From the Dean’s Desk: Folk Festival, Round 3

The Richmond Folk Festival recently announced the last round of performers, and our resident music guy, Dean Christesen, is here to offer up some information on these artists and what you can expect from their performances. Come have a look (and listen)…

Editor’s note: As the names of the artists scheduled to perform at the Richmond Folk Festival continue to be released over the coming weeks, Dean Christesen, our main music guy, will be offering insight on these performers and what you can expect when they take the stage. (Be sure to click on the name of each artist to read their professional bios and to listen to sound clips!)

Benedicte Maurseth

  • Norwegian Hardanger fiddle
  • Hardanger, Norway

The Hardanger fiddle — played expertly and beautifully by Maurseth — has twice the amount of strings as a traditional fiddle and is right out of Norweigan folk traditions. Maurseth also sings staggeringly well and puts her entire body into a performance. She’s an award winning and internationally acclaimed musician, and we’ll all see why when we’re under her spell.

Watch her on YouTube

No BS! Brass Band

  • Brass band
  • Richmond, Virginia

What can I say? They’re a local favorite who can pack a punch, their jazz and New Orleans influences clashing with rock, punk, kung fu, and more. They led a parade at last year’s festival and this time — right along with the release of their newest album — are promoted to a stage act. A parade or two might still be in store…

Watch them on YouTube

Sand Mountain Sacred Harp Singers

  • Alabama shape note singing
  • Sand Mountain, Alabama

Sacred Harp is an old method of music notation used for singing hymns, a method that was largely wiped out and replaced by European hymn styles in most of America in the nineteenth century. Just about everywhere except Sand Mountain. This music is not meant to be performed (peculiar, then, that they would perform at a festival) and is much more raucous than your gentle, beautiful, church hymn.

Watch a related video on YouTube (Note: those feature in the video are not Sand Mountain Sacred Harp Singers — this is just intended to give an idea of what they sound like.)

Sibirskaya Vechora

  • Folk music of Krasnoyarsk and Siberia
  • Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation

The music of Ukraine and Belarus, which directly had an effect on traditional music of Krasnoyarsk in Russia, could come off as being harmonically strange to us westerners. A melody as natural as the earth, however, is a sure sign of a music that has progressed through the tradition of the culture, and that this folk music has. Never contrived but perhaps jarring compared to western music could describe any eastern folk music, but with so little information available on Sibirskaya Vechora, we’ll go with that.

Virginia Rocks

Featuring Deke Dickerson (pictured) & The Ecco-fonics, Daryl Davis, The Dazzlers, Jess Duboy, Clint Miller, and more

  • Rockabilly

It’s a Virginia Historical Society museum exhibit brought to stage. Leading rockabilly artist Deke Dickerson and Virginians will show why the genre was a hit among young people in the 50s. Rockabilly — a genre that became an often overlooked style of rock ‘n’ roll — merged country, swing, and more into the electric body shakin’ teen rebellion movement. Like Fiddle Journeys, who knows what’s in store when all these musicians come together?

Watch them on YouTube

For more on the Richmond Folk Festival and its scheduled performers, stop by the RVANews Richmond Folk Festival Guide.

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Dean Christesen

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