University of Louisiana at Lafayette "Vermilion Express"

  • Dates: September 28, 2018
  • Venue: Youth Stage
  • Location: Downtown Raleigh
  • Address: 100 W Lenoir St, Raleigh, NC 27601
  • Times: 7:00 PM to 7:35 PM
  • Admission: Free


It comes as a surprise that in south Louisiana, where Cajun and zydeco dominate the music scene, Vermilion Express (the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s bluegrass ensemble) has become one of the state’s hottest young bluegrass bands. Reviewers describe the quintet’s sound as full, energetic, and, above all else, authentic.

Banjo player Benjamin Richey brings progressive influences such as Chris Thile and Béla Fleck to the group’s sound while fiddler Luke Huval and mandolinist Celebrindal offer balance with their traditional sensibilities, honoring Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs. This gap leaves enough room in the middle for guitarist Emily Ortego and bassist Devin Sonnier to showcase their contemporary styles, weaving a unique tapestry of sound that appeals to a large variety of audiences.

These five young musicians have set their sights on revitalizing bluegrass in the deep South by performing at concert halls and other venues in Louisiana and beyond. “It’s a wonderful kind of music,” states Celebrindal. “And it makes people feel good.” “Exactly,” agrees Emily. “And we’ve met so many people who’ve asked, ‘Why isn’t there more of this?’ that it really inspires us to want to share this music with as many people as possible.”