I am beyond thrilled to be returning to Italy for a few weeks of shows this December – and not just because it will be a welcome break from Berlin Winter!
Many thanks to the incredible Rocketta Booking crew for organizing another amazing tour.
Keep an ear out – we may be adding some more shows to this run in the coming days, almost certainly one in Rome at the end of the tour…
December 1: Palermo, Italy – Palazzo de Gregorio (11 AM)
December 1: Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Italy – Parco Jalari (9 PM)
December 3: Capo d’Orlando, Italy – Virtuoso, Biblioteca Communale
December 4: Modica, Italy – Hometowns
December 5: Messina, Italy – Retronouveau
December 6: Marsala, Italy – Baluardo Velasco
December 7: San Cataldo, Italy – Muddy Waters @ Planet Underground
December 8: Catania, Italy – La Chiave
December 9: Giarre, Italy – GRU
December 10: Enna, Italy – Al Kenisa
December 11: Reggio C, Italy – Caffè Letterario AL BAR
December 12: Catanzaro, Italy – Paddy’s Irish Pub
December 13: Cava dei Tirreni, Italy – Mediateca Marte
December 14: Cassino, Italy – Nuove Officine Generali
Check out this new video of “Marrow” recorded in Sicily!
The Ground’s Oranges crew did a beautiful job on a spontaneous and last-minute shoot in the countryside outside of Catania.
There was a lot of drama surrounding how to mount this little camera to my harp. Worth it for the extra cool angle though, right?
Thanks to the Ground’s Oranges crew and to Radio Rocketta for putting this together!
You can also listen to the full taping of a live-performance and in-studio interview I did with MAPS radio in Bologna here.
Italian Tour Dates Announced!
Gillian will be completing a month-long tour of Italy and Sicily in March and April for RockettaBooking. See below for the complete tour schedule:
giovedì 28 marzo: IL CONVIVIO, Modica (RG)
venerdì 29 marzo: PIZZAPEPPER, Siracusa
sabato 30 marzo: AL KENISA, Enna
domenica 31 marzo: LA CHIAVE, Catania
mercoledì 3 aprile: BIRRERIA 34, Taurianova (RC)
giovedì 4 aprile: MOLLY MALONE, Lecce
venerdì 5 aprile: KEY DRUM, Sarno (SA)
sabato 6 aprile: BAR PINO, Campagna (SA)
domenica 7 aprile: GODOT ART BISTROT, Avellino
lunedì 8 aprile: LE MURA, Roma
martedì 9 aprile: FAT, Terni
mercoledì 10 aprile: “InModoAcustico” @ BAR MODO INFOSHOP, Bologna
giovedì 11 aprile: LENINGRAD CAFÉ, Pisa
venerdì 12 aprile: LA MELA DI NEWTON, Padova
sabato 13 aprile: BAGNO SOLO SOLE, Cervia (RA)
domenica 14 aprile: LOCANDA SAN ROCCO, Fermo (AP)
lunedì 15 aprile: CIRCOLO ARCI LEBOWSKI, Gioia del Colle (BA)
April 16: Foggia, Italy: Tolleranzazero
April 17: Reggio Calabria, Italy: Circolo 79
April 18: Castellemmare Del Golfo, Sicily: Picolit
April 19: Caltanissetta, Sicily: Sale & Pepe
April 20: Catania, Sicily: TBA
April 23: Rovereto, Italy: TBA
April 27: Berlin, Germany: Sofa Salon
I just spent a whirlwind weekend at the North East Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) conference in Kerhonksen, NY, hanging out with a wonderful bunch of folk DJs, concert presenters, venues, festivals, and very talented musicians. Saw some old friends, and made many, many new ones. This was my first time attending NERFA and let me tell you, when you’re at a hotel with 800 folks in the industry and the music starts at 9 AM and doesn’t quit till 6 AM the next morning, you can wear yourself out a little. But hey, if Gene Shay can do it, so can I.I had a couple days off right after the conference and spent them hiking and camping on the Appalachian Trail near Bennington, VT. Sunday night I lay out under the night sky on and listened to the wind gust up the valley and over the ridge all night and lost count of all the shooting stars. I woke up the second morning in the Melville Nauheim Lean-to to find the forest transformed by snow! Sometimes taking time to get myself a little lost in nature is just the medicine the doctor’s ordered.
On Wednesday it was back to civilization for my first show at the legendary Caffe Lena! I taped a performance and interview with WEXT’s Chris Wienk that aired the same day – he was a real treat to work with. Also, if you missed it, here’s the little Nippertown.com piece where I tell some stories about my very first band…
Looking forward, I’ll be up in Middlebury playing at 51 Main this Friday night. Send your friends, it’s free entry, great food and drink. I’ll be playing from 9-11 PM. I’m back in NYC on December 8th to perform for the 10th Annual Advent Hope Benefit Concert, proceeds to assist Hurrican Sandy relief efforts. That starts off at 7 PM at 111 E 87th St. The Winter Solstice will find me performing a special holiday show at The Tin Angel in Philadelphia on Friday, December 21st, with an as-yet un-named special guest. Get your tickets early folks! In the New Year, I’ll be down in the D.C. area for a house concert on January 5th, and up at the Acoustic Long Island series on February 6th. And Keep your ears peeled for news about The Hinterhaus release this winter!
My dear friends,
Spring has sprung and new beginnings abound. I’ve been listening to a few versions of The Hinterhaus master and am chomping at the bit to share this music with you! Look for an official release sometime around September. As a teaser, I hope you enjoy this video of a live, solo performance of the title track at the Kito Theatre and Museum in Bremen, Germany in January:
In the spirit of trying new things and being adventurous, I’ll be joining the talents of Liz Filios and Tara Demmy in a staged reading of a new play by my dear friend Amelia Longo called True Stories. The performance will be at The Painted Bride in Philadelphia this Wednesday, May 2nd, as part of their Bridal Salon Playreading series and is being directed by Alison Garret. Now, friends, it has been a LONG time since I got up on stage to do anything other than sing and play harp, so if you’d like to take the plunge into uncharted waters with me, I’d welcome your company. The show gets started at 7 PM – $5 gets you in the door AND free food AND free booze (yes, please!). True Stories is a memoir performance that tells the story of a woman struggling with the ideas of truth and expectation in a relationship and in love. It drills down into her experiences to explore the idea of multiple perspectives in one individual; taking direction from the line “The true story is vicious and multiple and untrue after all,” in Margaret Atwood’s poem “True Stories,” it is an active search for truth in a world of multiple possible truths.
I’m also thrilled to be a (small) part of the TedxEast conference in New York City on May 11th (eep!), where I’ll performing a few songs for the conference guests and speakers, including, yep, The Roots.
After that it’s off to Europe again where I’ll be playing a few dates in Germany, thrilled to be sharing the stage again with Stefan Honig. German folks, stay tuned, because I’ll be announcing a few more shows (including Berlin!) in the coming weeks as well as an appearance on Balcony TV, Hamburg.
Fresh of the plane, I’ll play the other side of the river in NJ at Barrington Coffee House on June 22nd, and join Karen Gross & Suzie Brown at the Tin Angel on June 30th in a concert to benefit Girls Rock Philly. July sees me at the Princeton Farmers Market and co-billing with Zack DuPont and The Darling Side downstairs at World Cafe Live, Wilmington: The Queen.
If you want to see/hear more from me, please don’t ever hesitate to get in touch with venue suggestions or house concert inquiries. I’d love to play for you this summer.
Check out this video from NBC Philadelphia’s Music Box series, which features an interview and a sneak peak at two songs from The Hinterhaus!
If you like the video, consider checking out other episodes from the series and sharing your enthusiasm with NBC Philadelphia to ensure that other independent artists can continue being featured! Many thanks to Vincent Gabriel Antonini for producing the series. You can check out lyrics to “The Canonization of Margot Price” and “Back to Your Flat” on the lyrics page!
I’m back home for a few weeks after a long time on the road & hard at work finishing up the cover requests that came in for the Kickstarter campaign. I’ll be posting a new one on my YouTube account in a few days & making some big announcements about the new album soon, but in the mean time, enjoy my version of Yo La Tengo’s “Center of Gravity,” requested by some lovely backers (with excellent taste) in Switzerland. That rendition of the Morrowind Theme is still going strong too – it recently broke 58,000 views!
I’m sitting in our hotel in Manizales, finishing some delicious café con leche, & savoring the last few moments of our time in Colombia. What a whirlwind the beginning of this tour this has been! Since we left San Francisco a week ago, the Ramblers have taken six flights & are about to catch our seventh & eigth this afternoon to Bogota & Quito! Using planes so much for travel has been nice in that it allows us to visit many more cities & schools than we’d otherwise be able to, but it’s been harder for Brendan, who couples an astonishing amount of obscure technical & trivia knowledge about plane models with a mild fear of flying.
Before we take off for Ecuador, I wanted to give you all some highlights of our amazing week in Colombia.
We began our journey in Bucaramanga, where we were met by our effervescent cultural co-ordinater from Bi-National Center, Juliana. We hit the ground running with a workshop at the Escuela Normal Superior with two big classes of enthusiastic (and energetic!) students. We worked off some of that energy by having them jump, walk, run, swim, drive, & ride around the verbs of motion in Old Joe Clark, & then learned some interesting noises for animals in both Colombia & the United States during Old MacDonald. I especially liked learning about the Chiguiro! Also, I’m always excited for the opportunity to showcase my super-realistic chicken sound, cultivated over many afternoons of serious practice as a child. In between the classes, we were offered a refreshing carbonated beverage called Malta that looked for all the world like cola, but tasted like a dead ringer for the milk in your bowl post-Lucky Charms. Brendan, Matt, Jordan, I were reminded of our time in Russia at the end of the class when all the kids rushed us for autographs & facebook contact info.
We were delighted to discover that the venue for our first public concert was the stunning Casa del Libro Total Museum & were well-received by the audience there. Our program ranged from rousing songs about Union scabbers (“Casey Jones”), to ballads about the hardships of growing up in poverty in the Appalachian Mountains (Ola Bella Reed’s “I’ve Endured” & Gillian Welch’s “Red Clay Halo”), to songs about the railroad (“John Henry”) and the range (“Home on the Range”) and heartache (“East Virginia”), to silly children’s songs (“The Fox”), and examples of “contemporary American folk music” when Brendan, Jordan, & I each take a turn playing original compositions. I also like to throw in a traditional Irish song called “The Blackbird,” which provides a good opportunity to introduce the idea of The United States as a nation of immigrants & talk about the relationship between some of the traditional music in America & that of the British Isles.
One of the main ideas behind this project is that, in addition to being a fun way for ESL students to learn through music, we feel that traditional American folk music is a terrific way to share another side of American culture that is perhaps not very well represented by our most pervasive cultural exports (Hollywood films, pop music, MTV, etc). The United States is a vast & complex nation filled with many different people with rich & varied heritage. The stories told in Folk songs are stories about real people, ordinary people, about hardship & joy & suffering & history, & we are as excited about sharing these narratives of American culture with other parts of the world as we are about learning more about the lives & history of our hosts & the students & teachers we encounter.
One of the ways that we like to explore new cultures is through food! Brendan in particular has made it his mission to taste every local specialty cuisine he encounters, which is how we came to sit around a small plastic table, contemplating a bag of fried ants. The ants were much larger than any I’d ever seen – each abdomen section about the size of a small pea – and (I can personally report) are crunchy, salty, & not altogether unpleasant save for the disturbingly tangible legs, which got stuck between my teeth.
After two wonderful, busy days that ended too soon, we packed our bags once again & caught a flight back to Bogota & then to Pereira (interesting fact: we will pass through the Bogota airport three times on this trip without ever actually seeing the capital city itself! Guess that means we’ll have to come back soon for a proper visit). Next update: Pereira!
It’s a cloudy, early morning in San Francisco, and I’m sitting in the kitchen with the day’s first cup of coffee, listening to a quiet house.
I’ve been staying with some friends in Outer Richmond this past week to rehearse with the ESL Folk Project in preparation for our tour in South America. I met Matt, Brendan, & Jordan last summer in Tomsk where we began our first tour, bringing a special program using American Folk music as a cultural supplement for students learning English in Russia. The U.S. State Department loved the project so much, they decided to fund us again for a month-long tour in Colombia, Peru, & Ecuador. It’s the first time that we’ve all been together since Ufa last summer & the reunion has been sweet indeed. Tomorrow morning we’ll catch an early flight to Bogata the adventure begins! We expect to be doing some blogging updates from the road, but I don’t know how regular our internet access will be, so I wanted to write a little post sharing some of the highlights of my past couple weeks in California.
I flew to Los Angeles on April 29th to visit my dear friend Rosy, who had generously offered to host a house concert for me. We spent the weekend cooking & then celebrated May Day with music, a feast featuring dishes from all the countries I’ll be visiting on the ESL Folk tour, & over a hundred guests.
On Monday, fellow Fellow Ted & I visited the Caltech campus to talk about our recent experiences as Thomas J. Watson Fellows on a panel for prospective applicants. Here’s hoping one of their many intriguing proposal ideas gets funded next year! We drove down to San Diego & spent a couple days learning ridiculous covers on harp & guitar, playing them for dear distant friends on Skype, & sampling the finest fish taco stands in the city. Ted also treated me with a breakfast of matzo brie, which is kind of like Jewish French toast (and totally delicious).
I took the train up from SD back to LA (and, as always when traveling public transit with my harp, talked to lots of curious strangers) & then caught a rideshare to San Francisco with a woman who managed to fit me, my harp (in flight crate), & a young australian woman fresh from the airport into her Prius! I was dropped off in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood just in time to play another house concert for a super fun audience featuring a surprising number of AmeriCorps volunteers. By midnight, I’d made my weary way to Outer Richmond where the ESL Folk Project has been living & rehearsing this past week.
We’ve been working hard, logging several 9 hour days of solid rehearsal, learning lots of new material & lesson plans for the students we are *super* excited to meet in Peru, Colombia, & Ecuador. This time around, the U.S. State Department is organizing several large public concerts in addition to our schedule with the schools, so we’ve put together an entirely new program! Some of my favorites to learn have been John Henry, Red Clay Halo, Old Joe Clark, In the Pines, & Casey Jones.
In our spare time, we’ve managed to share several delicious meals (Jordan’s a wizard with a cast iron skillet) & visit the Sutro Baths, a 19th Century swimming facility that now lies in ruins on the Pacific Coast, not far from the house where we’ve been staying. When not making a hootenanny in the living room with the guys, I’ve also been learning cover song requests from a kickstarter campaign for my next solo album, locking myself in the (acoustically pleasing & quiet) bathroom to make iMovie recordings, & posting them on YouTube. One of the covers, a version of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Theme on harp, was picked up by the online gaming community & went viral, making this one of the most viewed bathrooms in San Francisco! Big love & thanks to Reddit.com, RipTen.com, Kotaku.com, The Elder Scrolls facebook & twitter feeds, bit-tech.net, & thousands of individuals for spreading the video like wildfire. I stayed up late last night learning the Ultima Online Theme (which was one of the earliest follow-up requests from Reddit.com) & posted it on YouTube this morning as a gesture of my deep gratitude for the outpouring of support that’s come from the gaming community over the past few days.
We’ve already started getting some press coverage in South America, like this article: Ramblin’ Across the Andes.. Time to get back to packing – looking forward to sharing our stories from the road!
P.S. My next concerts in the U.S. will be on Monday, June 13th at the Rockwood Music Hall in NYC & Saturday, June 18th at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia. The Tin Angel shows have been selling out, so if you’re interested in coming, be sure to reserve your tickets in advance!
Video cameras are cruel and unforgiving creatures, but I’ve braved the cyclops on a few occasions in the past few weeks and done a bit of filming. Since it’ll likely be a few more weeks of editing before anything gets posted online, I thought I’d share some behind-the-scenes still photographs from the shoots with you.
I spent the last weekend of January in NYC working with Jazeel Gayle on a music video for Silken String. We built an enormous tent out of satin ribbon, kind of like a may pole sans the phallic fertility symbol. In case you were wondering what 50 yards worth of ribbon looks like, this is it:
I don’t want give too much away before the video comes out, but here are a couple other images from the shoot:
The other shoot I did was a taping for a new NBC Philadelphia series called Inside the Music Box. Gabriel Antonini invited me to come by the NBC Philadelphia studios, play a couple songs and give an interview. Filming always makes me nervous, but I really had a blast working with these guys.
I’ll let you know when the final products are posted online and ready for prime time.
P.S. Notice anything different? I’ve started playing standing up!