Presenting our Performers Jim Albertson, known for both his storytelling and his singing, has been contributing to the New Jersey Folk Festival since its very first year in 1975. He served as emcee for the first 14 years of the festival and has received the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the folk and New Jersey culture. Jim was elected the first president of the New Jersey Folklore society in 1980 for his expertise in South Jersey Traditions. In 1985, he released an album, Down Jersey, on the Smithsonian Institution’s Folkways label. Jim was born in Atlantic City and grew up in the surrounding area. Michael Aaron Rockland is professor of American Studies at Rutgers University. His early career was in the U.S. diplomatic service, during which he was a cultural attaché in both Argentina and Spain. He is the author of twelve books, three of which have received special recognition. His first book, Sarmiento’s Travels in the United States in 1847 (Princeton), was chosen by The Washington Post’s Book World as one of the “Fifty Best Books of the Year.” His novel, A Bliss Case (Coffee House) was a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year.” A book he co-wrote, Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike (Rutgers) was chosen by the New Jersey State Library as one of the “Ten Best Books Ever Written on New Jersey or by a New Jerseyan.” His latest books are Stones, a novel (Hansen Publishing Group), The George Washington Bridge: Poetry in Steel (Rutgers). Rockland has won five major teaching/lecturing awards, including the National Teaching Award in American Studies. He has lectured in some twenty-one countries around the world. A regular contributor to New Jersey Monthly magazine, he has also worked in television and film production, mostly for P.B.S. He is regularly interviewed on N.P.R. Next Generation, young musicians in the Delaware Valley, get together every month during the school year at the Irish center in Philadelphia to learn a new tune and to have an Irish seisiun (or session) with their peers. They also perform at the annual IrishAmerican Children’s festival at the Garden Sate Discovery Museum and have performed at the Comhaltas Ceoltoiiri Eireann convention and the Philadelphia Ceili Group’s Irish Music and Dance Festival. Many of the musicians have competed in the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil and have gone on to represent the United States in the All-Ireland Competition.