Trad. Folk & Rad Americana Ensemble, The Side Musician
Avi Salloway is a musician, activist, and educator based in Cambridge, MA. He grew up learning music directly from American folk legends, Pete and John Seeger, and from an early age, was exposed to the power of music to bring people together. This concept resonates deeply with Salloway and has lead him to use music as a kinetic form of expression, connecting people around the globe. He has co-written, produced, and recorded on 12 albums and performed over 1000 concerts in 25 countries around the world, including performances at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Montreal Jazz Fest, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. Salloway has also collaborated and performed with renowned artists including Jack Johnson, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bombino, David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), The Low Anthem, and Pete Seeger.
Salloway is the bandleader and principal songwriter for Billy Wylder. From 2013-16 he worldwide with Bombino, the Tuareg guitar master from Niger. Prior to Billy Wylder and Bombino, he co-lead the band, Hey Mama/Avi & Celia with Celia Woodsmith of Della Mae. After graduating from the University of Vermont in 2007, Salloway and Woodsmith released four albums and performed over 400 concerts throughout the US and Canada. Inspired to use music as a medium for conflict transformation, Salloway traveled to Israel and Palestine in 2011 to work with Heartbeat on a musical peace-building project with young Arab and Jewish artists.
Based in Jerusalem, Heartbeat is a non-profit organization that unites Israeli and Palestinian youth musicians to build critical understanding, develop creative nonviolent tools for social change, and amplify their voices to influence the world around them. While working in the Middle East, Salloway facilitated music workshops, writing, and recording projects with the Heartbeat artists. He continues to work with Heartbeat as their Global Ambassador, helping to grow the organization’s impact in the region and around the world. He has produced and performed with Heartbeat on five of their US tours including a pinnacle briefing and concert at the US Congress. In additional to his work with Heartbeat, Salloway has led musically-based conflict transformation workshops at Seeds of Peace, working with youth from Egypt, Israeli, Palestine, Jordan, UK, and the US. He currently teaches at Club Passim’s School of Music and Zumix, and gives private guitar lessons in Cambridge.
In November 2016, Salloway traveled to Standing Rock to join the nonviolent resistance to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. At the Oceti Sakowin camp he supported the native-led movement to protect the primary water source for over 17 million people and fight for indigenous sovereignty.
Salloway is also the founder and producer of the Moonshine Music Series. He curates and hosts the community concert festivities on select farms in New England, bringing people together to celebrate music, culture and local organic food.
Salloway’s passion for music and cross-cultural exploration has taken him all around the globe. He believes in the power of song to inspire people of all backgrounds to be the change we seek.