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Greensboro, N.C. — The National Folk Festival has announced six additional artists who will perform in downtown Greensboro from September 9 – 11, 2016. The free admission 76th National Folk Festival in 2016 marks the event’s second year of its three-year residency in Greensboro.

Approximately 300 artists—musicians, dancers, storytellers, and craftspeople—will take part in the National Folk Festival, with more than 30 different musical groups performing on as many as seven outdoor performance venues throughout downtown Greensboro.
The six artists announced June 30 are:

Alberti Flea Circus – Flea Circus: Third-generation flea circus impresario Jim Alberti and his talented troupe of charismatic performers have been entertaining audiences with their astonishing acrobatic feats for nearly 30 years. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., the Alberti Flea Circus was brought to the United States in the 1880s by Jim’s great-great uncle, but the tradition is much older, first documented in 16th-century Europe. Jim delights in introducing this age-old art to new generations of children, who cheer for the fleas, help with their props, and even provide musical cues for their incredible feats.

       

  • Mangum & Company – Gospel Brass “Shout Band”: The United House of Prayer for All People congregations take to heart these words from Psalm 150:3-6: “Praise him with the sound of the trumpet…Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.” Mangum & Company, a group of outstanding musicians representing many United House of Prayer congregations from Charlotte, N.C., brings the unique African American sacred “shout band” tradition to the National Folk Festival. Charlotte-based shout trombonist Cedric Mangum joined his congregation’s band at age 7, learning to play all the shout instruments before becoming lead trombonist of the Charlotte Mother House’s legendary Bailey Clouds of Heaven at age 13, a position he continues to hold today at age 55. “Our music feeds the soul,” Mangum says. “…That’s what draws the people.”
     
  • Bouncing Bulldogs – Precision Jump Rope: Be inspired by the boundless creativity and intense athleticism of North Carolina’s own Bouncing Bulldogs, who have been crowned the top international jump rope team for the past five consecutive years at the World Jump Rope Championships! Founded by Coach Ray Fredrick in 1986 and based in Chapel Hill and Durham, the Bouncing Bulldogs field a competitive team of 140 girls and boy ages 7-19, with 200 other jumpers ages 4 and older participating in a club program. Fresh off defending their title at the 2016 World Championships in Portugal in July, 15 jumpers will perform at the National Folk Festival, amazing audiences with their skills in Double Dutch, speed jumping, and freestyle.
  • Chico Simões – Brazilian Mamulengo: “I don’t speak Portuguese, I don’t speak English; I speak puppet,” says mamulengueiro Chico Simões, who began studying this Brazilian puppet tradition in 1981. Since founding his own puppet theater in 1985, Simões has become an international ambassador for this Brazilian tradition, which has connections to the English Punch and Judy shows, the Italian pulcinella, and the French guignol—all rooted in the Italian 16th-century commedia dell’arte. Simões has performed thousands of puppet plays around the world, from street corners to prestigious puppetry festivals, using his performances—many featuring trickster Benedito the Vaquiero, a cowboy, who bests a series of mythological and human opponents—to “hold up a mirror to the public.” His raucous performances delight children and adults alike.
  • Joe Bruchac – Abenaki Storytelling: With a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, Joe Bruchac is an award-winning author of more than 120 fictional and non-fictional works, most featuring Native American protagonists, history, and values. Descended on his mother’s side from the Abenaki, an Algonquian-speaking Native people living in New England and Eastern Canada, Bruchac has dedicated himself to partnering with Native elders to collect stories from Abenaki and other Native cultures. “When a good story is told, it goes into a person’s heart, and it remains there,” Bruchac says. His stories inspire audiences to appreciate and protect the earth and all who dwell upon it.
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