Riley Baugus represents the best of old time American banjo and song. His powerful singing voice and his expert musicianship place him squarely in the next generation of the quality American roots tradition. Raised in a household where recordings of old-time music were often played, the North Carolina native began singing and playing music at an early age, developing a love and appreciation for traditional, southern Appalachian music. Riley has played with numerous old-time stringbands. He taught banjo, guitar, and fiddle at music camps throughout the U.S., and toured in Europe with Dirk Powell and Tim O’Brien among others. Riley makes his home near Winston Salem, North Carolina, where he builds old-time, open-back banjos, and is part of a thriving musical community.
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A high energy traditional trio comprised of Colin Grant (fiddle), Jason Roach (piano), and Darren McMullen (multi-Instrumentalist) is integrated with the rough and red-eyed blues/funk rhythm section of Merlin Clarke and Donnie Calabrese to produce a kind of Celtic fusion that is as much Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and Frank Zappa as it is Ashley MacIsaac. While their lively sound never strays too far from its Cape Breton roots, Sprag Session has caught the ear of everyone from indie scenesters to blue-haired bingo stampers, earning themselves an international reputation as one of the most dynamic and versatile live acts in the Celtic music world (and beyond).
This is a powerful collaboration borne of a long-time friendship and a shared love of Celtic music. Whether it’s the mesmerizing Gaelic vocals of Mary Jane, or the superb and true musicianship of Wendy on the fiddle, these ladies have been making their mark with traditional audiences worldwide for over two decades. Mary Jane and Wendy have both been recognized internationally for their solo music careers, and Wendy has been Mary Jane’s steadfast comrade in the presentation of her music for many years. It seems only natural that these two impressive talents now come together to create a true musical partnership, which will combine their musical sensibilities, their strong Celtic roots, and their colourful personalities.
Raz de marée (Tidal Wave) is a unique traditional music ensemble on the Quebecois folk music scene. Composed of accomplished musicians, the ensemble has evolved since 2004 primarily as a dance band, infusing them with the original essence of traditional instrumental music: to make people dance. Raz de Marée—whose members come from Quebec (Sabin Jacques on accordion and violin Eric Favreau), Acadie (Rachel Aucoin on piano and vocals) and New England (Stuart Kenney on bass and banjo)—invites cultures to meet and share a passion for traditional music and dance. Raz de Marée reveals a deeply rooted music, authentic and heartfelt. Relying primarily on a traditional repertoire, their music is contagiously energetic and sensitive.