We are just beginning to solidify our 2015 line up. Here are a few of the performers who will join us this year! Be sure to check back as we add to the roster.
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.
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.
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.
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