Artists appearing at this year’s festival

BRATTLEBORO — • Alex Cummings is a traditional singer, accordionist, pianist, and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Brattleboro. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America, sharing his knowledge of the tradition.

Cumming describes himself on his website as having made his mark on the folk scene with his “rhythmic, dance-able accordion style, strong voice, and his fun and engaging stage presence.” He performs with bands Bellwether and The Teacups around the U.S. and U.K. and serves as music director for Revels North in the Upper Connecticut Valley.

• Julia Friend is a singer of pub songs, sea shanties, and ballads. The Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) says she “loves the power and vulnerability of the human voice. An occasional performer at folk festivals, she is happiest swapping songs and blending harmonies in dark corners in the wee hours of the night.”

She co-authored the CDSS’s Starter Kit for Folk Song Organizers, helped launch Youth Traditional Song Weekend, and generally cheers for singing in all genres. She lives in Brattleboro, where, she says, she hums incessantly.

• Trained in classical violin for the first decade and a half of her life, Mary Lauren Fraser studied violin as an instrument intensively. Since moving from the classical music world into traditional music, she has traveled to many places with rich fiddle traditions, immersing in the tunes and styles of Ireland, Scotland, Appalachia, Quebec, and New England.

With the Suzuki Violin Teacher certificate, and many years of experience teaching at Maine Fiddle Camp, Pinewoods Camps, and festivals, she teaches all ages and abilities. Mostly performing solo, she has collaborated with other musicians and artists in New England in a wide range of creative and performance projects.

Some recent projects include researching and learning old traditional ballads of New England from the Helen Hartness Flanders collection and starting a new music, song, and dance camp in southern Vermont called The Riverjam Romp. Mary plays for dances, weddings, house concerts, funerals, parties, re-enactment events and more.

• Max Newman performs with dance musicians and dancers across North America. Organizers say his accompaniment “is sought after for its musicality, its danceability, and grounding in traditional styles.” With a keen interest in New England music and dance, he has played in many dance halls with luminaries of the style, most prominently in his group the Stringrays with Rodney Miller and Stuart Kenney.”

As a community member, he has been involved with a number of next-generational and multi-generational events and is currently co-directing CDSS’s American Week at Pinewoods. His playing has been featured in Flatpicking Guitar magazine. Max is described as having a warm, generous teaching style.

• Nathan Gourley and Laura Feddersen are an Irish fiddle duo hailing from Boston. Their playing is steeped in a lifelong study of the Irish musical tradition, and is at the same time colored by their American roots. The pair have developed what organizers call “a unique style of twin fiddling, sometimes playing in taut unison, sometimes exploring chordal harmonies and rhythmic and melodic variations.”

This year they released Brightly or Darkly, a follow-up to their 2014 recording with Brian Miller, Life is All Checkered. They each perform and teach regularly both at home in Boston and at festivals throughout the U.S. and Ireland.

• Sally Newton grew up singing and dancing with her family in the town of Jamaica. In high school, she began to play guitar with the family band, the Turkey Mountain Window Smashers, for square and contra dances. She learned to call from her father and, over the years, developed her guitar style, backing up fiddlers from New England and Southern Old Time and Quebecois traditional musicians.

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