From Latin project LADAMA to a panel led by our own Fabi Reyna, She Shreds highlights the events we’re psyched for at the Ellnora Guitar Festival.

From September 5 – 7 in Urbana, IL, the eighth installment of the Ellnora Guitar Festival will take place, presented by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Featuring nearly 30 performances by artists from around the world and over 15 free free events, this year’s festival will showcase a wide spectrum of genres, traditions, and playing styles. Ellnora is the Midwest’s leading and progressive guitar festival, presenting workshops that further expand what it means to be a guitarist, and panels that promote dialogue within the industry.

So, who is the woman behind Ellnora Guitar Festival? 

Ellnora Krannert founded the Krannert Center in 1969. A lover of the arts and with a degree in music from Brenau College, she wanted to create a space where the community could gather and to help further the Midwest’s cultural engagement. 

We at She Shreds are hyped on Ellnora—not only for the diverse and engaging programming of incredible musicians and industry leaders, but also because this year’s lineup features a performance and a discussion with our founder, Fabi Reyna! 

We’ve compiled a list of artists and events we’re especially looking forward to at this year’s Ellnora Guitar Festival. Hope to see you there!

ARTISTS

MOLLY TUTTLE

Molly Tuttle

From her intricate acoustic playing to her conversational lyrics, Molly Tuttle has earned her place among the greatest Americana musicians—and she only released her debut album, When You’re Ready, this year. From winning “Instrumentalist of the Year” at the 2018 Americana Music Awards to taking home a second trophy for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year (and being the first woman in the history of the IBMA to win that award), Tuttle’s moving the world of American in the right direction. Be sure to check out her set on Friday night at Ellnora.

CREDIT: KEVIN BAY

LADAMA

Performing on Friday are the four badass women of LADAMA, who write original music and socially engage communities on a global level. The Latin project made up of musicians and activists Lara Klaus, Daniela Serna, Mafer Bandola, and Sara Lucas (from Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States respectively) mix South America and the Caribbean with soul, R&B, and pop in their infectious songs. The project also holds workshops in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, seeking to empower women and youth, and to provide a foundation for participants to “use music as a basic form of personal expression to address issues pertinent to them.” 

CREDIT: COLE WILSON

Kaki King

The Woman. The Myth. The Legend. 

King is basically our patron saint. The guitarist and composer fuses genres, multiple tunings, and loads of energy and visuals in both her recordings and live performances. Aside from that, she has scored television shows and movies (earning a Golden Globe nomination for her work with Into the Wild), works as an engineer, has presented in arts centers around the world, and runs the studio Other Cathedrals and the record label Short Stuff Record, among other incredible endeavors. And so it’s no surprise we’ve featured her multiples times on She Shreds—here and here—because honestly, we can’t get enough. On Friday, King will present the North American premier of her latest performance project, DATA NOT FOUND.

SÁVILA

Sávila

Featuring our very own founder on guitar, Sávila is made up of Fabi Reyna, vocalist Brisa Gonzalez, and percussionist Papi Fimbres. Full of soothing Latin melodies, entrancing guitar leads, and killer percussion that come together in an organic and warm sweeping breeze, Sávila brings their cumbia/latin/world/R&B inspired music and visual art project to Ellnora on Saturday afternoon.

EVENTS

SAMANTHA FISH

Opening Night Party with Toko Telo, Bombino, and Samantha Fish with Luther Dickinson

Ellnora will kick off with a party to bring the community together with local food, drinks, and an international roster of music. The blues guitarist and Ellnora alum, Samantha Fish, will perform with her band as well as her collaborator, Luther Dickinson. Among a long list of accolades, Fish won the Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year at the 2018 Blues Music Awards and has performed with Buddy Guy. This September, Fish will release her sixth studio album, Kill or Be Kind, on Rounder Records. 

TOKO TELO

Guitar as a Creative, Political, and Emotional Tool

On Friday, Fabi Reyna, will lead a free panel discussion and conversation about gender and genre in the music industry.

RACHEL ROSENKRANTZ

Discussion and Workshop with Rachel Rosenkrantz

The amazing Providence-based luthier, Rachel Rosenkrantz, who we featured in this She Shreds article, is hosting two events at ELLNORA:

Innovation in Playing, Innovation in Building – In this discussion, Rosenkrantz will be joined by Luther Dickinson, Kaki King, Tony McManus, and Jason Vieaux. Together, they will explore long-standing guitar-making traditions and the modern craft.

Anatomy of Sound – In this workshop, participants will get up close and personal with Rosenkrantz and the detailed craft of her guitar making.

BOKYUNG BYUN

Sonic Meditation

On Saturday, tap into your inner consciousness and meditate to the sound of the acoustic playing of Bokyung Byun. Mixing contemporary compositions alongside traditional playing, the Korean guitarist’s performances are a wild sight to behold, with fingers flying during moments of soothed picking and controlled chaos. Among her many accolades includes being the first woman to win the prestigious JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition. Be sure to check out her performance at the festival, too!

For more information on times, locations, and tickets, please visit the Ellnora Guitar Festival website