My Top 3 at FAI 2020

One of the best parts of Folk Alliance music conferences is hearing the hottest international talent in a days-long string of hundreds of performances. Everyone has their favorites.

Some acts are only “very good”; others are amazing. Here are three acts — new to me — that I can only describe as supernatural:

Rainbow Girls

β€œThat’s gotta be the first time I’ve yelled β€˜cβ€”-!’ and cried in the same 8 minutes,” said my new friend, fellow performer Jordan Smart, after we both reeled from the Rainbow Girls’ fun, emotional showcase performance. I personally melted at their cover of β€œSmoke Rings.” Their music video of that cover song is here.


I actually met Michael Joseph Harris, Sami Arefin, and Zach Serleth at my layover on the way to the conference. The guitar cases and bass bow case on their backs gave them away. As fellow travelers, they’re friendly and humble. On stage together as Ultrafaux, they’re outright animals. Good luck keeping your toes from tapping when these virtuosi play together!


Harpist, vocalist, and poet Diemm (p.k.a. Harp Pixie) crossed down the continent to attend FAI, like a muse descending to Earth to uplift mortals. Her graceful, Spoken Word segments were exemplary in stage presence. They intermitted each of her siren-like harped / sung songs, giving insight into the lyric craft of her songwriting. Bonus points for the LED-lit harp.