Lineup Includes Rainbow Girls, Willi Carlisle, Jolie Holland, Flamy Grant, Kaia Kater, Olive Klug, John Gallagher, Jr., Crys Matthews, Amy LaVere, The Steel Wheels, Livingston Taylor, and Many More
Kansas City, MO (September 13, 2023) – Today, Folk Alliance International (FAI) – the leading and largest nonprofit dedicated to serving, strengthening, and engaging the global folk music community through preservation, promotion, and presentation – has unveiled the lineup of Official Showcases for its thirty-sixth annual conference, to be held February 21-25, 2024, in Kansas City, MO. The artists represent thirty-six countries of origin and twenty-one US states.The conference’s theme in 2024 is Alchemy: A Transformative Force, showcasing the power of music to provide the change needed in the world. The initial lineup is here.
FAI Executive Director Neeta Ragoowansi explains,
“When creators explore their inner worlds, they craft magic. It’s exciting to be bringing these alchemists together, not only to experience the magic, but to learn more about the process of making it and truly harnessing the power it has to transform. It not only alters the notes of a composition, the words of a lyric, the deft brushing of a drummer, or the gentle harmonizing of voices, it is also catalyzed by the context of a venue, the mood of an audience, the weather, and perhaps the news of the day, building emotions and truths, altering perceptions.
How is this alchemy channeled? Though the magic is driven by artists, it is also within all of us. As the folk community gathers to examine this mystery, join us and participate in alchemy!”
Among the artists announced to be performing Official Showcases are:
* Bodega, CA’s Rainbow Girls;
* JUNO Award nominee and multiple Maple Blues Award winner Matt Andersen;
* Arkansas’ Willi Carlisle, who performed at Newport Folk Fest and who “speaks his truth…reminiscent of folk singers like Woody Guthrie” (NPR Music);
* Jolie Holland, whose upcoming album has been previewed in Stereogum and Pitchfork and about whom NPR Music said, “immediately arresting voice… that lands halfway between dusty rural Americana and grimy New York art-rock”;
* Powerhouse vocalist, intrepid songwriter, and drag queen Flamy Grant, winner of 2023 Kerrville New Folk Competition;
* Canadian-Grenadian “star in the making” (Folk Alley) and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist Kaia Kater;
* Olive Klug, who found success on TikTok and whose songs reflect their experience with queer identity and the struggle to establish adulthood in unprecedented times;
* Tony Award winner John Gallagher Jr., star of Broadway’s American Idiot, Spring Awakening, and the upcoming Avett Brothers musical Swept Away;
* 2022 International Folk Music Award Song of the Year winner Crys Matthews;
* Memphis’ Amy LaVere, whom NPR said “specializes in lyrics that are more barbed than her sweet soprano prepares you for”;
* The Steel Wheels, of whom NPR said, “Smearing the boundaries separating blues, bluegrass and gospel music, The Steel Wheels’ sound has earned the band multiple awards and a near-permanent place atop independent music and Americana charts”;
* the “magic” (New York Times) Livingston Taylor, writer of four Billboard Top Forty hits and subject of a 2019 PBS special;
* IBMA Momentum Vocalist Award winner AJ Lee and Blue Summit
* Hit songwriter Bruce Sudano, who wrote the GRAMMY-nominated track “Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’ (Too Good to Be True)” as well as songs for Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and his late wife, the GRAMMY Award-winning singer Donna Summer;
* Three-time JUNO Award Winner, Connie Kaldor;
* Austin’s Gina Chavez, about whom NPR said “if you don’t know her already, I dare you to walk away and not become a fan”;
* New Orleans’ Handmade Moments, who incorporate alto sax, bass clarinet, sousaphone, mandolin, guitar and beatboxing and were subjects of the documentary Busking, which screened at dozens of film festivals around the world;
* Justin Adams, frequent Robert Plant collaborator, & Mauro Durante;
* English singer John Smith, International Folk Music Award-nominee with over 100 million Spotify streams of his music;
* Jorge Glem, Venezuelan virtuoso cuatro player, and Sam Reider Present Brooklyn-Cumaná;
* Memphissippi Sounds, a blend of North Mississippi hill country blues, Memphis blues and soul, rock, and hip-hop featuring Cameron Kimbrough, grandson of blues legend Junior Kimbrough;
* Three-time Scottish Traditional Music Awards Live Act of the Year winners Skerryvore;
* IBMA Momentum Band award winners Still House Junkies
A playlist of Official Showcase artists is forthcoming.
More About The Theme
Folk Alliance International’s 2024 Conference theme Alchemy: A Transformative Force explores how changes in culture alter the ways we make and share music, which, in turn, transforms lives and changes the world. The power of alchemy can manifest, for example, when an artist processes their individual pain into words and vibrations that connect and comfort listeners. The alchemy theme invites us to lean into processes of discovery and experimentation and to think about how we nurture the sparks of creativity that light fires of change. The conference will explore the idea of alchemy and transformation as it relates to:
* the power and transformative force of the creative process, and its cultural influence, to alter the world and effectuate meaningful change
* new frontiers in technology to provide a path to transformation
* resilience and innovation in business
* the important chemistry between artist and audience
More About the Conference
Official Showcases feature jury-selected, tour-ready musicians representing diverse cultures, languages, and sounds. These thirty-minute sets are performed on full production stages.
Private Showcases turn hotel rooms into listening rooms. These performances are more intimate, often without any amplification, and turn each floor of the hotel into its own festival.
The conference and showcase performances will be held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
The Folk Alliance International conference also offers various networking and mentoring opportunities, including Peer Sessions (for agents, labels, festivals, and artists), speed meetings, artist mentorship meetings, summits, and Affinity Group sessions for communities including BIPOC, LGBTQ2IA+, Women, Folks 55+, Folks with Disabilities, and more.
About Folk Alliance International
Founded in 1989, and governed by a 21-member board of directors, Folk Alliance International (FAI) is the world’s largest membership organization for the folk music industry and community. Its mission is to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion.
FAI values diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, is committed to gender parity in all its programming, celebrates multiple languages and cultures, and actively welcomes participation from marginalized, disenfranchised, and underrepresented communities.
FAI defines folk broadly as “the music of the people” (reflective of any community they are from), and programs a diverse array of sub-genres including, but not limited to Appalachian, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Global Roots, Hip-Hop, Old-Time, Singer-Songwriter, Spoken Word, Traditional, Zydeco, and various fusions.
FAI produces the International Folk Music Awards (IFMAs), an Artist in Residence (AIR) program, the Folk ExChange global market development program, the Ethno USA gathering in partnership with Belgium based organization JM International, and the world’s largest annual folk music conference and showcase performances drawing over 3,000 delegates from 40+ countries.
Past Artist in Residence partnerships include UNESCO, the International Rescue Committee, the WWI Museum, Kansas City Ballet, the Kansas City Police Department, the Topeka Women’s Correctional Facility, UMKC’s Mathematics Dept., the Kansas City Art Institute, and Friends of the Kaw River.
Additionally, FAI provides information, advocacy, education, and professional development for over 19,000 in its community and oversees an IRS Group Exemption program in support of over 50 US non-profits.