Music and Community: three projects

pub session ireland copyright kerry dexter

Concerts of Irish music in Thailand, a rising star’s collection of original songs in Celtic and Americana traditions to be recorded in Glasgow with the help of musicians gathered for one of the world’s great festivals, a series of songs of hope resilience, faith, and humor, rooted in folk music tradition and grounded in the heartland of North America: these are three creative projects artists are working on at present.

The turns and twists of the world’s economy in recent years have meant changes for everyone, including those who make their livings as professional musicians. Record companies have gone under, been bought by corporations outside the music industry, trimmed their rosters and changed their interests. Those who make music which speaks to and draws on the world’s geography and heritage continue to create music, though, and increasingly they are choosing to seek community support for to make recordings of that music. Drawing on her Indiana background “ a virtual barn raising,” is how Carrie Newcomer, one of the artist you’ll learn about in this story, describes her project. All of these artists see this as a way to invite people to be involved with the making of their music.

Take a listen:

Boston based husband and wife duo Matt and Shannon Heaton make Irish music, both music drawn form the traditions of the Emerald Isle and original music they compose drawing on that heritage. He plays guitar and bouzouki, she plays whistle and flutes. They both sing. They are working on an album featuring songs of conversation between men and women — some romantic, some funny, and as the Heatons say, some just plain weird. Based on their past recordings it should be worth hearing — and they plan to do the CD release concert for the album in Thailand.
Matt & Shannon Heaton

There’s a story behind that, of course. During her time at university, Shannon spent a year as an exchange student in Thailand. What she saw and learned there about people connecting with their traditional music helped set her on the path following her own traditions as a professional musician. She came back to the states, met and married Matt, and a few years back reconnected with her Thai friends and was able to introduce her husband and son to the place that had meant so much to her. They worked in a Thai song on one of their albums and came up with an arrangement that made it work quite well among the Irish songs and tunes. Now, they’d like to give back to the country that has meant so much to Shannon by giving free concerts in Thailand for the release of their next recording. Learn more about Matt and Shannon Heaton’s Thailand project

Kyle Carey draws on Celtic tradition as well, but her focus is the music of Scotland. She teaches courses in how to speak and understand Scottish Gaelic, among other things, and includes songs in Gaelic in her concerts. Her first album featured her original songs along with a nod to her Scottish Gaelic interests, and has been well received in both Europe and the Americas. Chosen for a month long artists residency, Carey used that time to write original songs for her second album, which she plans to call North Star. There will be songs in Gaelic on it as well, and she has plans to record in Scotland. She’s enlisted the talents of Seamus Egan (you met him here at Perceptive Travel in connection with Shamrock City) as producer, and they are planning to record the album in Glasgow during the Celtic Connections Festival, bringing in many of the gifted artists who will all be in one place for a short time.

If you’re a regular reader here at Perceptive Travel, you may recall hearing about Carrie Newcomer’s unexpected trip to India and the songs which resulted from that. For this album, Newcomer returns to the details and geography of her native Indiana to frame and ground stories of resilience, faith, discovery, and her travels elsewhere. She’s focusing on building community as well as building the resources she needs to make the recording. Learn about Carrie Newcomer’s project

All of these artists offer rewards should you choose to invest in their projects, ranging from autographed copies of the recording to books to souvenirs of Thailand to songwriting workshops to having a tune or a song written for you. Perhaps it’s the right time for you to support one or more of these projects financially; perhaps it’s not. One thing you could do though, that’ll not cost you a cent: help get the word out about these projects so others may learn of them. One way to do that is through the social media buttons you’ll see at the bottom of this story.

photographs of the artists courtesy of the artists
photograph of music session by Kerry Dexter

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