The Richmond Folk Festival begins Friday, Oct. 9. This year's lineup includes hip-hop pioneer DJ Grandmaster Flash (left, courtesy DJ Grandmaster Flash), tap dancer Leonardo Sandoval (top right, courtesy Noe Kains) electric blues singer Shemekia Copeland (right, center, courtesy Sandrine Lee), and Riyaaz Qawwali, who blend musical styles of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh (photo courtesy Bill Hamblen)
One of the big draws at the 11th annual Richmond Folk Festival is sure to be hip-hop pioneer DJ Grandmaster Flash, who, with the Furious Five, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Blaine Waide, of the National Council for the Traditional Arts, says festival planners look for “foundational figures of a given sound or style” — and Flash (born in Barbados as Joseph Saddler) certainly fits that description, given that techniques he's known for, such as punch phrasing, scratching and back spinning, are still widely emulated.
Waide, who saw him perform in Washington last year, says, "He was committed to really getting to the energy that was at the root of hip-hop ... He had the crowd in the palm of his hand." Here's a sample of DJ Grandmaster Flash live:
Electric blues singer Shemekia Copeland will make her festival debut, as will Irish acoustic guitarist John Doyle and his trio, The Alt, and tap dancer Leonardo Sandoval, who is drawing attention for combining Brazilian beats and rhythms with the tap tradition.
Other attractions include the Campbell Brothers — “the best sacred steel group out there,” says Waide — the “Ethiojazz” of the Feedel Band, “dean of Cajun music” Bruce Daigrepont (read our Q&A with him here), rockabilly icon Sleepy LaBeef and Riyaaz Qawwali, a group that blends musical traditions from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Free. richmond folkfestival.org. Take it away, Campbell Brothers: