Radio Talks: How are Folk and Roots evolving? – Friday, October 30, 4-5 pm

“We are on month 8 of this global pandemic. Back in March, touring musicians rapidly saw their entire year of income just wiped out. And we STILL don’t know when they’ll be back to work or what the landscape will even look like.

And yet, everywhere we look, musicians have not stopped. They are creating, they are donating their time, music, performances, their voices, their platforms to fundraisers, campaigns, to protests, to charity… All while living with the insecurity of their current and future financial livelihood and career.”  – Michaela Anne (October 2, 2020)

Join WTJU Radio and some of today’s leading artists for a conversation about how folk & roots music are evolving this year and beyond.

FREE EVENT, but registration is required.

Panelists include:
Leyla Mccalla is a New York-born Haitian-American living in New Orleans, who sings in French, Haitian Creole and English, and plays cello, tenor banjo and guitar. Deeply influenced by traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as by American jazz and folk, her music is at once earthy, elegant, soulful and witty — it vibrates with three centuries of history, yet also feels strikingly fresh, distinctive and contemporary.

Full of lush, sweeping arrangements and honest, deeply vulnerable self-examination, ‘Desert Dove’ marks a bold new chapter for Michaela Anne, both artistically and professionally. While the songwriting is still very much rooted in the classic country she’s come to be known for, the record (her first for Yep Roc) represents something of a sonic shift, incorporating more modern production elements than ever before in pursuit of a sound that owes as much influence to indie rock as honky tonk. Despite the bolder, more adventurous arrangements, Michaela’s crystalline voice remains front and center on the album, a pure, airy beam of light shining bravely into the dark corners of loneliness, pain, and desire that we all so often to try to hide.

Joe Newberry is a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has played music most of his life. His powerful and innovative banjo playing, as well as his songwriting, guitar skills, fiddling, and singing has delighted audiences around the world.

Sam Reider is an American accordionist, pianist, composer, and educator. Originally trained as a jazz pianist, Reider has spent many years exploring and interpreting folk music from around the world on the accordion. His original compositions frequently combine jazz improvisation, folk instruments and grooves, and classical structure. As a performer, he’s been featured at Lincoln Center and on NPR and has collaborated with Grammy-nominated musical artists ranging from bluegrass mandolinist Sierra Hull, Venezuelan cuatrista Jorge Glem, and classical violinist Tessa Lark. Reider leads an ensemble of virtuosic acoustic musicians called The Human Hands and has released two records of original music under his name: “Too Hot To Sleep” and the “Human Hands EP.”

Although they’re based in Nashville, Wild Ponies have always looked to Southwest Virginia — where bandmates Doug and Telisha Williams were both born and raised — for inspiration. There, in mountain towns like Galax, old-time American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers, flat-pickers, and fans.

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