Singing Together - A Community Sing Workshop with Mark Growden
1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road
Saxapahaw, NC, 27340
Doors 10:30AM / Show 11:00AM (event ends at 12:30 pm)
Singing Together - A Community Sing with Mark Growden
Experience the soulfulness and joy of singing as a community in this inclusive 1.5 hour workshop with composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Mark Growden. Come play, dance, and celebrate as we join our voices in song.
We will sing songs from various folk traditions from around the world, including gospel songs from the American South, Irish ballads, and South African part songs, as well as songs composed by Growden and other contemporary composers specifically to be sung by groups.
All levels of experience are welcome. People who may be nervous about singing are particularly encouraged to attend.
Dress comfortably, as we will be moving.
Mark Growden is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter, record producer, visual artist, and the artistic director of the Marigny Opera House. He has ten years of experience teaching music in schools, leads Singing Together workshops across the country, and performs solo and with ensembles. Mark has devoted his life to making music for other people, and to helping other people make music for themselves. See more at markgrowden.org
$10-20 sliding scale. No one turned away for lack of funds.
Children are welcome at no charge. (Children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult).
BIO:"I grew up in an old logging town, less than a hundred people, on the Sierra Nevada/Cascade Divide," says musician Mark Growden. Lose Me in the Sand is a tribute to Growden's rural mountain roots. His latest album is also a hats-off to the roughshod beginnings of American music and the spirit that music represents. Growden chose the banjo as the primary instrument for Lose Me in the Sand for both ...its timbre and history. An African-American instrument that made its way into minstrel shows and Appalachian folk music, the banjo resonates in our collective consciousness with the memory of poverty, oppression, resilience, and fortitude. "I'm aware of the choice of these songs and the era we're living in," says Growden. "Lose Me in the Sand is a banjo album. It's about humility."
Rehearsed and recorded in live studio sessions in Tucson, Arizona, Lose Me in the Sand is intentionally infused with the desert's eternal expanse. Its sparse arrangements are steeped in the enduring qualities of patience, surrender and acceptance. Lose Me in the Sand is Growden's second place-based album with Porto Franco Records engineered by Oz Fritz (whose resume includes Tom Waits and Caetano Veloso). It follows on the heels of his Oakland recording of Saint Judas, a bold and highly praised exploration of universal love and redemption.
Each of Growden's albums have been recorded in a place where Growden felt the songs fit – a place where the musical culture and physical landscape would enhance the album's ambience. Saint Judas was informed by the soulful complexity of Oakland's cosmopolitan cityscape and Growden's long-standing Oakland/San Francisco ensemble (Seth Ford Young – bass, Myles Boisen – guitar, Jenya Chernoff – percussion, Alex Kelly – cello, Chris Grady – trumpet, Mark Growden – accordion, banjo, bicycle handlebars, sruti box, voice). Lose Me in the Sand is rooted in Tucson's country music scene, with guitarist Clay Koweek, fiddler Tim O'Connor, dobro player Connor Gallaher, bassist Ian Stapp, harmonica player Tom Wallbank and guest percussionist Andrew Collberg contributing their homegrown sensibilities. With Growden as music director, the arrangements grew from guided improvisations. Each musician crafted riffs to add nuance and depth to the interpretations.
Mark Growden began his musical career scoring instrumental pieces for dance and theater companies including Joe Goode Performance Group and The Crucible. His work with Alonzo King's LINES Contemporary Ballet won the Isadora Duncan Award for Best Original Score for a New Dance Piece. "I am first and foremost trained as an avant garde saxophonist and as a composer," explains Growden. "My job is to take traditions and turn them on their heads - to break the traditions and to innovate." The skill of his artistry is exemplified in the covers and traditional songs on Lose Me in the Sand. Growden doesn't cover others' songs, as much as he uncovers them. With sly intelligence he draws out what was always there, but we failed to hear, challenging us to recognize what our favorite songs actually say to us - and about us. Growden reworks Aretha Franklin's first hit, and sings it back to her in "You Ain't Never Been Loved." With a wry sense of the paradoxical truths in human relationships, he counters her agonizing "I guess I'll never be free, since you got your hooks in me" with a candid "You've never been so free as when you got hooked on me." More than a she said, he said rendition, Growden's rewrite illuminates the story. Franklin's recording won't sound the same again. In his version of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," where the melody rises, Growden twists it down. He pushes Springsteen's fever-pitched freight train click-clack into low gear, sinking the emotions. Then, he carves the marrow out of the 1980's hit with a few deft lyrical changes. "Can he do to you the things that I do?" deepens as "Does he do to you the things I don't do." The phrase, "Only you can cool my desire" is cut to leave a hollow haunted by an ingenious wail - the only place in the song where the harmonica sounds.
The arrangements on Lose Me in the Sand move with a deliberately measured tempo, accentuated by two exceptions. Growden's "John Hardy" runs with frantic desperation when he frees the traditional melody to release the full force of anguish in this tale about a man who runs from the law. "Settle in a Little While," one of four original songs on the album, skips and stutters with abandon, even as it speaks of commitment. But overall, Lose Me in the Sand moves slowly, and the references to time scattered throughout its lyrics gravitate towards an enduring, steadfast calm. Inspired by prison work songs, Growden's "Takin' My Time" takes the grunts and hammers of toiling men and transforms them with boot stomps and a male chorus into the slow ecstasy of love made right. "Killing Time" traces the recent history of Growden's hometown of Pinetown (aka Oldtown), California and nearby Westwood, where "the pines just sigh, while the wallets run dry." It chronicles the despair of the times against a majestic backdrop of winging geese and a proud Paul Bunyan. "When I sing this song at home, people cry," says Growden.
The album's closing track is a final comment on present times. Growden's mash up of Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" stands as a critique on America's love affair with materialism. Lest patriots find offense it should be noted that Francis Scott Key borrowed the tune from a popular 18th century British ode to wine and women to create the Star Spangled Banner. Growden's reinterpretation follows Key's step. Married to "Molly Rose Waltz," a tune by two-time National Fancy Fiddle Champion Hyram Posey, it is as sweetly American as Lady Liberty's apple pie.
Growden's musical influences are broad. His parents relied on Motown vinyl to rock him to sleep as a baby. Growing up, he sang in his father's church, played saxophone in elementary, middle and high school bands and discovered death rock and the alternative music scene as a teen. These days Growden listens to contemporary classical and jazz music and Alan Lomax field recordings. But, the underlying quality heard in his music has roots elsewhere. "I grew up with a lot of alone time - in the woods and wilderness - with coyotes, trumpeter swans, geese, deer and antelope," says Growden. His music moves with a natural flow reminiscent of the patterned hushes in bird trills and blowing winds. Lose Me in the Sand croons, howls, stutters, laughs, and runs, but always around a central stillness. Growden uses music to carve out silences most of us don't pause to hear.
"My vision is to inspire people," says Growden. "Making music with people is an incredibly powerful feeling....seeing people open up.... that's important to me," Growden says. "Music's been my best friend. When I've been down, it's a salve. It's been an amazing blessing in my life. I'm really grateful, and I have to share that with other people. It's just what I'm here to do."