2021 Not Your Average Folk Contest - Finalists & Voting

Contest Finalists

Dreamroot

Jazz | Neo-soul

Durham, NC

Dreamroot is a band/musical collective from Durham NC. The performance style combines pre-written and improvised sections, creating what Indy Week calls “One of the distinctive strains of the Durham jazz scene, melding R&B forms with modern jazz solos that all fit nicely into the length of a longish pop song.” Dreamroot released their debut album Phases in May of 2020, hoping to put out positive energy during a dark time. The album Phases was collectively composed and arranged by the members of Dreamroot. Dreamroot has performed at venues and festivals across the east coast and has appeared on PBS as part of a virtual concert series at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The band consists of Theous Jones (drums and percussion), Serena Wiley (tenor saxophone/flute/spoken word/vocals), Ittai Korman (acoustic and electric bass), Lynn Grissett (trumpet) and Joe MacPhail (piano and keyboards).

Grand Shores

International Folk

Pittsboro, NC

Grand Shores is a celebration of musical subtlety, a generous hybrid of old and new styles captured in understated tones, often verging on the ambient and instrumental. Gabriel Pelli (Onyx Club Boys, The Old Ceremony) and Will Ridenour (Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba, Zegota) move nimbly across musical traditions. Blending Americana with West African folk, and with instrumentation ranging from fiddle to kora, they fuse their original sound with a contemporary aesthetic that draws widely from folk and indie, jazz and punk. A collaborative project out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Grand Shores released their first album, “Tradewinds”, in 2020 on Robust Records. The album was recorded in a single-room, 100 year-old chapel located in rural North Carolina. Such a setting produces a warmth in the recordings that mirrors the feeling of seeing them live. A Grand Shores performance stokes the fires of familiarity, inviting listeners to a private experience. At its heart, Grand Shores is a guitar and kora duo, a partnership of American and West African string instruments. Like the easterlies evoked by their album’s title, which forever blow from east to west, Grand Shores brings the world a little closer, one note at a time.

JAZZ XPRESSION FEAT. Lydia Salett Dudley

Jazz

Raleigh-Durham, NC

JAZZ XPRESSION FEAT. LYDIA SALETT DUDLEY is a group of educators who enjoy composing and performing different genres of music. The group has released several projects to date including a self-entitled cd “Jazz Xpressions” which consist of arranged jazz standards and released in 2019, “This is Christmas” was also released the same year and we are currently working on our 3rd project “Let’s Do The Work” which will be released in late 2022.

Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble

Tango | Fusion

Greensboro, NC

With its mesmerizing style and sound, the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble has captivated audiences with soulful arrangements of Argentine tango standards and original compositions that create a dynamic tango and pan-Latin fusion, heard on their debut album The Other Side of My Heart (2018). Their contemporary tango-fusion has become a staple for the North Carolinian tango community, collaborating with NC “milongas” and catering music to its followers (Durham-Tango, Alma-Tango). The LGTE has advocated for overlooked communities in the history of tango, making this music relevant to new communities today: “The Other Side of My Heart,” oral-history musical piece based on interviews with Latina immigrants; “In The Embrace of Tango”, explores Argentine tango and its crossed-path with the Jewish diaspora. The ensemble has performed nationally and abroad in places like Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Durham, Charlotte, Blowing-Rock, Buffalo-NY, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Saint Lucia (West Indies), and featured live at WUNC’s “The State of Things”, KUNM’s “Corazón Tanguero” (NM), and WFDD’s “Triad Arts”. “World-Music” category winners NC Museum of Art 2021 contest, this summer, the LGTE is recording their second album Tango-Diaspora (with `ArtsGreensboro and UNCG grants) and performing for Sundays at the Park Summer Concerts (White Oak Amphitheater-Greensboro Coliseum, 8/15/2021)

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