Politically charged Zimbabwean singer Thomas Mapfumo, country stalwart John Anderson, Afro-Peruvian singer Susana Baca and "sacred steel" guitarists the Campbell Brothers will join hosts Donna the Buffalo at the 10th annual Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival, to be held July 2023 in Trumansburg, N.Y.
They will be among the 60-some acts including Donna the Buffalo's alter egos, the Zydeco Experiment performing on the festival's four stages.
"It's our 10th year, so we're having a lot of our favorites back," Donna the Buffalo singer, fiddler, accordion player and guitarist Tara Nevins said. The festival typically tries to have one headliner, she added, "but it also has the philosophy that you don't have to have a headliner to have a great festival."
"You don't have to have one name everybody knows. You could have a bunch of names people don't know as well, but who are incredible."
The lesser-known names at the GrassRoots festival include Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band and Preston Frank and His Zydeco Family Band, all Louisianans introduced to bluegrass and country audiences by Donna the Buffalo.
The host group's eclecticism, as displayed on its current Positive Friction CD by the reggae-driven "Front Porch" (RealAudio excerpt) and the traditional mountain ballad "Man of Constant Sorrow" (RealAudio excerpt), is reflected in the festival's lineup. Past GrassRoots festivals have included such performers as Kelly Willis and King Sunny Ade (1998), Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens and Ralph Stanley (1997), and Jimmy Dale Gilmore and Lucky Dube (1995).
"This is more of a mix" than a typical festival, Nevins said. "If it's bluegrass, it's usually just one bluegrass band to represent that category. Then there will be a reggae band, then a band from Africa, then a band from Louisiana playing Cajun music, another band from Louisiana playing zydeco music and so on. So it's a world festival in that way."
More information on the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival is available at grassrootsfest.org.