Joel Simpson has been a self-employed musician since 2001. Growing up in a musical family, Joel started playing guitar as well as singing/songwriting at a young age. His passion for music led him to earn a music business degree from Elmhurst University, and found Randomosity Records in Downers Grove, Illinois. He splits his time between private instruction, music production, and music performance. Joel is proficient on voice and many string instruments. His production work focuses on folk and jazz. Joel has recorded with Lee Murdock, Ashley & Simpson, The Chancey Brothers and many more.
Sharon Abreu (“Ah-BRAY’oo”)
Sharon Abreu is a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, teacher, and student of life. She was singing harmony with her family around the dinner table by the age of 3. Sharon grew up with many musical influences, from classical and opera to Broadway to folk, pop and rock, and she enjoys mixing those up in her concerts. She performs as a solo artist and also as half of the acoustic Irthlingz Duo with her partner Michael Hurwicz. She has performed at venues as diverse as the Northwest Folklife Festival, the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, and the United Nations.
Sharon was studying classical singing in New York City when she attended a pumpkin festival in the West Village and ended up joining the sponsoring organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Through her work with Clearwater, she started using her voice and songs for environmental education and ended up singing in concert with legendary folksinger Pete Seeger.
Sharon has sung lead roles in operas including The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute. She’s been a soloist in performances of major choral works including Bach’s Magnificat and B Minor Mass and Mozart’s Requiem and Vespers. Sharon starred in a sold-out run of the musical The Taffetas at the Orcas Center and in summer stock at the Ferry Terminal in Bellingham, Washington. Sharon has provided music for major international Earth summits at the United Nations in New York and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa. And she was honored to sing for Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai in Berkeley, California in 2006.
In 2007, she prepared New York City high school students to perform her climate change musical revue Penguins on Thin Ice for the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development, receiving a standing ovation from a full auditorium of international delegates.
In 2016, Sharon performed her one-woman musical show The Climate Monologues in the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York, and for The MarshStream Theatre Festival online in 2021. She received the “Spirit of Nature, Ecology & Society” Environmental Justice Award for her performance of The Climate Monologues, at the Culture of Climate Change Colloquium at the City University of New York in 2011. Sharon composed and recorded the songs for Zero Waste Washington’s public school education program.
Sharon teaches voice, violin and piano, and she has been the vocal coach for musicals including Billy Elliot and Mamma Mia. For 2-1/2 years, she was a Musician-in-Residence with the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, bringing music and singing to local preschools. She is featured in Professor Mark Pedelty’s books, Ecomusicology (2012) and A Song to Save the Salish Sea: Environmentalist Musicians in the Pacific Northwest (2016).
Sharon has been a member of the Local 1000 North American Traveling Musicians Union, American Federation of Musicians, AFL-CIO since 1997.
“A quartet the likes of which I haven’t seen since… Coope, Boyes and Simpson, the Watersons, or The Voice Squad. Just absolutely phenomenal!” -BBC Traveling Folk
Windborne combines bold and innovative harmonies, styles from a variety of cultures with traditions of harmony singing, and a vocal blend that comes from longtime friendship and years of singing together. They also carry on the alliance of folk music and social activism, breathing new life into songs of change from the past that still ring true in modern times.
“The best musical discovery of the year…Stunningly powerful vocal harmony… Windborne sets a new bar for folk harmony singing today” -Brian O’Donovan, WGBH-NPR
Hear Windborne in action:
Song of the Lower Classes – a protest song from the Chartists in England in the 1840s, a grassroots movement for voting rights
Stabat Mater (Corsica) live in Mont-Saint-Michel – a traditional setting of the Stabat Mater text from southern Corsica. A clip of this video went viral on TikTok in 2021, getting over 2 million views!
The Song of Hard Times – Windborne’s arrangement and expansion of a song from the 1930s, found in the archives at the Library of Congress
Instagram / TikTok: @WindborneSingers
MORE ABOUT WINDBORNE:
Internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble Windborne is a group of vocal chameleons who specialize in close harmony singing, shifting effortlessly between drastically different styles of traditional music within the same concert. Their musical knowledge spans many cultures, but they remain deeply rooted in American folk singing traditions – a typical concert program includes music ranging from American labor anthems and English ballads to ancient Corsican polyphony and traditional Quebecois tunes.
Hailed as “the most exciting vocal group in a generation,” Lynn Mahoney Rowan, Will Thomas Rowan, Lauren Breunig, and Jeremy Carter-Gordon share a vibrant energy onstage – their connection to each other and to the music clearly evident. They educate as they entertain, telling stories about the music and explaining the characteristics and stylistic elements of the traditions in which they sing.
But there’s another, crucial dimension to Windborne. They are adherents to folk music’s longtime association with social activism, in particular its ties to the labor and civil rights movements and others that champion the poor, the working class, and the disenfranchised. Breathing new life into old songs, they seek out music from movements over the past 400 years and sing them for the struggles of today’s world. They believe deeply in the power of music to change hearts.
In addition to performing in New England and around the world, Windborne has taught workshops in schools, community centers, singing camps, and universities. Seasoned teachers and song-leaders, they delight groups young and old with enthusiastic, clear, and nuanced instruction for musicians of all levels of experience. Singers not only learn the notes of a song, but also work on the varied vocal styles, language pronunciation, and gain an understanding of the song in its original cultural context.
In 2014, Windborne was one of 10 groups selected by American Music Abroad and the US Department of State to tour as cultural ambassadors through music. They traveled to Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Angola, touring with internationally known artists, performing at sold-out national theaters, and collaborating with traditional musicians in each country. They also taught music and dance workshops to schoolchildren, English-language learners, dance schools, choirs, and music conservatories.
The award-winning and versatile Appalachian-indie-folk-country-fusion singer-songwriter, performance artist, and multi-generational arts program designer Ash Devine is based the Blue Ridge Mountains of Blacksburg, VA and Asheville, North Carolina. Devine, who is considered by some as one of the last ‘folk troubadours’ is also known for her unique finger-style ukulele and guitar sound, and for her participation in humanitarian efforts through music, education, and the arts.
In addition to producing several albums of original music, Ash has performed and studied along side Nobel peace prize nominee Patch Adams M.D., Heritage award winning ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams, Grammy award nominee and folklorist David Holt, and a number of other renowned folklorists and internationally acclaimed musicians. Her versatile Appalachian folk revival-fusion sound is bursting with stylistic variety, relatable story, and historical facts. Her music is influenced in style by Traditional Appalachian, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Jean Richie, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Maybelle Carter, Leslie Riddle, Ani Difranco, Kate Wolfe, Bob Dylan, and reggae/world music influences such as the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, and west African traditional music.
In 2015 Ash Devine starred as the legendary Maybelle Carter and musically directed the play Esley: The Life and Music of Leslie Riddle. From 2016-2019 Ash Devine studied Appalachian traditional folk songs from the Western, NC area with Smithsonian Folkways Award winning ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams. In 2018, Devine was invited to perform with a group of WNC Appalachian song carriers at the Library of Congress at the American Folk Life Center in Washington, DC. Ash is award winning, in 2013 her original music was selected for 1st place at the Twin Rivers Media Festival in Asheville, NC, in 2008 she won 1st place for Brown Bag Songwriter’s Competition in Asheville, NC, and in 2001 Devine was awarded best composition for an original song at Roanoke, VA’s downtown Music Lab.
Devine performs all original concerts, blended traditional/contemporary/original variety style concerts, a one woman show about the legendary Carter Family and the influences and origins of the music they played, and Devine performs personalized therapeutic and formal concerts for the care setting.
Drums, Bass, Guitar, Vocal, basic Piano-Keys (if zero on-the-fly sight reading is needed). Great for last minute work, best if reference recording available. Can be music director to assemble backing group for performance, film, tv, or recording. Can consult for tv, film, to ensure actors can credibly portray musicians. Willing to travel if travel cost covered from Seattle, WA.
For over ten years, Robb Johannes fronted the Toronto/Vancouver rock band Paint (www.paintband.com). Over the course of four albums, two feature films, and over 300 performances from Pacific to Atlantic, Paint came to be referred to as “Picture perfect” (102.1 The Edge), “Best live act in the city” (Musica Mas), “One of the top acts of the year” (The Toronto Star), and “Intelligent people making incredible music” (The Examiner), bedazzling audiences with their multisensory stage show while delivering insightful social commentary through their music, art, and relationship with its dedicated fanbase; “rockstars with a sincere change-the-world-with-heart attitude… the next U2?” (Midnight Matinee). Robb is currently expanding the use of his 3 1/2-octave countertenor voice, composition, songwriting, and multi-media skills into a new project that is…. a question of when.
John hails from the Bronx, New York. His father Juan Acosta was a percussionist from Cuba who worked as a touring musician with Latin jazz greats such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. In California, John began his recording career working as a composer, guitarist, producer and engineer for artists on Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Geffen, BMG, Elektra and Capitol Records. John was a member of the group Forest for the Tree’s which reached #18 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts, has collaborated with Beck, and landed a top ten hit in the UK working with the artist 1000 Clowns. John’s work as a musician lead to his work with AFM Local 47, advocating for musicians rights. Currently John serves as President of AFM Local 47 and on the AFM International Executive Board.
I am a singer-songwriter who has been actively touring Western Canada for 5 years. Prior to my most recent release, I attended several conference and showcase opportunities (Folk Alliance International 2016, 2017, 2019; AmericanaFest 2015, 2018; BreakOut West 2017, 2018) to promote and engage local and international industry for the release. After releasing my sophomore album, “Driving In The Dark”, international interest and touring opportunities continue to present themselves. I play 1-2 local shows in my home city of Calgary per year, if any and focus the entirety of my live show strategy around touring new markets, specifically targeting the UK and USA Americana scenes as this is where my music has been charting based off of radio play demographics. With recent bookings at the Philadelphia Folk Fest, several tour dates with Sarah Shook and other US plays, we are hunting for a US agent to continue touring and making an impact across borders.
Liv Cazzola is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, educator, and avid collaborator. Though based in Guelph Ontario, Liv is typically seen performing in Tragedy Ann or The Lifers, in North America and Europe. She sings to seek understanding, question the current, relish in the goodness, and create necessary change.
Ann Zimmerman sings her native prairie into universal language and works magic from songs of life on the windy plains. Her confident Kansas style, compelling stage presence and award-winning songs have taken her across the continent singing a hundred gigs a year. Ann sings for and with children, families and adults. She tells stories and paints pictures with her guitar, her piano or just her voice. She regularly leads songwriting workshops for elementary and middle school students. On occasion, she performs spoken word pieces, plays autoharp and gathers a band. At presenters’ requests, her shows may focus on particular topics – food, gardens, weather, nature, rural life, human conflict, etc. – or historical periods or events – American Revolutionary War, pioneer life, historic Kansas.
Ann is a winner at the Wildflower! Festival, Great American Song and the Just Plain Folks national song contests. She appears annually at The Land Institute’s Prairie Festival and, beginning in recent years, the Walnut Valley Festival. With four independent recordings, Ann is also a lawyer and mediator, she runs a horse boarding stable with her husband near Salina, Kansas, and she is an elected board member of Salina Public Schools.
**I am also the leader of the touring family music band “Hot Peas ‘n Butter”.
** I play Saxophone, keys, guitar
From bluegrass and jazz to rock & roll and old-time fiddle, Vi the Fiddler exudes energy, passion, humor, and musical mastery in every performance.
Vi Wickam is an accomplished solo performer and also fronts his own band, cleverly named Vi Wickam and The Band. In addition, he’s a member of Fritto Misto, and Fiddle Whamdiddle. The latter’s albums Old School Old Time and Not My Monkey were honored by inclusion on the Grammy Ballot in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
In 2018, Vi had 2 albums chart in the top 5 of Folk DJ Radio. His album Armadillo on a Hot Tin Roof hit #4 in April and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas hit #5 in December. He’s a 4-time Colorado State Fiddling Champion, a finalist at the Grand Masters’ Fiddler Championship, and Runner Up in the National Fiddle Contest.
In addition to performing, Vi is a highly regarded music instructor. He’s a founder of the online music school myTalentForge.com, and is much in demand as a teacher at music workshops and camps around the US.