Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Songbag-a-Day update

If you were following my Songbag-a-Day project, you've noticed that I haven't posted songs in a few days. Don't worry, I'm still recording a folksong a day. I'm going to post them in chunks from now on to save myself a little bit of time and energy. Plus, since a lot of folks use this website to check on Red Yarn's shows, I didn't want to bury my schedule where folks can't find it. Stay tuned, more songs from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag to come!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January/February news

Hello! Here's an update about my school offerings and my show/event schedule, with more out-of-town library shows and a few changes in my regular gigs. Please note my special show at Lilikoi Coffee tomorrow, Monday, from 10-10:45am, and the next Family Jam at Friendly House on Friday, February 8. 

School Performances & Residencies:
I recently added a performance program to the Young Audiences roster. It's called "The Deep Woods: Animals in American Folksongs" and it's geared toward PK-3rd graders. If your child's school is looking for an engaging musical puppet performance for an assembly or family night, please recommend me! I continue to offer my "Folk Song Puppet Show" residency through YA, and I joined the Right Brain Initiative's roster of teaching artists in the fall. I should be available for residencies/performances through Right Brain in the spring.

Regular Show Schedule:
Cafe au Play
Tuesdays, 10:30-11am. $3/walking person.

Woodlawn Swap'n'Play
2nd & 4th Wednesdays, 10-10:45am. $5/family.

Thursdays, 10:15-11am. $5/child (free for adults). 

Fridays, 10-10:45am. $5/family.

Milagros Boutique has been Fridays, 3:30-4:15pm. 
January 18 will be my last Friday afternoon there for a while, as I'm starting a new afterschool class at Bridlemile. In February and March I'll be at Milagros on the 1st & 3rd Wednesday mornings, 10-10:45am(alternating with Woodlawn Swap'n'Play). We'll see how that goes and possibly switch back to Fridays afternoons in April. $3/walking person.

Special Shows & Events:
This Monday, January 14 at Lilikoi Coffee 
10-10:45am. 2620 SE Powell Blvd. $5/family suggested donation. This sweet spot is booking more family entertainment lately, so I'm happy to have a chance to perform there.
Thursday, January 31, "The Deep Woods" at Canby Public Library
6:30-7:15pm. 292 N. Holly, Canby OR 97013. Free!
Monday, February 4 at World Forestry Center
10-10:45am. Mommy & Me MondaysIncluded with museum admission.
Friday, February 8, "Family Jam" at Friendly House
6:30-7:30pm. $5-$10 suggested donation per family. After the great success of the first Family Jam in November, we're making this a more regular event. Families are invited to bring acoustic instruments for a raucous all-ages jam session. All skill levels are welcome!
Saturday, February 9, "A Horse Named Bill" at Albina Library
10:30-11:15am. 3605 NE 15th Avenue. Free!
Join children’s performer Red Yarn and his best friend – a talking horse named Bill – for this engaging musical puppet show. Audiences will journey across the country with Bill and Red, sharing adventures through a mystical desert to the Wild West as Red Yarn weaves classic horse songs together with puppetry and interactive storytelling.
Tuesday, February 12, "Boogie Woogie Concert" at Salem Library
10:30-11:15am. 585 Liberty St SE, Salem, OR 97301. Free!
Tuesday, February 19, "Bob Rabbit on Mr. Man's Farm
    at Sunnyside Library in Clackamas County
6:30-7:15pm. 13793 Southeast Sieben Park Way, Clackamas, OR 97015. Free!

Thanks for your ongoing support. Follow me on Facebook for more regular updates. I hope to see you and your family at a show or event soon!

Andy Furgeson
Red Yarn Productions

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Songbag-a-Day 9

The Monkey's Wedding

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Songbag-a-Day 8

Sweet Betsy From Pike

Monday, January 7, 2013

Songbag-a-Day 7

Turkey in the Straw

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Songbag-a-Day 6

Frankie and Johnny

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Songbag-a-Day 2

In 2010 I participated in the Artclash Collective's Fun-a-Day challenge with my Lomax-a-Day project. Each day in January I adapted a folksong from Alan Lomax' 1960 Folk Songs of North America, recorded it on Garage Band, wrote an analysis and posted it on my blog. This project changed my life. It inspired my to start me the Red Yarn blog, which grew into my folk music and puppetry side-project, which grew into my new, fulfilling career. This year I'm doing a similar project, but with Carl Sandburg's 1927 The American Songbag.

Sandburg was a true American Bard, the kind that Walt Whitman called for in his introduction to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. In the early 20th century Sandburg toured the midwest lecturing on Whitman, reading Whitman's poems, and eventually sharing his own poetry. In 1910 he bought a guitar and began mixing American folksongs into his performances. In 1921 he wrote to a friend, "I am reading poems and singing Casey Jones, Steamboat Bill, and medleys... This whole thing is only in its beginnings, America knowing its songs." Sandburg's song collection soon took shape into The American Songbag, a sprawling anthology of "pioneer, railroad, work-gang, hobo, Irish, Negro, Mexican, gutter, Gossamer songs, chants and ditties."

Since college I've been obsessed with Whitman's idea of the American Bard. My senior thesis project explored Bob Dylan's fulfillment of the bardic project. My former band Bark Hide and Horn's 2008 album National Road attempted to give voice to the voiceless people and animals of old magazine articles. Red Yarn is my unabashed attempt to create a bard persona accessible to the younger generation. I am deeply committed to "America knowing its songs."

I am also excited to embark on another grand and public mistranslation of the American folk vernacular. While I'm loosely familiar with much of the material I'll explore over the next month, I am deliberately avoiding other recordings of these songs. Unlike Lomax's collection, the Songbag doesn't have guitar chords, only piano arrangements. So I teach myself just the top line--the melody--and develop a chord progression by ear. With this method I hope to synthesize my amateur knowledge of traditional folk music with my own musical sensibilities and whims.

Yesterday I recorded "The Boll Weevil Song," a song Sandburg learned from Alan Lomax's father John. Today "I Ride an Old Paint." I hope to dig into song analysis as I go, but with my busy schedule I'm making no promises beyond the recordings. Enjoy!

I Ride an Old Paint

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Songbag-a-Day 1

The Boll Weevil Song