International Bands to Catch at IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC SEPT 29-30, 2023

Musicians from around the world are descending on Raleigh for the last week of September. Here are a few that we’re looking forward to seeing.

Country Gongbang – This young band from South Korea is expected to be one of the highlights of the week. They are the recpients of the IBMA’s 2023 International Band Performance Grant. Bluegrass Today calls the band “…a very tasty form of contemporary bluegrass.” They sing in both English and Korean. (FRI 12:30, leading jam in Busking Tent; FRI 3:00, Capital Stage)

The Kruger Brothers – Jens and Uwe Kruger have called North Carolina home for decades but the brothers were born and raised in Switzerland. They moved to the United States to be close to Doc Watson and the mountains that inspired his music. The Kruger Brothers became friends with Doc and Rosalee Watson and will pay tribute to Doc on Saturday night. (SAT 8:30, Red Hat)

Kaia Kater – Kaia was born in Montreal and is described as a “Grenadian-Canadian banjo player and songsayer.” Her original music is inspired by her Quebec roots, but you’ll also hear her family connections to the Caribbean and the Appalachian region. At this year’s festival she is performing both as a solo artist and as a part of an exciting collaboration with friends Jake Blount and Tray Wellington. (SAT 2:30, Davie St; SAT 6:10, Red Hat with Jake Blount & Tray Wellington)

Tall Poppy String Band – This band features two musicians originally from the Southern hemisphere. Guitarist Morgan Harris now calls Colorado home but was born and raised in Australia. Morgan is a highly regarded old time guitar player and recently released Old Time Guitar, a collection of fifteen solo guitar instrumentals. Fiddler George Jackson lives in Nashville but was born in New Zealand and spent his teenage years in Australia. He won an IBMA Momentum Award last year in Raleigh. At the festival this year you’ll see him performing with the Tall Poppy String Band and as a part of Jake Blount’s band. He has several solo projects out including a blazing record of fiddle/banjo duets called “Hair & Hide.” (SAT 12noon with Tall Poppy String Band, Come Hear NC; SAT 1:10 with Jake Blount, Come Hear NC Stage; SAT 3:00, leading jam in Busking Tent with Tall Poppy String Band)