fully evolved artist who has grown into his own and learned to balance and appreciate all parts of his life: the vices of the past and the gifts of the present, career and family, the brilliant highs and discouraging lows. He draws inspiration from ’70s funk and soul with current flexes, sitting amid D’Angelo in its sultrier moments, Stevie Wonder at its most melodic and the production of Mark Ronson at its most modern. Maybe it’s a comfort in nostalgia, but certainly that era is the music Allen discovered in his early teens when he was thinking more seriously about a life in music. He holds it on a pedestal given its style, cool factor, and emotional capacity. It’s what comes out of him.