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All patrons attending events at the Higher Ground Ballroom and Showcase Lounge will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative PCR test from the past 72 hours, along with a matching photo ID. Proof of vaccination can be your physical vaccine card or a photo of your card. Tests must be administered by an authorized provider with your name included on the test result.
In addition to proof of vaccination or a negative test result, all attendees of events at Higher Ground will be required to wear a mask except while actively eating or drinking. If you do not have a mask we will provide you one upon entry.
$25 advance | $30 day of show
Grammy award-winning artist Aoife O'Donovan operates in a thrilling musical world beyond genre. Deemed “a vocalist of unerring instinct” by the New York Times, she has released two critically-acclaimed and boundary-blurring solo albums including In the Magic Hour, which Rolling Stone hailed for its "Impressionistic, atmospheric songs [that] relay their narratives against gorgeous pastoral backdrops." O’Donovan spent the Winter and Spring of 2021 in the studio with acclaimed producer Joe Henry (Bonnie Raitt, Rhiannon Giddens) recording Age of Apathy, her third full-length solo album, ou January 21, 2022.
A savvy and generous collaborator, Aoife is one third of the group I’m With Her with bandmates Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz. The trio’s debut album See You Around was hailed as "willfully open-hearted” by NPR Music. I’m With Her earned an Americana Music Association Award in 2019 for Duo/Group of the Year, and a Grammy-award in 2020 for Best American Roots Song.
O'Donovan spent the preceding decade as co-founder and front woman of the string band, Crooked Still and is the featured vocalist and contributing songwriter on The Goat Rodeo Sessions - the group with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. She has appeared as a featured vocalist with over a dozen symphonies including the National Symphony Orchestra, written for Alison Krauss, performed with jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas, and spent a decade as a regular contributor to the radio variety shows "Live From Here” and “A Prairie Home Companion.”
General admission seated show. All available seating is first-come, first-served.
Yasmin Williams sits on her leather couch, her guitar stretched across her lap horizontally with its strings turned to the sky. She taps on the fretboard with her left hand as her right hand plucks a kalimba placed on the guitar’s body. Her feet, clad in tap shoes, keep rhythm on a mic’d wooden board placed under her. Even with all limbs in play, it’s mind boggling that the melodic and percussive sounds that emerge are made by just one musician, playing in real time. With her ambidextrous and pedidextrous, multi-instrumental techniques of her own making and influences ranging from video games to West African griots subverting the predominantly white male canon of fingerstyle guitar, Yasmin Williams is truly a guitarist for the new century. So too is her stunning sophomore release, Urban Driftwood, an album for and of these times. Though the record is instrumental, its songs follow a narrative arc of 2020, illustrating both a personal journey and a national reckoning, through Williams’ evocative, lyrical compositions.
A native of northern Virginia, Williams, now 24, began playing electric guitar in 8th grade, after she beat the video game Guitar Hero 2 on expert level. Initially inspired by Jimi Hendrix and other shredders she was familiar with through the game, she quickly moved on to acoustic guitar, finding that it allowed her to combine fingerstyle techniques with the lap-tapping she had developed through Guitar Hero, as well as perform as a solo artist. By 10th grade, she had released an EP of songs of her own composition. Deriving no lineage from “American primitive” and rejecting the problematic connotations of the term, Williams’ influences include the smooth jazz and R&B she listened to growing up, Hendrix and Nirvana, go-go and hip-hop. Her love for the band Earth, Wind and Fire prompted her to incorporate the kalimba into her songwriting, and more recently, she’s drawn inspiration from other Black women guitarists such as Elizabeth Cotten, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Algia Mae Hinton. On Urban Driftwood, Williams references the music of West African griots through the inclusion of kora (which she recently learned) and by featuring the hand drumming of 150th generation djeli of the Kouyate family, Amadou Kouyate, on the title track.
Since its release in January 2021, Urban Driftwood has been praised by numerous publications such as Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Wasington Post, NPR Music, No Depression, Paste Magazine, and many others. Williams will be touring in support of Urban Driftwood throughout 2021.
Higher Ground Ballroom
1214 Williston Road
South Burlington, VT, 05403