Award-winning bowed-string instrumentalist, world class musician, singer, writer, and inventor, Duncan Wickel is “A considerable talent…as persuasive in a traditional ballad as he is country fiddling or ripping through cascading classical flourishes or atonal double stops” (The Boston Globe)
In 2016 Duncan performed as a member of the Stay Human Band on two consecutive episodes of CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, including a taping of “Flashlight” with founding members of Parliament Funkadelic. Along with his band, Rising Appalachia, he was featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. He has toured with major folk artists including IBMA guitarist of the year Molly Tuttle, Grammy nominees The Duhks, The Wood Brothers, Irish music greats John Doyle and Karan Casey, Ruth Moody, The Stash! Band, and many others.
Known for his chameleon-like qualities on the fiddle, cello, and other stringed instruments, The Boston Phoenix said “with bowing, plucking, rubbing, and tickling, he could turn the violin into a whole orchestra.” Duncan has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Lincoln and Kennedy Centers, The Grand Ol’ Opry, and the famed Biblioteca Alexandria in Egypt. He has performed and taught in over 22 countries spanning every continent on earth that is normally inhabited by humans (sorry, Antarctica).
Duncan is currently recording his debut solo record.
When singer, fiddler and songwriter Lily Henley set out to make an album of Sephardic Jewish ballads set to new melodies, she was looking for her own way to interpret a critically endangered tradition. On Oras Dezaoradas (out on Lior Éditions Records), Henley highlights the Ladino language, a threatened tongue that fuses old Spanish with Hebrew, Arabic, and Turkish elements that is spoken by less than 100,000 people in the world today. She found herself directly connected to centuries of women spread across a forced global diaspora. But the album is not a reinterpretation project – Henley’s newly-penned songs are a reclamation of and contribution to this tradition.
These old ballads carry the hopes and dreams, daily worries, and existential thoughts of the Sephardic people. They tell stories of everyday life, loss, exile, lovers' quarrels and advice-seeking daughters. Henley brings new life to these songs and the independent female characters in them – transforming the tradition along the way. These songs draw from a well so deep that disparate listeners all feel a connection to their own heritage. Henley’s songs are a living line to the rich history and culture of her Sephardic ancestors.
Henley’s forthcoming album, Imperfect By Design, is a kindred sister to her last. This time, though her songs are set in our modern world, they still center women’s experiences with themes of embodiment, emancipation and sovereignty. Each song is built from the ground up with lapping and overlapping plucked fiddle rhythms as well as electric guitar, synth, cello, drums and Henley’s soaring vocals. In concert, she weaves ancient and modern languages, cultures and styles to reveal their interconnectedness, and ours.
Henley is a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright award and was an Artist-in-Residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Caramoor American Roots Festival, and the New York Sephardic Music Festival. She’s currently touring with mystic-folk band Rising Appalachia and has played with Irish guitar virtuoso John Doyle, Americana Instrumentalist of the Year Brittany Haas, and Grammy winners David Krakauer, Rushad Eggleston, The Duhks and many more.