Anais Mitchell with Bridget Kearney & Benjamin Lavar Davis

Anais Mitchell with Bridget Kearney & Benjamin Lavar Davis
Event on 2015-12-05 20:00:00

Anaïs Mitchell is first and foremost a storyteller. As a Vermont-based singer-songwriter, Mitchell recorded for Ani Difranco's Righteous Babe Records for several years before starting her own Wilderland label in 2012. Among her recorded works are five full-length albums, including 2010's sensationally-reviewed Hadestown– a folk opera based on the Orpheus myth– and 2012's Young Man in America, which was described by the UK's Independent as 'an epic tale of American becoming' and for which she received a BBC Radio Two Folk Award nomination for Best Original Song. 

Mitchell has headlined worldwide as well as supporting tours for Bon Iver, Ani Difranco, The Low Anthem (all of whom appear as guest singers on Hadestown), Richard Thompson, Josh Ritter and Punch Brothers. Her most recent release, Child Ballads, a collaboration with Jefferson Hamer, is a collection of traditional Celtic and British Isles ballads, and is nominated for two BBC Radio Two Folk Awards including Best Album.

If there's a common thread in Mitchell's work– from her earliest acoustic records, to the Hadestown opera, to this new chapter– it's that she's as interested in the world around her as the one inside her. She has a way of tackling big themes with the same emotional intimacy most artists use to describe their inner lives. "That's why," as one journalist put it, "even in her most intimate moments, she never sounds like a confessional songwriter."

Anais Mitchell

Bridget Kearney and Benjamin Lazar Davis' first E.P., Bawa, was written, produced and recorded in a two week flurry of manic creativity inspired by the physical and musical environment of it's location: Accra, Ghana. Kearney and Davis set out from Brooklyn in January 2014 with little more than two guitars and a couple of phone numbers to call upon arrival. The series of happy accidents that led to them finding a teacher,  an engineer, and a studio to make this music together was nothing short of miraculous. Though what led up to this outpouring started many years earlier and many miles away.

Kearney and Davis first met in 2004 when both were students at The New England Conservatory and Davis was in the habit of knocking on practice room doors at random in search of potential musical partners. As Kearney sees it, this strange ritual was actually a great way for Davis to find like-minded musicians, "Ben is so insatiably creative and intuitive that the musicians who work best with him are the type that will see that about him, drop everything and go on whatever adventure he has in store."

Bridget Kearney and Benjamin Lazar Davis' Bawa E.P. captures a unique cross-cultural collaboration, and a combination of sounds never heard together before. There is a tangible feeling of freshness and inspiration in these songs, which were composed and recorded directly in the wake of an intense period of learning music that, however foreign, resonated deeply with both musicians. In the words of Kearney, "The whole experience of making this record was so positive and affirming of our belief in music and humanity. We went out into the world as empty handed strangers and came back in three weeks with a wealth of new ideas and friendships that will last a lifetime. Why? Music. It's powerful stuff."

Bridget Kearney and Benjamin Lazar Davis

7pm doors | 8pm show | adv. | day of

at One Longfellow Square
131 State Street Su 201
Portland, United States

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