We are excited to kick off our new collaboration with City Winery, an organization with multiple music venues around the nation, which excels at being a connoisseur of both wine and today’s best musicians. The American Roots Music Festival is a day overflowing with spectacular music located throughout our grounds, spanning the genres of blues, Americana, folk, zydeco, and bluegrass. Friends Field comes alive as the whole audience is invited to join in a singalong with Toronto’s Choir!Choir!Choir! This music-filled day ends with the three-time Grammy Award winner for Best Contemporary Blues Album and multi-instrumentalist, Taj Mahal, who has reshaped the definition of blues in his six-decades long career by incorporating the sounds of the Caribbean, Africa, and the South Pacific. Join us for a day of music discovery and explore the grounds, the Rosen House, and the sounds of Caramoor.
with special guest Deva Mahal
Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas
Porch Stomp Revue
and many more!
Buy Full Fest
“The blues is bigger than most people think,” Taj Mahal says. “You could hear Mozart play the blues. It might be more like a lament. It might be more melancholy. But I’m going to tell you: the blues is in there.”
Taj is a towering musical figure — a legend who transcended the blues not by leaving them behind, but by revealing their magnificent scope to the world. Quantifying the 77-year-old’s significance is impossible, but people try anyway. A 2017 Grammy win for TajMo, Taj’s collaboration with Keb’ Mo’, brought his Grammy tally to three wins and 14 nominations, and underscored his undiminished relevance more than 50 years after his solo debut. Blues Hall of Fame membership, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association, and other honors punctuate his résumé. Taj appreciates the accolades, but his motivation lies elsewhere. “I just want to be able to make the music that I’m hearing come to me — and that’s what I did,” Taj says. “When I say, ‘I did,’ I’m not coming from the ego. The music comes from somewhere. You’re just the conduit it comes through. You’re there to receive the gift.”
Deva Mahal was born with the blues in her blood. Becoming the genre-defying artist, powerhouse vocalist and astute songwriter that she is today could only be achieved through living a life rich with pain, joy, loss, love, heartache, and experience. A soul as singular as Deva’s can only find voice through an equally unique sound, which she’s forged by growing her blues roots through the fertile soil of modern R&B, indie-pop, soul, rock, and gospel.
Deva’s star continued to rise in 2018, with the release of her aptly named debut album, Run Deep, followed by a series of singles released in 2019 by Motéma Music. Infectious as they are stirringly personal, her songs place her powerfully moving voice in the service of raw, vulnerable explorations of resonant emotion. The New York Times calls her music “hand-clapping, piano-pounding, call-and-response buildup.” Her energy and enthusiasm breathe wild life into her songs with a knockout voice that combines pulse pounding soul with a decidedly modern edge.
Deva has toured the world, gracing the stages of the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, Bonnaroo, SXSW, the Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, and many other esteemed events and venues. She has had the pleasure of collaborating with Jaleel Bunton of TV on the Radio, Binky Griptite of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Living Color, and the New York Pops Orchestra, and has performed onstage alongside such legends as Etta James, Dianne Reeves, Maceo Parker, Bettye Lavette, The Roots, and Cyndi Lauper. Elton John calls Deva “really fabulous.”
Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas
Growing up in a Creole-speaking home in St. Martinville, Nathan eagerly sought out the music of Zydeco originators such as Clifton Chenier. Later, while recovering from a serious illness, Nathan decided to dedicate himself to learning the accordion. That dedication blossomed into an illustrious career, which now spans three decades.
The music of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas is the expression of a remarkable South Louisiana family. Dennis Paul Williams, Nathan’s brother, brings his jazz-influenced guitar chops to the band. He’s also a well-known painter whose work has been shown throughout the country, and has recently published a collection of his work. The eldest Williams brother, Sid ‘El Sid O’ Williams, is a Lafayette legend unto himself, and Zydeco would never have survived into the new millennium without him.
Nathan formed The Cha-Chas back in 1985, and since then has brought his unique take on this regional South Louisiana music to all corners of the globe. From Lincoln Center in New York to The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Nathan’s music has crossed all barriers to speak to the very heart of his audience.
Inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2005, he was honored last year with the Zydeco Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Cha-Chas have been voted the top Festival Band in the country, and have won the coveted Big Easy award for Best Zydeco Band for several years running.
Nathan and his band have been featured in The New York Times, Essence, and People magazines, and on the cover of USA Today. They’ve appeared in films like In The Electric Mist and The Kingdom of Zydeco, and worked with artists as diverse as Cindy Lauper, Michael Doucet, and Buddy Guy.
Keepers of the Zydeco Flame, they are committed to keeping their Creole Heritage alive…– C’est Si Bon!
Multi-award-winning instrumentalist/vocalist/bandleader Cynthia Sayer is acclaimed by musicians, critics, and fans alike as one of the top 4-string banjoist in the world today. Praised for her “drive and virtuosity” by The New York Times, Cynthia enchants audiences with her electrifying, swing-based performances, and captivating stage presence wherever she appears.
Cynthia tours extensively with her bands and as a guest artist across four continents. An inductee into the American Banjo Hall Of Fame, winner of the 2019 Bistro Award* and 2018 Global Music Awards,* Cynthia garnered cheering crowds and her usual standing ovation at both the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival* (*first banjoist ever to win/appear) and as a Special Guest at the renowned 2019 Django Reinhardt Festival in New York City. Other USA festival appearances include headlining at the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival, the 2017 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, and numerous others. Sayer has been honored by multiple international jazz festivals as “Festival Favorite” and readers polls have named her “Favorite Living Banjo Player,” “First-Choice Headliner,” and “Best Banjo Player.”
Cynthia has appeared as a guest and performer on CBS, FOX, and ABC network television shows, including Good Morning America and The Morning Show, as well as on NPR’s Piano Jazz, BBC Radio, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, DownBeat, Fretboard Journal, International Musician, People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and countless other local, trade, and foreign media outlets.
Sayer first rose to international prominence as a founding member of Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band, all the while exploring her wider musical interests and playing with such legendary jazz, popular, and roots music artists as Bucky Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Andy Statman, Les Paul, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynton Marsalis, and, John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), as well as with leading contemporaries such as Vince Giordano, Scott Robinson, Wycliffe Gordon, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Charlie Giordano (with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), and many others.
A multi-instrumentalist heard on distinguished feature film and TV soundtracks and comfortable in many genres, Cynthia identifies first and foremost as a jazz banjoist. At home, she performs at prestigious venues like New York City’s Lincoln Center, Birdland, Joe’s Pub at The Public, and City Winery NY.
Her feature CD’s, nine in all, have received rave reviews and multiple “Best of” nominations, awards and honors in various categories, including two Jazz Journalists Association best pick lists. Sayer has played for two U.S. Presidents (once at The White House), performed with several symphony orchestras including The New York Philharmonic, was the official banjoist for The New York Yankees, and is proud to be the subject of a Trivial Pursuit game question.
Sayer is also an avid educator, presenting clinics, programs, and lecture/demonstrations at schools, colleges, and cultural organizations. She was filmed for a national educational project co-sponsored by The Smithsonian Institution and has contributed articles to several American and British trade publications. Her play-along program, You’re IN The Band, is popular with players of all instruments learning and practicing traditional/hot jazz and swing.
Cynthia lives in New York City and endorses Ome Banjos, GHS Strings, Blue Chip Picks, and The Realist Banjo Pickups by David Gage.
Choir! Choir! Choir! is a Toronto-based singing group led by creative directors Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman. The duo takes a non-traditional approach; there are no auditions, and the audience is the choir. Just show up and they’ll teach you an original arrangement to a song you love. Founded in 2011, Choir! Choir! Choir! has amassed a dedicated and passionate community of singers and a thriving international fan base on YouTube amassing 10s of millions of views on some of their videos.
The group has performed with renowned artists such as Patti Smith, David Byrne, Rick Astley, Tegan and Sara, and Rufus Wainwright, and onstage at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall with the likes of Debbie Harry and The Flaming Lips. They’ve created content for NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar with Hamilton’s Brandon Victor Dixon. And they’ve performed at the MET in New York for New York Pride and hosted their own float in Toronto Pride. They remembered Canadian music hero Gord Downie by performing Grace Too with the surviving members of the Tragically Hip to 10,000 fans in Toronto.
Choir! Choir! Choir! exists to celebrate music and push the boundaries between practice and performance, artist and audience, offering therapeutic benefits with the ultimate side effect: powerful community.