The Lowell Folk Festival announced the latest round of talented musicians from across the country that will grace four stages during the 2022 Lowell Folk Festival. Celebrating its 35th Anniversary July 29-31, the free 2022 Lowell Folk Festival promises to continue its rich history of showcasing a diverse mix of musical styles from regions across the country. The eclectic group includes Grammy winning Polka artists, masters of Memphis Soul, and a Creole party that will have everyone dancing.
The additional artists include:
Carolyn Martin Swing Band (Fort Wayne, IN) Western Swing
From the Grand Ole Opry to southern honky-tonks to European concert halls, fans have come to know Carolyn Martin as a vocalist with the soulful elegance that is the very essence of western swing music.
Balla Kouyaté & Famoro Dioubaté (Boston) Balafon Masters
Balla Kouyaté from Mali and Famoro Dioubaté from Guinea are masters of the West African balafon, a predecessor of the vibraphone and xylophone. Each performance from the pair is a treat for audiences and artists alike, full of the thrill of the unexpected, as they explore the new heights they can reach when musical friendship, creative vision, and virtuosity meet.
Christine Tassan et les Imposteures (Quebec) Jazz Manouche and Swing
For more than 20 years, Christine Tassan has been steering her ship with boundless enthusiasm and confidence. Blessed with contagious dynamism, she is one of few female jazz Manouche guitar soloists; she stands out for her sensitive playing, quiet strength, and irresistible audacity.
Don Bryant (Memphis) Memphis Soul
Don Bryant is a legend of Memphis soul singers. His career as a singer and songwriter has spanned more than six decades and earned him five Blues Music Award nominations. Bryant is joined in Lowell by an outstanding five-piece band featuring members of the Bo-Keys, an intergenerational ensemble keeping the classic Memphis sound alive today.
Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push (Ludlow, MA) Polka
Lenny Gomulka originated the “Chicago Push” style of Polish polka, along with the legendary Eddie Blazonczyk, while he was playing in Blazonczyk’s band in the 1960s and ’70s. The “push” style is characterized by propulsive, bellows-shaking, accordion driven rhythm, replacing the slower more laid-back Chicago style that preceded it. In 1980, Gomulka formed his own band, naming them the Chicago Push, and they’ve been one of the most popular and influential polka bands in the country ever since, garnering 12 Grammy nominations and several awards along the way, including the first polka Grammy ever in 1985.
Panfilo's Güera (San Antonio, TX) Tejano Conjunto Fiddle
When Texas Folklife and the Festival of Texas Fiddling honored Belen Escobedo with the 2017 Texas Master Fiddler Award, they praised her for “single handedly keeping alive” the tradition of conjunto fiddle, “a rare and beautiful style of Mexican-American fiddling which has almost disappeared despite once being very widespread in the borderlands.” Today, Belen Escobedo is the foremost practitioner of this fiddle-led art form that expresses the deep roots of Tejano (Texas-Mexican) culture.
Tremé Brass Band (New Orleans, LA) New Orleans Brass Band
Central to the musical traditions of New Orleans are the African American brass bands that play for traditional funerals and street parades. Among the most beloved of these is the Tremé Brass Band from the venerable and storied Tremé neighborhood. The group is led by a New Orleans institution, drummer Benny Jones, Sr., who has been parading for nearly 60 years.
Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole (Lafayette, LA) Creole Music
Cedric Watson is among the brightest stars in a constellation of vibrant music traditions native to southwest Louisiana. A four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist, and songwriter, Cedric boldly reanimates early Louisiana Creole music—a unique, fiddle-driven style sung primarily in French, and born from a regional mix of African, French, Spanish, Caribbean, and Indigenous musical cultures. Watson’s music is a hybrid of traditional Creole and Cajun songs, zydeco, broader Caribbean influences, and his own original compositions. It’s also a fearless exploration of history and geography—digging deep into the musical roots shared by Afro-French Creole cultures throughout the Caribbean and beyond.
These talented group of musicians join a 2022 lineup that also includes: 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).
Festival organizers are excited to bring back this staple cultural event, marking a new chapter in the region’s recovery from the pandemic. Festival-favorite nonprofit ethnic food vendors will also make a comeback this year. A dozen master craftspeople and local chefs will be featured in the Folk Craft & Foodways Area.
“Whether it be blues, Celtic, Cajun, beatboxing, or the myriad of other world music traditions featured over the years, the Lowell Folk Festival has always presented the best performers in the world,” said Kevin Dwyer, Executive Director of the Lowell Festival Foundation. “Downtown Lowell comes alive with 150, 000 visitors over the weekend taking in 20 performing groups representing a wide range of cultures, each sharing their unique musical traditions on stages, not to mention the amazing folk craft area, wonderful ethnic food vendors, and so much more.”
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.