Doors 7pm | Music 7:30pm
FREE For Members | $16 Not-Yet-Members | $22 Doors
A powerfully gifted musician and a scholar of Black American music, Jake Blount speaks ardently about the African roots of the banjo and the subtle, yet profound ways African Americans have shaped and defined the amorphous categories of roots music and Americana. His 2020 album Spider Tales (named one of the year’s best albums by NPR and The New Yorker, earned a perfect 5-star review from The Guardian) highlighted the Black and Indigenous histories of popular American folk tunes, as well as revived songs unjustly forgotten in the whitewashing of the canon.
Jake Blount’s new album, The New Faith, is a towering achievement of dystopian Afrofuturism and his first album for Smithsonian Folkways (coming September 23, 2022). The New Faith is spiritual music, filled with hope for salvation and righteous anger in equal measure. The album manifests our worst fears on the shores of an island in Maine, where Blount enacts an imagined religious ceremony performed by Black refugees after the collapse of global civilization due to catastrophic climate change. Jake Blount’s music is rooted in care and confrontation. On stage, each song he and his band play is chosen for a reason – because it highlights important elements about the stories we tell ourselves of our shared history and our endlessly complicated present moment. The more we learn about where we’ve been, the better equipped we are to face the future.
Named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch,” dancer and musician Nic Gareiss has been hailed by the New York Times for his “dexterous melding of Irish and Appalachian dance” and called “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald.
Gareiss draws from his deep love of sound and gesture from across the North Atlantic: from a capella percussive dance pieces, simultaneous song and flatfoot numbers following the legacy of fellow Midwestern singer and dancer John Hartford, and virtuosic improvisations interpreting traditional Irish and Scottish tunes, Gareiss offers warmth, finesse, and do-it-yourself folk inventiveness through the medium of dance as music.
Nic received the Michigan Heritage Award, his state’s highest distinction bestowed on traditional artists and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for traditional singer of the year. He has performed in sixteen countries with artists including The Chieftains, Bruce Molsky, Liz Carroll, The Gloaming, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Bill Frisell, and Phil Wiggins at venues such as London’s Barbican Centre, the Munich Philharmonic, the Kennedy Center, and Steve Reich’s 75th birthday at the Cork Opera House. Always jubilant, often puckishly queer, Nic Gareiss is swiftly becoming recognized as a singular artistic presence in traditional dance and music.
Laurel Premo is known for her rhythmically deep and rapt delivery of roots music on fiddle, guitar, and vocals. Her solo performances dive deep into traditional and new fiddle music, musically revealing a bloom of underlying harmonic drones, minimalist repetition, and rich polyrhythms. Presenting these sounds on finger style electric guitar and fiddle, Premo fully leans in to the archaic melodies and in-between intonations that connect folk sounds to the mystic and unknown.
She is a Michigan-based artist who has been writing, arranging, and touring since 2009 with vocal and instrumental roots acts, and is internationally known from her duo Red Tail Ring. Premo holds a BFA from the Performing Arts Technology Dept. of the University of Michigan School of Music, and has spent half-year stints at both the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, Finland and the University College of Southeast Norway in Telemark to study traditional music and dance. Important mentors who have helped shape Laurel’s lens in folk arts have been her parents Bette & Dean Premo (fiddle, guitar, and traditional song, Michigan), Joel Mabus (clawhammer banjo, Michigan), Arto Järvelä (fiddle, Finland), and Ånon Egeland (fiddle, Norway). Alongside several continuing music projects, she is active in organizing community events that connect people with folk art and dance.