Dom Flemons, Kaia Kater, and Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton share the stage for one night only, spotlighting the African roots of the banjo and the impact that the instrument continues to have in old-time, blues, bluegrass, and other music traditions. Each artist will perform a short solo set before they all come together, with Flemons acting as emcee and interviewer, providing the audience with insights beyond the music through conversations with Kater and Paxton.
This concert is part of Art & Soul, a collaborative celebration of African and African American arts and artists in the Triangle.
Dom Flemons, the “American Songster,” pulls from traditions of old time folk music to create new sounds. Having performed music professionally since 2005, he has played live for more than one million people just within the past three years. As part of the GRAMMY winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, which he co-founded with Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson, he has played at a variety of festivals spanning from the Newport Folk Festival to Bonnaroo, in addition to renowned venues such as the Grand Ole Opry.
African-Canadian artist Kaia Kater was one of IBMA’s official Bluegrass Ramble showcase artists in 2016, the same year that she earned a grand prize in the 22nd annual Folk Music Ontario Songs From the Heart songwriting competition. Earlier this year, she was included in Rolling Stone’s “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know.” Few are more conscious in their journey through Appalachian histories and the Canadian musical landscape than Kater. Born in Montreal, she has lived Winnipeg, Wakefield and, most recently, West Virginia; she now resides in Toronto. Her old-time banjo-picking skills, deft arrangements, and songwriting abilities have landed her in the spotlight in North America and the UK, garnering critical acclaim from outlets such as Rolling Stone, CBC Music and The Roots Music Report. Often praised for her capacity to sound new and old at once, Kater anchors her music the space where tradition and innovation intersect. In addition to covering old time Appalachian tunes, she writes original songs that explore the realities faced by people of color in North America.
Blues artist Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton is a singer and multi-instrumentalist who transforms traditional jazz, blues, folk, and country music into the here and now, and he mesmerizes audiences with his humor and storytelling. He will be one of 20 musicians featured in the upcoming PBS special American Epic Sessions – a documentary presented by T Bone Burnett, Robert Redford, and Jack White. The documentary will feature performances by Alabama Shakes, The Avett Brothers, Rhiannon Giddens, Merle Haggard, Elton John, Auntie Geri Kuhia, Pokey LaFarge, Bettye LaVette, Los Lobos, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Taj Mahal, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Willie Nelson, Raphael Saadiq, and many more.