2023 Artist in Residence

2023 Folk Alliance International Artist in Residence: Cary Morin + Friends of the Kaw

Created to foster cultural cross-pollination, diversify audiences, and nurture artistic growth, FAI’s Artist in Residence (AIR) program pairs folk musicians with institutions and community organizations through innovative partnerships. Past partnerships have included UNESCO, the International Rescue Committee, Kansas City Ballet, and the WWI Museum. Learn more about past projects here.

The 2023 pairing ties in with this year’s FAI conference theme, Facing the Future: Sustainability in Folk Music, where conference programming will address the sustainability of the folk genre, careers and businesses in the music industry, and the environment that supports us.

About the 2023 AIR Project

This year’s Artist in Residence project is a partnership between Colorado-based musician Cary Morin and Friends of the Kaw, the only grassroots conservation group dedicated to protecting the Kaw River (aka the Kansas River). 

Cary spent time in Kansas City kayaking down the Kaw this summer, which is a vital water source for the region and the largest prairie-based river system in the world. Inspired by his time on the river, and conversations had with local elders via Haskell University and the Kansas City Indian Center, the final product of this project is a song he wrote that will be presented alongside a music video during the 2023 Folk Alliance International Conference.

About Cary Morin

Cary Morin was born in Billings, Montana. A Crow tribal member with Assiniboine Sioux and Black heritage, and son of an Air Force officer, he spent the bulk of his youth in Great Falls, where he cut his teeth picking guitar standards at neighborhood get-togethers. Morin has performed for audiences at the Kennedy Center, The Olympics, Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, and Lincoln Center. NPR Music called him “one of Colorado’s great treasures,” continuing that he is “one of the best pickers on the scene today. His music is characterized as Native Americana, with healthy doses of blues, bluegrass, jazz, reggae, and folk.” No Depression called him “subtly stunning” and “a superb fingerstyle guitarist.” He has shared the stage with Los Lobos, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Arlo Guthrie. When not touring the US and Europe, he calls Northern Colorado home.

About Friends of the Kaw

Friends of the Kaw (FOK) serves the Kansas River, known locally as the Kaw. The Kansas River is the largest prairie-based river system in the world. The river originates at the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers and runs 173 miles to meet the Missouri River at Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas River is also a drinking water source for over 800,000 Kansans. It is often referred to as a working river, with such uses as agricultural, irrigation, industrial water supply, municipal water supply, electricity generation, sand mining, and many more public and private uses. FOK is dedicated to protecting the river from pollution sources including municipal and industrial wastewater discharges, new pollution sources, and in-river commercial sand and gravel mining.