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.
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.
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.
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 (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.
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 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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
“Her voice stops you in your tracks.”—NPR
Latin Grammy nominee Gina Chavez blends the sounds of the Americas with tension and grace. A 12-time Austin Music Award winner, including 2019 Female Vocalist and 2015 Austin Musician of the Year, Gina explores the true meaning of “Americana” as she and her five-piece band take audiences on a high-energy journey through Latin America and beyond. Gina’s music is deeply personal. Her passionate collection of bilingual songs traversing Cumbia, rumba, and soul take audiences on a journey to discover her Latin roots through music.
She has completed a 12-country tour as cultural ambassadors with the U.S. State Department, uniting audiences from Texas to Uzbekistan and Venezuela to Saudi Arabia. Her bilingual album, Up.Rooted, topped the Amazon and Latin iTunes charts following a feature on NPR’s All Things Considered and her Tiny Desk concert has more than 900,000 views. Gina’s Spanish-language anthem, “Siete-D,” won the grand prize in the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest.
Grammy award-winning artist Aoife O’Donovan operates in a thrilling musical world beyond genre. Deemed “a vocalist of unerring instinct” by The New York Times, she has released two critically-acclaimed and boundary-blurring solo albums including In the Magic Hour, which Rolling Stone hailed for its “Impressionistic, atmospheric songs [that] relay their narratives against gorgeous pastoral backdrops.” O’Donovan spent the Winter and Spring of 2021 in the studio with acclaimed producer Joe Henry (Bonnie Raitt, Rhiannon Giddens) recording her third full-length solo album titled Age of Apathy, which will release January 2022.
A savvy and generous collaborator, Aoife is one third of the group I’m With Her with bandmates Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz. The trio’s debut album See You Around was hailed as “willfully open-hearted” by NPR Music. I’m With Her earned an Americana Music Association Award in 2019 for Duo/Group of the Year, and a Grammy-award in 2020 for Best American Roots Song.
O’Donovan spent the preceding decade as co-founder and frontwoman of the string band, Crooked Still and is the featured vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions — the group with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. She has appeared as a featured vocalist with over a dozen symphonies including the National Symphony Orchestra, written for Alison Krauss, performed with jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas, and spent a decade as a regular contributor to the radio variety shows “Live From Here” and “A Prairie Home Companion.”