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NJ Folk Fest Headliners

Jim Albertson

A folksinger and storyteller, Jim Albertson has been

spreading the folksongs and folklore indigenous to New Jersey for

more than 20 years. The former president of the New Jersey Folklore

Society and the recipient of the New Jersey Folk Festival’s Second

Annual Award For Distinguished Contributions to Folk Music in New

Jersey, Albertson is a folk performer who, for many years, was active

as a teacher of speech arts, oral interpretation, acting, and theatre

arts. He also hosted a weekly folk music radio show and was a member

of the groundbreaking popular folk music group, The Bottle Hill Boys.

Dirdy Birdies Jug Band

Formed in the spring of 1965, at Montclair State University,

the Dirdy Birdies Jug Band descends from a tradition of jug bands,

utilizing a few "true" musical instruments, coupled with the

imaginative use of home-made instruments and tight vocal harmonies.

After forming as undergraduates at Montclair, the band went on to

play many folk venues in Greenwich Village, as well as many northeastern

universities. In 1972, after seven years of touring and recording,

the members of Dirdy Birdies Jug Band went their separate ways, starting

families and pursuing careers. After a 13-year hiatus, the band regrouped

in 1985 including original members Joe Bell, Barbara Brummer, Rich

Fedorchak, Joe Kloza, and Jack Pignatello, as well as newcomers Bill

Huber, Chuck Winch, and Jeff Bleeke. 1995 marked the 30th anniversary

of the Dirdy Birdies Jug Band’s formation, and the band is now playing

for a second generation of jug band aficionados. The band’s current

release, "Endangered Species," is now available on Guano Records.

David Amram

David Amram, acknowledged as the pioneer of World Music,

has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, and

written numerous scores for Broadway theater and film. A pioneer player

of jazz French horn, he is also a virtuoso on piano, various flutes

and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments. See

story, page 48.

Delaware Water Gap String Band

The Delaware Water Gap String Band formed in 1972 when

members Hank Sapoznik, Myriam Valle, and Alan Podber met in college.

The three decided to form a band, with Alan and Myriam sharing duties

on guitar and mandolin and Hank playing banjo and guitar. Prior to

their first performance, they met fiddler Bill Garbus and after experimenting

with several names, the four became formally known as The Delaware

Water Gap String Band. Shortly thereafter, they won second place in

the old time band category at the first New York City Old Time and

Bluegrass String Band Contest.

In 1974, Bill Garbus left the group to be replaced by Caroline Dutton,

who had recently arrived in New York from Indiana. The group sound

was then augmented by the addition of multi-instrumentalist and singer

Bob Carlin, who primarily played bass with the band. Adelphi Records

expressed an interest in offering the band a contract, but before

the album could be completed, Myriam Valle left the band to perform

in the pop group Desmond Child and Rouge. The band continued as a

quartet for awhile, until Caroline Dutton left the band to join the

Washington, D.C., company of the show Diamond Studs.

Alan, Hank, and Bob played with a succession of temporary fiddlers

until they met David Brody, with whom the group gained its widest

popularity, recorded the Adelphi album and another on Kicking Mule

Records. The band toured Europe in the summer of 1979, and played

at numerous folk festivals until they decided to formally disband

later that year. Upon the band’s break-up, Henry and David joined

klezmer groups. Over the years, Bob has become a respected scholar

and performer of traditional American music, particularly in the area

of Appalachian banjo styles. Alan has continued studying and playing

traditional music in the New York area and is proud to be coordinating

this reunion. Appearing as a special guest with the band will be Greg

Vongas who usually plays with Orrin Star and the Sultans of String.

Greg will be providing back-up bass for this special festival reunion.

Their reunion performance at this year’s festival marks the 20th anniversary

of the band’s break-up.

David Field

David Field, a former engineer, has been creating finely-crafted

musical instruments since 1964. After his retirement in 1995, David’s

primary focus has been crafting Appalachian dulcimers, three styles

of five-string Appalachian banjos, Celtic bardic harps, and Irish

lap harps. He works in native and tropical hardwoods, crafting many

different variations and styles of dulcimers, banjos, and harps.

Not only a creator of musical instruments, Field also plays the four-string

Appalachian dulcimer in the band Tapestry. He has exhibited his work

and performed at many folk art and music festivals including the Philadelphia

Folk Festival, the Middlesex County Fair, Middletown (NJ) Folk Festival,

and the Wheaton Village "Down Jersey" Folklore Center.

Sensational Nightingales & Rev. Marion Hannah

The Sensational Nightingales of North Carolina, nationally

and internationally known recording artists, have long been considered

the best of the "golden age" singers in the four-part harmony

tradition. Their songs are short, direct, and to the point, along

with their musical style, which carries their message most clearly,

minimizing distortion and emphasizing the word. The group presently

consists of Joseph "Jo Jo" Wallace, Horace Thompson, and Larry

Moore. The Sensational Nightingales have toured the United States,

the Caribbean Islands, and seven countries in Africa as representatives

of the United States.

Reverend Marion Hannah became a professional gospel singer in the

post-World War II era, braving the difficulties of life on the road

to become a professional singer. See story, page 30.

St. George of Piscataway Youth Dancers

The St. George of Piscataway Greek Orthodox Church Youth

Dancers, consisting of more than 20 teenage members, have twice won

first place at the state annual competition "Sights and Sounds"

in Westfield. The group performs dances from several regions of Greece,

reliving their history through the performance of ancient dances which

have been passed down for thousands of years. Each dancer wears a

traditional handmade costume corresponding to a particular dance that

is indigenous to a specific area of Greece. Encouraging and inspiring

each other, this dance troupe conveys its rich cultural heritage and

ethnic pride through movement and music.

Joe Hickerson

Joe Hickerson has been performing since 1953, when he

began playing concerts, festivals, coffeehouses, folk clubs, universities,

and radio programs throughout the United States. Raised in a family

in which folk song books and recordings were a part of everyday life,

Hickerson’s active interest in folk music began in earnest at Oberlin

College where, in 1956, he founded and was first president of the

Oberlin Folk Song Club. He studied folklore and ethnomusicology at

Indiana University, where he served as folklore archivist and first

president of the Indiana University Folk Song Club. In 1963 he was

appointed Reference Librarian and in 1974, Head of the Archive of

Folk Song (later renamed the Archive of Folk Culture) at the Library

of Congress. He retired from that position in 1998 after 35 years

of service and now presents concerts and lectures about folk music

and folk culture.

Joe Stearne

Currently the Pipe Major of the Dae Breeks Pipe Band,

Joe Stearne received his formal education at the University of Edinboro,

in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, and the Balmoral College of Highland Piping.

Stearne has won various awards for his outstanding performances of

the ancient highland bagpipe. Stearne’s presentation of the history

and tradition of wearing the kilt and playing the ancient bagpipes

has been proven entertaining as well as educational.

John Jackson

Although he is a world famous musician, songwriter,

and recording artist, Piedmont blues guitarist John Jackson will only

say of himself that he is "just a workin’ man." From the rich

and famous to the poor and invisible, he is known for being a simple

man whose artistic genius is only surpassed by the depth and richness

of his kind heart. John Jackson has carried his warmth, his music,

and his love for his country from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

to over 60 nations, performing for dignitaries and Heads of State

around the globe.

The seventh son born to black tenant farmers Suttie and Hattie Jackson,

John has been a farmer, butler, chauffer, philosopher, humanitarian,

Civil War historian, grave digger, and musician. People, the world

over, travel to talk with him, as much as they travel to listen to

his music. Jackson’s first record was released in 1965, and since

then Jackson has been gaining recognition as one of the masters of

the blues. He has released five subsequent albums and has toured Asia,

Africa, South America, and Europe. In 1986 Jackson received the National

Heritage Fellowship given to folk artists by the National Endowment

for the Arts.

Shirley Keller

The 1997 recipient of the NJFF Lifetime Achievement

Award, Shirley Keller is a folksinger/storyteller who accompanies

herself on the 6 and 12-string guitars, Appalachian dulcimer, autoharp,

and 5-string banjo. She has a repertoire that includes gospel, spiritual,

ethnic, traditional, contemporary and original songs. From 1980 to

1992, Keller produced and hosted the Folk People, a one-hour radio

show about folk music, dance and storytelling. She now produces, directs,

videotapes and edits her television programs for TKR Cable in Bergen

County and Rockland County, New York. She has delighted people with

her ability to involve audiences by leading them in the almost forgotten

art of group singing.

McDermott’s Handy

Kathy DeAngelo and Dennis Gormley, members of the Celtic

duo McDermott’s Handy, have been performing Irish music together since

1978. A living memorial to Ed McDermott, Kathy’s mentor, McDermott’s

Handy combines strong vocals, Celtic harp, fiddle, guitar, flute,

whistle, bouzouki, banjo, mandolin, bodhran, bass and keyboards to

create their unique sound.

Kathy DeAngelo started out her folk music career at the Mine Street

Coffeehouse in New Brunswick in 1973. In 1971 she played the guitar,

and by 1977 she also played mandolin, dulcimer, and banjo. The first

music director for the New Jersey Folk Festival in 1977, DeAngelo

has become a respected multi-instrumentalist and singer. She now plays

the harp, fiddle and five-string banjo and sings in both Irish and


Dennis Gormley has been a fixture on the Philadelphia folk music scene

for more than 20 years. He has recorded in almost every folk genre.

He plays flute and tin whistle with McDermott’s Handy, and has played

bass, guitar and keyboards in other bands, including bluegrass with

the Lewis Brothers, jazz and swing with the Jack McGann Swing Band,

and country music with Saul Brody.

Bob McNally

Bob McNally has been crafting musical intruments since

1973 and recording since 1981. While he holds a degree in plastics

engineering, he is self-taught in music and instrument making. In

1981 McNally developed and subsequently patented the Backpacker Guitar

and began a career of inventing musical instruments which continues

to the present. In 1983 McNally started Handcrafted Recordings, using

his own instruments to record Handmade Christmas Music and Flowers

of Edinburgh. Actively pursuing a career of recording and instrument

making, Bob McNally presently resides in Northern New Jersey with

his wife and two children.

Bill Mooney

Bill Mooney has been telling stories since 1964, when

he premiered his highly successful one-man show, "Half Horse,

Half Alligator," in Vienna, Austria. The show played throughout

Europe, then opened to rave reviews in New York. Mooney is a veteran

of the Folk Festival, and has also told stories at the National Storytelling

Festival, Alabama Tale-Tellin’ Festival, Stone Soup Festival, and

on board the MS Maasdam and SS Rotterdam. In 1995 Mooney was nominated

for a Grammy for his cassette, "Why the Cat Chases the Dog,"

co-produced with David Holt. A second Grammy nomination came in 1998,

again for a duo effort with Holt, "Spiders in the Hairdos: Modern

Urban Legends."

Rik Palieri

Rik Palieri grew up listening to stories and songs around

his mother’s kitchen table and fell in love with music at a young

age. When he was 15, he taught himself the five-string banjo from

Pete Seeger’s book. In no time, he was having hootenannies in his

basement and performing in coffeehouses, at festivals and on radio

shows. After a long search, Palieri found a set of Polish pipes, which

soon landed him at the 1980 Rzeszow world festival in Poland, where

he won "Outstanding Solo Performer." In 1984 he received a

fellowship from the Kosciuzko Foundation for the study of the Polish

bagpipe. Palieri returned to the United States to make his first album

entitled "Last of the Gypsies," an eclectic collection of

American, Polish and original songs. In 1993 he released his first

CD called "The Music in Me."

Roger Deitz

Having been introduced to music lessons at the age of

10 by his parents, Roger Deitz began practicing the accordion just

as soon as he was strong enough to lift it. The rest is folk music

history, some of which is recounted in his highly acclaimed book,

"The Folk Music Chronicles," a collection of humorous articles,

essays, and short stories about performing acoustic music. Along with

his knack for humor, Deitz is also well known for his original songs

and fine instrumental work. His compositions on guitar and banjo have

a traditional flavor and the East Coast Rocker named Deitz’s debut

album, "No Cure for Love," one of the Top Ten Best Folk and

Country Albums of 1989.

Saul Broudy

Saul Broudy, a performer, traveler, and folklorist,

presents music from the roots of American culture. His career spans

almost 20 years in virtually every major music venue in the U.S.,

Canada, and many European countries. Accompanying himself on acoustic

guitar and harmonica, he performs country, blues, bluegrass, and other

traditional forms of grassroots American music. Broudy, who holds

a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, finds inspiration

through the music he has heard and researched in his travels.

Silk City

Silk City, whose members include Barry Mitterhoff, Danny

Weiss, and Larry Cohen, is a string band whose repertoire includes

hard-driving bluegrass, wide-ranging ethnic music, original vocals

and instrumentals as well as audience favorites such as the "Wizard

of Oz Medley" and "Volare."

Danny Weiss has been recognized throughout the world for his dually

impressive singing and guitar playing. He has appeared with Tex Logan,

Vassar Clements, and David Bromberg. Bassist Larry Cohen has produced

innovative acoustic albums for Barry Mitterhoff, Jay Ansel, and Akira


Mandolinist Mitterhoff has mastered styles as diverse as bluegrass,

opera, klezmer, Dixieland, old-time, classical, Brazilian, Italian,

and 19th-century American duo-style. Along with Weiss and Cohen, he

toured and recorded for many years with Tony Trischka as members of

Skyline. He has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, played and recorded

with folk singer Tom Chapin, and has also performed at the White House,

the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Rainbow Room.

Elaine Silver

`Faerie’ Elaine Silver has been inspiring

sing-alongs for more than 20 years. Touring North America and Europe,

she sings a cappella or accompanies herself on guitar and banjo. She

was featured on New Jersey Network’s State of the Arts and is the

recipient of a Garden State Music Award for Outstanding Folk Performers.

Silver has performed with many of the world’s brightest folk stars

including Arlo Guthrie, Suzanne Vega, and Tom Chapin. She recently

teamed up with best selling author Alan Cohen as musical accompanist

for his workshops and special events.

Teresa & Stretch Pyott

Teresa Pyott sings traditional songs of America and

of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Her specialty is music of the sea:

chanteys and fo’c’sle’ ballads, songs of fishermen and sailors. As

a member of the chantey group Outward Bound, Teresa has performed

on the deck of the tall ship Gazela Primero at Philadelphia’s Penn’s

Landing. She has appeared as a part of the women’s trio, the Liverpool

Judies. Her credits include the Sea Heritage Festival in Newport,

Philadelphia Folk Festival, and South Street Seaport Museum.

Stretch Pyott has been involved with old time square dancing for over

50 years. He has called dances at numerous festivals. A master storyteller

and a member of the Patchwork Storytelling Guild, Stretch has related

his "tall tales" at festivals and folk clubs, as well as for

classes at the University of Pennsylvania and New York’s Juilliard

School of Music.

New Folk Winners:

John Joseph Nolis recently produced, arranged and premiered

his debut album John Joseph Nolis/ YOU.

Michael Montemurro has been writing and performing in

the New Jersey area for over 20 years.

Dana "Short Order" Cooke, a former journalist

and aspiring fiction writer, is known for his wry humor and unlikely

subject matter.

Jody Williamson studied composition ain Los Angeles, where

he worked as a session keyboardist.

Barbara Harley, of Plainfield, accompanies herself on

either guitar or piano.

Jack Licitra is a singer-songwriter from New York.

Festival Judges

Ted Toskos, a long-time friend of the New Jersey Folk Festival, is

a volunteer at the Mine Street Coffee House, as well as their former

booking and publicity coordinator.

Becky Glyn, a festival committee alumnae, is currently attending Cook

College at Rutgers, The State University.

Don Kissil, a storyteller and author, was the editor of "Pickin’,"

a (now defunct) bluegrass and oldtime music magazine for five years.

Photography Exhibition: `Celebrating Life:

Images of Down Jersey Folk Artists’

"Celebrating Life: Images of Down Jersey Folk Artists" is

a traveling photographic exhibit that consists of an 8-foot by 10-foot

freestanding mural with graphic images on both sides. The photos depict

artists and groups identified through field research by the Down Jersey

Folklife Center, which is located in Millville. The Down Jersey Folklife

Center has been documenting expressive traditions observed by ethnic,

regional, and occupational groups since 1994. The traveling folklife

exhibit serves as an educational tool for audiences to learn about

the various traditions people living in the Down Jersey area practice

and maintain. The exhibit will be available for viewing in the Loree

Building on Douglass Campus throughout the day during the 25th Anniversary

Silver Jubilee New Jersey Folk Festival.

Awards Recipients

Award recipients to be honored at the 25th Annual New Jersey Folk

Festival will be Joseph Hickerson, Anna Aschkenes, and James Cahill.

The three recipients are being honored for their dedication and outstanding

accomplishments in the support and preservation of American and ethnic

folk traditions.

Joseph Hickerson of Tacoma Park, Maryland is being awarded with the

Festival’s Annual Lifetime Achievement Award. Before he retired, Mr.

Hickerson was head of the Archive of Folk Culture and head of acquisitions

for the American Folklife Center. A former archivist in the Library

of Congress’ American Folksong collection, he was also involved in

the Society for Ethnomusicology, Sing Out! and Foxfire publications.

Mr. Hickerson is being honored for his many contributions to the preservation

and dissemination of American folk music.

Anna Aschkenes, Executive Director of the Middlesex County Cultural

and Heritage Commission, is being awarded the position of Grand Marshal.

Ms. Aschkenes oversees the Middlesex County Neighborhood Arts Consortium,

a coalition of more than 85 local arts groups. Under her guidance,

the Commission developed the Folklife Program for New Jersey to broaden

the appreciation and availability of folk arts, folklore and folklife

within Middlesex County. She is being honored because of her agency’s

leadership role in support of not only the New Jersey Folk Festival,

but of the folk arts in general.

James Cahill, Mayor of New Brunswick and partner in the law firm of

Cahill & Branciforte, is being awarded the position of Honorary Chair.

Mr. Cahill is a member of the Urban Mayors Association, the New Jersey

Bar Association, and is a trustee of the New Brunswick Cultural Center.

Mr. Cahill is being honored because of our pride in the City of New

Brunswick as home to the New Jersey Folk Festival and because of the

festival committee’s appreciation of his administration’s efforts

to help the festival with many positive gestures of support.

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