The 81st National Folk Festival announced the Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage program, sharing details about the performers, craftspeople, and demonstrators who will be featured in this special area of the festival in 2022.
The National Folk Festival is returning to Downtown Salisbury on a new weekend, Aug. 26-28, 2022, for the final year of the event’s residency on Maryland’s historic Eastern Shore.
The Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage celebrates and showcases the rich, living traditions that create identity and sense of place in communities across the state. With a different theme each year, the Folklife Area will shine a spotlight on the distinctive music, rituals, crafts, occupations, foodways, and other traditions at the heart of Maryland heritage. Performances, demonstrations, displays, exhibits, and narrative presentations by Maryland masters will express both the state’s deep history and its evolving character.
In 2022, Maryland folklife is celebrated in a special program entitled Maryland at Work. Supported by Maryland Traditions, the traditional arts program of the Maryland State Arts Council, Maryland at Work will explore the state’s cultures and traditions of work. The East Coast’s most diverse state according to the 2020 census, Maryland is home to an array of trades, industries, crafts, and professions—from agriculture in the Appalachians to textiles in Baltimore to the Eastern Shore’s maritime and tourism industries. These occupations allow individuals to earn a living and express their identity while contributing to the state’s economy and heritage. Traditions of work take many forms, whether drawing on family heritage to launch entrepreneurial ventures, volunteering skills as community service, or “working it" through creativity and ingenuity. Maryland at Work presents but a snapshot of the ever-changing ways Marylanders work.
“Supporting the National Folk Festival to showcase Maryland folklife and living cultural traditions has been an immense success for Maryland Traditions and the Maryland State Arts Council, and an important opportunity to reach our constituents on the Eastern Shore. As we enter the final year in Salisbury for the festival, Maryland at Work is a fitting theme. What better way to celebrate the resiliency of Maryland residents during the past few years than to honor the incredibly rich, always changing traditions of work in the state?” said Chad Buterbaugh, Senior Program Director at the Maryland State Arts Council.
“Stretching from the Appalachian Mountains in the west across the Baltimore-Washington Corridor and to the Atlantic Ocean, the geography and history of Maryland has fostered distinctive trades, crafts, and professions. Many of these are iconic — they symbolize the state’s identity and heritage. The National Folk Festival is proud to lift up the contributions of these and other communities of work through the Maryland at Work program at this year’s festival, a perfect tribute as we all try to get back to work in our own lives,” said National Council for the Traditional Arts Executive Director Lora Bottinelli.
The Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage is produced in collaboration with Maryland Traditions, the traditional arts program of the Maryland State Arts Council.
The Maryland at Work program will feature:
- Amadou Kouyaté of Washington, D.C., a master of the Manding kora who upholds 150 generations of his family’s revered musical lineage by blending age-old knowledge and techniques with contemporary sounds.
- Big Howdy with special guest Jonathan Vocke of Silver Spring and Baltimore, an institution of Washington, D.C.'s thriving bluegrass scene fronted by pioneering vocalist Dede Wyland, with a special appearance from her up-and-coming vocal student.
- Black Women’s Hair: Salisbury Style, demonstrating Black hair braiding techniques and shining a light on one Salisbury family’s story of a multigenerational tradition shared among women that inspired a professional calling.
- Charm City Junction of Baltimore, combining old-time rhythms, Irish melodies, and hard-driving bluegrass to create funky rhythms and highly danceable, foot-stomping performances.
- Gerdan of Silver Spring, presenting the diversity and complexity of Ukrainian traditional music, with captivating dancing that demonstrates the music’s variety of movements and rhythms.
- Gertie Hurley of Bowie, an award-winning educator, health advocate, and entrepreneur known for making and championing Black cloth dolls.
- Gwen Handler and Winnie Dreier of Westminster and Millers, demonstrating traditional methods of wool fleece as a functional textile through spinning and weaving.
- Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County, building two sheds to highlight its vision for providing housing for low-income families through community service.
- Janice Greene and Naomi Reid of Windsor Mill and Baltimore, telling stories of Black women whose lives were key to Eastern Shore heritage.
- Joanne Guilfoil of Ocean City, demonstrating historic amusement park ride restoration by working on two children’s carousel horses from Trimper’s Rides of Ocean City.
- Johnson Bay Oyster Co. of Girdletree, educating audience members about the benefits of top-water oyster farming while shucking oysters.
- Karen Ashbrook & Chao Tian of Silver Spring and Clinton, exploring the cultural connections shared by the American and Chinese hammered dulcimer.
- Mark Wiest of Tilghman Island, showcasing boatbuilding skills and traditional woodworking methods through a mast-carving demonstration.
- Maryland Spirituals Initiative Ensemble of the Eastern Shore, an intergenerational choir performing uplifting, inspiring standards from the African-American spirituals tradition that invoke the region’s unique role in the struggle for freedom and equality.
- Maryland WERKS of Ocean City and Rehoboth, showcasing the Eastern Shore’s best drag performers in all their regal diversity in a special, highly interactive performance.
- Nuri Auger of Baltimore, demonstrating kebaya (garment) making, an elegant, quintessentially Indonesian textile tradition that symbolizes national history and cultural identity.
- Pablo Regis & Cissa Paz of College Park, performing various styles of samba, Brazil’s energetic and rhythmic national music, with a special emphasis on the importance of the cavaco, a four-stringed, ukulele-like instrument.
- Puerto Rico Distillery of Frederick, demonstrating how to blend and mix flavors with their high-quality, artisanal pitorro, or Puerto Rican moonshine, using family recipes passed down across several generations.
- Randy Rosso & Stephen Bloom of Rockville and Silver Spring, performing the majestic, sacred sounds of Afro-Cuban batá drumming, accompanied by a chorus of singers.
- Rosie Bowen & Adrianna Bowen-Herrera of Rose’s Bakery in Baltimore, sharing family recipes for collard green sandwiches, a dish central to identity and memory for Baltimore’s Lumbee Indian community.
- Samia Mahbub Ahmad Quartet of Bethesda, showcasing the interplay of complex vocalizations, melodic and rhythmic instrumentation, and improvisation that defines Hindustani classical music.
- Split Acres Maple of Grantsville, demonstrating techniques for boiling maple syrup and making maple sugar by combining old and new methods.
The 81st National Folk Festival will feature approximately 350 musicians, dancers, puppeteers, storytellers, and crafts demonstrators, continuous performances on multiple outdoor stages, the Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage, a participatory dance pavilion, a Family Area, a Festival Marketplace, and regional and ethnic foods. The three-day festival is FREE to the public.
For more information on the Maryland Folklife Area program, visit: NationalFolkFestival.com.