Aoife O’Donovan | America, Come

With La Jolla Symphony and San Diego Children’s Choir

“O’Donovan is in a league all her own—her harmonic and rhythmic inventions make for post-folk ear candy.”—Nashville Scene

“There’s a…march to the blossoming of her catalog and her artistry and it’s on full display on All My Friends.”—The Bluegrass Situation

“vocalist of unerring instinct”—New York Times

GRAMMY winner Aoife O’Donovan celebrates democracy and womanhood on her new solo album, All My Friends. The 9-song collection is inspired by the passage of the 19th amendment and the evolving landscape of women’s rights in America over the past century. She artfully draws on speeches and letters by Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Voters, to write intricately filigreed new, original songs infused with modern viewpoint. The 2022 Folk Alliance International Song of the Year winner, who was last seen at ArtPower in 2022, is joined by La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and the San Diego Children’s Choir, conducted by Sameer Patel.

Leyla McCalla with Yasmin Williams

Born in New York City to Haitian emigrants and activists, Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from her past and present—her music vibrates with three centuries of history and influences from around the globe. McCalla possesses a stunning mastery of the cello, tenor banjo and guitar and, as a multilingual singer and songwriter, has risen to produce a distinctive sound that reflects the union of her roots and experience. In addition to her solo work, McCalla is a founding member of Our Native Daughters (with Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah and Allison Russell) and alumna of Grammy award-winning Black string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops.

McCalla returns to ArtPower with acoustic fingerstyle guitarist and film composer Yasmin Williams. She has an unorthodox, modern style of guitar playing and utilizes various techniques including alternate tunings, percussive hits, and lap tapping in her music to great effect. Her “radiant sound and adventitious origins have made her a key figure in a diverse dawn for the solo guitar” (The New York Times). Williams’s music has been described as rich, harmonious, and “in a lot of ways, the joy and possibility she brings to the guitar reminds me more of Eddie Van Halen than any of the other fingerstyle guitarists to whom she’s compared” (NPR Music).

Jake Blount

5:30 pm: ArtTalk with Jake Blount: “Inherited Black Futures Shaping Tomorrow Through Ancestral Craft”

A powerfully gifted musician and a scholar of Black American music, Jake Blount speaks ardently about the African roots of the banjo and the subtle, yet profound ways African Americans have shaped and defined the amorphous categories of roots music and Americana. His 2020 album Spider Tales (named one of the year’s best albums by NPR and the New Yorker, earned a perfect 5-star review from the Guardian) highlighted the Black and Indigenous histories of popular American folk tunes, as well as revived songs unjustly forgotten in the whitewashing of the canon. Blount’s new album, The New Faith, is a towering achievement of dystopian Afrofuturism and his first album for Smithsonian Folkways (released September 23, 2022). The New Faith is spiritual music, filled with hope for salvation and righteous anger in equal measure. The album manifests our worst fears on the shores of an island in Maine, where Blount enacts an imagined religious ceremony performed by Black refugees after the collapse of global civilization due to catastrophic climate change. Blount’s music is rooted in care and confrontation. On stage, each song he and his band play is chosen for a reason—because it highlights important elements about the stories we tell ourselves of our shared history and our endlessly complicated present moment. The more we learn about where we’ve been, the better equipped we are to face the future.

This is Jake Blount’s San Diego premiere.

Carlos Simon | Requiem for the Enslaved

Multi-genre work Requiem for the Enslaved by Carlos Simon is a musical tribute to commemorate the stories of 272 enslaved men, women and children sold in 1838 by Georgetown University, infusing original compositions with African American spirituals and familiar Catholic liturgical melodies. Performed by the Hub New Music with Carlos at the piano, Requiem features spoken word and hip hop artist Marco Pavé, and trumpeter MK Zulu.
Requiem for the Enslaved was nominated for a 2023 GRAMMY award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Carlos Simon

Grammy-nominated Carlos Simon is a multi-genre composer and performer who is a passionate advocate for diversity in music. As winner of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence 2021 and Composer-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center, Carlos is a unique voice and sought-after cultural ambassador for new music Globally as well as an important spokesperson for the Black community and new audiences.

Simon is passionate about social outreach and his work addresses complex themes that include migration, belonging and community – especially illuminating the transatlantic slave trade, the Jim and Jane Crow era, and the injustice people of African ancestry face today. His unique upbringing and journey into music has resulted in his music possessing both classical textures and structures in a contemporary aesthetic alongside strong jazz, hip-hop and heavy gospel influences as well as branching out in to the world of Film – Carlos Simon’s music transcends genre.  

Listed in the Kennedy Center’s Next 50’, his recent commissions have been granted by the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Kennedy Center, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, PBS and the Washington National Opera as well as his work being set to ballets by Washington National Ballet and American Ballet Theater. He is signed to Decca Records/Classics and his next album (following his Grammy-nominated release) which sees original music and a variety of celebrated guest artists with Carlos at the piano, will be out in 2023.

Hub New Music

Called “contemporary chamber trailblazers” by the Boston Globe, Hub New Music is a “nimble quartet of winds and strings” (NPR) forging new paths in 21st-century repertoire. The ensemble’s ambitious commissioning projects and “appealing programs” (New Yorker) celebrate the rich diversity of today’s classical music landscape. Founded in 2013, Hub has grown into a formidable touring ensemble driven by an unwavering dedication to building community through new art. Over the last decade, Hub has commissioned dozens of new works and continues to usher in a fresh and culturally relevant body of work for its distinct combination of flute, clarinet, violin, and cello. Hub is proud to collaborate with today’s most celebrated emerging and established composers, and is equally proud to count many of them as friends.

Marco Pavé

Tauheed “Marco Pavé” Rahim IIis a Memphis, TN, native and hip hop artist, advocate, and educator producing work influenced by Memphis’s legacy of blues, soul, and trap with KRS-One-meets-Project-Pat sensibilities. Marco Pavé has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning producers, charted at #2 on CMJ, and was featured on MTVU, The Source, The Root, MTV News, and more. Marco Pavé is also a Memphis Music Ambassador with Music Export Memphis and Founder of Radio Rahim Music, an independent record label that works at the intersection of hip hop, arts communities, technology, and activism.

MK Zulu

Jared “MK Zulu” Bailey is a Grammy-nominated trumpeter/rapper/singer/songwriter from Forestville, Maryland. Graduating from Howard with a Bachelor’s in Music Business, he later received his Master’s in Jazz Performance from Rutgers. Since then, MK has been working as a teaching and performing artist in the DMV through various outlets. MK Zulu has had the opportunity to perform at some of the city’s most prominent venues including The Atlas Performing Arts Center, The Howard Theatre, and the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center. Thriving in collaboration, he participated in over 25 releases as a contributing performer. MK’s collaboration with composer Carlos Simon for his album, “Requiem for the Enslaved”, was Grammy nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Meanwhile, his latest solo project “The Legend EP” is an energetic package of songs created to motivate others to never give up on their dreams. This project led to MK being listed among The Source Magazine’s Top Talents to Watch Fall 2021. MK Zulu’s effortless fusion of jazz, hip-hop, r&b, and funk allows him to connect with listeners from all different walks of life.

John Rawlins III

John (He/Him/His) is a Campus Diversity Officer and Director of the UC San Diego Black Resource Center. He is an EDI/Student Affairs professional with 16 years of experience as an administrator and advocate for students, more specifically students of color. John is a native of the Washington, DC Metropolitan area and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and his Master of Arts degree from The Johns Hopkins University. John comes to UCSD from  California State University San Marcos where he served as Director of the Black Student Center and Special Assistant to the Chief Diversity Officer in the Office of Inclusive Excellence. John’s passion to support students of color began during his undergraduate career, where he served in many leadership roles in student organizations and campus advisory boards. John would begin a celebrated career at Ithaca College, continue at The Johns Hopkins University, and the international headquarters of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., before heading West to CSUSM. John holds memberships with NASPA, ASCAP, and is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He serves as the 16th and current President/CEO of the Cornell Black Alumni Association and serves on several alumni boards for the institution. John is also a Gospel recording artists and vocalist who has performed on national and international stages alike. He has been honored to share the stage and sing with artists such as jazz icon Wynton Marsalis and Gospel legend Kirk Franklin.

Madison McFerrin

Opening Set by Professor King Britt (DJ Set)

Throughout her fruitful independent career, spanning three EPs and multiple collaborations, Madison McFerrin has earned accolades from the New York Times, NPR, The FADER, and Pitchfork—who named her a Rising Artist in 2018. Her genre-bending work has led to Questlove dubbing her early sound “soul-appella.” In addition to a stirring performance on the renowned COLORS Studio platform, McFerrin has also performed at Lincoln Center, Central Park SummerStage, and BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn, and shared stages with the likes of De La Soul, Gallant, and The Roots. Off the stage, Madison’s music has been featured in episodes of Comedy Central’s Broad City and HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness. Working at the intersection of artistry and community building, McFerrin co-curated programming for the BRIC Jazz Festival in 2021, and in 2022, aligned her MAD LOVE initiative with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy to present three installments of Summer Fridays—a series focused on themes of RELEASE, RESTORE & REJOICE with DJs, comedians, and musicians providing some much needed space for healing from the collective trauma and grief of the pandemic. Most recently, McFerrin has performed at the Saint Joseph’s Art Society in San Francisco and Joe’s Pub in New York City to support fundraisers benefiting the National Network of Abortion Funds.


Dirk Powell Band

Dirk Powell is a musician whose emotional understanding of American tradition has enabled him to expand on roots extending back more than nine generations in the southern mountains. His new group is a hard-driving, exciting testament to the power of the living old-time music tradition. Powell’s ability to unite traditional and historical forms with modern sensibilities has led to work with many of today’s greatest artists, from Sting to Jewel to Loretta Lynn to Joan Baez.

Steve Riley and Racines

The late Dewey Balfa once said “A culture is like a tree, you have to water the roots, but you can’t go cutting off the branches every time the tree tries to grow”.  Well, Racines (which means “roots” in French) both waters the roots and stretches outward.  A collaborative project of five gentlemen who are all well-known Cajun musicians in their own right, Racines explores the varying musical traditions that call Southwest Louisiana home: Cajun music, Zydeco, blues, and more.

Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole

Spearheading the emerging generation of Cajun and Creole musicians, Cedric Watson is a fiddler, vocalist, accordionist and songwriter of enormous talent and potential. With an apparently bottomless repertoire of songs at his fingertips, Watson plays everything from forgotten Creole melodies to more modern Cajun and Zydeco songs, even occasionally throwing in a bluegrass fiddle tune or an old string band number. 

Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole resurrect the ancient sounds of the French and Spanish contra dance and bourré alongside the spiritual rhythms of the Congo tribes of West Africa, who were sold as slaves in the Caribbean and Louisiana by the French and Spanish. Moving with ease between fiddle and accordion, and adding his strong blues-inflected vocals, Watson’s albums are a tapestry of pulsing rhythms and Creole poetry, and his live performances are unforgettable, at once progressive and nostalgic.


Charly Lowry

Charly Lowry, a musical powerhouse from Pembroke, NC, is proud to be an Indigenous woman belonging to the Lumbee/Tuscarora Tribes. Since her teenage years, Charly has established a career as a professional singer-songwriter with unique passion and voice. In addition to performing solo, for over ten years Charly has been the front-woman for the multi award-winning band, Dark Water Rising.

Among her community, Native women are traditionally barred from the hand-drum, singing behind the men’s drum and/or dancing instead. Lowry defies that norm, following in the footsteps of her mentor, an artist and heir to the Tuscarora Indian Nation, Pura Fé; choosing to battle with her songs, hand drum, and guitar to deliver songs that not only tell the plight of her people but all humankind that face oppression.

She serves as a voice for her ancestors, as well as the youth of today, and remains committed to music that honors roots but lives vibrantly in the here and now.

Sierra Hull
with special guest Dead Horses

I think she’s endless. I don’t see any boundaries. Talent like hers is so rare, and I don’t think it stops.”—Allison Kraus

In her first 25 years alone, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Sierra Hull hit more milestones than many musicians accomplish in a lifetime. After making her Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 10, the Tennessee-bred virtuoso mandolinist played Carnegie Hall at age 12, then landed a deal with Rounder Records just a year later. Now 28-years-old, Hull is set to deliver her fourth full- length for Rounder: an elegantly inventive and endlessly captivating album called 25 Trips. 25 Trips reveals her profound warmth as a storyteller, shedding light on the beauty and chaos and sometimes sorrow of growing up and getting older.  The album’s title nods to a particularly momentous year of her life, including her marriage to fellow bluegrass musician Justin Moses and the release of her widely acclaimed album Weighted Mind—a Béla Fleck- produced effort nominated for Best Folk Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

Dead Horses isn’t a band in the conventional sense. Rather, it’s an intimate, folk-inspired conversation between two close friends. At its core, the participants are guitarist/singer Sarah Vos and bassist Daniel Wolff. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based pair’s dialogue continues with an eclectic five-song EP, Birds (released February 7), which includes the band’s previously released singles “Family Tapes,” “Mighty Storm,” and “Birds Can Write The Chorus.”

Dead Horses weave together a vibrant patchwork of classic and contemporary influences that span trad roots, indie- folk, and other experimental musical idioms. Through it all, the union of Sarah’s emotive songwriting with Dan’s intrepid bass playing transcends the singer-songwriter-with-backup-musicians paradigm.

To date, Dead Horses has released three studio albums, an Audiotree Live Session, three singles, and a two-song EP.  Along the way, the duo has charted on the Americana Top 50 radio charts, accrued over 20 million spins on Spotify, and earned placements on several Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music “Americana” playlists. A Rolling Stone “Artist You Should Know,” Dead Horses has received profiles from Billboard to Noisey, and have toured extensively, including appearances at Red Rocks Amphitheater and an invitation to open for legendary UK rockers The Who.