Boston, MA, July 16, 2007 — Dunkin” Donuts® Newport Folk Festival and Berklee College of Music are pleased to announce the appearance of one of Berklee’s outstanding young singer/songwriters, Madi Diaz, a native of Philadelphia, PA, and her band at the kickoff of this year’s Dunkin” Donuts® Newport Folk Festival, Friday, August 3, at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, 194 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI. The program will commence at 8:00 p.m. with Diaz, followed by pop music superstar and icon Linda Ronstadt, who will also appear at this year’s Newport Folk Festival for the very first time.
While the Newport Folk Festival has presented many Berklee alumni in the past - including Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Patty Larkin, Bruce Cockburn, and Melissa Ferrick - this marks the first time the festival has presented a performance by a current student, continuing a relationship that goes back to 1976, when Berklee honored Festival Productions founder George Wein with an Honorary Doctorate of Music.
As a member of Berklee’s Board of Trustees, Dunkin” Brands Chair and CEO Jon Luther played a critical role in spearheading the collaboration between the world’s first and foremost college of contemporary music and the venerable Newport Folk Festival, one of the longest-running music gatherings in the country. “Berklee has educated some of the world’s most renowned music professionals,” said Luther. “At this year’s Newport Folk Festival, Madi Diaz, one of Berklee’s highly talented students, will be in the spotlight, showcasing the talent of promising young musicians.”
When Diaz arrived at Berklee in the fall of 2004, teachers and students already knew her as “that girl from the movie” Rock School, a documentary about the Paul Green School of Rock. While the film exposed the school director’s often bizarre teaching methods, it also showcased the talent of several promising young musicians, and featured Diaz prominently.
Within a few short months, she had become “that girl with the voice.” Her powerful voice, both uniquely engaging and steeped in rock tradition, calls to mind such icons of Americana as Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, and Patty Griffin. Diaz, a songwriting major from Pennsylvania, quickly distinguished herself at Berklee. She appears on the CD Dorm Sessions Volume 4, the latest release by Berklee’s student-run label Heavy Rotation Records, was selected to perform at Berklee’s recent showcase at the SXSW Music Conference and Festival in Austin, and recorded and released her debut CD, Skin and Bone.
Skin and Bone is filled with songs rich in precocious wisdom, unassuming poetry, and melodic sophistication. Without paying direct homage to a particular time or place, the record evokes the locations of her youth: the wide-open spaces of the Amish countryside, the unsettling thrills and daunting possibilities of Philly’s urban jungle — and the longing and loneliness common to both.
Diaz’s band is comprised of guitarist Kyle Hurlbut, guitarist and pedal steel player Adam Ollendorff, and bassist Adam Popick, who are all recent Berklee grads, and drummer Lorne Entress, who has produced and performed with artists including Lori McKenna, Catie Curtis, Mighty Sam McClain, and Four Piece Suit.
Dunkin” Donuts® Newport Folk Festival: www.newportfolk.com
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry “who’s who” of alumni, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today — and tomorrow.