Bounxeung Synanonh

Bounxeung Synanonh

Laotian khaen
Fresno, California

For Laotian-born Bounxeung Synanonh, captivating an audience is as simple as drawing a few quick breaths of air. He is a master performer on the khaen, an ancient, free-reed mouth organ made from 16 lengths of bamboo. Recognizing its vital place in daily family and social life, UNESCO has inscribed khaen music of the Lao people on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Bounxeung is revered as a keeper of the khaen tradition for the Laotian American community.

Claire Lynch

Claire Lynch

bluegrass
Nashville, Tennessee

Three-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Female Vocalist of the Year award, Claire Lynch has long been regarded as one of bluegrass’s finest talents. With a gorgeous, fluid voice, its bold, bluesy flair is unmistakable, and she can launch a lyric straight through the heart.

Farah Yasmeen Shaikh

Farah Yasmeen Shaikh

Kathak dance
San Francisco, California

Farah Yasmeen Shaikh carries on the revered tradition of Kathak dance, earning accolades for her expressive dancing and historically rooted choreography. She is also a bridge-builder, using Kathak to, as she says, “help shift perspectives and perceptions of the world today—in a way that both challenges and enlightens us alongside our audiences.”

Jarlath Henderson

Jarlath Henderson

Irish
County Armagh, Northern Ireland

Spellbinding singer and award-winning uilleann piper Jarlath Henderson is setting “a benchmark for the new generation” of Irish musicians, and thrilling audiences with his soulful interpretations of traditional songs from his native Northern Ireland.

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

blues and boogie-woogie piano
Vancouver, British Columbia

With his dapper zoot suits, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne looks every bit the musician Living Blues hails as “bringing the piano back to the front ranks of contemporary blues.” When Kenny Wayne’s fingers hit the keys, you know you’re in the presence of a true blues boss.

Leroy Thomas & the Zydeco Roadrunners

Leroy Thomas & the Zydeco Roadrunners

zydeco
Elton, Louisiana

A throwback to first-generation zydeco masters, Leroy Thomas plays what he calls “old school zydeco.” That’s no surprise, given he was born into a zydeco family: his father has inspired countless zydeco drummers, while cousins Geno Delafose and Keith Frank are some of the leading zydeco performers today. A giant on the zydeco scene for over 20 years, Leroy wears out the “zydeco corridor” traveling between Lafayette, Louisiana and Houston, Texas.

Lulo Reinhardt

Lulo Reinhardt

Gypsy jazz
Koblenz, Germany

Lulo Reinhardt is one of the foremost musical voices in Gypsy jazz today. The great-nephew of the legendary Django Reinhardt, he is heir to a unique musical lineage. The acclaimed musicians of the Reinhardt family have been the touchstone for this irresistible genre throughout three generations of guitarists.

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples

gospel, soul, rhythm and blues
Chicago, Illinois

Mavis Staples will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest gospel singers of all time, the breathtaking voice powering one of America’s most celebrated family bands, the Staple Singers. From the traditional gospel music of the 1950s to the 1960s protest songs that underscored some of the decade’s most dramatic social changes, from the self-empowerment anthems of the 1970s to the soulful love tunes and mature roots music of more recent years, Mavis Staples and her family consistently created some of the best and most inspirational music of the past half-century.

Orquesta el Macabeo

Orquesta el Macabeo

salsa
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Trujillo Alto

Combining a “do-it-yourself” ethos with a desire to revitalize a traditional genre beloved by Puerto Ricans, Orquesta el Macabeo is updating the music in the spirit of the classic sounds created by salsa pioneers. As record label Peace & Rhythm declared when reissuing Macabeo’s debut album this spring: “with every passing year their audience and reputation grows, mainly because they have managed to hit a nerve, connect to salseros craving that old-school sound and message, but also something that speaks to their own contemporary experiences in an unadulterated and honest manner.”

Tamburaški Sastav Ponoć

Tamburaški Sastav Ponoć

tamburitza
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tamburaški Sastav Ponoć represents a new generation of brilliant players of tamburitza music, the traditional string band music of the Balkans. Tamburitza music has flourished for over a century in ethnic communities across the industrial Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest where Eastern European immigrants flocked to work in the region’s factories and mines. Until recently, it has had limited exposure beyond these communities. But that is changing as this cadre of virtuosic young musicians bring tamburitza out of neighborhood taverns and community halls and onto concert stages across America and the world.