American Folk Festival - Aug. 28nd, 29rd, & 30th, 2015
Music, Dance & Culture from Traditions Across America & the World!
American Folk Festival Performers

The American Folk Festival features the traditional arts - music and dance - of the many cultures that make up America today. Traditions that represent the cultural heritage of a region, an ethnic group, a religious group, or an occupation are examples of the genres of music that are featured at the AFF. 

2014 Performance Schedule:  Grid  or  Linear

2014 American Folk Festival Performers

Adonis Adonis Puentes and the Voice of Cuba Orchestra perform lush, atmospheric Cuban jazz and pop.  Part of a musical family, Puentes was trained in salsa music from an early age and is passionate about moving his audience: "You come to my concert and you dance," he says.  "My mission in life is to give you two hours of joy." 

Bill Kirchen Local favorite Bill Kirchen is best known for popularizing a unique fusion of country, blues and rockabilly that is fast-paced and twangy.  Kirchen, a guitar virtuoso who's been called the "Titan of the Telecaster," has been performing for almost 50 years, and delights audiences with songs rich in sunny Americana and the spirit of the road.

Steve Riley Grammy-nominated Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys are returning this year after performing at the Festival in 2005.  Their acclaimed brand of French Cajun music is propelled by charismatic frontman Riley on vocals and accordion, and features the Playboys in a lively arrangement of fiddle, guitar, bass and drums

Bon Debarras Bon Débarras are a trio of multi-instrumentalists whose energetic performances incorporate traditional instruments as well as foot and body percussion and washboard.  The Quebecois folk music that they are known for is a blend of poetry, dance, and narrative that is deeply based in tradition and invigorated by the group's love of modern sounds.
Blue Highway Blue Highway has a 20 year history of bluegrass instrumentals and vocals from five gifted songwriters with 11 critically acclaimed albums under their collective belt. They are described as a seamlessly brilliant group sound that remains in the forefront of contemporary bluegrass music.

Shanbehzadeh Ensemble

Now based in New York City, Yasser Darwish founded the Egyptian Celebration Company in 2001 to present the rich culture of Egypt and the Middle East to people worldwide. The company provides educational workshops, demonstrations and performances.


Khac Chi Khắc Chí is a Vietnamese duo who plays their “bamboo music” around the world in collaboration with orchestras and alone for audiences large and small. Their one-of-a-kind instruments are used in traditional Vietnamese music, Vietnamese folk music and contemporary music.

cohen and carey
Cambalache Cambalache is a Chicano-Jarocho group of musicians based in East L.A. who engages its audience through participatory performances in the fandango style. The Son Jarocho style has been popular since the 1950s with Richie Valens and through today with groups such as Los Lobos.

Jones Family Singers The Jones Family Singers, consisting of five sisters, two brothers and their father, have been wrecking churches and festivals alike for over two decades.  The family mixes R&B/funk with lyrics of praise creating a rich gospel sound.

vacationland inn
West African HighLife Band The West African HighLife Band epitomizes the word happy. Pharrell Williams has nothing on Babá Ken and his troupe of vetted West African musicians, including members from the bands of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Hugh Masekela, and Ghanaian HighLife group Sweet Talks.  In Africa, music is created to help people rise above the pain and suffering of daily life, to transcend all evils with the joy of music… This is music that connects body, mind, and spirit. It is happy music.”  Highlife is a feel good flowing rhythm with a beat that makes you want to dance, and I’m certain many people will be doing just that during their performance.

St. Joes

sea dog

Oriental Jade

Otis Clay

Otis Clay combines soul, gospel and R&B with his deep reaching raw vocal talent.  Born in Waxhaw, Mississippi, Clay began singing gospel and quickly began a career recording deep soul in the 60s.  He has He has recorded 8 albums and released more than 33 singles.  When not traveling the world performing at blues and gospel festivals, he resides in Chicago's West Side.

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   photo courtesy of:
        Tom Pich

Capoeira Luanda is an organization that practices, teaches, and preserves the Afro-Brazilian martial art of Capoeira. Capoeira Luanda was founded on April 6th, 2007, after a long process of research and study under the direction and guidance of Mestre Jelon Vieira the 2008 NEA National Heritage Fellow. Today, Capoeira Luanda has spread internationally with centers and academies in the United States, Holland, Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Peru, Colombia, Italy, Taiwan, Costa Rica and Lebanon.

Bangor Public Health

Barbara cassidyFairpoint logo

Lutchinha is Maria Neves, who grew up on the island of Sao Vincente, off Cape Verde in Africa.  Her music is best described as reggae or cabo verde with Latin and jazz influences.  It also includes rich textures of Brazilian modinha and Portuguese fado.  Neves also headlines the Boston-based all-female group Cruzamente, which means "crossroads."


Maine Folklife
Andrea Beaton

Andrea Beaton is an award-winning fiddler, recording artist and composer from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada who is described as having a drive and lift to her music.  Beaton has released 5 solo albums, a book of music, and one duo album with her father, Kinnon Beaton.  


The Sipayik Dance Troupe is a Passamaquoddy dance group based in Sipayik (at Pleasant Point, Perry, Maine) who convey the traditional songs of the Passamaquoddy in traditional native dance.  

Chinese Folk Art

The Chinese Folk Art Workshop is a non-profit organization based in the Boston area, promoting interacting with and understanding of Chinese culture in the community.  Members range in age from 12 to 18 and perform a variety of traditional Chinese folk arts such as Dragon Dance, Lion Dance, Taiwanese Drums, Chinese Yoyo and Folk Dance.  The group returns to the Festival after performances in 2003 and 2006. 

Diunna Greenleaf, following in the footsteps of many great Texas blues singers, combines elements of gospel, jazz, R&B and soul to create her own unique style.  Her voice possesses a tremendous power and passion, but she is also capable of subtlety and nuanced inflections in a way that belie her relative youth. 

For a list of performers from previous years, click here.