Sea Music Festival
June 9 - June 12
Mystic Seaport is proud to host its 37th annual Sea Music Festival, one of the world’s premier sea music events, June 9-12, 2016. Fans of traditional sea music gather each year to hear national and international performers, along with the Museum’s chantey staff, perform music from the golden Age of Sail through the best of contemporary compositions. This year’s roster includes music from England, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Canada, along with singers from across the U.S.
The weekend’s festivities include daytime and evening concerts, special performances for children, instructional workshops, and a unique opportunity to witness sea music at work aboard historic vessels. All workshops and daytime concerts in the Festival are included in regular Mystic Seaport admission. Special tickets are required for Thursday through Saturday evening concerts.
In addition, the annual Music of the Sea Symposium, hosted in partnership with the University of Connecticut at Avery Point, will be held June 10-11. This two-day collaborative program explores the interaction between sea, music, and song and features subjects from history and folklore, to literature, ethnomusicology, and other related topics.
Barrule’s fresh approach to traditional Manx music evokes an atmosphere that reflects the natural beauty of the Isle of Man, which sits quietly in the Irish Sea, steeped in the history and mythology of its Celtic and Viking ancestry. Accordion wizard Jamie Smith, gifted fiddle-player Tomas Callister, and versatile accompanist Adam Rhodes on bouzouki deliver rousing marches, jigs, and reels to sorrowful slow airs and beautiful songs sung in both English and Manx Gaelic. Stories are told of Celtic Gods, of unrequited love, and of the toils of island life. Barrule presents a fresh take on traditional and contemporary Manx music. And always the sea is near. Formed in 2012, they appeared at many festivals including Celtic Connections, WOMAD Charlton Park, Sidmouth Folk Festival, Festival Interceltique de Lorient, and the National Celtic Festival in Melbourne. Barrule won “Best Debut Album” in the Spiral Earth Awards 2014. Recorded at St. Bridget’s Chapel on the Isle of Man’s Nunnery grounds, Manannan’s Cloak was released in 2015. www.barruletrio.com
Moe Bowstern has been the editor since 1996 of Xtra Tuf, a magazine that chronicles the experiences and adventures of commercial fisher folk in Alaska and beyond. Since 1998, Moe has performed and emceed annually at the Astoria, OR, Fisher Poets Gathering and has appeared at numerous festivals including the 2007 Sea Music Festival in Mystic, CT, the Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford, MA, and Tony’s Bar, “Kodiak’s Biggest Navigational Hazard,” in Kodiak, Alaska. Xtra Tuf #5: The Strike Issue won the 2007 Lilla Jewel Award. Moe has worked on fishing boats since 1986, when as a miserable 18-year-old boat cook, she once inadvertently threatened the lives of the crew by serving pasta tossed with shards of glass. She has fished salmon, halibut, herring, tanner crab, cod in Alaska, shad on the Hudson River, and shrimp in Miami. www.moebowstern.com
Matthew Byrne was born into a family of Newfoundland music makers and his repertoire is heavily influenced by his unique musical lineage. This tradition thrives on song – the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody – and Matthew’s music reminds us how satisfying traditional songs can be when stripped down to these basic elements. His live performance offers honest interpretations of folk songs delivered with polished guitar work and powerful vocals. His repertoire transcends time and place with traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic. Matthew is currently promoting his second solo offering, Hearts & Heroes, which won Traditional Album of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards. www.matthewbyrne.net
Jon Campbell has been making up songs for his own amusement and the amusement of his pals around Pt. Judith, RI, for more than 30 years. Some of this has turned out to amuse other singers and listeners in far-flung parts of the world, at least along the coasts. He has been a participant in the New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival since its inception and has performed line of sight to salt water in venues from Maine to Alaska. His involvement with the Fisherpoets Gathering in Astoria, OR, introduced him to many others working in the field of contemporary maritime poetry, prose, and song. He has been a recognized Folk Artist with the RI State Council on the Arts since 1982, a position that generates no income. www.hoparts.org/jon-campbell-14/
Castlebay has been musically weaving together the heritage of New England and the Celtic lands since 1987. Members Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee blend history, legend, and experience into their concerts that feature poignant ballads, joyous dance tunes, and accompanied storytelling in the old bardic tradition. From their home in coastal Maine. Castlebay has toured the Eastern U.S., Canada, the British Isles, and Kosovo, playing at festivals and arts centers, as well as on radio and television. They have recorded over two dozen CDs ranging from Celtic instrumental arrangements to historical songs of New England to the songs of Robert Burns. Castlebay treats the audience to a musical journey through time and across the Atlantic. www.castlebay.net
John Doyle came from a musical family in Dublin and at age 16, along with Susan McKeown, formed Chanting House and hit the road. He went on to form the super group Solas, with Seamus Egan, John Williams, Karan Casey, and Winifred Horan, which took the folk and Celtic music worlds by storm in no small part due to John’s powerhouse rhythmic guitar style and innovative arrangements. John’s influences included Nic Jones, Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, The Watersons, Dick Gaughan, John Martin, Paul Brady, Al O’Donnell, and probably the biggest influence, his father, Sean Doyle. John has performed to sold-out audiences and has appeared on many TV and radio programs, including NBC’s Today Show, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, A Prairie Home Companion, and Mountain Stage. He also has three NAIRD awards and a Grammy nomination. John has appeared on soundtracks for feature films, and composed the music for films and plays. www.johndoylemusic.com
Richard Grainger released his first album in 1984, which included his well-known song Whitby Whaler, covered by many other artists. He is an uncompromising writer of new songs, showing a passion for maritime matters and the environment, and a highly regarded interpreter of traditional songs. Richard’s music reveals an interest in British history and has been called “Folk in the truest sense.” He has performed at festivals, clubs, and theatres worldwide. Richard’s substantial body of work includes recordings, education projects, stage-plays, radio, and television. He has fulfilled musical commissions from the BBC, and his production of Eye of the Wind, produced with Sir David Attenborough narrating, is highly acclaimed. He is also the founder and organizer of The Whitby Sea Festival. Richard’s latest album Hard Road to Prospect Hill is receiving excellent reviews from the British Folk Press. www.richard-grainger.com
Kim & Reggie Harris are a mini-festival of diversity. Combining traditional African-American spirituals and freedom songs with original folk, they sing of life, love, the quest for freedom, and care for the environment. Their latest CD, Resurrection Day, binds these themes into a profoundly moving personal odyssey of inspiration and hope. Kim and Reggie’s early exposure to the diversity of musical styles and genres was nurtured in the Philadelphia schools and churches of their youth, from gospel and classical, to jazz and pop. As a result of their CDs Steal Away and Get On Board and materials developed in their work with the Kennedy Center, they have earned wide acclaim for their contributions to the knowledge base on the Underground Railroad and the modern civil rights movement. Thirty-plus years of road and stage experience and interactions with performers, including Pete Seeger, Ysaye Barnwell, Jay Leno, Tom Paxton, Bernice Johnson Reagon, and Harry Belafonte, have led Kim & Reggie to produce music that entertains and inspires. www.kimandreggie.com
Cliff Haslam is as fine as an exemplar of the British folk tradition as you’ll find this side of the pond. A native of Warrington, Cheshire – about 16 miles up the Mersey from Liverpool – his songs display a fine sense of humor, a bit of British bawdy, and great vocal artistry. Everyone should have the chance to hear Cliff shake the walls as his booming bass baritone breathes new life into an old chantey…and in the next moment renders a ballad so tender it would bring tears to the eyes of an executioner. A mainstay in the folk music scene in New England for many years, Cliff has inspired countless people to sing, learn songs, and join in the community of folk music. www.cliffhaslam.com
David Jones, a South East Londoner, was born close to the famous Greenwich Maritime Museum. He came to America for six months in 1965 that expanded into 50-plus years. David has lived and sung solo and with several groups, The Starboard List, Bermuda Quadrangle, Poor Old Horse, and The New York Packet, on the east and west coasts of the U.S. and some bits in between, and has been involved in the American folk scene since arriving on these shores. David has been a featured performer in Revels Christmas productions throughout the U.S. for many years as well as with the Cambridge Revel’s annual Sea Music presentation. He has been an actor, performing to favorable reviews, and has made a number of recordings, including From England’s Shore and The Curate’s Egg, with Heather Wood and Tom Gibney. He also recorded a CD for young audiences, Widdecomb Fair, that won a Parents Choice magazine gold award.
Kieran Jordan Dance is a Boston-based Irish dance company dedicated to the creation of new choreography inspired by “old-style” dance traditions. Drawing from her training in contemporary dance and many forms of traditional percussive dance, director/choreographer Kieran Jordan creates a world on stage that is both spirited and evocative, with dances that weave visual patterns, depict a sense of time or place, or highlight the relationships and connections found in traditional Irish dance and music. Whether performing in concerts, festivals, or theater settings, the company’s work is celebrated for its lyricism, eye-catching footwork, rhythmic energy, and natural embodied movement. Joining the dancers will be Providence, RI,-based duo The Vox Hunters (Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi) on fiddle and concertina, two of the finest young musicians and singers in the New England traditional scene. www.kieranjordan.com
Nanne Kalma & Ankie van der Meer have been playing together since 1980, in groups Kat yn ’t Seil, Kajto, and Liereliet and since 2000 as a duo. Singing in Frisian, Dutch, Esperanto, and English, they produced nearly 40 albums on LP and CD and they regularly tour throughout Europe, North America, and Australia. They sing traditional as well as newly-written songs and have a wide repertoire. Nanne & Ankie like to sing about different subjects but maritime and historical themes play an important role. They are regarded as experts in, and leading performers of, chanteys and sea songs in the Dutch and Frisian languages. At festivals, concerts, on ships, or in singing workshops, their program is always witty and adapted to the situation wherever they are. They accompany themselves on several instruments, including guitar, mandolin, concertina, and shawm. Since 2000, Nanne & Ankie have released 18 new CDs in several languages. www.nanne-ankie.nl
As Magpie, Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner have brought their unique sound and remarkable versatility to audiences everywhere since 1973, featuring traditional and vintage Americana to contemporary and stirring original compositions. With two strong voices in harmony and superb instrumental arrangements, their sound is powerful and moving. Award-winning recording artists, singers, songwriters, musical historians, playwrights, actors and social activists, Terry and Greg are proud to be, as Pete Seeger said of them, “more links in the chain,” dedicating their lives and music to leaving this world a better place. In short, you don’t want to miss them! www.magpiemusic.com
Margaret McCandless has loved to share sea songs and music since family folk song evenings during her childhood. Her first harmonica was a gift from her father. Concertina, banjo, and other instruments captivated Margaret as she discovered them. Her performance work includes college years on the west coast and more recent years at museums and schools around New England. Along with music, Margaret enjoys telling true tales of other’s childhood adventures at sea. Her recordings include a mix of classic sea chanteys, ballads, and old poetry set to music, plus some songs of her own. She savors the sound of many voices, so be prepared to sing along at concerts with Margaret. www.margaretmccandless.com/music
Mystic Seaport Chantey Staff are Craig Edwards, David Iler, Geoff Kaufman, Barry Keenan, Denise Kegler, David Littlefield, and Don Sineti, with Jesse Edwards and Chris Koldewey on call. We also have some up-and-coming chanteyfolk, Brien Bradley and Bror Okerblom, who will be on duty in the summer. These are the folks who carry on the daily duties of presenting music in shipboard demonstrations and themed public performances as part of the historic interpretation of Mystic Seaport as well as presenting on-grounds and outreach special programming.
Pressgang Mutiny has established itself in the new generation of chanteymen. Comprised of singers James McKie, Chris Weatherstone, Mark Marczyk, Stefan Read, John Williams, Matt Cooke, and Richard Kott, this all-male acapella group is quickly becoming a favorite folk act in Toronto, the Maritimes, and beyond. They are poised to make waves internationally in 2016, when Pressgang Mutiny will release their first full-length CD, followed by an international summer tour and performances at the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival, CT, and Bie Daip in Appingedam, Netherlands. In 2015 at Mystic Seaport, Geoff Kaufman wrote: “Pressgang Mutiny was a big hit. These young men brought an infectious enthusiasm to their performances. The audience response to their energy, solid sound, and confident stage presence was well deserved.” Telling the story of maritime history through the first truly multicultural music in the world, they continue their tradition of delivering a uniquely Canadian musical experience wherever they travel. www.pressgangmutiny.com
Spitzer & Mareva are a fiercely passionate and commanding vocal group. With a deep repertoire of sea chanteys and ballads of the British Isles, the duo draws inspiration from the Watersons, the Young Tradition, Smithsonian recordings, and their peers. As members of a Chicago folk music collective, Old Lazarus’ Harp, they produce regular community dances, concerts, and festivals around the city. Spitzer Space Telescope is a solo balladeer and songwriter who performs frequently around the U.S. With a booming voice and wild energy, SST mixes original and traditional material ranging from old-time fiddle tunes to English/Irish ballads and sea chanteys. Chicago native Mareva Lindo is a troubadour and lifelong collector of folk music. As podcast producer at the Old Town School of Folk Music, she curates a series of podcasts exploring the rare archival recordings in their Resource Center. www.sstandmareva.com
Bob Walser is a musician, scholar, and educator whose musical career spans decades and continents. In the early 1980s he made his living as a chanteyman here at Mystic Seaport, where he helped launch the Sea Music Festival. Since then he has presented Folklore In Action music and dance programs in schools across the U.S. and performed as a singer, dance leader, and dance musician from Maine to California and overseas. Bob earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies. His folk music and education research has been published in the Folk Song Journal (UK) and other publications. Bob has three CDs as well as appearing on another dozen recordings in the U.S., France, and England. This summer he’ll be teaching at Augusta Vocal Week, WV (www.augustaheritagecenter.org), and his band Northern Aire is on staff at Traditional Music and Dance Camp (www.tradmadcamp.org) at Pinewoods Camp in Plymouth, MA. www.bobwalser.com
Heather Wood has been singing mainly traditional songs from the British Isles since the Sixties, when Girls Did Not Lead Sea Chanteys, and is happy to note this has now changed, thanks to groups like The Johnson Girls and the Liverpool Judies. Her repertoire includes ballads, love songs, music-hall ditties, songs of sea and shore, and occasionally the execrable poetry of William McGonagall. She believes traditional music should be enjoyed, not enshrined. As one third of the Young Tradition (with Peter Bellamy and Royston Wood), she toured extensively in the UK, U.S., and Canada, and has performed solo and in various duos and trios. She has a wicked and irreverent sense of humor and occasionally writes songs, some of which others have recorded. Heather serves on the Board of the Folk Music Society of NY, Inc., as Program Chair. She and Joy Bennett are the co-Directors of Traditional Music and Dance Camp (www.tradmadcamp.org) at Pinewoods Camp in late August. www.aheatherwood.com
For more than half a century, Bob Zentz has encouraged people the world over to join him as singers of songs, old and new. A true “folksinger’s folksinger” and a ramblin’ legacy 50 years and more in the making, Bob has been a sonar man in the Coast Guard, a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, a recording artist on the iconic Folk-Legacy label, a multi-instrumentalist on dozens of usual and unusual traditional instruments, and an award-winning songwriter whose work appears in Rise Up Singing and has been praised by song makers from Pete Seeger to Johnny Cash, the latter praising Bob’s songs as among “the finest works I’ve heard by any artist.” As a maritime singer and writer, Bob has represented the U.S. and his home state of Virginia at venues from the Netherlands to Finland, from California to Australia, and wears the name “Tidewater Troubadour” with pride.
2016 Sea Music Festival Schedule of Events
Thursday, June 9, 7 p.m. – “Fitting Out” Concert at the Boat Shed
This evening will feature the Museum’s chantey staff and guest performers getting us “fitted out” for the weekend voyage. We will be celebrating the 37th anniversary of the Sea Music Festival with a special honoring of British tradition with duos from both England and New York.
Featuring: Bonnie & Dan Milner (MCs), Current Mystic Seaport Chantey Staff (Brien Bradley, Craig Edwards, Jesse Edwards, David Iler, Geoff Kaufman, Denise Kegler, Barry Keenan, Chris Koldewey, David Littlefield. Bror Okerblom, Don Sineti), Moe Bowstern, Richard Grainger, David Jones, Keith & Sylvia Kendrick, Tim Radford and Heather Wood
Friday, June 10, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. – Music of the Sea Symposium, Part 1 at University of Connecticut at Avery Point
Friday, June 10, 7 p.m. – “Unmooring” Concert at the Boat Shed
As we get “under weigh” for the rest of the weekend, you will be treated to an exciting mix of acts from our stellar roster of performers from near and far.
Featuring: Bob Walser (MC), Castlebay, Richard Grainger, Nanne Kalma & Ankie van der Meer, Kim & Reggie Harris, Magpie, Pressgang Mutiny, Bob Zentz & Jeanne McDougall
Saturday, June 11, 9:30 a.m. – Music of the Sea Symposium, Part 2 at Mystic Seaport
Saturday, June 11, 12-5 p.m. – Concerts, Workshops and Demonstrations throughout the Museum
Saturday, June 11, 7 p.m. – “Full Sail” Concert at the Boat Shed
Get ready for another amazing night from more great performers.
Featuring: John Roberts (MC), Barrule, Moe Bowstern, Matthew Byrne, Jon Campbell, Jon Doyle, Cliff Haslam, Spitzer & Mareva
Sunday, June 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. – Concerts, Workshops & Demonstrations throughout the Museum
Sunday, June 12, 3-6 p.m. – Final Concert at the Boat Shed
Featuring: All Performers