Close

Artists

Music and dance from across America

The Festival strives to present the nation’s very finest traditional artists. Music and dance traditions from every part of the country are represented ­– authentic blues, rockabilly, gospel, jazz, polka, tamburitza, cowboy, bluegrass, klezmer, R&B, old-time, Cajun, rhythm and blues, mariachi, beat-box, breakin’, western swing, honky-tonk and zydeco, as well as traditional music and dance from Native American, Celtic, Acadian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Asian, Appalachian, Latino, Eastern European, African, and Pacific Island cultures, among others.

In making its selections, the Festival is guided by the following definition from the National Endowment for the Arts:

FOLK & TRADITIONAL ARTS – a definition

The folk and traditional arts are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community. Community members may share a common ethnic heritage, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These vital and constantly reinvigorated artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice. Genres of artistic activity include, but are not limited to, music, dance, crafts, and oral expression.

– National Endowment for the Arts

Interested in performing at the National Folk Festival in Salisbury, MD?

Programming discussions take place from November to May with most programming decisions made by June 1st for that year’s festival. All artists must follow the same process. If you’re interested in applying, check out “Apply to perform at the National Folk Festival”

Adonis Puentes & the Voice of Cuba Orchestra

Cuban son Cuba by way of Vancouver, British Columbia

Propelled by the vibrant horns and rhythms of his sextet, this verdadero sonero (true sonero) transports listeners to his birthplace through the mesmerizing sounds of classic son.  Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Andes Manta

Andean Ecuador by way of Hudson Valley, New York

Masters of the vibrant and intricate Indigenous music of the Ecuadoran Andes, these four brothers carry forward traditions that have survived 500 years of European occupation. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Aurelio

Garifuna Plaplaya, Honduras, and New York, New York

One of the most extraordinary Central American artists of his generation, this composer, guitarist, and percussionist is a musical ambassador and champion of the endangered culture of the Garifuna people.  Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Bill Kirchen

master of the Telecaster Austin, Texas

This “Titan of the Telecaster” and living guitar legend will take audiences on a high-energy romp through the last 50 years of American guitar history. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Boukman Eksperyans

Haitian mizik rasin Port au Prince, Haiti

This pioneering ensemble, beloved in Haiti, uplifts and amplifies their country’s traditional music and its spiritual message, combining elements of Vodou with rock and R&B. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Capoeira Luanda

Brazilian capoeira New York, New York

Led by the nation’s foremost capoeira mestre (master), this ensemble will astound with their display of an Afro-Brazilian tradition that fuses dance, martial arts, and acrobatics. Continue reading

Cora Harvey Armstrong

gospel Richmond, Virginia

Channeling Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, and Shirley Caesar, this shining light in gospel, together with her sisters, carries on a family tradition that was passed on to them by their parents. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass

bluegrass Delaware and Pennsylvania

Led by one of the powerhouse vocalists in bluegrass today, this hard-driving band is a steadfast proponent of a classic sound rooted deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Daryl Davis

boogie-woogie piano Silver Spring, Maryland

This boogie-woogie piano master who learned at the feet of his musical heroes breaks boundaries by tapping into the shared roots of blues, R&B, and early rock and roll. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Drums No Guns

percussion ensemble Richmond, Virginia

Promoting nonviolence and community healing through diverse percussion traditions, this ensemble unlocks the rhythmic possibilities of buckets and other recycled materials. Continue reading

Eddie Cotton, Jr.

soul blues Clinton, Mississippi

This Mississippi master of soul blues will move audiences, body and spirit, with gritty guitar work, stirring vocals, and a hard-driving style rooted in the church of his youth.  Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Grupo Nematatlín

son jarocho Veracruz, Mexico

This celebrated son jarocho ensemble compellingly performs the signature folk music of Veracruz’s southern coastal plain, noted for its poetic lyrics and driving, danceable rhythms. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Hot Club of Cowtown

western swing and hot jazz Austin, Texas

The preeminent ensemble in western swing and hot jazz today, this trio delivers exquisite performances with impeccable style and its trademark vintage sound. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Jeff Little Trio

Blue Ridge piano Boone, North Carolina

With breathtaking speed, precision, clarity, and a distinctive two-handed style, this remarkable musician continues a hidden, yet fascinating Blue Ridge piano tradition. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Jerry Douglas Trio

Dobro master Nashville, Tennessee

“Dobro’s matchless contemporary master,” the greatest innovator of the resonator guitar in the last half century—possibly the greatest ever. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Jones Benally Family Dancers

Navajo hoop dancing Black Mesa, Arizona

Led by family patriarch and world champion hoop dancer, three generations will share the beauty and richness of Navajo traditional culture. Continue reading

Kahulanui

Hawaiian swing Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

This nine-piece juggernaut’s infectious music gives new life to the meeting of Hawaiian instruments and melodies and the swinging sounds of big band jazz that swept America in the 1930s and ’40s. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Music from China

Chinese silk and bamboo ensemble New York, New York

For 35 years, this virtuosic ensemble has led the charge of Chinese musicians redefining tradition with a contemporary vision as they perform regional styles from across China. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Penn Lions

Chinese lion dance Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This award-winning group from the University of Pennsylvania practices an ancient Chinese tradition known for spreading joy and prosperity during Lunar New Year celebrations. Continue reading

Professor Horn’s Punch & Judy Show

Punch and Judy puppetry Baltimore, Maryland

This 120-year-old Baltimore institution features the wisecracking trickster Punch and his long-suffering wife Judy in a puppetry tradition that can be traced to 16th-century Italy. Continue reading

Rahim AlHaj Trio

Iraqi oud and Persian santur Albuquerque, New Mexico

This renowned Iraqi oud virtuoso and one-time political refugee is a cultural ambassador whose music evokes his homeland, the experiences of exile, new beginnings, and healing. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Rare Essence with special guest DJ Kool

go-go Washington, D.C.

Dubbed “the wickedest band alive,” this legendary go-go band—a pioneering exponent of the DMV’s homegrown offshoot of funk—has honed its sound to near perfection. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Samba Mapangala & Orchestre Virunga

East African rumba, soukous, and benga East Africa by way of Maryland

East Africa’s most beloved singer and his amazing band are renowned for their irresistible musical blend of Congolese and Kenyan sounds. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Sheila Kay Adams

Appalachian songs, stories, and ballads Marshall, North Carolina

This North Carolina treasure is the seventh generation of her family to carry on an unbroken, 350-year-old singing tradition. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Tamburaški Sastav Ponoć

tamburitza Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A new generation of brilliant players of the exhilarating Balkan string band tradition, which is lovingly kept in communities across the industrial Upper Midwest. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Terry & the Zydeco Bad Boys

zydeco Duson, Louisiana

This rising star from the heart of French Louisiana is filling the dance halls with a zydeco sound that is both highly innovative and deeply respectful of tradition. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

The Green Fields of America

Irish East Coast of the United States

With some of the finest Irish musicians in the States, this group sparked a renaissance by bringing together Irish vocal, instrumental, and dance traditions on the concert stage. Continue reading

More Info
A B c D E F F F
Listen

Tinkus San Simon

Bolivian tinku parade Northern Virginia

From Northern Virginia’s vibrant Bolivian community, this cultural fraternity carries on a colorful, high-energy parade tradition rooted in a centuries-old form of ritualized combat. Continue reading

Yamini Kalluri & the Carnatic Ensemble

Kuchipudi dance New York, New York

Featuring a 21-year-old rising star of Kuchipudi dance, this intergenerational ensemble weaves their shared heritage into a spellbinding display of South Indian music and dance. Continue reading

The National Folk Festival | Salisbury, MD is produced by

In Partnership with