World Music Festival 2013
We Banjo 3
Country of Origin/Based: Ireland
Bluegrass seems like it’s becoming one of the hottest sounds—in Ireland. The Brock McGuire band—with whom We Banjo 3 banjoist Enda Scahill has worked –which returns to the festival this year, has leavened its traditional Celtic sounds with a heady dose of Kentucky bluegrass, but this young combo from Galway, Ireland dives headfirst into the music Bill Monroe made famous. The combo’s acclaimed album Roots of the Banjo Tree—picked as traditional music album of the year by the Irish Times—chronicles a sound that privileges bluegrass, and shapes it with Celtic accents.
Country of Origin/Based: Finland
Genre: Finnish folk, kantele
The four young women who make up this gorgeously, whimsically harmonizing group from Finland tackle a wide variety of regional traditions—reki-style singing, runo-songs, and Perhonjoki valley style—but they bring a sublimely catchy, energetic verve to all of them. While the way their sweet voices blend and contrast is the undeniable focal point of its music–as melodies both stately and hyperactive are given an accessible veneer that wouldn’t sound of place in indie rock–Kardemimmit secure their authentic folk bona fides with virtuosic use of both the 15- and 38-string versions of the Finnish zither called the kantele. Whether performing traditional songs or original compositions, the group deftly erases lines between past and present—rarely has old-school folk sound so contemporary.