April 23, 2019

Four New Artists Announced for 79th National Folk Festival


SALISBURY, MD (April 23, 2019) – Another round of performers has been announced as excitement continues to grow for the 79th National Folk Festival, which is returning to downtown Salisbury, September 6 – 8, 2019. The 79th National Folk Festival in 2019 marks the second year of the event’s three-year residency in Salisbury. Over 15 performance groups have been named so far, with more to come next month.

“With these four artists—masters of bluegrass, gospel, Haitian mizik rasin, and Iraqi oud—the festival has expanded the broad range of grassroots folk traditions that audiences will experience this year,” said Lora Bottinelli, executive director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA). “We can’t wait to celebrate this diversity in Salisbury, the heart of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, this September.”

The four artists announced today include:

Boukman Eksperyans (Port au Prince, Haiti) – Haitian mizik rasin
This pioneering ensemble, beloved in Haiti, uplifts and amplifies their country’s traditional music and its spiritual message, combining elements of Vodou with rock and R&B.

Cora Harvey Armstrong (Richmond, Virginia) – gospel
Channeling Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, and Shirley Caesar, this shining light in gospel, together with her sisters, carries on a family tradition that was passed on to them by their parents.

Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass (Delaware and Pennsylvania) – bluegrass
Led by one of the powerhouse vocalists in bluegrass today, this hard-driving band is a steadfast proponent of a classic sound rooted deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Rahim AlHaj Trio (Albuquerque, New Mexico) – Iraqi oud
This renowned Iraqi oud virtuoso and one-time political refugee is a cultural ambassador whose music evokes his homeland, the experiences of exile, new beginnings, and healing.

Approximately 350 artists—musicians, dancers, storytellers, and craftspeople—will take part in the National Folk Festival, with more than 35 different musical groups performing on seven outdoor stages throughout downtown Salisbury.

The festival strives to present the nation’s very finest traditional artists. Music and dance traditions from every part of the country are represented—authentic blues, rockabilly, gospel, jazz, polka, tamburitza, cowboy, bluegrass, klezmer, R&B, old-time, Cajun, mariachi, beatbox, breakin’, western swing, honky-tonk, and zydeco, as well as traditional music and dance from Native American, Celtic, Acadian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Asian, Appalachian, Latino, Eastern European, African, and Pacific Island cultures, among others.

Over a dozen people of different backgrounds, and with a deep knowledge of music and art forms, came together from across Delmarva to serve as the local Musical Programming Advisory Committee. This committee’s role is to consider—and help the NCTA select—the artists who will perform at the National Folk Festival each year. To learn more about these artists and their stories, please visit

The National Folk Festival will feature individual artists on Facebook (, Twitter (, and Instagram ( throughout the next month.

More performers will be announced as they are confirmed.

The Maryland Folk Festival | Salisbury, MD is produced by

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