Ambrose Wise plays traditional Newfoundland folk songs (and a few Irish jigs and polkas). Being of Newfoundland descent, brothers Al Soper (on the button accordion) and James Soper (on the guitar) create a vocal and instrumental blend of this genre inspired by their father who used to play some of these tunes on his accordion when they were little.
Throughout the late 1920’s and into the 1950’s Maud Karpeles, Elizabeth Greenleaf, Kenneth Peacock, Gerald Doyle, and others, collected and transcribed the songs sung at Newfoundland towns and outposts. Ambrose Wise is attempting to bring some of this material back to life. Ambrose Wise comes from the name of a sailor on board the FV Joseph O. that was based out of Gloucester, MA, and was lost off Georges Bank in 1888. God Bless all those taken by the sea.
Ana Vinagre is one of the area’s best known, and most respected Fadistas. Born in Portugal, she immigrated to New Bedford as a young woman with her husband Jose. Both had been members of folkloric dance and music ensembles and they have continued to perform at area Portuguese restaurants, community events, and in festivals and concerts around the nation. They take great pride in their culture and enjoy teaching American audiences about the tradition of Fado music, a genre that developed in the port city of Lisbon and was performed at waterfront clubs and bars frequented by sailors and seamen.
From schools to concert halls, festivals to fairs, museums to libraries, and everywhere in between, Bob Zentz has dedicated his life to presenting, performing and introducing traditional music to the people. Playing several dozen instruments and with a repertoire of more than 2,000 songs, Bob’s albums span the genres of folk, traditional, Celtic and maritime music and beyond.
Bob began performing professionally in his native Norfolk, Virginia, in 1962, in “The Troubadours,” with James Lee Stanley. In 1966, Bob began a two-year stint as a sonar man in the U.S. Coast Guard, aboard the high-endurance cutter CGC Sebago. During this time, his songwriting came to the attention of Hollywood, and upon leaving the service in 1969 he was hired as a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He eventually returned to Norfolk and opened Ramblin’ Conrad’s Guitar Shop & Folklore Center, a music shop and concert venue which was an institution for traditional music and musicians.
Bob has performed at folk festivals around the world. He appeared on PBS’s long-running program A Prairie Home Companion in 1982, and crewed and performed aboard Pete Seeger’s Hudson River sloop “Clearwater” from 1989-91. He was a featured performer at the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival as part of the Water Ways: Mid Atlantic Maritime Communities Program.
Bob Zentz brings his deep knowledge of the music and history of the Chesapeake Bay and broad repertoire of sea chanteys and original maritime music to the Working Waterfront Festival for the first time. Catch him on stage or strolling the grounds with his concertina.
Castlebay treats their audiences to a musical journey through time and across the Atlantic. interweaving timeless songs, spritely dance tunes, and haunting aires inspired by our rich nautical and Celtic heritage. Exuberant and expressive vocals are supported with Julia Lane’s award winning Celtic harp style, and Fred Gosbee’s expertise on 12-string guitar, violin and woodwinds. Their songs celebrate the lives of those who live by the sea, no only the deep water sailors, but also the shipwrights, coasters, fishermen and their wives. These are the people who established Maine as a maritime legend and who continue to build that legend with their daily lives of skill, hard work and pride.
Castlebay plays frequently at museums, libraries and festivals from maritime Canada to Florida. Performances include the International Festivals of the Sea in Bristol and Portsmouth, England & Leith Scotland; the Mystic Seaport Concert Series, the Portsmouth (New Hampshire) Maritime Folk Festival, the Eastport Salmon Festival and the Maine Lobster Festival. They have presented workshops on Maine and nautical history to thousands of children and adults. This will be their third appearance at the Working Waterfront Festival.
Charlotte Enoksen’s father emigrated from Norway’s Loften Islands and pursued the work of generations before him, owning two fishing vessels, F/V Porpoise and F/V Louise. Once married to a fisherman, Enoksen’s poetry often reflects the lives of those left on shore. Her work is both creative and cathartic, a “song without accompaniment.” Currently a social worker, Charlotte has also worked in journalism, advertising, public relations and fundraising.
Dave grew up in Alaska, in several Aleutian villages, with Kodiak being home town. He’s been a lifelong fisherman, earning a full share on a Kodiak seiner by the time he was twelve and purchasing his first boat soon after. He skippered his first Bering Sea King crabber at 23, the youngest Bering Sea king crab skipper, at that time. He has trolled the west coast for salmon and Albacore, otter trawled for bottom fish, and fished Alaska for Black Cod and Halibut, King Crab, Tanner and Dungeness Crab. He currently fishes salmon out of Kodiak AK, and is gearing up for crab.
Dave started writing poetry in the late 70’s “long before I heard anyone else write anything about commercial fishing.” He’s been published in numerous trade papers, magazines and newspapers and has a byline in a quarterly, the Columbia River Gillnetter. He was featured in the documentary Fisherpoets and on Good Morning America. A regular at the Astoria Fisherpoet’s Gathering, Dave has also performed in Elko Nevada at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and at events from fish fries to a sculpture dedication for the world renowned artist Mia Lin.
Following a life-long desire to sing and perform, Debra Cowan left her job as a California middle school math teacher in 1997 and went to live in Edinburgh, Scotland for six months. There she learned the art of unaccompanied singing and upon her return to the USA in 1998 began traveling all over New England performing at any open mike within 100 miles of her new home in Springfield, Massachusetts. Over a decade later, she is now a full-time performer who bridges the old and new with a refreshing stage presence. She has released four full-length recordings, all of which have earned praise on both sides of the Atlantic. She tours extensively in the United Kingdom and in North America and can also be seen on stage with her good friend, singer and musician John Roberts. When Debra isn’t touring internationally or busy with her activities as American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 1000 Vice-President, she makes her home near Worcester, Massachusetts with her husband and their two cats, Hazel n’ Herman.
“Stand-Up Chameleon” Jackson Gillman magically transforms himself into a wide array of eccentric characters through his many talents as mime, actor, songsmith and storyteller. As adept with children as he is with adults, his interactive performances are seasoned with skillful dialect, song, dance, mime and sign language. Shining through Jackson’s wit and extraordinary versatility is his bemused, warm-hearted honesty. Jackson’s humor evolves from finding that which is funny in human beings trying to be human and often tripping over their own being in the attempt.
Jackson has thrice been a featured performer at the National Storytelling in Tennessee, and has performed at festivals and schools throughout the country. Year-round he now brings his unique brand of one-man theater to diverse audiences across the nation. Whether performing on concert stages, at colleges, business functions, festivals, school assemblies or libraries, Jackson Gillman delights his audiences with his inventions while touching them with his personal warmth. In his appearances at the Working Waterfront Festival he will draw upon his fishy repertoire from the sandy beach and the briny deep including traditional ballads from Down East Maine by Ruth Moore and others.
Born and raised on the Southcoast with the working waterfront in her blood, Joanne Doherty spent her childhood climbing on her father’s scallop boats and painting them for summer jobs. For the last fifteen years she’s been performing throughout New England spinning her magic on a wide variety of songs selected from an eclectic catalogue of folk, blues and old standards combining her deft & delicate stylings on guitar and ukulele with a rich smooth voice.
John Roberts has been singing English folk songs since the early 1960s, when he joined a local folk club in his native Worcestershire. Coming to the USA as a graduate student in 1968, he soon joined with Tony Barrand, to form a duo which has lasted ever since. Singing in unaccompanied harmony, or with concertina or banjo, their entertaining style has delighted audiences at major festivals and venues around the country.
While continuing to work with Tony, and since 1975 with the seasonal performances of Nowell Sing We Clear, John works as a solo performer. He recently released his first solo recording, Sea Fever. He is a superb English singer who plays banjo, guitar, concertina, and hurdy-gurdy, as well as being a musicologist and music editor. He sings ballads and songs of the sea, of rural pursuits, of social and sociable situations, of industrial toil and strife, and much more. John is also noted for his renditions of Music Hall songs.
Jon Campbell owned a workboat before he owned a car. In those days, bay scallops, clams and quahogs, flounder and lobsters were abundant in the coastal ponds and Narragansett Bay. Regulations were few and the commercial fisheries were still represented by independent men in wooden Eastern Rigs. For the past 25 years, Jon has been writing and performing music based on the wide range of experience available to those people living in coastal regions, the tourists, the cuisine, the fisheries, cranky Yankees and an assortment of humorous and poignant characters.
Jon has been a recognized Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Folk Artist since 1982, and he has been involved in a large number of recording projects both as performer and producer. He is presently retired from a 25 year career in the motion picture industry, and yes he did work on the Perfect Storm, in addition to many more major releases. To fill in the blanks, Jon’s musical activities in the last year have ranged from Camden, Maine to Kodiak Alaska.
“Old Zeb,” “Song for Gale,” “Song for The Bowdoin,” John,” “ Get Her Into Shore,” “Selling The Isabel”—– just a few examples of the extensive song bag of some of the best contemporary ballads from New England and along its shores you will find in modern folk music today. Larry Kaplan’s songs have been performed and recorded by many respected artists and audiences around the world—poignant stories in song, written in the truest folk tradition, honest, highly singable… always memorable. Larry has also played a significant role in helping to bring the music collected by the late E. Gale Huntington, of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts to scholars, performers, and collectors alike, who share a love for the songs sung and shared by sailors and whalers across many oceans. Born in Boston, Larry grew up in Maine and Massachusetts and now calls both London, England, and Essex, Connecticut home. He worked for many years on the traditional schooners from Maine, sailed on and helped restore the Schooner, Bowdoin, and has released two CDs through Folk Legacy Records, “ Worth All The Telling” and recently, his newest recording, “Songs For An August Moon.” A multi-instrumentalist and fine singer, Larry is very pleased to share his fine music with us.
New Bedford Sea Chantey Chorus
Hosted and organized by the Schooner Ernestina, this 43-member chorus was created in 2001, and is made up of some of the Ernestina’s most vocal volunteers. The repertoire includes a variety of chanteys and songs that reflect the rich maritime heritage of New Bedford and the region. Sea Chanteys were traditionally sung as work songs on board sailing ships both as a way to pass the time and as a means of helping establish a rhythm for various types of work aboard the ship. As a sampler of musical traditions connected to New Bedford Harbor and the New England seafarer, their performances feature the chanteys of the Yankee sailor, along with the ballads and ditties of global mariners and coastwise fisherfolk in North America, the Cape Verde Islands, and the British Isles.
NØÍR emerged from the vibrant folk scene of Southeastern MA in 2010. Centered around the admiration each musician has for regional European roots music, NØÍR sought to create a unique sound by combining the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle (Hardingfele), Irish fiddle, and Irish uilleann pipes. This new voice, combined with solid rhythmic underpinnings of the bouzouki and guitar, breathes new life into the enduring melodies of their respective traditions. The members of NOIR are Mark Oien (Fiddle & Hardanger), Torrin Ryan (Uilleann Pipes, pronounced ILLIN), and Stuart Peak (Guitar & Bouzouki). Special guest Bill Black rounds out the group.
Sharks Come Cruisin’ play an energetic mix of original and traditional sing-along songs, keeping the themes of audience participation and celebration at the center of their music and live performances. SCC has played several festivals up and down the Eastcoast, from Florida to Maine. They have played with Dropkick Murphys, The Loved Ones (Fat Wreck Chords), and Lemuria (Bridge Nine Records). They have been compared to Flogging Molly, The Pogues, and Against Me! and have been described as sea shanty punk, Irish punk, and folk punk.
Interested in performing or participating in the Festival?
The Festival features maritime and ethnic music that relates to the commercial fishing industry.
Send press packet and sample recording to:
Working Waterfront Festival
PO Box 6553
New Bedford, MA 02742-6553