HomeProjectThe ArtistsQuotesOn TourContactsBenefitSupporting Acts
The Artists

Wu Man Sharon Isbin Patty Larkin Memphis Minnie Mimi Fox Kaki King
Ellen McIlwaineBadi Assad Alex Houghton Vicki Genfan Muriel Anderson
Rory Block Jennifer BattenElizabeth Cotten

Wu Man
The renowned pipa (pronounced pee pah) virtuoso, Wu Man, has been cited by the LA Times as 'the artist most responsible for bringing the pipa to the Western World.' She is internationally recognized as an extraordinary exponent of traditional Chinese repertoire and as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music. She performs works from composers such as Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Lou Harrison, among others, and has collaborated with distinguished artists including Yo-Yo Ma and the Kronos Quartet. She has performed with many of the world's great orchestras and at many music centers worldwide, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and at the White House alongside Yo-Yo Ma, with whom she performs in "The Silk Road Project." www.wumanpipa.org

top of page

Sharon Isbin
Internationally acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique and versatility, Grammy Award-winner Sharon Isbin has been hailed as 'the preeminent guitarist of our time.' Her 25 recordings reveal remarkable technique and versatility - including baroque, Spanish/Latin, 20th Century cross-over and jazz fusion - and have garnered accolades from around the globe. Her Dreams of a World earned her a 2001 Grammy Award, making her the first classical guitarist to receive a Grammy in 28 years. Her widely praised recording with the New York Philharmonic of concerti by Rodrigo, Ponce and Villa-Lobos has been a Billboard Top 10 Classical bestseller and received a 2005 Latin Grammy nomination for "Best Classical Album." This is the first-ever recording in the history of the New York Philharmonic with a guitarist. The breadth and depth of her repertoire is astounding, her performances illuminating. She is a gifted and inspired performer who is not to be missed. www.sharonisbin.com

top of page

Patty Larkin
Patty is that rare combination of talents - a superlative singer, an accomplished songwriter and an exquisitely inventive guitarist. Guitar World calls her "genre-stretching, string-popping alterna-folk." As an instrumentalist, she skillfully and effortlessly mixes celtic, rock, folk, blues and funk. She is a musical sorceress whose creativity and comfort level in the studio includes loops, effects and other digital wizardry commonly found in all sorts of contemporary music, but rarely among the acoustically inclined. A favorite with critics over her 10-CD history, she has honed a reputation as a 'musician's musician' and is that unique level of artistic sophistication that transcends borders and redefines genres. www.pattylarkin.com

top of page

Memphis Minnie
Tracking down the seminal woman blues guitar hero is challenging because women blues singers seldom recorded as guitar players. The notable exception was Memphis Minnie (1897-1973) who recorded over 200 sides during the 1930s and '40s. Born in Walls, Mississippi, Memphis Minnie settled in Memphis in the '20s where she married guitar player Joe McCoy (Kansas Joe) and subsequently landed a record deal with Columbia. Her recordings guide us through the evolution of recorded blues as her life and music moved from the Mississippi Delta to urban Chicago. There, reigning blues king Big Bill Broonzy recalls her beating both him and Tampa Red in a guitar contest and claims she was the best guitarist he ever heard. She was one of the first blues players to use a National guitar in 1929 and to play an electric wood-bodied National and various other electric guitars in the '40s and '50s.

top of page

Mimi Fox
Mimi Fox is "jazz guitar at its best" (Just Jazz Guitar). Fleet fingered on both steel string (acoustic) and hollow body jazz guitars, Mimi Fox is a fiery virtuoso who has performed solo as well with fellow jazz greats Charlie Byrd, Charlie Hunter, and Grammy award-winner David Sanchez, among countless others. With her two most recent releases, Standards and She's The Woman, Mimi maintains a whirlwind touring schedule and is a favorite among fans and critics alike. She is both a respected educator and performer. Regarding technique, Guitar Player magazine calls her, "A prodigious talent who has not only mastered the traditional forms, but has managed to reinvent them." www.mimifoxjazzguitar.com

top of page

Kaki King
Kaki King "is the most striking young musician to emerge in decades" (LA Times). Her unique style is a rare combination of percussion, composition and technique - all played with fire that comes from thinking outside the box. In 2003, she released her acclaimed Velour debut Everybody Loves You and was then signed to Epic Records. In 2004 she released Legs To Make Us Longer, catapulting her into the national arena with rave reviews and an appearance on Letterman. Kaki crafts beautiful and quirky compositions that transport the listener off the map. At 25, she has been sent to wake up anyone with a preconceived notion of what one woman and one guitar can do. www.kakiking.com

top of page

Ellen McIlwaine
"You've got attitude." Those were the parting words of Ellen's ex-manager right after she fired him for telling her that including Jimi Hendrix in her band was a bad idea because he was black. A groundbreaking artist of the '70s, she is probably the only guitar player in the world who has played with Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Taj Mahal and Jack Bruce. Long known as one of the world's great slide players, Ellen McIlwaine's music is based in the blues. But hers is a gutsy brand of blues, based on tradition but drawing on influences as far east as Egypt, India and Japan and as close to home as R&B. Influential and highly spirited, she is revered worldwide by guitarists and songwriters alike. With 10 recordings under her belt, she continues to blaze trails with slide guitar in hand across North America and abroad. www.ellenmcilwaine.com

top of page

Badi Assad
Tom Jobin once said it seems that Brazilians were born with a guitar in their arms. Badi Assad (pronounced bah-JEE ah-SAHJ) epitomizes this innate musical sensibility. Throughout the 90s, Badi's music - featuring classical guitar, percussion and vocals - paid homage to the music traditions of her home country while extending them in new and unprecedented directions. Today - and six CDs later - her body of work explores everything from interpretations of traditional Brazilian guitar to world beat-influenced originals to neoclassical compositions. In concert, she simultaneously plays guitar and percussion while singing and doing vocal improvisations. The result: an unabashedly powerful one-woman ensemble that defies categorization. www.badiassad.com.br

top of page

Alex Houghton
Alex Houghton was a late comer to the instrument. She picked up her first guitar in her mid-teens, strummed a few chords and stopped playing until her early twenties when she began to play in earnest. A native of Ottawa, Canada, Houghton studied composition at Carleton and Ottawa Universities. A keen fingerstyle player, she soon expanded her repertoire and now utilizes numerous alternative tunings and techniques in her compositions. As witnessed by her composition, "The Bear," she has a fearless approach to the instrument and a creative and adventurous spirit that, after three CDs and a fourth to be released this year, still seems limitless. www.alexhoughton.com

top of page

Vicki Genfan
Vicki Genfan is a fiercely original musician, singer, composer. "Her dazzling display of two handed tapping, bell-like harmonics and funky bass note slapping along with her deft fingerstyle approach, have guitar aficionados sitting slack-jawed in sheer awe" (Acoustic Guitar). Transmuting jazz, funk and world music in a contemporary folk alchemy, Vicki draws from a diverse palette of harmonies, rhythms and modal tunings. Studied in both classical and jazz guitar, she has been featured on numerous recordings, radio and television. Vicki performs extensively to an ever-growing audience. A native New Yorker, she has been touring internationally in support of her two CDs - Outside The Box and Vicki Genfan-Live. www.vickigenfan.com

top of page

Muriel Anderson
Widely regarded as "one of the world's best, and most versatile guitar instrumentalists" (Chicago Tribune), Muriel Anderson is the first woman to have won the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship. Her unique approach to the instrument virtually transforms the guitar into a lyrical choir, a marching band, Japanese koto, bluegrass band, and then a flamenco dance. Her compositions include commissioned classical works and her Heartstrings recording traveled as far as outer space, accompanying astronauts on their mission. Muriel has released seven CDs, hosts the renowned Muriel Anderson's All Star Guitar Night® and is the founder of the Music For Life Alliance/Music for Lifelong Achievement charities. As one of the country's foremost fingerstyle guitarists, her playing is revered by guitarists worldwide. www.murielanderson.com

top of page

Rory Block
The Blues Foundation describes Rory Block as being "... widely regarded as the top female interpreter and authority on country blues worldwide." A lifelong purveyor of the great Delta blues, she is a songwriter and slide guitarist par excellence. A native of Manhattan, she left home at the age of 15 and headed south where she learned her blues trade at the feet of Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, and Son House, her greatest influence. She tours constantly in support of her numerous recordings. She has accumulated a wealth of accolades, including four WC Handy Awards - two for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year, and two for Acoustic Blues Album of the Year. She has also won NAIRD awards in 1992, '94, and '97. In her hands, traditional is timeless. www.roryblock.com

top of page

Jennifer Batten
The buzz on Jennifer Batten rose from the guitar underground, enticing guitar magazines to track her down and chronicle her savvy musicianship and highly original approach to electric guitar. A pioneer and innovator of the "two-handed tapping method," Batten's music encompasses rock, heavy metal, jazz, blues and fusion. In 1987 she was selected from over 100 guitarists to play in Michael Jackson's "Bad Tour" which traveled the world performing to over 4.5 million people. In the years that followed, she joined him on two additional tours and performed at the 1997 Super Bowl halftime that aired to the largest audience in television history (1.5 billion). In her own right, Batten has recorded two innovative releases. She additionally tours and records with Jeff Beck and looks forward to a new solo release in 2005. www.jenniferbatten.com

top of page

Elizabeth Cotten
Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten (1895-1987) was among the most influential guitarists to surface during the roots music revival era in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Cotten was born in 1895 near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. As a child, she picked up a guitar, laying it flat out on her lap, and, over time, developed a picking pattern and eventually chording. A domestic by trade, Cotten did not record until 1957, a few years after the Seeger family (her employer) learned of her extraordinary guitar skills. Her recording debut came out on Folkways in 1958 and included her folk classic "Freight Train," which she wrote when she was a child. Festivals and tours followed in the subsequent decades. During the final years of her life, Elizabeth Cotten received a National Endowment of the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award and a Grammy.

top of page