Matthew Sabatella
Banjo/Folk Music Instructor

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SoBe Institute of The Arts
21
00 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, Fl 33139
305 674-9220
 

TEACHING

  • SoBe Institute of the Arts - Violin Instructor (2008 - present)

EDUCATION

  • University of Miami – BM, Music Performance 1986 - 1991

Biography

Matthew Sabatella is a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, performer, educator, and interpreter of traditional American folk songs. In 2001, he began developing Ballad of America, a multi-faceted program that preserves America's rich musical heritage and presents it in a relevant way for the 21st century. He whole-heartedly believes in the power of traditional folk music to inspire people and help them better understand people and events from the past.

In February of 2005, Matthew released the CD Ballad of America Volume 1: Over a Wide and Fruitful Land. The album tells the story of the westward expansion of the country through traditional songs. He released Ballad of America Volume 2: America Singing, which serves as a sort of greatest hits of American folk music, in February of 2007. Ballad of America Volume 3: Songs in the Life of Abraham Lincoln was released in February of 2009 to coincide with the 200th birthday of the 16th president of the United States.

Matthew frequently performs live with his guitar, banjo, mountain dulcimer, and harmonicas. He is joined by the Rambling String Band, which expands the instrumentation to include fiddle, bass fiddle, and mandolin. Whether the performance is geared towards adults, families, or children, Matthew gets the audience singing along, thereby bridging the gap between them and the people who came before.

In awarding Matthew the George Washington Honor Medal in November of 2007, the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge stated that his Ballad of America program “exemplifies the essence of the National Awards by promoting an understanding and appreciation for our country's rich heritage and unique freedoms.” Traveling to Thailand, also in 2008, Matthew performed American folk music in Umphang and played banjo with traditional Thai musicians at a special multi-cultural concert.

Having studied banjo with masters including David Holt, Kirk Sutphin, Brad Leftwich, Ken Perlman, Mary Z. Cox, and Bob Carlin, Matthew leads banjo workshops and participates in Banjo Seed, an outreach program that fosters interest in old-time banjo and supports budding players.

In naming him Best Acoustic Performer in 2005, New Times Broward/Palm Beach writes:
...Sabatella's best asset is easily his voice, urgent but unforced, sweetly melancholy in telling personal stories and powerfully evocative in rendering antiquated songs intimate again. It's a great gift, and Sabatella wields it with exceptional talent.
Before embarking on the traditional folk music path, Matthew released two critically acclaimed CDs of his own roots-based compositions. His 2001 release, A Walk in the Park, was named Album of the Year in the Florida Music Awards and he was a nominee in the category of Best Songwriter. His instrumental and vocal talents can be heard on dozens of commercially-available recordings by other worthy artists. In his lifetime he has performed or recorded a variety of musical styles such as classical, jazz, blues, folk, sacred, theater, pop, rock, and world music on instruments which include guitar, banjo, mountain dulcimer, violin, piano, clarinet, tuba, harmonica, bass guitar, drums, and percussion.