Instrument makers from around New England will be front and center at this year’s Lowell Folk Festival celebrating the art & craft that goes into making the unique sounds that come from the Festival’s world class musical performers. Known for its eclectic blend of music, food and art, the 35th Anniversary of the Lowell Folk Festival returns in person July 29-31.
At Crafting Sound: Building and Restoring Musical Instruments, festival-goers can discover how a range of acoustic instruments are made , meet craftspeople whose expertise includes fine woodworking and metalsmithing, and learn how sound resonates and travels. Attendees can also learn about the making of world class pipe organs that fill concert halls; uilleann pipes that enliven Irish music seisuns; Middle Eastern ouds; Hardanger fiddles and violin bows that spur on dancers; traditional Puerto Rican revived tiples and cuatros and Trinidad’s steel pans that evoke the Caribbean.
Musicians will be on hand throughout the weekend to demonstrate the sounds of some of these instruments. The artisans will be in the Folk Craft Area in Lucy Larcom Park Saturday & Sunday from Noon-5pm. On Saturday at 1:45 pm there will be a moderated conversation between makers and players on the festival’s St. Anne’s stage, next to the folklife area.
The 2022 Lowell Folk Festival craft artists include: Dave Golber (Hardanger Fiddles), Mariia Gorkun (Violin Bowmaking, Repair and Re-Hairing), Chris Pantazelos (Spartan Instruments: Bouzouki, Oud & Mandolin), William Cumpiano (Guitars & Traditional Puerto Rican Stringed Instruments), David Lonebear Sanipass (Mi’Kmaq Wooden Flutes), Jonathan James-Perry (Wampanoag Water Drums, Rhythm Sticks & Rattles), Andre Strongbearheart Gaines(Nipmuc Hand and Water Drums), Nick Jones, Noble & Cooley Drum Company (Steam Bent Solid-Shell Wood Drums), Will Woodson (Irish Uilleann Pipes), Jason “Panman” Roseman (Making & Tuning Steel Pans), Kate Harrington & Joji Shiga (C.B. Fisk Inc. Pipe Organs).
In addition, the Lowell Folk Festival and The Brush Art Gallery present Art in the Courtyard on Saturday, July 30th from 12 Noon until 7:30PM and Sunday, July 31st from 12 Noon until 6:00PM. Held in the shaded, brick-lined courtyard between the National Historical Park Visitor Center and the Brush Art Gallery, this collaboration provides an opportunity for visitors to view and purchase some of the fine art and craftwork on display.
Artists participating include Maureen Abdullah (jewelry), Pamela Alves (handcrafted clay jewelry), Evelyn Berrio Basketry (hair bows & accessories), Robyn Chapman (jewelry), Kayla Dorsey-Twumasi (handmade jewelry and textile pillows), Holly Ferreira Mixed Media (candle making), Lucas Land (hand-blown glass work), Renee Mallett, (bath, body, and beauty Items), Chikako Mukai (handcrafted handbags, accessories and clothing), Aina Sullivan (natural gemstone jewelry), Fabiola White (Jewelry, bags, wallets).
At the center of the Lowell Folk Festival is a world class schedule of musicians including: Cherish the Ladies (Irish), Los Pleneros de la 21 (Bomba and Plena), Dale Ann Bradley (Bluegrass), Diunna Greenleaf & Blue Mercy (Blues), Nava Persian Trio (Persian Santour), The Pedro Giraudo Tango Ensemble (Argentine Tango), Carolyn Martin Swing Band (Western Swing), Balla Kouyaté & Famoro Dioubaté (Balafon Masters), Christine Tassan et les Imposteures (Jazz Manouche and Swing), Don Bryant (Memphis Soul), Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push (Polka), Panfilo's Güera (Tejano Conjunto Fiddle), Tremé Brass Band (New Orleans Brass Band), Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole (Creole Music).
This year’s festival will also showcase the many tastes of Lowell’s diverse communities with 18 ethnic food stands operated by local non-profit community groups, each offering a different traditional cuisine that showcases their heritage. The Foodways feature of the 2022 festival will present Comfort Food: How Our Culture Comforts US, two days of cooking demonstrations and discussions.
The Lowell Folk Festival is produced by the Lowell Festival Foundation, the City of Lowell, Lowell National Historical Park, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.