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The Festival features maritime and ethnic music that relates to the commercial fishing industry.
Send press packet and sample recording to:
Working Waterfront Festival
PO Box 6553
New Bedford, MA 02742-6553.
Ana Vinagre was born in the small fishing village of Figueira Da Foz, Portugal. Following in the footsteps of her sister, mother, and grandmother, she began singing fado professionally at the age of 13 as a member of her local folk dance group, Cantarinhas de Buarcos. Vinagre toured extensively with this group throughout Europe, until immigrating to the United States with her husband and singing partner Jose in 1972. Today, she is one of the area's best known and most respected fadistas. Vinagre performs regularly in the Portuguese community for various community and private events, as well as at festivals and other events for a wider audience. She has appearanced at the 2002 National Folk Festival, the Northwest Folklife Festival in 2003 and 2004, and the Lowell Folk Festival in 2006.
A tradition dating back hundreds of years, fado singing is "the soul of the Portuguese people", as described by Vinagre. The emotional core of the fado is saudade, an indefinable yearning or nostalgia for love, times past, or a lost home. Accompanied by a twelve string Portuguese guitar and a bass guitar, the voice of a true fadista embodies and expresses the soulfulness of this music tradition. The traditional fadista dresses in black and uses a shawl as a prop to accentuate the passion of her voice and words. The genre developed in the port city of Lisbon where it was performed at waterfront clubs and bars frequented by sailors and seamen.
Captain Bob Quinn, lobsterman, mailboat operator and storyteller, has been steeped in the lore of coastal Maine since he was a child. Quinn is a fifth generation descendant of Samuel Quinn, Jr. of Eagle Island in East Penobscot Bay. His father, Erland "Cappy" Quinn, worked in the boatyards of Camden and fished out of that harbor, developing a reputation as a local historian. Cappy's brother, Carl "Bonney" Quinn, worked with him, and was known up and down the coast as a musician and raconteur who wrote nautical poems with a humorous bent.
Bob Quinn grew up lobstering and fishing with his father and uncle, learning seamanship aboard the herring pumper Beryl, and immersing himself in the Maine Island lore and local legends he learned from residents of the innumerable coves along the coast. He also absorbed the poems of his Uncle Bonney, and it is his recitations of these poems, along with his colorful commentary, for which he is best known. Bob eventually moved to Eagle Island and assumed the caretaking of the family homestead. He has recorded two dozen of his uncle's poems, and spends many evenings regaling neighbors and guests at the farmhouse with Uncle Bonney's poems and his own salty stories.(back to top)
Charlotte Enoksen's father emigrated from Norway's Loften Islands and pursued the work of generations before him, owning two fishing vessels, F/V Porpoise and F/V Louise. Once married to a fisherman, Enoksen's poetry often reflects the lives of those left on shore. Her work is both creative and cathartic, a "song without accompaniment." Currently a social worker, Charlotte has also worked in journalism, advertising, public relations and fundraising.(back to top)
Dave grew up in Alaska, in several Aleutian villages, with Kodiak being home town. He's been a lifelong fisherman, earning a full share on a Kodiak seiner by the time he was twelve and purchasing his first boat soon after. He skippered his first Bering Sea King crabber at 23, the youngest Bering Sea king crab skipper, at that time. He has trolled the west coast for salmon and Albacore, otter trawled for bottom fish, and fished Alaska for Black Cod and Halibut, King Crab, Tanner and Dungeness Crab. He currently fishes salmon out of Kodiak AK, and is gearing up for crab.
Dave started writing poetry in the late 70's "long before I heard anyone else write anything about commercial fishing." He's been published in numerous trade papers, magazines and newspapers and has a byline in a quarterly, the Columbia River Gillnetter. He was featured in the documentary Fisherpoets and on Good Morning America. A regular at the Astoria Fisherpoet's Gathering, Dave has also performed in Elko Nevada at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and at events from fish fries to a sculpture dedication for the world renowned artist Mia Lin.(back to top)
Gordon Bok grew up around the boatyards of Camden, Maine. In his early years, he worked on a variety of vessels, from passenger schooners to yachts. He learned many tunes, sea songs, stories, legends and ballads from the people he worked with. Where he couldn't find songs that matched his experiences or needs, he began to write his own, and has kept up a lively flow of poems, songs, stories, choral and instrumental works. He has He has performed extensively in the United States, and in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. He has appeared on the radio show "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor. Gordon's music has been sung by many other performers and has been used for films, most notably the documentary "Coaster: The Adventure of the John F. Leavitt" for which he won an award. Gordon received an honorary Doctorate of Science from the Maine Maritime Academy for his reflection of Maine's maritime heritage in his compositions and performances. His legacy includes over thirty recordings featuring his own compositions and folk tunes from around the world. His extensive repertoire provides a rich well to draw upon for his concerts; he has never sung the same solo concert twice.(back to top)
"Stand-Up Chameleon" Jackson Gillman magically transforms himself into a wide array of eccentric characters through his many talents as mime, actor, songsmith and storyteller. As adept with children as he is with adults, his interactive performances are seasoned with skillful dialect, song, dance, mime and sign language. Shining through Jackson's wit and extraordinary versatility is his bemused, warm-hearted honesty. Jackson's humor evolves from finding that which is funny in human beings trying to be human and often tripping over their own being in the attempt.
Jackson has thrice been a featured performer at the National Storytelling in Tennessee, and has performed at festivals and schools throughout the country. Year-round he now brings his unique brand of one-man theater to diverse audiences across the nation. Whether performing on concert stages, at colleges, business functions, festivals, school assemblies or libraries, Jackson Gillman delights his audiences with his inventions while touching them with his personal warmth. In his appearances at the Working Waterfront Festival he will draw upon his fishy repertoire from the sandy beach and the briny deep including traditional ballads from Down East Maine by Ruth Moore and others.(back to top)
Formed in 1997, The Johnson Girls are the leading all-woman maritime song group in the world. Sea chanteys and songs, as the first real "world music", captured their imagination. Just as sailors who were heavily influenced by the songs they heard while traveling the world over, each of the Johnson Girls brings a special style to the ensemble. Their extensive repertoire of both traditional and contemporary material includes sea chanteys and work songs of other traditions, African-American, Canadian, Caribbean, Irish, French, Italian as well as songs from the inland waterways and fisheries. Widely acclaimed for their powerhouse performances of rousing work songs, sensitive renderings of haunting ballads and laments, and hair-raising harmonies, The Johnson Girls dazzle audiences wherever they perform.
They have headlined at Portugal's Festival of Ports in Lisbon; Britain's Sidmouth International Festival, Warwick Folk Festival, and Broadstairs Folk Week; and New England's Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival. In 2005 they were featured at La Fete Des Chants de Marins in Quebec, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, San Francisco Maritime Museum's Sea Music Festival, and the Strontrace Shanty Festival in the Netherlands.(back to top)
Jon Campbell owned a workboat before he owned a car. In those days bay scallops, clams, and quahogs, flounder and lobsters were abundant in the coastal ponds and Narragansett Bay. Regulations were few and the commercial fisheries were still represented by independent men in wooden Eastern Rigs.
For the past 25 years Jon has been writing and performing music based on the wide range of experience available to those people living in coastal regions, the tourists, the cuisine, the fisheries, cranky Yankees and an assortment of humorous and poignant characters. Jon has been a recognized Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Folk Artist since 1982, and he has been involved in a large number of recording projects both as performer and producer. He is presently retired from a 25 year career in the motion picture industry, and yes he did work on the Perfect Storm, in addition to many more major releases.
To fill in the blanks, Jon's musical activities in the last year have ranged from Camden Maine to Kodiak Alaska.
Mary Garvey is one of the Northwest's most acclaimed and prolific songwriters. She comes from a lumber mill town on the Columbia River in Washington State near where she lives today. She works for Washington State University Extension, doing the office work for a small research team. Many of Mary's songs are about the people and places in her southwest corner of Washington, people who fished and trapped and cut down the tall trees and worked in the paper mills. Mary was an Army officer in the Vietnam War, and has written a number of songs on that topic. She attended graduate school in Newfoundland and has also written a few songs about that area, and lately has written a number of songs about the potato famine. She has collaborated on CDs about tugboats and the Columbia Bar through Maritime Folknet, and has contributed to projects currently in the works on the potato famine and cannery workers. She has participated in the FisherPoets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon, done workshops at music camps and festivals, and was involved in the Americana Women's MusicBox project. Mary believes in music as tributes to people, places or events, for healing from various traumas, but also just for fun and enjoyment. She is honored to have had some of her songs recorded by the most wonderful musicians including Gordon Bok.(back to top)
Moe Bowstern is the editor since 1996 of Xtra Tuf, a zine that chronicles the experiences and adventures of commercial fisher folk in Alaska and beyond. Moe performs annually at the Astoria Oregon Fisher Poets Gathering. She has also appeared at the Sea Music Festival in Mystic Connecticut, the Cowboy Poets Gathering in Elko Nevada and Tony's Bar, "Kodiak's Biggest Navigational Hazard" in Kodiak Alaska. Xtra Tuf #5: The Strike Issue won the 2007 Lilla Jewel Award. Moe has worked on fishing boats since 1986, when as a miserable 18 year old boat cook she once inadvertently threatened the lives of the crew by serving pasta tossed with shards of glass. Since then she has commercially fished salmon, halibut, herring, cod, shad, shrimp and tanner crab, mostly around Kodiak, though she has ventured as far west as Togiak Bay in the Bering Sea, as far east as the Hudson River and as far south as Dinner Key Marina, Miami. Her newest issue, Xtra Tuf #6: The Greenhorn Issue, features contributions from over 20 other commercial fishing writers, all on the theme of initiation into the rough world of commercial fishing.(back to top)
Hosted and organized by the Schooner Ernestina, this 43-member chorus was created in 2001, and is made up of some of the Ernestina's most vocal volunteers. The repertoire includes a variety of chanteys and songs that reflect the rich maritime heritage of New Bedford, and the region. Sea Chanteys were traditionally sung as work songs on board sailing ships both as a way to pass the time and as a means of helping establish a rhythm for various types of work aboard the ship.
As a sampler of musical traditions connected to New Bedford Harbor and the New England seafarer, their performances feature the chanteys of the Yankee sailor, along with the ballads and ditties of global mariners and coastwise fisherfolk in North America, the Cape Verde Islands, and the British Isles.
Sharks Come Cruisin' plays an energetic mix of original and traditional sing-along songs, keeping the themes of audience participation and celebration at the center of their music and live performances. SCC has played several festivals up and down the Eastcoast, from Florida to Maine. They have played with Dropkick Murphys, The Loved Ones (Fat Wreck Chords), and Lemuria (Bridge Nine Records). They have been compared to Flogging Molly, The Pogues, and Against Me! and have been described as sea shanty punk, Irish punk, and folk punk.(back to top)
The Souls of the Sea Band sings about the lives and experiences of the fishermen of the North Atlantic. The original, musically diverse songs are unique interpretations of life around the working harbor. The group of nationally acclaimed musicians, singers and songwriters are based in America's oldest seaport, Gloucester Massachusetts, and perform throughout the Northeast.
The trio consists of guitarist and lead singer Allen Estes, a long time performer and former songwriter for the Merit Music Corp in Nashville, TN; former Stompers lead guitarist, Sal Baglio, who has opened for The Beach Boys; and fiddle player Matt Leavenworth, whose virtuosity is legend throughout the New England states. Frank Tedesco writes the lyrics.