What I love most about the festival is watching you. I love seeing the different folks that come to the festival; all ages, experienced veterans, festival babies, international music fans, couples, families, artists, teenagers – everyone here finding what they love. I love watching you meeting each other and sharing your time, your talents, your interests and helping each other out. I also love to watch you discover new music. The festival’s biggest goal – music-wise – is to make sure to stretch you and your tastes, to take you outside of the norm and remind you how much music and art is out there that’s not always available elsewhere. Here are some bands that I’m excited to watch you discover, mostly because I enjoyed discovering them, myself. I think you’ll enjoy…
Our friends at Music Maker Relief Foundation introduced me to this singer and multi-instrumentalist from Eritrea. Gebremariam came to NC. after a lengthy journey from Eritrea to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. In 2007, before leaving his hometown, the Eritrean capital of Asmara, he recorded his album, Desdes. However, over the course of his long, complicated journey, he never received any of the money for his cassette and CD sales, and he never knew how much of a splash his music had made.
Through an interesting turn of events, a traveler friend of the label Awesome Tapes From Africa heard the album on a trip to Eritrea (where everyone was playing it), and told them about it. The label liked it so much, they posted a blog about it and a NC agency that aids asylum-seekers – and who knew Awalom – saw the post, and connected the label with the artist. Now they are working together to bring his music to the masses.
We’re looking forward to having him here and continuting the story. Sadly, I couldn’t find any live videos, but here’s something to give you a taste.
Awalom Gebremariam — Eritreana
At first I was calling these guys “our next Mumford & Sons,” but soon realized that while they have some of the folkiness from M&S’s first two albums, and the sweet, earnest lyrics, they are much closer to Simon and Garfunkel or Crosby, Still, Nash & Young. They have great harmonies, they’re what the band is built on, and their songs take you on a journey. You get lost in the a cappella blends, get swept away on a job interview with a sword fighting guy “who looks like Harrison Ford,” and wake up 3 minutes later feeling like a lot more just happened than a song. They’re young, and honestly pretty dorky, in a good, if-you-love-Frodo-Baggins kind of way. It’ll be a perfect way to bring Saturday daylight to a close.
Darlingside – Go Back
Mariachi Flor de Toloache
Latin Grammy Nominee Mariachi Flor de Toloache is the first and only established all female mariachi band in New York City. I first saw them in a Tiny Desk Concert video after they approached the festival about playing. Seemed perfect for us. Women-powered, culture-filled roots music, I was in!
As their website states: “They coalesce as would a band of sisters, with a grace and vibrant beauty that casts a spell over their audiences not unlike the legendary Toloache flower still being used in Mexico as a love potion. While working to preserve centuries old traditions of Mariachi, their melange of the traditional and the modern pushes the boundaries of the genre and brings Mariachi music to new audiences.”
So, you should probably just go see them in the Grove on Thursday night….
Mariachi Flor de Toloache – Guadalajara
Have so much fun, I hope to see you out there!
Love & Peace,
Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance