Montgomery County is one of the most diverse jurisdictions in the state of Maryland and for that reasons it boasts a dynamic creative community combining heritages and traditions from countries all over the world. In this section, explore six unique art forms, some centuries old, others more modern, but each deeply rooted in and reflective of that ethnic group’s shared standards of beauty, values, and culture.  The Artist Stories featured in this section are part of an on-going program of documentation of the County’s rich folks and traditional arts.

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Cheick Hamala Diabaté: Griot Greatness Part 2

Cheick Hamala Diabaté tells how he developed his unique style on the  n’goni, a traditional Malian instrument. Listen to part two of his story.


Cheick Hamala Diabaté: Griot Greatness Part 1

Malian multi-instrumentalist and singer Cheick Hamala Diabaté tells how his family of griot storytellers helped shape his internationally renowned career. Listen to part one of his captivating story.

Lilo Gonzalez

Lilo Gonzalez: Salvadoran Fight Song! Part 2

After a harrowing journey that began in El Salvador, guitarist/singer/songwriter Lilo Gonzalez tells how he became an award-winning musician. Listen to part two of this incredible story. [Note: In Spanish]


Lilo Gonzalez: Salvadoran Fight Song! Part 1

Guitarist/singer/songwriter Lilo Gonzalez recalls how he escaped a war-torn El Salvador with his family and moved to Montgomery County. Listen to part one of this powerful story. [Note: In Spanish] 

CB Heinemann3

C.B. Heinemann: Celtic Craze Part 2

C.B. Heinemann talks about he and other local musicians developed Irish music sessions throughout Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County. Listen to his story.

CB Heinemann and cbcharlie

C.B. Heinemann: Celtic Craze Part 1

C.B. Heinemann explains how he delved into traditional Irish music and started playing the Irish string instrument – the bouzouki. Listen to part one of his story.

Jay Summerour11

Jay Summerour: Harmonica Honker

Jay Summerour is one of Montgomery County’s greatest harmonica players. With his longtime partnership with guitarist/singer Warner Williams, Summerour extends the Piedmont Blues legacy. Hear his story.

Warner Williams2

Warner Williams: Piedmont Blues Legend

Legendary blues guitarist/singer Warner Williams and noted ethnomusicologist Mark Puryear give a quick rundown of the mighty Piedmont Blues. Listen to their story.


The Balkanics: Loud & Proud

Defining Balkan music is a rather tricky endeavor; even more daunting is incorporating the folk music from the Balkan region and putting a contemporary stamp onto it. Listen as Tzvety Weiner and Bryndyn Weiner explains how the Balkanics pulls it off.


Bob Perilla: Bluegrass Breakdown

Did you know that Montgomery County and the surrounding area was and continues to be a hotbed for bluegrass music? Listen as guitarist and bandleader Bob Perilla explains how bluegrass music became so popular in Montgomery County.