Millpond music continues to be eclectic

Staff Writer

September festival artists include Sam Reider and the Human Hands, The Syncopaths and more

Register Staff

(Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of artists’ profiles who will be performing at this year’s Millpond Music Festival. The festival, is set for Sept. 21-23 For more information, go to

Sam Reider
and the Human Hands
Jazz pianist turned roots musician, Sam Reider is redefining American music on the accordion – presenting his unique compositional voice alongside an ensemble of top-drawer musical collaborators called The Human Hands.
Reider, the son of a musical theatre composer and a klezmer musician, began performing at a young age. In college, he fell in love with American folk music, and began studying bluegrass and old-time music, transcribing fiddle melodies for the accordion and learning to sing traditional songs.
This set him off on a journey that has taken him from back porches and dive bars to concert halls and major festivals in practically every state in the country, and even far abroad as a Musical Ambassador representing the U.S. Department of State. Now he’s surrounded himself with a crew of some of the most in-demand young acoustic musicians on the scene. The Human Hands have developed a reputation for mind-bending sets of high-energy, improvised music.
The ensemble breaks down the boundaries between jazz, folk and chamber music, and Reider reaches far beyond his roots in American music to draw on melodies and rhythms from around the world.

The Syncopaths
From dance floors to concert halls, the Syncopaths bring a fresh, contemporary spin to music and songs rooted in the Scottish, Irish and American folk traditions. Evolving beyond their contra dance origins, they are creating a “chamber folk” sound characterized by the compelling rhythmic interplay of fiddle and mandolin, rich vocals and unexpected colors and rhythms from the piano and bodhrán. The exuberant joy they derive from the music and each other is palpable and contagious.
At the heart of the band’s sound are Ryan McKasson’s dynamic Scottish fiddling and the understated-but-virtuosic picking of mandolinist Ashley Broder. Jeff Spero provides wonderfully inventive and surprising piano accompaniment, anchored by the driving power of Christa Burch’s non-traditional bodhrán. Christa also lends her singular voice — warm, supple, expressive and intimate — to the band’s songs. All in all, the Syncopaths are equally at home with pulsing, high-energy dance tunes and beautiful, contemplative songs. They ably stretch melodic boundaries while keeping a steady, compelling, danceable beat. The Syncopaths tour nationally and have released two CDs.

FulaMuse is a double dose of heart poured over rhythms to uplift the body and soul - the union of two bands who nourish and rouse the collective spirit.
With deep roots in the folk and gospel traditions, interweaving brilliant and haunting harmonies with lyrics born of honed emotional intelligence, MaMuse invokes a musical presence that inspires the opening of the heart. Playing a family of varied acoustic instruments, these two powerful women embody a love for all of life.
Fula Brothers is the high spirited meeting of three seasoned touring performers – each of whom has spent decades pursuing the shared heartbeat in music from around the globe. Their history is filled with inter-continental collaborations and colorful apprenticeships, from West Africa and Scotland to Haiti and the U.S. Mamadou, Walter and Kendrick weave together West African hunters harp, fingerstyle guitar, drums, vocals, and a bounty of improvisation to create an ecstatic groove-based dialogue, which the heart – and the feet – cannot resist.

Rita Hosking Trio
Northern California’s own Rita Hosking sings of forest fires, culture clash, demolition derbies, the working class, and hope. Rita’s style of country-folk has been lauded for its stories and sense of place, and her performances never fail to capture the audience. “This California girl comes by her mountain music sensibility with true authenticity, with original songs deeply rooted in her family’s frontier experience.” Her stories, songs, and soul-stirring country-folk voice are partnered with multi-instrumentalist Sean Feder on dobro, banjo and guitar, and Bill Dakin on the upright bass to form the Rita Hosking Trio. Together, they deliver what Acoustic Magazine calls “timeless, unhurried elegance.”

The Millpond Music Festival is Friday/Saturday/Sunday, September 21-23, 2018 at the Millpond County Park. Tickets and more information are available at Inyo Council for the Arts, (760) 873-8014,, 137 S. Main St. in Bishop.