Music teacher Melissa shares six inspiring, family-friendly acts that hail from Arts For Life’s home state.
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Family Hip Hop group based out of Asheville.
If you can imagine a band with Jim Henson on guitar, Shel Silverstein on bass and PIXAR as the lead vocalist, you’ve pretty much got it. And if George Clinton and Q Tip stopped by the party, that might clarify things even more. Basically, if Dr. Seuss and Dr. Dre had a baby, it would be the music of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. Nuff said.
An incredibly accomplished musician and composer originally from Fayetteville, NC, with roots in WNC.
Jonathan Scales is one of the most innovative steel pannists on the planet, and is redefining and challenging traditional expectations of his signature instrument. In his hands, the sonic palette of an instrument often associated with cruise ships and tropical resorts is radically expanded to mimic the role of horns, piano, vibraphone or marimba due to his stunning, virtuosic technique. Scales’ mesmerizing compositions have captivated listeners and elevated him to the status of a true composer, forging new territory in the medium of instrumental music.
The Moon and You
A charismatic duo consisting of our very own Melissa and her husband, Ryan Furstenberg
Together, [Melissa and Ryan] form a sound that is warm and inviting, atmospheric and playful. Each is a well developed songwriter with a distinctive voice, and their songs range in style from classic to quirky. Lyrics-driven and intellectual with a keen ear for arrangement, they make music perfectly suited to a listening room or a pair of good headphones.
The Free Little Birds
a family band that lived in Asheville for many years, and now lives in Hawaii. The band features dad Kevin on guitar and vocals, Josiah (age 8) on bass, and Briella (age 11) on vocals and ukulele.
The Free Little Birds has been performing in world-famous Waikiki ever since 2018, playing an eclectic blend of originals and covers in genres ranging from folk to soul, gospel to reggae! Our fans appreciate our musical message of peace, love, unity, and social justice. We have become a staple of the Waikiki strip, performing at least three days a week, and we never tire of bringing joy to the crowd through our music.
A singer, songwriter, and banjo-player, originally from Greensboro, NC. She started her career as a founding member of the traditional African-American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She focuses now on her solo career and on musical collaborations like the Our Native Daughters collection.
Rhiannon Giddens grew up in the North Carolina piedmont, where some of her formative memories include listening to her uncle’s bluegrass band and Hank Williams songs on the radio, and watching Roy Clark “picking and grinning” every Saturday night on Hee Haw. It was only later – after receiving a degree in Opera Theater from Oberlin Conservatory – that Rhiannon learned about the long, almost forgotten line of traditional black string bands and found her place in American music history.
Queen Bee and the Honeylovers
Asheville-based swing band
Queen Bee and the Honeylovers is an unabashedly joyful swing band that performs all-original compositions with a dedicated ‘nod’ to the small-jazz-combo and ‘hot club’ legends who first defined the genre.