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"The world folk band stole the stage with a set that was less of a performance and more of an experience.

Many of its songs weaved through various genres — starting as an Irish highland tune, then transitioning to a traditional Japanese song and ending with a bluegrass swing."

-, John Sinkevics

Thom Jayne

Thom Jayne hit the Michigan music scene in the early 2000s with a hard-to-categorize blend of African, celtic, bluegrass, and Latin influences. His first release, The Forgotten Conquest, received award-winning recognition in the John Lennon Songwriters Contest and won the WYCE 2002 Jammie Award/World Beat category.  Thom Jayne and the Nomads were a long-running local favorite in the mid-Michigan area until he relocated to Africa, for the second time, in 2011.  

Four decades earlier, after performing and recording with the band 'Pariah' on the east coast in the late 1970s, Thom sold everything, joined the Peace Corps, and moved to the savannah of Ghana in West Africa in 1982.  Now a professor at Michigan State University, Thom travels often to places such as Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zambia. These cross-cultural experiences, including a year-long assignment in Rome, have influenced his eclectic musical style.

Keala Venema

Keala is a multi-instrumentalist who plays fiddle, guitar, piano, mandolin, ukulele, tin whistle and Irish drum.  She has played in Irish and bluegrass sessions and jams for years while also playing in three different bands including Gypsy Circus, Circling Shannon and the Michigan Academy of Folk Arts ensemble.  
She is a graduate from the Michigan Academy of Folk Music and now is apprenticing as a private and group instructor.  In addition to her work with the academy, she has run fiddle string clinics with local youth orchestras and is the adult fiddle instructor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Her experiences draw from the opportunity to attend camps with multiple Grammy award or nominated artists such as Jeremy Kittel, Darrol Anger, David Greely and John Reischman, and now plays on the occasion with any local bands that need fiddle such as The Barley Saints, Pocket Watch, and Ben Traverse. She's also appeared on Smoking Dobrolele's recent album and has been instructed by Dan Seabolt and Grant Flick of Full Cord.
Mariko Venema

Mariko has been classically trained playing the piano since the age of five, but later in life was always drawn to world genres.  She began playing the accordion in 2017 playing genres such as Irish, Gypsy Jazz, 
Brazilian, Blues etc. Once meeting Michael Shaffer  , a local artist and accordion player, she was further inspired by the beauty of traditional French and Italian style accordion and began to play the genres as well.  
She was also a member of Gypsy Circus and Circling Shannon.  She now currently teaches piano and accordion lessons in the Grand Rapids area to share the joy of music to youth.

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