Folk Gathering's host band is two women (Linda Littleton and Karen Hirshon) playing twelve instruments, performing styles that range from old time to Celtic to Klezmer and beyond. Combining tradition with innovation, Simple Gifts creates some of the finest arrangements in folk music today: swing fiddle creeps into a Romanian dance, spoons show up in an Irish reel, and the concertina ventures far beyond styles considered traditional for that instrument. Based in the hills of central Pennsylvania, Simple Gifts switches with ease among two violins, concertina, mandolin, banjolin, recorders, bowed psaltery, hammered dulcimer, baritone fiddle, guitar, piano, and percussion.
Hasee Ciaccio ("HAY-zee see-AH-ko") is one of the most amazing and versatile musicians we've had at Folk College, and we're excited to be bringing her back as one of our headliners for this year's Folk Gathering! Hasee was a nominee for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Instrumentalist of the Year award. She was a founding member of The Barefoot Movement, which was recognized by IBMA as 2014's "Band of the Year" in the Momentum Award category. Along with The Barefoot Movement, Hasee toured in Africa as an Ambassador of Bluegrass with the United States Embassy.
Hasee was born and raised on the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and has lived in the Tennessee mountains since 2010, having made her way there to pursue a degree in traditional Appalachian music from East Tennessee University. Touring around the United States and beyond, she has performed at such notable venues as New York City's Lincoln Center, the Grand Ole Opry, and PBS’s Song of the Mountains. Sharing the stage with artists among the likes of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Vince Gill, Molly Tuttle, Ricky Skaggs, and David Grisman, Hasee moves listeners at festivals, in concert halls, and intimate venues alike.
Her debut album "HAY" was released in fall of 2018, featuring traditional stringband music and top old time performers. Currently touring with Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands, among other bluegrass, old time, and roots bands, Hasee drives the upright bass with honed skill and conviction well beyond her years, and brings Appalachian flatfoot dance to the stage with sincerity behind every step. An old soul at heart, she is passionate about delivering Southern song and dance with the genuine warmth and compassion her culture is so deeply steeped in. While off tour, you might find her caning chairs, canning preserves, or sitting on the porch at her house in East Tennessee.
Multi-instrumentalist and multi-talented Sam Gleaves is welcomed back this year as a headlining act after everyone loved him as a teacher and performer at Folk College in 2018. Born and raised in mountains of Southwestern Virginia, Sam was mentored by two unique voices — Jim Lloyd, a musician, storyteller, and barber, and nationally recognized ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams. These experiences, rooted in Appalachian sounds, led Sam to a degree in Folklore at Berea College.
In 2015, Sam collaborated with Grammy-winning producer Cathy Fink on his debut record, “Ain’t We Brothers,” which was featured by The Guardian, National Public Radio, and No Depression. In 2017, Sam released a duo recording with Tyler Hughes which received glowing reviews from Fatea, Rock n Reel, fROOTS, and others. In 2018, Sam collaborated with Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer on a trio recording, “Shout & Shine,” which the Bluegrass Situation called, “a perfect illustration of cross-generational mind melds and musical melds.” Sam makes his home in Hindman, Kentucky where he serves as the Traditional Arts Director at the Hindman Settlement School. A passionate teaching artist, Sam has shared Appalachian traditions through tours in the U.S., Ireland, England, Canada, Japan, and Italy and at numerous music camps, colleges, and public schools.
Photo credit: Susi Lawson
Richard has been exploring the harmonica from the inside out for over 30 years. He has performed with Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur, Bo Diddley, Susan Werner, and many others. His studio work includes award winning films, TV, radio, and theatre soundtracks, and other projects. As a soloist, he combines his fluid and highly developed rack playing with soulful vocals, guitar, and intricate solo harp flights. Richard’s music is American roots - ranging from rural and urban blues, fiddle tunes, swing, country, gospel, to early rock and roll. He has three solo releases - “Steppin Out”, The Joliet Sessions”, and his most recent collection titled “Celtic Instrumentals”.
The Fiddling Thomsons are an award winning multi-instrumentalist father and son team residing in New Hampshire, with 12 years of duo performance experience on twin fiddles, banjos, guitar, accordion, irish flute, pennywhistle, and percussion instruments.
They have performed internationally at venues including the Meet in Beijing International Arts Festival, and the Bath Folk Festival in England, and at New England venues including the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire; Massachusetts Maritime Academy; and Fenway Park. Ryan played keyboard for years with Boston based ceili bands - Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, and Ceol Tradsiunta na hEireann.
Ryan has won the Northeastern USA trophy at the National Fiddle Contest, banjo awards from California to Massachusetts, and a Boston Music Awards nomination for his accordion playing. Brennish has variously placed third through first at several local fiddle contests and a first place band award at the Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia. Together the Thomsons won a Twin Fiddling Award at the Lowell National Park Banjo and Fiddle Contest. More info is available at http://captainfiddle.com/thomsonsband.html
Henry Koretzky is a mandolinist/ guitarist/singer from Harrisburg, PA, who has performed in a wide variety of styles and groups, from bluegrass with Cornerstone, Sweetwater Reunion, and High Strung, klezmer with The Old World Folk Band, old-time with the duo Rootbound, as well as swing, celtic, contemporary folk, and contradance music. He has taught at Folk College in previous years as part of The Keystone Rebels and as part of a duo with singer/songwriter/ guitarist Kevin Neidig, and has also been a staff regular at Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering.
Kelly e. Parker is founder and artistic director of ABAFASI. Her life’s roles include: sistah, mother, grandmother, drummer, drum-maker, student, teacher, social worker, composer, craftswoman, wordsmith, jewelry-maker, and welder. Kelly’s first drumming experience occurred in 1994, and it recharged her life, since then drumming has been the soundtrack of her path. The drum is in her walk, talk, hair, children and spirit. Her travel to Africa in 2005 affirmed the influence that West African drumming has had on all genres of music. That influence has informed her rhythmic expressions.
Brett's philosophy is that "anyone can make music, regardless of age, musical ability or knowledge!” He teaches hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, bluegrass banjo, clawhammer banjo, beginner acoustic guitar and mandolin as well as several unique all instrument workshops. Brett has authored and marketed a series of instructional CDs that display his friendly method of teaching the hammered dulcimer and also teaches lessons via Skype and Facetime.
Mark Twain said, “When you want genuine music -- music that will come right home to you like a bad quarter, suffuse your system like strychnine whisky, go right through you like Brandreth's pills, ramify your whole constitution like the measles, and break out on your hide like the pin-feather pimples on a picked goose, -- when you want all this, just smash your piano, and invoke the glory-beaming banjo!”
Jay Best has invoked the “glory-beaming banjo” for decades and has explored a wide variety of “genuine music” including old-time, folk, and blues. Jay leads a fiddle-mentoring group at the Confluence Creative Arts Center and performed on and produced the community CD Confluence: Coming Together. He loves playing banjo, guitar, and fiddle with friends and family, but his magnum opus was a recording made with a steel guitar tuned like a banjo and performed with cicadas at twilight.
Holly Foy, a retired art teacher, has attended Folk College since 2001, booked teachers/performers for Folk College and Greenwood since 2005 and plays guitar and bouzouki in the celtic group, Callanish.
Scott Elkins is currently living in Lancaster PA, and is a singer/songwriter/instrumentalist. Most of his experience has been in a church setting, leading large groups, playing and singing in bands, etc. Formally of the WV based duo, Blue Willow, Scott has developed a love for old songs and old sounds. He has dabbled in songwriting, winning the Blair County Songwriter of the Year 2010. Scott is known for his high, powerful solos and harmonies, and while he is currently performing solo, he is hoping to join a band in his new town. Scott came to Folk College as a student several years ago, and now joins us for the second time on the faculty.
Larry has been actively involved with Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering and Folk College as a member of the Huntingdon County Arts Council. He is a retired geology teacher from Juniata College and an avid supporter of folk music.
Larry got his start on autoharp more than 50 years ago when asked by his mother to arrange singable keys and chords for her to use in accompanying her nursery school class. He acquired his own first autoharp in the mid-70’s and has played it since both to accompany songs and as a melodic instrument. He loves it as an instrument that demands minimal practice that lends itself to playing by ear.
Kate Spry grew up playing the flute, cello, fiddle, and piano, and fell in love with folk music. She has played and worked with groups ranging from Swedish to Scottish to Classical. Most currently, she is exploring the ways the cello can be used in various types of folk music and learning the silverbas nyckelharpa.
The Cultural Interpreter for Greenwood Furnace State Park, Paul is knowledgeable about the history of the people and places at Greenwood.
Based in Syracuse, NY, Bob is in demand as a contra and square dance caller who is known for his relaxed teaching style, patience, energy, and ability to make the dance fun!
See Heritage Musicians for more information on his story and on past award recipients.
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