Vocalist, Bethany Yarrow, daughter of Peter Yarrow of the legendary folk-pop group, Peter, Paul and Mary, was surrounded by music while growing up, she said.
“I was always singing with my dad on stage and at rallies. I grew up in the political sphere and I also sang at fundraisers. But I wasn’t really a singer’s singer,” she said.
And singing wasn’t on her mind when she won a fellowship in college to make a feature length documentary in South Africa, called “Mama Awethu!”.
The 1994 award-winning film won prizes at Sundance Film Festival and other festivals and was aired nationally on PBS.
“It ended up being very successful as a documentary, but I didn’t want to be a documentary film maker. It was just something I wanted to say. But singing (professionally) was something I always assumed I would do,” Yarrow said.
After graduating from college she decided to try to make it as a singer. And she did. Her debut CD, “Rock Island,” released in 2003, received great reviews.
Her voice, with her dramatic interpretations of American folk, jazz and blues, has been described as “smokey and mesmerizing.”
Rufus Cappadocia, Yacouba Moumouni and Brahim Fribgane are the other members of the quartet.
Rufus, who combines traditional bowing, plucking and percussive bow tapping, transforms the sound of the cello, Yarrow said.
“He’s amazing. All of the guys in the group are at the top of their musicianship.”
Their music is influenced by the roots of the traditional music of America, Nigeria and Morocco.
“It’s really beautiful to see the whole development of American folk music from its African roots to its roots of today. It’s kind of like world folklore groove music. It’s straight from the heart.
“Focusing on these traditional songs, I’ve found another kind of voice for them that has kept them alive, which seems to touch something in the genetic memory. People often come up to me after a concert and say, ‘I haven’t felt like this in so long,’ “ Yarrow said.
The quartet’s music will be accompanied by two dancers in an interpretive dance during the performance.
Prior to their evening performance, they will conduct a free Outreach Program for young musicians in Gould Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. The target audience is ages 9 to 22, but no one is too old to attend.
The program will include demonstrations of different instruments and students will learn how folk music ties into the fabric of American music history. They also will learn hand clapping games with poly rhythms, and some of the songs that will be incorporated in the evening concert.
Students who attend the afternoon program will be given free admission to the concert.
More information is available by calling View at (315) 369-6411.