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Sailor's Prayer


2013 Chicago Maritime Festival Featured Performers 







Craig Edwards, Geoff Kaufman, David Littlefield, and Rick Spencer met at Mystic Seaport in 1986. They pooled their considerable musical talents into a performance and recording group which took an important place in the world of American maritime music. As a quartet and in various trio combinations the group performed extensively throughout the US, in Canada and in Europe and released several influential albums. Following a reunion concert in May 2012 Forebitter has been asked to return to Chicago for the 2013 Chicago Maritime Festival. They will be performing as a trio, sans David, at

Talitha MacKenzie

 Photo by Andrew Frow

Talitha was immersed in the music of many lands while growing up in New York where she began singing as a child. In the following years, she earned a degree in music history and ethnomusicology, spent years in the international dance scene, sang in numerous choral groups, and researched and performed music from Russia, Scotland, the Balkans, and the Caribbean. She founded the innovative duo, Mouth Music,whose eponymous album topped the charts in Music Week and Billboard. Talitha's experience as deckhand and shantyman aboard tall ships led to the recording Shantyman. She represented Scotland at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant singing Gaelic songs from her CDs Sòlas and Spiorad and is currently teaching at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

      David Jones

David Jones, originally from England and now living in Leonia, New Jersey, gateway to the golden west, has a large repertoire of folksong from both sides of the Atlantic. He has performed in North America, Britain, Australia and Europe, singing at festivals, concert halls, clubs, maritime museums and colleges, presenting songs from the great days of sail, Music Hall favorites, traditional ballads, and the works of contemporary writers. He sings both a capella and with guitar accompaniment and involves his audience in refrains and choruses ranging from boisterous to sentimental.

As well as performing solo, David has sung with Heather Wood and the late Tom Gibney as Poor Old Horse, with Jeff Warner, Jeff Davis and Jerry Epstein as The Bermuda Quadrangle, with Peter Marston and Charles O'Hegarty as The Starboard List, and was a member of the Clearwater singing crew. He has also sung and recorded with Dan Zanes and Friends and his work with the guitarist Bill Shute led to the award winning Widdecombe Fair now available on the Dan Zanes label, Festivalfive Records. He now sings songs of the sea with The New York Packet at South Street Seaport in New York City, still performs with Heather Wood as a duo, and with Jerry Epstein, who adds wonderful piano and concertina accompaniments to the songs.

David has played feature roles in many theatrical productions to favorable critical reviews, and has performed across the USA as the featured artist in The Victorian Revels, a production based on traditions of the Winter Solstice conceived and produced by Revels Inc. He has played the part of the great sailor Joshua Slocum in Sailing Alone, with words and music by Dillon Bustin, and has sung and provided narration for a number of Public Broadcasting productions, including A Prairie Home Companion, Africans in America and Simple Gifts. 

   Lee Murdock  

Musical historian Lee Murdock has uncovered a boundless body of music and stories in the Great Lakes. There is an amazing timelessness in this music. Great Lakes songs are made of hard word, hard living, ships that go down and ships that come in. Noted as a fluent instrumentalist, Murdock's musical influences span fifteen generations, combining ragtime, Irish, blues and folk styles with his flair for storytelling in songs. “… a fine job of recreating history and holding it up to a poet’s light ... ” — Sing Out! Magazine. 

To listen to Lee Murdock’s music is to visualize the long, heavily laden deck of an iron ore freighter being tossed by malevolent waves, to glimpse a gang of schooners being towed stem-to-stern up Lake St Clair, to chill to the tale of a ghost ship, to thrill to song of a heroic surfman’s rescue, to soar above the landing deck of the Wolverine, to sail with the first ship through the Soo Locks at the opening of the season, to witness the wonder and beauty of Lake Superior’s legendary optical illusions, all this and more.

  Tom and Chris Kastle

Tom and Chris Kastle's songs and stories reflect their lives as singers, sailors, and travelers. They have toured throughout the United States, where their performance credits span Mystic Seaport Museum and Passim to the Northwest Folklife Festival and the Florida Friends of Folk. Tom and Chris teach at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and have been featured on public radio and television shows coast to coast. They have also appeared at concert venues and festivals across Europe and New Zealand. Tom has served as captain aboard several Great Lakes tall ships, currently tours internationally as a solo, and is the Narrator (with small singing parts) for the Candid Concert Opera Company in Madison, Wisconsin. Chris has served as the Director of Education at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum in Florida, is currently the Community Educator for Friends of A1A Historic and Scenic Byway, for VSAFL, an affiliate of the Kennedy Center, and tours nationally as a solo act. They are founders and directors of the Chicago Maritime Festival. and 



Bounding Main

Dean Calin, Christie Dalby, Gina Dalby, Jon Krivitzky, David Yondorf. Bounding Main is a costumed vocal group that sings richly harmonic versions of traditional maritime songs. Their shows are filled with spirit, humor and harmony; their arrangements of traditional nautical music bring the listener into the world of adventure, romance and fun. Each member of Bounding Main is a music and theater veteran, with diverse entertainment backgrounds. Their performances and CDs have been well received with brisk US and international sales. They have performed at music festivals, nautical festivals, tall ships events, maritime museums, renaissance faires, folk music venues and corporate events on both sides of the Atlantic. Bounding Main has just released their fourth CD, Kraken Up, which will be available for sale at the festival.

David H.B. Drake 

Performing on guitar, concertina, dulcimer, banjo, and Native flute, Wisconsin troubadour David HB Drake has spent over twenty years presenting concerts throughout the Midwest. Deep heartland roots and the waters of the Great Lakes flow throughout David's music in a panorama of history and discovery.

David was named "Folk / Acoustic Music Artist of the Year" and "Family Performer of the Year" by the Wisconsin Area Music Industry and was presented with the "Lantern Bearer" Life Achievement Award in 2003 at the Folk Alliance Region Midwest. His KIDSTUFF album received a "Parents' Choice" award for outstanding children's music.

In addition to being a professional dancer with Betty Salamun's DANCECIRCUS and the Milwaukee Ballet, a stage lighting designer, and actor, troubadour and swordsman with the "Ring of Steel" theatrical combat troupe, David has performed on tall ships on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Great Lakes and is the resident musician for the schooner "Denis Sullivan", Wisconsin's flagship.

Old Town School Shanty Singers 

Members of the sea music workshop at the Old Town School have participated in the Chicago Maritime Festival since it was founded. Some of those members have gone on to perform maritime music on a professional basis. One of the students, Katharine Whisler, has succeeded in organizing a regular, on-going shanty sing – a first for the city of Chicago!

Through our 51-year history, what has set the Old Town School of Folk Music apart from other music teaching programs has been our philosophy that music is for everyone. The founders wanted the School to be a place where, as founder Frank Hamilton said, "teacher and student would be partners in learning." This philosophy is still in place and the Old Town School continues to be a place that gives people the tools to make their own music. Young and old, beginners and advanced players, people from various cultures and traditions come together to create music and learn from each other.


2012: Serre l'Écoute, Tom Lewis, Calico Jack, Jerry Bryant, Lanialoha Lee, Tom and Chris Kastle 

2011: Bob Walser, Cindy Kallet, Pint and Dale, Belize Culture and Heritage Association, Great Lakes Navy Band, Tom and Chris Kastle

2010: Caryl P. Weiss, John Roberts, Rick Spencer, The 97th Regimental String Band, Tom and Chris Kastle 

2009: Dan Milner, David Coffin, The Johnson Girls, Patrick Denain and Miguel Biard, Tom and Chris Kastle  

2008: The Northern Neck Chantey Singers, Debra Cowan, Walter "Salty Walt" Askew, Holdstock & MacLeod, Tom and Chris Kastle

2007: Bounding Main, Jerry Bryant, Johnny Collins, Philippe Duo, Tom and Chris Kastle

2006: The Boekaniers, John Townley, Nanne Kalma & Ankie van der Meer, David HB Drake, Tom and Chris Kastle

2005: Pint & Dale, Serre l'Ecoute, Talitha MacKenzie, Lee Murdock, Tom and Chris Kastle

2004: The Johnson Girls, Tom Lewis, Bob Zentz, Don Sineti & Steve Roys, Bob Zentz, Tom and Chris Kastle

2003: Kat yn't Seil, Johnny Collins, John Connolly, The 97th Regimental String Band, Mlynn, Tom and Chris Kastle

Past special guest performers: Richard Adrianowicz, Lanialoha Lee, Sheridan Shore Chantey Singers, David HB Drake, Bounding Main, Walter Askew, The Hard Tackers Shanty Team, Sheridan Shore Chantey Singers, and the Old Town School of Folk Music Sea Music Class.