A Songwriters Book Club
What exactly is a songwriters book club, you ask? The original idea possibly originated in Brooklyn, New York, several years ago with The Bushwick Book Club, which gathered members monthly to hear original songs written in response to and/or inspired by a common book. This idea has extended to other cities, including Seattle, where The Bushwick Book Club of Seattle has taken the idea a step further to incorporate outreach education to local schools in addition to its regular shows.
For this special event, we are bringing the idea of a songwriters book club to Artichoke, but - like Seattle - with our own spin on the original idea. Our artists will be presenting new, original composition inspired by the Multnomah County Library's 2018 Everybody Reads selection: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.
Exit West tells the story of two refugees seeking to escape their war-torn country. Just when it seems all hope is lost, mysterious doors begin to appear around their city that act as portals to other cities of the world. What happens when you walk through? What would you leave behind? What does migration look like in the story of one person?
In addition to our musical artists, special guests will share their reflections on Exit West, as it relates to their own stories of migration to the United States.
Following the first half of the show, which will focus on the book, the second half will feature Avery Hill, Wes Weddell, and Maria Olaya as songwriters in the round, sharing additional songs that reflect on how literature interacts with songwriting and/or continuing on the theme of migration and the refugee experience.
Family lore has it you could hear AVERY HILL before she came out the womb. Since then, she's taken a winding but decided road into her singular style of what she calls story-singing, integrating memorable images and characters with lyrical poise and clarity. Her most recent album, Dreams & Ghosts: A Family Album (2015), hit the top 10 on all the Folk DJ charts and took her touring across the country with the stories and songs of her family's history. Most recently, she is Artichoke's Outreach Director, and leads a thriving teaching practice here in Portland, called Song by Song, teaching ukulele classes for adults and children.
Music: www.averyhilltunes.com Teaching: www.learnsongbysong.com
WES WEDDELL joins us from Seattle, WA, where he has been a part of the working musician scene for almost 20 years. Since his debut album My Northwest Home (2001), many more stages, albums, collaborations and honors have followed. Most notable, perhaps, is his deep involvement with The Bushwick Book Club Seattle, a collective of songwriters and artists who write and perform original works inspired by a different literary selection each month. Songs from this catalogue make up his most recent album, Nobody's Flag (2015), a full-band effort firmly in the rootsy-Americana vein. A native of Pullman, WA, is also an avide baseball fan and mountain huckleberry picker.
From the time she was a child in Colombia, MARIA OLAYA was captivated by the sound of the Spanish guitar. Every time she learned a new chord, she would run through her neighborhood to show all her friends. Formal music study began in high school, and continued through a Master's degree in guitar performance, which originally brought her the United States. Since then, she has been teaching and performing music first in Minneapolis, MN and now in Oregon. She says: "For me, music has always been a means for genuine connection with others, a means to experience transcendence and connect to our humanness. I feel a deep sense of purpose helping other people find their own journey of inspiration and joy through music, and that desire fuels my creativity ..."
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