By Natasha Anderson
The seasonal celebration A Swannanoa Solstice, a beloved local holiday tradition for more than 20 years, welcomes the next generation of musicians to the stage in 2023. Featuring Celtic, American-roots and world-influenced music, as well as dance and timeless stories, the cast shines a light on winter’s darkest days with performances on Sunday, December 17, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Diana Wortham Theatre.
Returning this season is the innovative folk duo Zoe & Cloyd, renowned fiddler Josh Goforth, beloved highland bagpiper EJ Jones & The Piper Jones Band and seasoned storyteller Becky Stone, who will double as the emcee for this year’s holiday celebration.
“Over the years, I have attended many A Swannanoa Solstice concerts and have never been disappointed,” says Stone, who joined the lineup in 2022. “The show itself is evolving into something new and different, but it grows out of the same love for this community and this season.”
Zoe & Cloyd, a husband-and-wife duo comprising renowned fiddler and vocalist Natalya Zoe Weinstein and award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist John Cloyd Miller seamlessly combines original bluegrass, klezmer and folk music.
Their soaring harmonies, heartfelt songwriting and rousing instrumentals have made them a sensation.
“We are thrilled to welcome back Becky, Josh and the EJ Jones Band and we are really excited about some new collaborations with Irish musicians John Doyle and Mick McAuley, the Carpenter Academy of Irish Dance, local singer/songwriter Jane Kramer, and the Reynolds High Chamber Chorale,” says Weinstein. “Think lively instrumental sets, heartwarming stories and incredible songs!”
GRAMMY-nominated Irish multi-instrumentalist Doyle and Irish singer, accordion player and multi-instrumentalist McAuley join the show for the first time along with acclaimed Asheville songstress Kramer. Doyle’s talent and innovative approach to traditional Irish music have left an indelible mark on the folk music scene, including his status as a founding member of the acclaimed Celtic band Solas. McAuley is an Irish musician, composer and songwriter who has recorded and toured internationally for many years. As a long-time member of Solas, he has recorded and toured nine albums with them and received international acclaim. Kramer has garnered international recognition for her sultry, heartrending vocals and heavy-hitting lyrical eloquence.These creative, charismatic musicians invite you to join them in reflecting the heritage of the hills and spreading a peaceful, united and uplifting message.
“The performances are always amazingly eclectic and really showcase the diverse traditions of our region,” says Miller. “It’s a wonderful celebration of the season.”
The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. To learn more or purchase tickets, visit WorthamArts.org or call 828.257.4530.