Join us on March 6, 2024 at 2 pm CT for a virtual version of our 2024 Annual General Meeting (AGM)! Everyone in the community is welcome and encouraged to attend.

If you’re a voting member of FAI, you’ll be receiving an email soon with the agenda, meeting documents, and a Zoom link to join the AGM (with the ability to participate and ask questions).

Non-members are also invited to join! You’ll be able to view the live AGM on our YouTube channel.

Newly Elected and Re-Elected Directors

We’re excited to announce the results of our 2023 FAI Board Election! We’ll be welcoming one new member, in addition to the re-election of four current board members. Each director serves a three-year term, beginning at the AGM in March:

Lynn Cingari - Folk Alliance International Board Member

Charlie Mosbrook

Teaching Artist,
Roots of American Music

Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA

“I see opportunities to build stronger relationships between FAI, the regions, and membership by better understanding the needs of the community through communication and programming, with accessibility and inclusion as a fundamental goal.”

Charlie Mosbrook has served as FARM president during the past three years overseeing the creation and development of Virtual Connections, FARM’s year round on-line programming as well as the re-introduction of the organizations in-person conference. Charlie also serves as president to Folknet of Cleveland, Ohio, presenting three independent concert series and an annual festival. As a performing artist, Charlie is a member of Rampd, Music to Life, FAI Cultural Equity Council, and serves as a teaching artist with Roots of American Music in Cleveland, Ohio. Charlie serves as an advocate for disability rights within his local government as chair of the Cleveland Heights Transportation and Environmental Sustainability committee.

Lynn Cingari - Folk Alliance International Board Member

Ayappa Biddanda

Senior Director, National Grass Roots, Video, & Tour Promotion, Concord

Nashville, TN, USA

“I am eager to serve Artists in ways that matter most to them. I’d be honored to continue the FAI Board/Advocacy work of the past 2 years. Let’s continue platforming Folk Artists and Partnerships thereby increasing the reach of our Community.”

Having worked at Concord since 2004, Ayappa now leads the Folk/Roots division of the Concord Label Group—serving Artists in both traditional and innovative spaces. A large part of his work has been highlighting the vitality of Folk music in today’s culture and ensuring our foundational BIPOC Artists are properly recognized and credited. He graduated from The University of Tennessee with degrees in American Studies and Political Science and received his Master’s of Public Policy from UCLA (with a concentration in Art & Social Action). He adores (in chronological order) his wife, daughter, and son.

Lynn Cingari - Folk Alliance International Board Member

Ann Powers

Critic and Correspondent

Nashville, TN, USA

“Folk is a flexible term, connected to many intersecting legacies + communities. I believe FAI’s future lies in exploring connections across borders + boundaries while helping artists + their supporters pursue sustainable, innovative lives in music.”

In the ten-plus years she has worked at NPR, Ann Powers has championed undersung and overlooked voices from many genres as well as anchoring the coverage of Americana and folk music for the NPR Music website. Previous positions inclued chief pop critic at the Los Angeles Times, critic for the New York Times, senior editor at the Village Voice, and curator at the Museum of Popular Culture. She has written or edited six books, including the upcoming TRAVELING: ON THE PATH OF JONI MITCHELL, out in March 2024 from Dey Street Books. She lives in Nashville.

Lynn Cingari - Folk Alliance International Board Member

Ashley Shabankareh

Director of Operations and Programs
, Trombone Shorty Foundation

New Orleans, LA, USA

“It has been a true pleasure serving as the President of the Board for FAI. I hope to continue my work of supporting the folk community by fostering an environment of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. Thank you for your consideration!”

Ashley Shabankareh (she/they) is a New Orleans musician, music educator, and arts administrator. Ashley is the Director of Operations and Programs for Trombone Shorty Foundation, and they also work as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University New Orleans and Xavier University. Ashley has worked with numerous arts organizations during her career, including Artist Corps New Orleans, Upbeat Academy Foundation, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, New Orleans Jazz Museum, and Preservation Hall Foundation. Ashley currently serves as the Board President for Folk Alliance International. Ashley is an avid performer and has performed alongside Allen Toussaint, Aretha Franklin, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Theresa Anderson, and in her own group, Marina Orchestra.

Lynn Cingari - Folk Alliance International Board Member

Brandi Waller-Pace

Found/Executive Director, Decolonizing the Music Room

Fort Worth, TX, USA

“I have gotten my feet wet during my first term, and I look forward to more learning and deeper service to FAI. I hope to continue using my skills to support our collaborative work with folk communities through the lenses of equity and innovation.”

Brandi Waller-Pace (she/they) is a Fort Worth-based musician, educator, and scholar-activist. She is Founding Executive Director of Decolonizing the Music Room. Brandi holds a bachelor’s and master’s in Jazz Studies from Howard University and is pursuing a PhD in Music Education at the University of North Texas. An eleven-year veteran music educator, she co-wrote district music curriculum, participated in racial and systemic educational equity work, and 2019 and 2020 served on the Texas African American Studies Course Curriculum Advisory Team which helped formulate curriculum standards for Texas’ first state-approved African American History course. As a musician she most often performs jazz, neo-soul, and old time. Brandi created and runs the Fort Worth African American Roots Music Festival, which highlights blackness in early American music. She has co-produced and curated artist lineups for events with Bluegrass Pride, The Bluegrass Situation, and PineCone.

Appointments to the Board

The board appointed Elizabeth Cawein, Dee Fretwell, and Thérèse LaGamma. They will begin their terms at the AGM in March 2024.

Elizabeth Cawein 2023

Elizabeth Cawein

Found and Executive Director,
Music Export Memphis

Memphis, TN, USA

Elizabeth Cawein is a music advocate, strategist and scholar. She founded Music Export Memphis, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit export office for music, in 2016 following a decade in music publicity and marketing with roots, Americana and folk artists. Elizabeth is a DJ (WYXR 91.7FM Memphis), a professor (Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College), and a student (PhD, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, University of Memphis) – across all these roles she is focused on centering working musicians as cultural assets. She has served on the Recording Academy Memphis chapter board and is a sought-after speaker and thought partner. Her TED Talk on music cities has 1.4 million views and counting.

Dee Fretwell 2023

Dee Fretwell

Dean / Business Department, Senior Faculty,
Southern Oregon University

Ashland, Oregon, USA

Dee Fretwell, MBA, MS is a strategic consultant and full time Chair and Senior Instructor in the Business Dept at Southern Oregon University. Her expertise ranges across executive coaching, strategic planning, organizational design and transformation, and leadership development. Her industry experience encompasses SAAS, sales & marketing, professional services, manufacturing, publishing, financial services, and nonprofit development, grant writing and board governance. Dee has spent 20+ years working alongside small and medium sized for- and nonprofit businesses to best leverage their strengths while finding sustainable solutions for challenges and obstacles.

Thérèse LaGamma 2023

Thérèse LaGamma

Director, Public Programs,
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Washington, D.C, USA

Thérèse LaGamma’s curating career began at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston where she programmed a diverse array of global and independent artists. From there she moved on to serve as Director of Programming for The Music Hall in downtown Portsmouth – the oldest historic theater in New Hampshire and a designated National Treasure where she was responsible for a broad range of programming for two venues a 900-seat theater and a 140-seat intimate listening room. Additionally, Thérèse has worked in radio as a producer and host for Public Radio.


Since 2021 she has served as Director of Public Programs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her curation includes an eclectic mix of music, comedy, film, author events and much more.  Therese has presented outstanding talent including Al Green, Brandi Carlile, Angelique Kidjo, Kamasi Washington, Sharon Jones & the Dapkings, Thievery Corporation, Emmy Lou Harris, Tinariwin and fostered collaborations with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, D.C Jazz Festival, UNHCR and many others.