Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer with Chao Tian and Jake Blount
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
TWO-TIME GRAMMY Award Winners, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are master musicians with a career spanning over 35 years. Their superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on the guitar, five-string banjo, ukulele, mandolin, cello-banjo, and many other instruments. An eclectic folk festival on their own terms, their repertoire ranges from classic country to western swing, gypsy jazz to bluegrass, and old-time string band to contemporary folk including some original gems. Their versatility defies a brief description, perhaps “well rounded Americana” does it best.
Cathy & Marcy have performed at hundreds of bluegrass and folk festivals and taught at close to 100 music camps. The Washington Area Music Association has recognized the duo with over 60 WAMMIE Awards for folk, bluegrass and children’s music. They have performed with Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel, Tom Paxton, Patsy Montana, Riders in the Sky and a wide range of musical luminaries.
They are happily known as “social music conductors” ready to start a jam session, a community sing or to cre- ate a music camp helping others learn to play and sing. Past students include Kaki King and Rhiannon Giddens. Through their long relationship with the Music Center at Strathmore they collaborated with positive hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon. They continue to mentor up-and-coming artists on navigating the professional music world.
They have entertained the Queen of Thailand, been keynote singers for the AFL-CIO, performed at hundreds of folk festivals, appeared on the “Today Show” and on National Public Radio. They have advocated in Washington for unions, health care for children and the rights and livelihoods of artists.
As curators, performers and hosts, Cathy & Marcy produce A Tribute To Hank Williams at The Birchmere Music Hall, 2019 will be their 23rd annual concert. Their annual weeklong Ukulele & Guitar Summit at The Music Center at Strathmore goes into its 11th year in 2019.
Cathy & Marcy have earned two GRAMMY® Awards for their recordings cELLAbration: a Tribute to Ella Jenkins and for Bon Appétit!. Their CDs Postcards and Banjo Talkin’ were both GRAMMY nominated in the Best Traditional Folk Album category.
Cathy & Marcy have toured worldwide from Japan to New Zealand, Vancouver to New York and everywhere in between. Shows include The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (OH), Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. American Voices Abroad chose Cathy & Marcy with fiddler Barbara Lamb to perform in China, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for the U.S. Department of State.
CHAO TIAN is a Chinese dulcimer virtuoso, improviser, sound designer, and visual artist. Her dexterity has led to her breaking down barriers and working across creative genres. In her work, she explores the distinct sounds and techniques of the Chinese dulcimer in order to create a multidimensional sensation of improvisation. Her creative interest is mainly in intercultural improvisation study: applications of Chinese musical aesthetics and vocabulary, creative synthesis in cross-disciplinary improvisation: interactions among music, dance, and visual art, and improvisation in folk music. Her latest project Unheard Sounds is dedicated to better exploring the practice of the immigration arts: artistic language reshaped by immigrant artists in cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Jake Blount (pronounced: blunt) is an award-winning interpreter of Black folk music based in Providence, RI. Initially recognized for his skill as a string band musician, Blount has charted an unprecedented, Afrofuturist course on his pilgrimage through sound archives and song collections. In his hands, the banjo, fiddle, electric guitar and synthesizer become ceremonial objects used to channel the insurgent creativity of his forebears. From transfixing solo sets to full-band festival appearances complete with crowd-surfing and ecstatic chants, Blount’s performances – like his recent Smithsonian Folkways release, The New Faith – seamlessly merge centuries-old traditional songs with the trappings and techniques of modern Black genres. This “genrequeer” approach to the traditions has earned his music a place in the very same archives from which he extracts his repertoire. In defiance of genre categories, revisionist histories and linear time, Blount fashions an “Afrofuturist folklore” that disintegrates the boundaries between acoustic and electric, artist and medium, and ancestor and progeny.