Singer, songwriter, producer, engineer, banjo picker, guitar player and community activist, CATHY FINK lives an eclectic career in the music industry and beyond. She is not only well known as half of the GRAMMY® winning duo, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, but for her volunteer efforts and activism within the music industry and on behalf of issues and organizations that care about children.
Cathy is one of the country’s finest clawhammer banjo players. In 1980 she became the first woman to win the West Virginia State Old Time Banjo contest, an honor she earned 3 times. She has taught banjo, guitar, fiddle, vocal styles, harmony singing and songwriting at music camps such as Augusta, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Kaufman Kamp, California Coast Music Camp and Swannanoa.
Cathy Fink began playing the banjo in 1974 as part of the “earn while you learn” program of making a living at folk music. Her banjo recordings include: “Banjo Haiku: 26 Clawhammer Banjo Tunes”, “Old Time Music Party”, “Old Time Slow Jam” on Homespun Tapes with Bruce Molsky and Marcy Marxer, and “Singing With the Banjo, Clawhammer Style” DVD on Homespun Tapes. She and Marcy produced the remarkable “The Oldtime Banjo Festival” CD and Cathy’s GRAMMY® nominated solo project “Banjo Talkin’”.
Her interest in the rich history of women in country music led Cathy to meet, play music with and even perform with some of country’s greatest female pioneers. She and Marcy toured and performed with Patsy Montana for 10 years. Patsy was the first woman in country music to sell one million records with the song “I Wanna Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart” in 1935. She visited, interviewed and played music with Ola Belle Reed and Lily May Ledford.
Cathy has been a curator of & co-producer of musical programs including:
- Tribute to Hank Williams, The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA-annual show with Cathy & Marcy, Robin & Linda Williams, Bill Kirchen & more
- Tribute to Woody Guthrie, The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA-coinciding with Woody Guthrie exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution
- The Old Time Banjo Festival-annual concert at The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA and hands on workshops at the House of Musical Traditions
- Uke & Guitar Summit & Ukefest-annual music camp and music festival in collaboration with the Music Center at Strathmore, N. Bethesda, MD
- Country Jamboree, Commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- cELLAbration: LIVE!, Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD- Live concert with all of the artists from GRAMMY® winning “cELLAbration” CD. Pete Seeger, Riders in the Sky, Sweet honey in the Rock, Tom Paxton, Tom Chapin, Mariachi Los Camperos…..
As a mentor, Cathy works with new Artists in Residence in the Strathmore AIR program in North Bethesda, MD.
- 1926 Tubaphone five-string banjo with a Larry Sifel neck
- 1926 Tubaphone five-string banjo with a Kevin Enoch neck
- Santa Cruz OM guitar
- 1923 Gibson A model mandolin
- Stephan Sobell bouzouki/cittern
- Martin M3H Cathy Fink signature model guitar
Hobbies: cycling, hiking, music
Cathy has worked with numerous non-profits to combine music with successful fundraising efforts. They include Metropolitan Center for Assault Prevention, Clean Water Action Fund, Grassroots Leadership, Inc., Institute of Musical Traditions, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, The Washington Area Women’s Foundation
Former Trustee and Board Member: The Recording Academy
Active: Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Local 1000 AFM, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research