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Jake Blount is a fiddler, banjoist, singer and scholar based in Takoma Park, MD. He has studied with modern masters of old-time music, including Bruce Molsky, Judy Hyman (of the Horse Flies), and Rhiannon Giddens and Hubby Jenkins (of the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops). He centers and venerates his racial and ethnic heritage through his approach to music and its history. In 2016, Blount became the first Black person to make the finals at the prestigious Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, WV, and the first to win in the traditional band category. In the following year, he received his B.A. in Ethnomusicology from Hamilton College and released his debut EP, “Reparations,” with award-winning fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves. He has since shared his music and research at the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA and numerous other museums, colleges and universities. He recently released a CD and toured Scandinavia with the Moose Whisperers, his decorated old-time string band, and opened several shows for MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Rhiannon Giddens.
Blount and fiddler Libby Weitnauer joined forces to become Tui in mid-2018. They draw inspiration equally from rare archival recordings and the music of their peers, and both have extensive experience with other genres of music; Blount spent years as a funk and metal guitarist, and Weitnauer has an M.A. in Violin Performance from NYU. Tui's diverse influences enable them to create music that is innovative and technically demanding, yet accessible and affecting as only old songs can be. In addition to performances in the United States, they have toured in Australia and New Zealand, and plan to release an album together in the spring of 2019.
Built by Johann Miller 2017