MARCH 1-2, 2024

SuperFolk is a comprehensive showcase of all the folk art elements. Designed to demonstrate the brilliance, depth, and breadth of folk arts, SuperFolk transcends its vast multi-generational evolution and synthesizes these elements into a weekend of multidisciplinary and inter-cultural art forms that connect traditions of the past, present, and future!

SuperFolk is collaboration and evolution combined. It’s sharing and borrowing new and old ideas, testing our boundaries for genre and classification, giving us permission to slide in between and betwixt dimensions that have been too often sectioned into tiny boxes. Within the realm of SuperFolk, all ingredients are good ingredients and can belong together in various interpretations and tapestries.

SuperFolk also represents a larger strategy to redefine an arts & culture ecosystem that pushes the needle forward to uplift artists through ethical pay, cross-discipline thought partnership, transformational education settings and pathways, and Artivism through coalition and movement building. Simply put, SuperFolk empowers our creative ecosystem to envision a brighter and thriving future for our artists, our communities, and our common humanity!

On Friday night, join us at the Tacoma Arts Live Roosevelt Room for a night market and jam. Shop local with a selection of some of Tacoma's incredible craft artists. Bring an instrument and play some music with some of the SuperFolk musicians. This is a free event to kickstart the weekend's festivities at the Washington State History Museum!

On Saturday from 11-4pm, come to the Washington State History Museum and tour the main floor exhibits while our SuperFolk musicians perform within various galleries to punctuate themes explored in each of the exhibits!

On Saturday night, join us for the main event on the 5th floor of the Washington State History Museum, from 6-10pm. Listen and dance to live music as our SuperFolk musicians lead the SuperFolk backing band in new adaptations of their original songs. Peruse the gallery’s exhibits–Avis Marvelous, The Treaty of Medicine Creek, Usual and Accustomed Grounds, and Journeys–fantastic and thoughtful explorations of our relationship with Indigenous communities, nature, and the constancy of change and transformation, all of which are representative of the overarching themes embedded in SuperFolk! Local crafters, food vendors, and other performing artists will be in tow for the 2nd installation of our SuperFolk Party!

Aireene Espiritu's songs are a mix of stompin', swayin' and timeless Americana reminiscent of front porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter and tears. Aireene was a soloist with the Glide Ensemble in San Francisco, toured nationwide and internationally, and in 2016, was added to the roster of artists under non-profit label, Little Village Foundation. She created A Color-Coded Symphony project, a musical experience connecting the audience’s ethnic origins to rhythms of the world and whose aim is to nurture curiosity and openness towards other cultures through music. Her latest project is, The Sampaguitas, singing Filipino folk songs and originals in three-part harmonies.

“A rare breed of artist, soul singer, folk troubadour, a skiffle tear-stained street singer with a heart as big as the history of the music that drives her...a storyteller without borders or cultural limitations.” - No Depression

“Folk singer-songwriter Aireene Espiritu works in the elemental substance of vernacular American music with an uncanny ease. Whether blues, hillbilly, soul, folk or R&B...demonstrates masterly command of each. Her original compositions mix deft lyrical construction and classic form just as impressively...An authentic, authoritative vocalist and with distinctly sensitive manner of phrasing...” - Los Angeles Times

Multi-Platinum Keyboardist, Writer, Arranger, Producer, Band Leader

Keyboards on the R&B Classic "Very Special" by Debra Laws now sampled by a host of artists on millions of recordings including the Multi-platinum hit "All I Have" by Jennifer Lopez and LL Cool J.

Growing up in south-central Los Angeles, the blues was all around me–not only musically, but literally also (as well as the other styles: Motown, jazz, rock and roll, classic rock, funk R&B, the Beatles, the Stones. Very good time to be alive and playing music). I got baptized to the blues from working with the late Buddy Ace. This not only verified the blues within me, but it was where I learned how to use it. Later, I toured Turkey with Sista Monica Blues Band, I became a sort of ambassador for the blues, and I realized that the blues is the United States’ biggest musical export. It gave me a sense of pride that I’d never experienced.

This led me to do a tour around the world with John Lee Hooker, Jr playing John Lee Hooker songs, and experiencing the crowd gave me light and love from playing. Those songs are a one-of-a-kind experience.

I am absolutely proud to be a blues player and continue the legacy of the music that my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents entertained themselves with.

Carlitos Medrano

Born and raised in Cuba, Carlitos came to the US after having trained with one of Cuba's most famous congueros, Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana. While in Cuba, he played extensively with some of Havana's best known Latin Jazz and Salsa groups, and since coming to the US has played with many of the Bay Area's finest Latin groups. After extensive participation in various musical groups, he decided to start his own projects with local Bay Area musicians; Cuban-style salsa performed by Sabor De Mi Cuba where he debuts his musical talents through original songwriting and composition. The fundamental characteristics of this project are fusions of Afro-Cuban roots influenced by world music. Sabor De Mi Cuba hopes to bring forth edginess to local exponents of music in the Bay Area. In December 2012, he decided to create his own recording entitled Sabor De Mi Cuba, where he experimented with composition and arrangements. The project was recorded and mastered in the prestigious Egrem Studios in Havana, Cuba. According to Tom Ehrlich of Magazine, Sabor De Mi Cuba “is a strong recording, full of elaborate, innovative arrangements, interesting use of chorus, rumba and jazz influenced dance music… The result is a beautiful, swinging recording which should establish Carlitos as a composer, percussionist and band leader to be reckoned with.

Julio de la Cruz

Julio de la Cruz was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. In 1980, at the age of 12, he first began his studies as a musician, specializing in percussion instruments while simultaneously studying music theory and composition.

From 1987 to 1992, Julio participated in several projects and festivals in Havana and other provinces in Cuba. in 1992 left Cuba to perform on tour with the Puerto Rican singer, Jose Feliciano, as part of the released production: “Calle Latina.”

From 1993 to 2009, Julio moved to Mexico, where he lived and worked accompanying Celio Sanchez, one of the famous Sonora matancera singers, along with Salsa Queen Celia Cruz. Then, he moved to Los Cabos, where he became part of the house band at Sammy Hagar’s club, Cabo Wabo, and accompanied American guest performers such as Toby Keith and Sammy Hagar himself, among others. During this time in Mexico, Julio continued to perfect his skills as a percussionist but also taught himself to pay the piano and bass, making him a multi-instrumentalist performer.

In 2009, Julio moved to the United States, joining many bands in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Skillet Licorice (Elise Engleberg & Matt Knoth) is the latest project from San Francisco Bay Area roots-music luminaries Elise Engelberg and Matt Knoth. Essentially a musical consortium, Matt & Elise are the core of an All-Star lineup featuring many of California's hottest old-time musicians. Whether they’re playing hot fiddle breakdowns, slinky blues, sparkling banjo breaks, ragtime or dreamy waltzes, Skillet Licorice displays an impressive command of styles and techniques that comes from deep study and loving dedication to America’s folk traditions.

Elise Engelberg (fiddle, banjo) a Kentucky native, got her start in music as a classical violinist. After moving to California, she rediscovered her bluegrass roots and began learning to play the fiddle. Since then, she has become a sought after fiddler in the Bay Area old time scene. Elise has recorded with the Crooked Jades, is a founding member of The Mercury Dimes and has toured with the Stairwell Sisters. Her love for teaching young children has afforded her a thriving music studio in San Francisco.

Matt Knoth (banjo, guitar, vocals) Matt Knoth comes from San Jose, CA where he grew up playing and listening to bluegrass with his father, KFAT Radio Legend Cuzin Al. In addition to the 5 string banjo, Matt is a driving old-timey guitarist and founding member of the rocking old-time group, The Mercury Dimes, and has shared the stage with Peter Rowan, Danny Elfmann, and Chris Thile. When not performing as a blazing hillbilly star, you can find Knoth in the Marin Headlands pursuing his love of nature photography.