Traditionally, FAI’s annual conference, as well as its associated regional conferences, has presented the opportunity to connect, collaborate, and communicate. As we shelter in place and reorient, it is more important than ever that our folk community come together in conversation and strengthen our sense of unity.
Join a rotating roster of well-known members of the FAI community on Fridays to connect and chat. Sign up for a 20-minute conversation that might spark an idea, fuel an initiative, or light a flame of friendship. Folks signing up will be asked to answer a couple of questions to get the ball rolling.
June 19, 2020
20 year plus music industry vet that can talk about everything from publicity to radio to touring to album sales – socials and more.
Daniel F. Whitener
Born and raised in Washington, DC, and a current player in the New York / New Jersey / Pennsylvania scene, Dan Whitener has hit the Billboard Bluegrass charts as a banjo player with both Emmy-nominated bluegrass-hiphop band Gangstagrass and Philadelphia’s Newgrass Americana band Man About A Horse. “We Are Gonna Be Okay,” with lyrics by Eileen Whitener, was included in the 2018 Spike Lee movie BlacKkKlansman.
Inspired by his experiences collaborating with Danish singer-songwriter Poul Krebs, Troy Campbell founded The House of Songs in 2009 as a one-year project to bring Danish artists to Austin. In 2016, Campbell’s efforts earned him the Folk Alliance International Spirit of Folk Award. He has also won an Emmy, a Telly and several Pollie awards, plus multiple film festival awards, for his live-action and animated productions as co-owner of Collection Agency Films.
Campbell started out as a musician. An album by his 1990s band, Loose Diamonds, made the New York Times’ annual top 10 list; a track from his last release, `Long in the Sun,` was a USA Today top-10 pick. In Denmark, his recordings with Krebs achieved platinum- and gold-disc status.
As founder of The House of Songs, LLC and Collection Agency Films, LLC Troy has helped grow a range of brands and artists during his 25+ years in the entertainment industry.
In his long career, Bruce Sudano has played every kind of music imaginable. He’s been in numerous rock bands, written hits for Dolly Parton, Donna Summer and Michael Jackson, helmed his own label and toured the globe playing everywhere from family gatherings to sold out stadiums. Recently, he returned to his roots, releasing a series of albums that fuse folk and classical pop to express the full range of human emotion.
Doug Cox is a multi-instrumentalist and musical collaborator and long-time Producer of Vancouver Island MusicFest.
In 2017 Doug was inducted into the BC Music Hall of Fame. In 2019 he guested on the Grammy Nominated album by Los Texmaniacs and produced an album for April Verch in Nashville.
Irish virtuoso musician and songwriter Shane Hennessy has established himself as one of the leading performers on the world stage, known widely for his fingerstyle, flatpicking, and percussive guitar-playing approaches. Hennessy has sold out a solo concert in the National Concert Hall in Dublin, released three highly-praised albums, has worked with Bill Whelan (composer of Riverdance) and has done extensive international touring across Europe, Russia and the USA, including a performance at the prestigious MerleFest, and as an opener for Tommy Emmanuel.
Award-winning artist Cécile Doo-Kingué is one of Canada’s finest guitarists and singer-songwriters. The NYC-born Montrealer has released four albums to critical acclaim including 8 Maple Blues Awards nominations, has extensively toured across Canada and internationally, earning a reputation for blistering live sets, strong social commentary and guitar prowess.
Amy Reitnouer Jacobs
Amy Reitnouer Jacobs is the co-founder and executive director of roots music media outlet The Bluegrass Situation (BGS). She is also an artist manager, event producer, and creative consultant and is based in Los Angeles.
Rench (from Gangstagrass)
Based out of Brooklyn, Rench is an Emmy nominated, billboard charting musician and producer. He has been combining Country and Hip-Hop sounds for more than a decade, including solo material and projects like Gangstagrass.
Rench Audio has licensed music to MTV, ESPN, FX network, History Channel, A&E network, and many film and tv programs, including the Emmy nominated theme music to the FX network series “Justified”
“Rench and his friends have done nothing short of creating a new form of music. Gangstagrass takes two types of music that are opposites and mixes them together brilliantly in a way that is natural and enjoyable.” – Elmore Leonard
Rench also produces a variety of styles out of his Rench Audio production company – everything from pop to soul to folk to hip-hop. He produced the Maple Blues Award winning blues-gospel album “Send the Nightingale” by Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar. He produced the folk-soul album “Crossover” By Dan Whitener, which had a track placed in Spike Lee’s film “Black KKKlansman.”
June 26, 2020
Alka joined Folk Music Ontario as the Executive Director in 2013. Prior to that, she worked as the Interim Executive Director at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and spent many years as the Senior Manager of Operations with the Toronto International Film Festival. Alka has also worked at CBC Radio as the Associate Producer for Outfront and in campus/community radio in Ottawa, Guelph and Toronto. She is the Treasurer on the Board of Folk Alliance International.
Master story teller and blues/Celtic guitarist Seamus Kelleher started his music career in his hometown of Galway in the late 60s where at age fifteen he was the opening act for major groups like Thin Lizzy. Since then, he has toured across the US and Europe performing over 7000 shows in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Excelsior in Rome. Most recently, he was the lead guitarist with Philadelphia’s legendary Celtic Rock band Blackthorn. He now performs as a solo artist traveling the US and Ireland.
Lisa is a vibrant individual with a passion for great music who serves as the Festival & Programming Director for the world-renowned Philadelphia Folk Festival. With a love for nonprofit service and leadership, Lisa currently serves as the Board President for FAI, and also consults with artists using her strategic marketing and branding skills to position them for career growth.
JUNO-nominated Miranda Mulholland is a versatile performer and in high demand as a fiddler and singer covering a wide range of styles. She is a member of Harrow Fair, a duo with Andrew Penner of Sunparlour Players and the fiddle trio Belle Starr. She spent seven years as a member of Great Lake Swimmers and has also sung and played fiddle with Jim Cuddy, Steven Page, Calexico, Joel Plaskett, Rose Cousins, Alan Doyle, and Justin Rutledge, among others.
In 2014 she started her own label, Roaring Girl Records, which has a reputation as a home for diverse and excellent artists. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the Muskoka Music Festival. Miranda currently sits on the Board of Governors of Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall and is Chair of the Music Canada Advisory Council.
Industry Veteran Fiona Bloom has worn many hats in the music biz including Marketing, Booking, International Consulting, Branding and Publicity. After stints at a few record companies including TVT, BMG and EMI/Chrysalis, Fiona founded The Bloom Effect, a unique, full service boutique that specializes in branding for artists, personalities, music labels and lifestyle companies. The firm offers its clients a wealth of insight/knowledge and expertise as well as the benefits of a huge rolodex of premium, global contacts – everything it takes to make sure a brand or project is recognized or discovered by the right people. As well as handling branding, publicity, digital marketing, A&R consulting and promotion services, The Bloom Effect produces a range of events, parties and live shows. Having produced over 2000 music showcases and consulted on hundreds of album projects, the company has played a significant role in the careers of over 300 artists. Renowned for having its finger on the pulse and always being ahead of the curve, The Bloom Effect understands and appreciates raw, real and innovative talent without compromise. Clients include: Tower of Power, The Zombies, Hollis Brown, Bruce Sudano, Raul Midon, Gangstagrass, LowDown Brass Band, SUSU, AJ Smith, Simple Minds and others.
Dhari Vij is the Head of Showcases for the travelling music event WOMEX – Worldwide Music Expo, www.womex.com. Running since 1994, WOMEX is the biggest annual conference of the global music scene, featuring a trade fair, conferences, showcases, club summit and film screenings with over 2,500 delegates from around 83 countries attending each October. Having grown up on coastal Australia, Dhari trained as a musician and has been working in the international cultural sector for over 10 years. Currently based in Berlin, she also freelances in bookings for various festivals in Germany.
Keli O'Neill Wenzel
Keli O’Neill Wenzel is former Folk Alliance Board member and CEO/President of O’Neill Events & Marketing. Keli and her team are the creators and producers of some of Kansas City’s largest festival and events. Keli is the founding Executive Director of the Kansas City Irish Fest for 18 years and co-founder of Boulevardia Beer and Music Festival. Booking folk bands is a regular job at O’Neill.
Emily has spent over 30 years in arts administration in the Greater Kansas City area, first with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City Symphony.
When Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Overland Park, Kansas built a performing arts center, Emily jumped at the chance to join the team as Volunteer/House Manager. Building on her experience working with volunteers, she then spent 14 years in the Foundation Office at JCCC, raising money for the arts, scholarships and capital projects, culminating with the campaign to raise funds for JCCC’s Regnier Center and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, both on the campus.
She has served on boards and as an adviser for many non-profit organizations in her community, currently with the Lenexa, KS Arts Council, Kansas School of Classical Ballet and Kansas Public Radio.
Anya Siglin is the Program Director at the 400 seat venue, The Ark, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, one of the most notable and longstanding venues of its size in the US. She books over 300 shows a year, plus 15-25 larger outside shows including the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, now in its forty fourth year, booking and developing both established and emerging artists.