Kandace Springs

“A voice that could melt snow”—Prince

If Kandace Springs‘ new album Indigo sounds like something new, that’s because it is. Simple while funky. Classic but contemporary. Straightforward in the way it breaks down complex ideas and genres. And, at the end of the day, undeniably human. That said, it isn’t quite a rebirth for the Nashville-born artist, who after stints living in New York and Los Angeles has returned back home to Music City. She’s long had that lithe and smoky voice and an intensely expressive mastery over the piano. 

She sings from her latest album, The Women Who Raised Me, a loving tribute to the great female singers who inspired her to begin her journey towards becoming one of the premier jazz/soul vocalists of our time. The album will feature her unique interpretations of songs that she first heard growing up in Tennessee, and ranges from such classic icons as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae, through 60’s legends Nina Simone, and Dusty Springfield, and up to modern masters such as Sade and Lauryn Hill.

Marc Ribot

Marc Ribot, who the New York Times describes as “a deceptively articulate artist who uses inarticulateness as an expressive device,” has released 25 albums under his own name over a 40-year career, exploring everything from the pioneering jazz of Albert Ayler to the Cuban son of Arsenio Rodríguez. His solo release,“Silent Movies”(Pi Recording 2010) has been described as a”down-in-mouth-near master piece” by the Village Voice and has landed on several Best of 2010 lists including the LA Times and critical praise across the board, and 2014 saw the monumental release: Marc Ribot Trio Live at the Village Vanguard(Pi Recordings), documenting Marc’s first headline and the return of Henry Grimes at the historical venue in 2012 and included onBest of 2014 lists such as Downbeat magazine and NPR’s 50 Favorites.

2021 is filed with a flurry of activity and releases including Ceramic Dog’s HOPE, recorded during the pandemic, plus two reissues on vinyl for the first time: 1993’s long out-of-print Marc Ribot Plays Solo Guitar Works of Frantz Casseus & Silent Movies (2010). Additionally, Marc’s first collection of writings, Unstrung: Rants & Stories of a Noise Guitarist, will be published by Akashic Books this August with an audiobook also in the works, and Marc’s original score for limited series documentary, Queen of Meth, will premiere on the Discovery Channel

Makaya McCraven

Makaya McCraven is a beat scientist. The bleeding edge drummer, producer, and sonic collagist is one of Chicago’s savviest cultural players and a multi-talented force whose inventive process & intuitive, cinematic style defy categorization.

French-born but raised in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts by expatriate musician parents, McCraven studied Jazz at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the mentorship of jazz luminaries Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, and Yusef Lateef, and eventually went on to develop his chops in Chicago’s burgeoning scene.

His breakthrough album In the Moment was released with International Anthem Recording Co. (IARC) in 2015 and received widespread acclaim, proving to be a dramatic statement by McCraven that quickly launched him into the vanguard of not only Internationally-known jazz artists, but also a niche genre of next-wave composer-producers blurring the boundaries of jazz & electronic music.

His recent releases, the DJ-style mixtape Highly Rare (IARC, 2017) as well as an internationally recorded Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape) (IARC, 2018) have been well received globally, leading to increased bookings in some of the world’s best clubs, theaters, and festivals alongside the likes of Corey Wilkes, Bobby (Baabe) Irving (Miles Davis), Ari Brown, and Bernie Worrell.

McCraven is currently on tour and most recently released Universal Beings, a 2xLP album featuring an A-list of “new” jazz players from New York, Chicago, London & Los Angeles.

Sean Jones “Dizzy Spellz” featuring Brinae Ali

Dizzy Spellz offers an Afro-futuristic lens exploring the intersection of cultural and spiritual dilemmas within the African Diaspora through the music of Dizzy Gillespie. From his coming of age through racial and social dynamics in the Deep South, creating and curating the bebop movement in New York, to his spiritual journey to Africa and his delve into Afro Cuban music and the Baha’i Faith, Dizzy was very much ahead of his time. Sean Jones (trumpeter/musical director) and Brinae Ali (choreographer/tap dancer/vocalist) have teamed up to create a piece that fuses elements of jazz, tap, Hip Hop, and BeBop to articulate the social vernacular of the African-American experience.

Postponed: Vieux Farka Touré

Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. Son of the late, beloved, legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, Vieux is prominent in his own right. Initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, Vieux secretly began playing guitar in 2001. 

In the intervening decade and a half, Vieux has gone on to tour the world and record numerous albums to great acclaim. Notable performances include playing for the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. His recordings reflect a deep connection to and reverence for family and country. Incorporating elements of rock and Latin music into the Saharan blues and traditional melodies of his native Mali, Vieux and his three-piece band are creating an electrifying new sound rooted in tradition.

Les Filles de Illighadad

Les Filles de Illighadad comes from the village of Illighadad in a remote region of central Niger. Like many of the villages in the area, its borders are loosely defined, owing to the largely pastoral population. It rests on the shore of a seasonal pond that swells during the rainy season. The center of town has a well, some small houses, and a school. But most of Illighadad’s people live in the surrounding scrub land desert, in tiny patched roof houses or temporary nomadic tents, hidden among the trees.

Les Filles de Illighadad (“daughters of Illighadad”) was founded in 2016 by solo guitarist Fatou Seidi Ghali and renowned vocalist Alamnou Akrouni. In 2017 they were joined by Amaria Hamadalher, a force on the Agadez guitar scene and Abdoulaye Madassane, rhythm guitarist and a son of Illighadad. Les Filles’ music draws from two distinct styles of regional sound, ancient village choral chants and desert guitar. The result is a groundbreaking new direction for Tuareg folk music and a sound that resonates far outside of their village.

To emerge from this small village to perform on stages around the world is no small feat, and is a testament to the band’s unique sound. But their home is more than their narrative. Illighadad is central to everything about the band, from their repertoire, the way they perform, the poetry they recite, even the way they sing. Music has always traveled in the Sahel, from poetry recited by nomads, scratchy AM radio broadcasts, to cell phone recordings sent over WhatsApp. Yet even today each village has its own style. When Les Filles perform, they play the music of Illighadad.

At the heart of Les Filles’ music is the percussion and poetry of tende—a term used for both the instrument and the type of music— whereby a mortar and pestle are transformed into a drum, and women join together in a circle, in a chorus of singing, chanting, and clapping. Sometimes it’s music for celebration, some – times it’s music to heal the sick, sometimes it’s poetry of love. But it’s always music of people, where the line between performer and spectator breaks down. To be a witness is to be a participant, to listen is to join in the collective song.

It’s precisely this collectivism which makes the recording “At Pioneer Works” seem so natural and timeless. Recorded in fall of 2019, “At Pioneer Works” finds the band at the height of their touring career. Over two sold out shows, the band brought Illighadad to New York, their first performance in the city. Speaking of the night, he New Yorker‘s music critic Amanda Petrusich writes: “The crowd in Brooklyn was entranced, nearly reverent. Les Filles’ music is mesmeric, almost prayer-like, which can leave an audience agog… whatever rhythm does to a human body—it was happening.”

There’s something bittersweet that it’s the sound of Illighadad that has propelled Les Filles’ to travel so far and so often. Playing on a stage 5000 miles from home, their performance evokes the village with a heavy ever present nostalgia. In singing the songs of Illighadad, Les Filles’ invite the audience to share in the remembrance, to hear the poetry and driving tende, to stumble out into a night lit by a faint moon, joining in chants that carry over the nomad camps, in a call to come together and sing under the stars.

—Christopher Kirkley

Yumi Kurosawa with Eric Phinney

Koto visionary Yumi Kurosawa teams up with renowned tabla player Eric Phinney for a program that brings together two expressive musical traditions, bridging the cultures of Japan and India.  Kurosawa has long had a fascination with other cultures and their instrumental histories.  With the koto being one of her country’s most ancient and beloved instruments, Kurosawa as both a performer and composer, has been seeking a merging of two traditions that would create a new music.  She and Phinney spin mesmerizing musical tales composed by Kurosawa, as they enchant the audience and reinforce the powerful idea of music as a means to enhance the collaborative spirit of our global community.

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.

Gina Chavez

“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.

Aoife O’Donovan

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.”