Hungarian violinist Roby Lakatos is not only a scorching virtuoso, but a musician of extraordinary stylistic versatility who defies definition. Having been described as everything from gypsy violinist or “devil’s fiddler” to classical virtuoso to jazz improviser to arranger, he is the kind of universal musician so rarely encountered in our time—a player whose strength as an interpreter derives from his abilities as an improviser and composer. Born in 1965 into the family descended from János Bihari, “King of Gypsy Violinists,” Lakatos made his public debut as first violin in a gypsy band at age nine. He has since collaborated with Vadim Repin and Stéphane Grappelli, won the admiration of Sir Yehudi Menuhin, and performed at great jazz halls and festivals throughout Europe, Asia and America. Lakatos first performed at SMF in 2010 to a sold-out Lucas Theatre crowd alongside renowned Brazilian guitar duo the Assad Brothers.
Jazz pianist turned roots musician Sam Reider discovered a passion for folk music while studying at Columbia University. A love for composition and the accordion has set Reider off on a journey that has taken him from back porches and dive bars to concert halls and major festivals in practically every state. Representing the US Department of State as a musical ambassador, Reider has traveled to China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Turkey and Azerbaijan, carrying his accordion on his back everywhere he went. Now he has surrounded himself with a crew of some of the most in-demand young acoustic musicians in the country, including Eddie Barbash on saxophone, Alex Hargreaves on fiddle, Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Roy Williams on guitar and Deve Speranza on bass. Sam Reider and the Human Hands’ SMF 2018 appearance had the audience at the Morris Center on the edge of their seats.