Kentucky Showcase Nov 15 – 18, 2018

Workshops, Jams, Discussions, Dancing!

Explore some of Kentucky’s old time music and dance traditions this November with Bubbaville’s visiting artists program, which is made possible by support from the Raymond Family Foundation. Our featured visiting musicians will include Carla Gover and Brett Ratliff along with Yani Vozos. Public events will include the weekly Thursday old time jam at the Hostel Cafe, a potluck and picking party on Friday, workshops and concerts on Saturday and Sunday, and a big finale at the Portland Squares dance. Read on for the schedule and artist bios.


Thursday 11/15

  • Performances with classes at Roosevelt High School and BRAVO Youth Orchestra
  • 7pm-10pm Hostel Cafe Jam – 1810 NW Glisan St, Portland, OR 97209

Friday 11/16

  • Performances with classes at Roosevelt High School and James John Elementary
  • 7pm – 10pm Potluck and Picking Party at the home of Scott Killops – 439 SE 68th Ave., Portland

Saturday 11/17 – Church of the Acoustic Redemption – 8325 N Central St. Portland, OR

Click here to register for workshops!

  • 11:00am – 12:30pm –  
    • Appalachian Flatfooting Imrov Class with Carla Gover – Some say that the flatfoot dancer is the percussion section of the old-time string band. In this class, we’ll warm up with some exercises using various basic flatfooting steps, and then we’ll focus on how we can not just dance along at jam sessions, but participate as musicians in the group. We’ll spend some time with call-and-response, syncopated steps, and getting creative with moves we already know, so that we can have more interesting dialogues between ourselves as musicians/dancers and the people we are making music with. ($20) Sign up.
  • 1:00pm – 3:00pm  – 
    • Kentucky Regional Fiddle Styles with Brett Ratliff – Kentucky fiddling was not just one style.  There were many different regional styles with  different histories, repertoires, tune types, and phrasing tendencies.  While our ultimate goal is always to evolve our own style of playing, I think it’s helpful to listen and explore these different sounds and approaches to fully appreciate the range of feeling that was represented in these old local traditions.  In this workshop we will take a brief tour of the Commonwealth, get acquainted with a few interesting characters, and learn some tunes that exemplify these regional styles.  The only requirement will be open-mindedness, flexibility, and willingness to adjust and try some new licks. ($20) Sign up.
  • 3:00- 5:00pm –
    • Kentucky Mountain Banjo Styles with Brett Ratliff & Carla Gover- In the landscape of American old-time music, the eastern Kentucky repertoire emerges as a unique voice, offering centuries-long innovation and influence. In this workshop, Brett Ratliff will help you explore old-time banjo techniques, such as up-picking, drop-thumb, and two-finger style, in the context of the musicians who created the unusual tunings, timings, and idiosyncrasies only found in the ancient Kentucky mountains. ($20) Sign up.
  • 7:00pm-9:00pm – Concert featuring Carla Gover, Brett Ratliff, Yani Vozos
  • 9:00pm – late – Jamming!

Sunday 11/18

  • Church of the Acoustic Redemption – 8325 N Central St. Portland, OR 97203
    • 10:00am – Noon – Church of Kentucky with Carla Gover and Brett Ratliff – Potluck brunch (bring a bite or beverage fixings to share!), song session & discussion about the personal connections our visiting musicians draw from this music. This will be a participatory session with song sharing, stories, Q&A.
    • 12:30- 3:30 pm – Kentucky Stringband (Fiddle, Banjo, Guitars all welcome!) with Brett Ratliff & Carla Gover – We will learn a number of Kentucky stringband tunes from scratch, both some of the standards as well as a few obscure gems. We will go over the tunes as a group, review the songs in breakout sessions, and then come back together to jam at the end. Come to this workshop if you want to experience the flavor of East Kentucky with players who have grown up with the traditions. ($20) Sign up.
    • 4:00pm – 6:00pm – Women in Kentucky (and beyond) Traditional Music with Carla Gover & Brett Ratliff – In this workshop, we will work on songs from a variety of important women singers, from balladeers like Addy Graham to union organizers like Aunt Molly Jackson. We’ll also spend some time on material from women who have written or performed music with themes of social justice, like Jean Ritchie and Hazel Dickens. Carla and Brett will share tips about accompanying yourself on guitar and banjo when singing, and harmony singers will also have a chance to learn some good songs for duet singing.($20) Sign up.
  • Portland Square Dance – Village Ballroom 700 NE Dekum St., Portland
    • 7pm – First set: music by Bubbaville artists in residence John Harrod, Brett Ratliff, and Carla Gover
  • Moon & Six Pence Jam – 2014 NE 42nd
    • 10:00pm – late – Join us for a classic Portland night at the Moon with a final night of tunes with our visiting KY musicians!

About our visiting artists…

There are lots of musicians out there claiming to be “authentic,” but Carla Gover is more than that: she’s the real thang. Born and raised in Eastern Kentucky, she was exposed to all the ingredients that go into making a true Appalachian musician of the first order. The Old-Time Herald says, “Carla’s music contains the best elements of traditional Appalachian Music, including purity, intensity, integrity, and vivid imagery.” She is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, with wins at the Kerrville Newfolk Festival, Merlefest’s Christ Austin Song Contest, and the Flatrock Festival Songwriting Contest. In addition to her performing career, she has over twenty years of experience as a teaching artist in Appalachian music and dance. Her ventures include educational performances, residencies and workshops, a variety of music and arts camps, and music festivals. Carla is also a social justice activist, and is the artistic director of a Latinx/Appalachian artist collective/theater group called Cornbread & Tortillas, whose mission is to build cultural bridges through music, culture, and food.


Brett Ratliff is a multi-instrumentalist and lifelong apprentice of the Kentucky repertoire who loves to share the stories of his native Appalachian home. Born and raised in Van Lear, KY, the historic coal camp that gave birth to Loretta Lynn, Ratliff has made a name for himself as a solo artist and with groups such as Clack Mountain String Band; Dirk Powell Band; and Rich & the Po’ Folk with folk legend Rich Kirby. Ratliff has taught traditional Kentucky repertoire far and wide, including The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Swannanoa Gathering, Sore Fingers Week, Augusta Heritage’s Early County Music Week and Old-Time Week, Cowan Creek Mountain Music School, and elsewhere.

Also a community organizer, Ratliff is an activist for the connection between the arts, foodways, and social justice. Ratliff has worked toward the wellness of his region with such organizations as Appalshop and Hindman Settlement School, and he has helped found festivals such as the Morehead Old-Time Music Festival and the Lexington Old-Time Gathering. His first solo release was the 2008 June Appal recording Cold Icy Mountain. Gone Boy, his long awaited second solo project, released in November 2017

Yani Vozos is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin, and charango) from the hills of Eastern Kentucky. Raised on Motown, blues, rock and bluegrass styles, Yani fell in love with Latin music during his three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, Central America. He currently plays with the group Appalatin, who blend folk music from Kentucky and Latin America, creating original music with lyrics in Spanish and English..

In addition to his performing career, he regularly teaches workshops in schools around the state. He also offers guitar classes in South Louisville focusing on giving increased access to the arts for refugees, immigrants, and other underserved populations through a grant from the Louisville Fund for the Arts.

He is also the Assistant Director of the Cornbread & Tortillas project. Cornbread &Tortillas is a collaboration between Appalatin, Zoe Speaks and other Kentucky artists. The project seeks to highlight cultural connections between Kentucky and Latin America, through performances and workshops, and to create community through music, culture, and food.