Ellie Buckland, Isa Burke and Mali Obomsawin – the Lula Wiles trio – will perform May 2 at the North Church in Farmington. (Submitted image)

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Historical Society’s North Church Concert series welcomes the return of the Lula Wiles trio at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the North Church, 118 High St., in Farmington. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a Pie Social and a jam session. Tickets are $15, or $10 for students. Reservations are recommended; call 778-2006.

For Lula Wiles, the trio made up of Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland and Mali Obomsawin, the question “What will we do?” is central to the creation of their music – and it’s the title of their sophomore album, out in 2019 on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

“We wanted to make an album that reflected, in a current way, what we are all staying up late thinking about and talking about over drinks at the dinner table,” says Obomsawin.

“What is everyone worried about, confiding in their friends about, losing sleep about?”

Anchoring the band’s sharp, provocative songcraft is a mastery of folk music, and a willingness to subvert its hallowed conventions. They infuse their songs with distinctly modern sounds: pop hooks, distorted electric guitars, and dissonant multi-layered vocals, all employed in the service of songs that reclaim folk music in their own voice.

The musicians take turns in different roles – Burke and Buckland on guitar and fiddle, Obomsawin on bass, all three singing and writing – but no matter who’s playing what, they operate in close tandem. All three members grew up in small-town Maine, and the band came of age in Boston’s lively roots scene.

Since then, they have toured internationally, winning fans at the Newport Folk Festival and the Philadelphia Folk Festival, garnering acclaim from NPR Music and a Boston Music Awards nomination, and sharing stages with the likes of Aoife O’Donovan, the Wood Brothers, and Tim O’Brien. Lula Wiles exists in the tense space where tradition and revolution meet, from which their harmonies rise into the air to create new American music.


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