“The slate of Official Showcase artists reflects the intentional growth over the years. The artistic quality is impressive across the entire line up, which is also incredibly broad — geographically, stylistically, and in the range of cultures represented. As the “music of the people,” these acts reflect the voices of traditions and peoples who have not always been at the table,” stated Jennifer Roe, Interim Executive Director. “I encourage everyone to take a moment and look up each act, and to savor the range of emerging and established folk acts that you will see at the conference this year.” A playlist of Official Showcase artists is forthcoming.
Among the highlights at the Official Showcases are:
–GRAMMY Award-winner and EMMY Award-winner Dom Flemons, the American Songster
–Amy Speace, who was personally signed by Judy Collins; an NPR critic said, “Her velvety achy voice recalls an early Lucinda Williams”
–Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist Jake Blount, who “uses limber banjo and fiddle to delve into subversive stories of violence and survival,” according to the Guardian and who appeared at Newport Folk Fest this year
–Waahli, artist who mixes Hip-Hop, Haitian and Afro-Caribbean influences, trilingual MC, musician and member of hip hop collective Nomadic Massive
–Andrea von Kampen, who sports over 400,000 monthly listeners on Spotify
–“an artist you might not know, but should” (NPR Music), two-time Juno nominee, Digawolf who bridges the gap between modernity and tradition; Inspired by his Tlicho culture, Diga’s work is fused with the land and people of Canada’s North
–“the next queen of Americana-folk” (NPR) Jaimee Harris
–Gina Chavez, about whom NPR said “if you don’t know her already, I dare you to walk away and not become a fan”
–Amy LaVere, whom NPR said “specializes in lyrics that are more barbed than her sweet soprano prepares you for”
–Oshima Brothers, Japanese/Italian/American brothers from Maine with over 140,000 monthly listeners and numerous festival dates under their wings
–platinum-selling songwriter and “quite possibly the most talented, and engaging, solo performer on this planet” (NPR) Steve Poltz
–Memphissippi Sounds, a custom blend of North Mississippi hill country blues, Memphis blues and soul, rock, pop, and hip-hop featuring Cameron Kimbrough, grandson of the legendary Junior Kimbrough
–“absolute master” (No Depression) of old-time music Bruce Molsky
–Independent Music Award winner, Telluride Blues & Brews champion, and Native Arts and Culture Fellow awardee, Cary Morin Duo, who has shared stages with Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne
–Upstate New York songwriter Sawyer Fredericks, who won NBC’s The Voice and has won two Independent Music Awards.
–Mélisande [électrotrad], whom Folk Alley said “are known for melding Québécois tradition with new and exciting ideas, bringing electronics to the music.”
Official Showcases feature jury-selected, tour-ready musicians representing diverse cultures, languages, and sound. These 30-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 will be held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
Folk Alliance International offers various networking and mentoring opportunities, including Peer Sessions (for agents, labels, festivals, and artists), speed meetings, artist mentorship meetings, 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, and the world’s largest annual folk music conference (drawing 3,332 delegates from 41 countries in January 2020).
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., and the KC Art Institute.
Additionally, FAI provides advocacy, education, and professional development for over 4,000 members, and oversees an IRS Group Exemption program in support of over 50 US non-profits.