Old-time banjo, guitar & bones
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Hubby Jenkins is a talented multi-instrumentalist who shares his love and knowledge of old-time American music. Hubby developed his guitar and vocal craft busking on the sidewalks and subway platforms of New York City. There he delved into his Southern roots, following the thread of African American history that wove itself through country blues, ragtime, fiddle and banjo, and traditional jazz. He took his show on the road, made a name for himself, and before long became acquainted with the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. Jenkins was an integral part of the group from 2010 to 2016, as well as a member of Rhiannon Giddens’ band. Today he spreads his knowledge and love of old-time American music and history through his dynamic solo performances.
BOMBA Y PLENA
Las BomPleneras is an all female ensemble dedicated to the preservation, promotion and growth of the Puerto Rican culture through the music and dance genres of Bomba and Plena. Created in 2011 by co-directors Jessica Rodriguez and Ivelisse “Bombera de Corazon” Diaz, Las BomPleneras hopes to create a process of empowerment in the female performer in all her aspects, while also instilling a sense of personal ownership and responsibility to the survival of the Puerto Rican music and dance genres of Bomba and Plena.
Mariachi Sirenas is honored to represent the genre of Mariachi music in the windy city. As Chicago’s First All Female Mariachi, we hope to plant a seed that will soon blossom into a community of strong women that work together to promote the folkloric arts of Latin America.
OLD-TIME STRING BAND
The New Hoosier Broadcasters are a traditional string band from Southern Indiana. They specialize in playing Old Time Music in the most authentic styles possible. They’ve traveled the country learning from some of the giants of this music, including Brad Leftwich and Linda Higginbotham, Kirk Sutphin, Bruce Greene and Loy McWhirter, and Dwight Rogers and Gail Gillespie. They have played shows, weddings, and square dances all over the Southern and Eastern half of the US. Their first album, The River is Whiskey (2016), is available on Bandcamp.
CONTRA & SQUARE DANCE CALLER
Tamara Loewenthal has been performing and teaching various styles of American and Celtic step dance for over 30 years. Growing up in the Appalachian foothills of southwestern Pennsylvania, Tamara fell in love with clogging as a young adult and has been flatfooting ever since. She regularly calls square and contra dances for groups around the country, teaches step dance classes in Bloomington, and workshops wherever she goes. Tamara’s passion for dance has led her to many different communities, and she is much beloved for the clarity of her calling and teaching. She is a 2003, 2005, 2014, and 2016 recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission.
CAJUN & CREOLE
The Cajun Vagabonds play traditional Cajun and Zydeco music with an occasional rock, funk, or swing classic. The band generates the perfect mix of dance-oriented music for dances, festivals, parties, and other event where people want to enjoy a dance groove. High energy and spontaneity are distinctive features of a Cajun Vagabond performance. Father and son duo Stewart and Dorian Gehring have been performing Cajun and Zydeco music in Chicago for over 20 years. Though they perform often with a full band, they will be joined by Chicago Cajun Aces accordionist Charlie Terr for a set of traditional back porch style cajun music.
FOLK SONGS, BALLADS & HYMNS
Samantha Cooper and Elisabeth Pixley-Fink (Hearth & Hymn) grew up in Michigan making “kitchen music” with their families; they started singing in close harmony together in 2009. After years of raiding family songbooks, they released a self-titled album in 2013 via Earthwork Music with feminist, secular rearrangements of old hymns. Their newest release, Lullaby Bangers, came out via Earthwork Music in August 2019. Sam is a music teacher, facilitator, songwriter and dance fiddler like her Great-Grandpa Orlie once was. Elisabeth is a Montessori elementary teacher, classical pianist/guitar-player/band leader, and has released several albums of original music.
Freedom Song Leaders, led by Zahra Baker and Shanta Nurullah, is made up of professional singers who have performed at schools, museums, conferences, and community centers in Chicago and around the country. They bring a wealth of knowledge about African American culture and music. Individually they each have led their own bands and taught in school settings, and now they come together to celebrate the joy of singing with others.
SEA SHANTIES & PUB SONGS
Kathy Whisler fell in love with sea chanties– traditional sea-faring work songs– on a visit to Nova Scotia twenty years ago, and has been singing them ever since. She found like-minded friends among the rough and rowdy sailors taking singing classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, met others at sea music festivals on both coasts, and with friends eventually started up a monthly sea chantey/pub sing in Lincoln Square that she’s been organizing for over ten years. She loves any song with a good chorus.