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Crucian-Born Singer Headlines Folk Festival in Stephen King’s Hometown


                 Andre Veloz of St. Croix

BANGOR – The St. Croix-born singer-songwriter Andre Veloz headlines the American Folk Festival in Maine this weekend, bringing her own form of “Dominican blues” to Stephen King’s hometown.

Although she was born in the Virgin Islands, Veloz was raised in the Dominican Republic, where the bachata singer and songwriter began writing bachata as “Dominican blues” — romantic music that she said speaks to the desolation, poverty and need for political change in the Caribbean.

“In Spanish there is a saying: ‘De musicos, poetas y locos todos tenemos un poco.’ This translates into something like: ‘We are all part musician and poet and just a little bit crazy.’ In my case, I believe I was blessed with an extra tablespoon of those three ingredients,” said Veloz , who is also a painter and actor.

The American Folk Festival will take place on the Bangor Waterfront Friday through Sunday, August 28, 29 and 30, celebrates the many cultures that make up the American melting pot.

This year’s festival includes 16 performers from around the globe, representing traditions ranging from Latin Jazz and Salsa to Dominican bachata to circus arts, along with vendors who will be marketing food and artisan wares from all over.

Here are some of the other groups associated with the American Folk Festival:

Saxophonist and flautist Mitch Frohman, who spent 25 years with the Tito Puente Orchestra, and the Bronx Horns deliver a tight blend of mambo, cha-cha, salsa, and Latin jazz. Frohman plays the sax solo on the “Sex and The City” theme song.

De Temps Antan is a Quebecois trio that incorporates accordion, harmonica, guitar, fiddle and bouzouki into their music. Kasi Aysola is a Bharata Natyam dancer and choreographer based in Los Angeles.

Kinan Idnawi is an oud virtuoso from Syria who has performed worldwide at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris, La Scala in Milan and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and has played with the Qatar Philharmonic. David Graham’s and Tobin Renwick’s The Red Trouser Show involves juggling, acrobatics, comedy and red pants.

The Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts is a traveling Dominican Carnival with about 30 performers.  Sleepy LaBeef has perfomed Rockabilly for half a century and has shared stages with Elvis Presley, George Jones, Roy Orbison and Wanda Jackson.

Guitarist and blues artist Preston Shannon is known for his Southern deep soul music, while Wylie and the Wild West, with the yodeling Wylie Gustafson, will bring goodtime cowboy music to Bangor.

Cullen Galyean, Mickey Galyean and the Cullen’s Bridge will bring mountain bluegrass traditions, and Azerbaijani traditional music will be represented by Imamyar Hasanov, an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on the kamancha.

The 16 members of Tal National, from Niger, perform music that is described as “joyously hypnotic,” performed with lightning-fast rhythms and delivered with virtuoso precision.

Sensational Royal Lights, a nine-member group that hails from Cordtown, Maryland, has traveled the country for more than 50 years singing the Gospel.

Creole United is a six-piece band that uses classic Creole music styles of the past, along with Creole French and new Creole standards.

The Dardanelles, a group of 20-somethings from Newfoundland, blend the energy of a three-piece punk rock band with traditional folk music.

Using fiddle, accordion, harmonica, guitar, bouzouki and several other instruments, Éric Beaudry, André Brunet and Pierre-Luc Dupuis of De Temps Antan perform time-honored melodies from the stomping grounds of Quebec’s musical past.

The festival is supported entirely by public donations, which allow the festival to continue its tradition of free admission.

For more information about the 2015 American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, visit or call (207) 262-7763.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

1 Comment

  1. September 22, 2015 at 10:04 PM — Reply

    Dear John and all of the VIFreePress staff,
    Thank you very much for allowing St.Croix be part of this journey of mine in the music world.
    St.Croix has played a great role in identity and in my art. I am very proud of being born in such a beautiful island. This article makes me feel very happy, very humbled and very hopeful that I can bring more pride to the Virgin Islands trough my milestones in the music world.
    Thank you very much for your support. It means a lot to me.

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