American Folk Festival - Aug. 26th, 27th, & 28th, 2016
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. 


2016 American Folk Festival Performers

Gerardo Contino

Gerardo Contino y Los Harbaneros was selected by NPR/WNYC as Manhattan’s best band of 2015. Contino is a Cuban singer/songwriter who loves to improvise, pull the audience into call & response, and provoke fans into “hip-shaking abandon.” In 2015, Gerardo also joined the Max Weinberg Orchestra as the lead-Latin singer for the group. He has toured all over the world and was an invited speaker and performer for TEDMED2014 in the Kennedy Center for the Arts, Washington DC.




Michael Cleveland

Michael Cleveland is considered one of the premier bluegrass fiddlers of his generation. He has been playing fiddle since the age of 4 and made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1993 as a guest of Alison Krauss. He is a GRAMMY winner and is the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 10-time Fiddle Performer of the Year.


Michael Mwenso

Michael Mwenso & The Shakes featuring Brianna Thomas is a Jazz revue comprised of between 3-5 vocalists and a rotating ensemble including percussionists, pianists, horns and more. Mwenso is just 31-years-old but has been singing and playing piano for more than 20 years. The Shakes were featured in late 2015 on Jazz Night in America on NPR and performed at the Kennedy Center’s 2015 New Year’s Eve Gala.


Nathalie Pieres

Nathalie Pires is a Portuguese performer who has received a number of awards and honors through her talents in traditional fado music. She began singing at the age of thirteen, and has recorded two albums including the most recent, Fado Alem, released earlier this month by Sony Music.



National Women's Sri Lanka

The National Women’s Dance Troupe of Sri Lanka is “part art showcase and part graduation.” The dancers in this troupe have trained for anywhere from 10-15 years to perform this tradition, and reach the master level. The troupe comes from Staten Island, NY, which has the largest community of Sri Lankans outside of Sri Lanka.




The East Pointers

The East Pointers is a trio performing traditional music from Prince Edward Island. The group’s debut album, Secret Victory contains 10 original tracks written by the group with a sound that could have come from any era in the history of Celtic/folk music. The group was named the Prince Edward Island New Artist of the Year in 2015 and has recently been touring in the UK and Australia.



Western Flyers

The Western Flyers is a classic western swing trio specializing in Cowboy songs and old-time fiddle tunes. Festival goers can expect a swinging rhythm section, brisk fiddling, and sensitive singing from this relatively new group. Joey McKenzie is the guitarist of the trio who has performed in forty-five US statesj as well as Canada Europe, Russia and South America. Katie Glassman on fiddle is a two-time National Fiddle Champion and is an integral part of Colorado’s thriving roots music scene. Gavin Kelso on bass has a powerful dexterity and a lively musical imagination.





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