(Photo above: Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper courtesy of SFF)
Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) is pleased to announce the 2018 Summer Concert Series at Fir Street Park. The three-show series is free to the public and will be presented on Thursday evenings, July 26, August 2 and August 16; and is sponsored in part by First Interstate Bank.
On July 26, Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper will perform. Michael is one of the premier bluegrass fiddlers of his generation and, with 10 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Fiddle Player of the Year awards under his belt, he is the most awarded and celebrated fiddler in the history of the genre. Cleveland plays with so much fire, drive and virtuosity that audiences are often left shaking their heads in amazement. Together with his band, Flamekeeper (four-time IBMA Instrumental Band of the Year Award winners), Cleveland delivers some of the most powerful, exciting and authentic bluegrass you can find.
After picking up the fiddle at age four, Michael’s musical momentum began to propel him forward towards early success. At age nine, Michael was invited to sit in with the legendary Bill Monroe at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. Soon after, he brought his virtuosic style to the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Alison Krauss, and was hand-picked for the IBMA Bluegrass Youth All-Stars before he was 14. His blistering prowess and technical fluency have since marked him as a sought-after musician, leading to performances with Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Tim O’Brien, J.D. Crowe and the New South, Andy Statman, and The Kruger Brothers in recent years. It wasn’t until 2006, when Michael formed his own band Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, that he found the right vehicle for his musical vision, and he hasn’t rested since, constantly looking for new ways to push himself and his music forward.
On August 2, The Lost Bayou Ramblers will perform, hot off their Grammy-winning album Kalenda, awarded Best Regional Roots Music Album in 2018. Lost Bayou Ramblers’ evolution as a “perversely progressive” band rooted in Cajun traditions continues to excite, challenge, and redefine genre expectations as well as cultural preconceptions. Their new album celebrates the complex history and cultural diversity of Kalenda – a Caribbean dance, a Louisiana rhythm, a Cajun rock’n’roll song, and eventually a woman’s name – that crossed both the black-white and Creole-Cajun divides in so many forms.
This lineup of eclectic Louisiana musicians led by brothers Louis Michot (fiddle and lead vocals) and Andre Michot (accordion and lap steel), joined by Bryan Webre (electric bass), Johnny Campos (electric guitar), Eric Heigle (electronics and acoustic guitar), and Kirkland Middleton (drums) brought the cumulative experience of 17 years of touring, recording, and collaborating to bear on Kalenda’s creation with intoxicating results.
On August 16, the revered traditional Irish band Altan will play in Sisters for the first time. With their exquisitely produced award-winning recordings, ranging dynamically from the most sensitive and touching old Irish songs, all the way to hard-hitting reels and jigs and their dynamic live performances, Altan has moved audiences worldwide. In 2017, lead singer, fiddler, and broadcaster Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh received the Gradam Ceoil TG4 award for Traditional Musician of the Year, the premier award in the field. These awards are given on the basis of achievement, excellence and creativity.
Altan plans to conduct a workshop on Irish music earlier in the day in Sisters. Altan has always believed that Irish traditional music is a modern music in every sense and its growing influence and popularity have proved them right. Altan continues fresh in their vision of bringing the beauty and joy of traditional music to audiences everywhere.
For SFF 2018 Summer Concert Series and artist information, please visit sistersfolkfestival.org. SFF encourages patrons to bring blankets and low-back chairs, as seating is not provided. All shows start at 6:30pm, are free and open to the public, and picnics are encouraged. The Fir Street Park venue is located in downtown Sisters at 150 N. Fir St.