Northwest Folklife

Meet Our Community Coordinators

Central to the values of Northwest Folklife is for communities to have voice and agency in the representation of their cultural expressions. More than 150+ Community Coordinators, including prominent artists, educators, culture bearers, and leaders throughout the region work closely with Northwest Folklife throughout the year to collaborate and co-create programs including the Northwest Folklife Festival as well as the annual Cultural Focus and Our Big Neighborhood youth and family program. These relationships are an integral part of our mission and vision. “As the lifeblood of all Northwest Folklife programs, our relationships with Community Coordinators, are the heart and soul of the organization,” says Northwest Folklife Executive Artistic Director, Kelli Faryar.

Adrian Olivas | By Christopher Nelson

“Being a Community Coordinator for Northwest Folklife means a lot to me because it gives me an opportunity to make a connection between regional Mexican folk groups and Folklife. It gives every artist involved the opportunity to meet each other and share a stage but most importantly, we get to build new relationships. I have been performing with Folklife with Bailadores de Bronce for about twenty-two years and, as a performer, it is something we always look forward to. Now, I have been able to share experiences and introduce new organizations to the Folklife family.”- from Community Coordinator, Adrian OlivasMexican Folklórico Community, Executive Director of Bailadores de Bronce, Alum Cultural Focus Member of Echoes of Aztlan and Beyond.

Northwest Folklife is curated in collaboration with Community Coordinators. Thank you to these amazing leaders!

Michelle Demers Shaevitz: Canadian Roots Music, Québécois Music and Culture

Celebrating her Canadian roots, Michelle produces the Mission Folk Music Festival and currently serves on the Northwest Folklife board. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and child and produces house concerts when time permits.


Mish Mish: Middle Eastern Folkloric Show

Mish Mish, kneeling in the pink dress, with her daughter, grand daughter and members of Karavans Dance Troupe at the Folklife Festival in 2019.

Mista Chatman: Reggae

Mista Chatman is a Seattle based Reggae fusion artist known world over for blending his Raggamuffin lyrical flow over various forms of music such as Hip Hop, Dub, Jungle, House and Dancehall on recordings and live. He is also know for performing live in places like New York, Canada & London with his self produced ChatAttak Productions beats and soundsystem called "RiddimBox And A Mic".

Learn more on his website here.

Nick Droze: Emerald City Songwriting Circles

Nikkita Oliver: Ringside Slam Poetry/ Creative Justice Culmination

Patrick: KBCS

Peter Contrastano

Peter Contrastano – Morris Dance

The origins of Morris are shrouded in mystery. Shakespeare refers to it in some of his works. It is known as “ritual dance” to celebrate each season of the year and the cultural milestones within the English folklife calendar. Peter began dancing Morris in New England during the early 90s, had the opportunity to experience many Morris traditions while living in the UK during the latter half of the 90s, and created Folk Horizons in 2000 to promote traditional folk performing arts at the community level. In the Pacific NW, there are Morris troupes (referred to as “sides”) within WA, OR, & BC. Peter is a member of the Vancouver Morris Men (BC) and fulfills the role of “Fool” for the Cotswold Morris tradition.


Robert Sarazin Blake: Whatcom County Folk Musicians

Founder and Director of The Subdued Stringband Jamboree. SSJ is a 3 day music festival just outside Bellingham, WA. We feature primary bands and musicians from the NW corner of Washington State.

Learn more on their website here.

Sam Keator

Sam Keator: Oregon and SW Washington with no limits

Promoting and hosting traditional Irish Culture through music and dance since 1997.