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Known as the "modern master of bluegrassmandolin," Mike Compton has become one of the most notable interpreters of Bill Monroe's mandolin style. Initially touring and recording with Monroe's sideman, Hubert Davis, in the late 70's, Compton then went on to help found the legendary Nashville Bluegrass Band. Compton's successes continue - he played on the Grammy-award winning soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and receiving multiple nominations for IBMA's Mandolinist of the Year award, Mike Compton truly is "a certified mandolin icon."
We are delighted to be joined this year by Irish banjoist extraordinaire, Pauline Conneely. Starting out as an Irish step dancer, she eventually turned to banjo, studying under renowned Irish musicians Brendan Mulkere. Now, Pauline Conneely plays alongside fellow Chicagoans, such as Liz Carroll, at countless festivals on the East Coast and in the Midwest.
She is accompanied by wonderfully versatile Celtic pianist, fiddler, and longtime Folk fest supporter, Jonathan Whitall. You can catch Jonathan's playing at contra dances in Chicago and across the country. He is also a founding member of Chicago Reel and the Cosmic Otters. We cannot wait to have both of their incredible talents at our Fest this year!
Formed in 2008 as a youth workshop dedicated to learning traditional Son Jarocho music, Jarochicanos presents its audience with rich "sones" from the Veracruz state in Mexico, and fusing together Spanish, African, and Indigenous musical elements. Today, Jarochicanos includes a wide variety of ages, and uses their music to create a community which shares "this tradition [that] we live, we breathe, and we share."
Mary Lane will deliver some legendary and low down blues music at this year's fest. Mary Lane, inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame, will be accompanied by electric blues guitarists Billy Flynn and Frank Krakowski, drummer Dean Haas, and bassist Illinois Slim. The Folk fest is excited to welcome these blues musicians, especially since "if you don't dig the blues, there's a hole in your soul!"
A local Chicago western swing, country, and honky-tonk band, the Western Elstons is comprised of four talented musicians that might just be Chicago's best-kept secret. The group combines the versatile guitar of Joel Paterson, tasteful drumming of John Perrin and the vocal and harmonizing talents of Scott Ligon and Casey McDonough, a combination that always provide a fresh and high-energy performance.
Heralded the "Queen of Cajun," Sheryl Cormier is an all-star Cajun vocalist and accordionist. Growing up with Cajun music, it is no surprise that she began learning accordion at a young age, making her the skilled, iconoclast musician she is today. Cormier currently heads the band Cajun Sounds and has also produced hit records such as 'Queen of Cajun Music' and 'Sheryl Cormier and Cajun Sounds.'
Oldtime legend Dan Gellert and his fiddle and banjo skills need no introduction, nor does his unmistakable and powerful style. Featured on the album, "Old Time Tiki Parlour Presents: Dan Gellert", Gellert offers a masterful performance, unique and authentic.
Joining Dan Gellert on Saturday are Steve Rosen and Fred Campeau. Steve Rosen has been playing old-time, country, and bluegrass music on fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and piano for over 25 years. Fred Campeau plays old-time, country, and blues on banjo, fiddle, harmonica, and guitar. Both have toured with the Volo Bogtrotters and other old-time bands.