Photo: Richard Anderson
pronounced sang-ma-lay, Creole for “mixed blood”
Sangmelé is a trio of musicians who bring a broad spectrum of American roots music into focus. From New Eolor: rgb(0, 0, 255);">Sangmelé is a trio of musicians who bring a broad spectrum of American roots music into focus. From New England to the southern Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi Delta to Bourbon Street, Sangmele’s music reflects the origins of American music found in Scotland, Ireland and West Africa. Walt Michael, Lea Gilmore and Henry Reiff compose this unique trio of world travelers and musical multicultural ambassadors who have performed in a wide variety of venues including the Kennedy Center. Sangmele is available for concerts, school assemblies & residencies, and lectures.
Walt Michael's various musical incarnations, including Bottle Hill, Michael, McCreesh & Campbell, Walt Michael & Co. and Sangmelé have taken him from the coal camps of Appalachia to the Closing Ceremonies of the 13th Winter Olympic Games. He has touched the hearts of millions with his hammered dulcimer, guitar and voice. Walt has recorded ten albums on the Flying Fish, Front Hall, Biograph, Tradition Bearers, Whipoorwill and MCE labels. His music has been heard on ABC-TV (to a worldwide audience of 900 million watching the Olympic Closing Ceremonies), NBC’s Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Broadway, the Nashville Network, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations, PBS and numerous film projects including the Outdoor Living Network’s documentary series, Cowboy 101. Walt is Artist in Residence at McDaniel College and Executive Director and Founder of Common Ground on the Hill, an international multicultural arts organization that seeks to foster dialog and communication through the traditional arts.
Lea Gilmore is recognized as one of today’s leading voices in Blues, Gospel, and Jazz. She is also a skilled lecturer on African American music and history, human rights and women's rights, as well as their historical and contemporary roles in blues and gospel music. Lea has performed with the Baltimore, New Haven and Cleveland Symphony Orchestras as a featured soloist with the internationally acclaimed Morgan State University Choir. She has appeared in over 45 theater productions, including starring roles in Ain’t Misbehavin’, Dream Girls and Purlie, was a soloist with the Common Ground Gospel Choir in Vienna, Austria, has toured Africa, Holland, Belgium and Scotland as a vocalist and lecturer and performs A Tribute to Mahalia Jackson at music festivals around the US. Lea won the prestigious 2003 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for her website “It’s A Girl Thang – Women and the Blues.” Her blues CD, I Don’t Know Where You Are, has been acclaimed by blues lovers and critics in Europe and America. Most recently, Essence Magazine has named Lea as one of the 25 "Women Shaping the World."
Henry “Hank” Reiff is Dean of Graduate & Professional Studies at McDaniel College, and a renowned author in the field of learning disabilities. A graduate of Princeton University, Hank was a journeyman bass player in New Orleans for 14 years and performed in a wide range of musical genres including the blues, symphonic orchestras, musical theatre, rock and roll, rockabilly and folk. He has played or recorded with musicians ranging from members of Wayne Cochran's CC Riders to the Subdudes. His fans call him The Doctor of Rock.