Daily Discovery: Women Who Rock

Post written by  Forrester Tamkun, Music & Sound Lab Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Women Who Rock

Throughout history there has always been amazing and strong women. Here are a few such woman who made their mark in the Music Industry.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Rebecca Parton was born on January 19th, 1946, in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. She was the fourth of twelve children in a poor farming family. However, from a young age she showed a high aptitude toward music and would ultimately pioneer the emergence of fusing the genres of country and pop. Upon high school graduation, Dolly set off toward the music Mecca of Nashville, where here musical career began to blossom.

In Nashville, Parton became the protégée of Porter Wagoner, a star of the Grand Ole Opry. Working with Wagoner gathered attention toward Parton and she quickly became one of country’s most popular singers. Parton launched her solo career in 1974 and released her critically acclaimed song “Jolene.” She was chosen as female singer of the year by the Country Music Association (CMA) for 1975 and 1976. In 1978, Dolly began expressing her poppy side with her song “Here You Come Again,” which won her a Grammy. That same year she was declared entertainer of the year by CMA, speaking odes to her convergence of the two musical styles.

Click here to listen to “Jolene” by Dolly Parton.

Parton would continue to win Grammy’s and awards throughout her musical career and was inducted in 1999 into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Aside from heavy success in the musical realm, Parton has acted in several successful films as well as made guest appearances on many films and television shows.

She has also notably been very charitable in her life as well. In 1988 she created the Dollywood Foundation which aimed to provide educational resources and inspiration for children. She was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2004 for her enrichment of American cultural heritage.

Aretha Franklin

Perhaps one of the most distinguishable female voices in music is Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul was born Aretha Louise Franklin in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 25th, 1942. Her father, C.L. Franklin was a Baptist minister at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit for over thirty years. He was known to have a “Million-Dollar Voice” which seemingly passed onto Aretha as she grew up singing in church and learning to play the piano by ear, culminating in complete understanding of the correct tones and pitches.

Aretha signed with Columbia Records at the mere age of 18 and released her first song and album, reaching up to 10 on the billboard. In 1966 she signed with Atlantic Records and released her monumental hit song “Respect.” She released three more top ten hits through Atlantic Records and won her first two Grammy’s. Not only did Aretha achieve musical success, but she was consistently a voice that spread the importance of equality, peace, and justice for Americans.

Click here to listen to “Respect” by Arethra Franklin.

Aretha set history as the first woman to be inducted in the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. Her 1972 album, Amazing Grace, is the best-selling gospel album of all time. Franklin collaborated with countless other musicians throughout her life, including George Michael, Elton John, and James Brown. She too appeared in film, most famously alongside Ray Charles and James Brown in the hit feature film The Blues Brothers, in 1980.

The Queen of Soul will always resonate as one of the most powerful voices in music history. Her music and what it stood for will echo the dire importance of racial equality and justice in society.

Joan Jett

Aretha set history as the first woman to be inducted in the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. Her 1972 album, Amazing Grace, is the best-selling gospel album of all time. Franklin collaborated with countless other musicians throughout her life, including George Michael, Elton John, and James Brown. She too appeared in film, most famously alongside Ray Charles and James Brown in the hit feature film The Blues Brothers, in 1980.

Click here to listen to “I Love Rock n’ Roll by Joan Jett.

The success of The Runaways helped Joan Jett go solo in the late 1970’s. However, it was the band she would form after her solo career that would really help Jett take off in music history. In 1980, Jett formed the group Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. The band’s most famous song, “I Love Rock N’ Roll,” is become a staple in the history of the genre. It was released in 1981 and was the top song on the Billboard charts for seven weeks straight. It is in fact Billboard’s number 56th song of all time and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016.

Joan Jett herself was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Her albums have achieved either gold or platinum awards. On top of achieved monumental fame and success in the music, she is also an inspiration for other realms. She has consistently been a prominent feminist icon and animal activist throughout her life. She will forever be a symbol of Rock N’ Rock and feminine strength that helped push the fresh roots of rock music into Earth.

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell was a Canadian experimental singer-songwriter who was once described as the “Yang to Bob Dylan’s Yin, equaling him in richness and profusion of imagery.” She was born on November 7, 1943, under the original name Roberta Joan Anderson, in Fort McLeod, Alberta, Canada. She studied art in her hometown until 1964 when she moved to Toronto. There she began performing at local clubs and coffeehouses, and had a brief manage to folksinger Chuck Mitchell. In 1967, Joni Mitchell relocated to New York City where she made her debut album, Songs to Seagull. Her first album was produced by David Crosby and was a massive success with much attention paid toward its maturity of lyrics.

With each following release Mitchell’s popularity and following grew. Clouds in 1969 won a Grammy for best folk performance and Blue in 1971 was her first million-selling album. Mitchell’s career has not slowed throughout her life. She has released a total of 19 studio albums and 3 live albums. She is without a doubt one of the first women in modern rock to achieve a longevity of critical recognition. She inspired countless artists including Bob Dylan, Prince, Suzanne Vega, and Alanis Morissette. She was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll hall of fame in 1997 and in 2002 won a Grammy Award for a lifetime achievement.

Click here to listen to “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell.

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Daily Discovery: Women Who Changed the Music Industry

Post written by  Goose Seifert, Music & Sound Lab Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Women Who Changed the Music Industry

Historically, women and their contributions to music have been very overlooked in the music industry. Let’s take a look at a few women who molded various genres and eras with their music!

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown is a singer, songwriter, and actress born in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1928. Ruth started singing in nightclubs and performing with Lucky Millinder’s orchestra in 1945, taking a different path than her church choir director father, who did not want his daughter listening to “the devil’s music.” After a disc jockey saw Ruth play with Duke Ellington, he told the higher ups at Atlantic Records what talent he had seen. Not long after, Ruth suffered from a car crash and signed to Atlantic Records while in bed at the hospital! After recovering, she released her first song, “So Long” which reached #6 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart. Following that in 1950, Ruth peaked the charts as #1 with the new release “Teardrops from my Eyes.” After this, Ruth was acknowledged as the queen of R&B, as well as “Miss Rhythm.” Her releases afterwards continued to top the R&B charts, and they stayed up there for a while. Because of Ruth’s great success, she became a household name and was responsible for Atlantic being the foremost label of the genre.

Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline was a country singer born in Winchester, Virginia in 1932. Patsy began performing on the local radio station at age 15, and in a local band occasionally appearing on country television channels. After performing “Walkin’ After Midnight” on CBS’s Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, she had her first hit on country and pop charts, gaining national recognition. She began to work under Decca Records in 1960, which led to her first country billboard chart #1- “I Fall to Pieces” released in 1961. Next, she released “Crazy,” which also became a huge hit. Patsy also performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry country radio broadcasts in Nashville. As her success was rising, the country music industry competed with the rock and roll industry, adopting more pop elements to appeal to more mainstream audiences. Patsy, who favored traditional country, continued to dress in western clothing and include yodeling in her music, bridging traditional country music with modern pop successfully. Patsy’s life ended suddenly in a plane crash in 1963, while she was 30 years old, however her legacy lives on, as she was the first woman inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame, documentaries about her life have been produced, and her childhood home was turned into a museum.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross is a singer, actress, and record producer born in Detroit, Michigan in 1944. Her success emerged as lead vocalist of the Supremes, a vocal trio signed to Motown that quickly became the first U.S. group to have five songs in a row reach #1. The group went on to have 12 total chart toppers, the most billboard #1’s that an American group had in history! Around 1969, Diana left The Supremes to start a solo career, and continued her success by reaching #1 with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Following that, she had three other tracks reach #1 in the 70’s as she was also branching out and acting. In 1976, Billboard Magazine titled her as “Female Entertainer of the Century.” Diana continued to release pop records in the 80’s with a few more chart toppers, and returned to Motown for a couple records producing singles that gained international success. She sang lead on a top 75 hit for 33 consecutive years in the U.K. from 1964 to 1996. In 1993, she was declared the most successful female musician in history by the Guiness Book of World Records for her total of 70 hit singles in the Supremes and as a solo artist!

Suzi Quatro

Suzi Quatro is a musician and actress born into a musical family in Detroit, Michigan in 1950. Suzi was raised studying classical piano and percussion, and started a band with her older sister at age 14, fronting the band with vocals and bass. This band toured and released singles over a few years, until Suzi accepted a solo contract from producer Mickie Most. From there, Suzi worked with songwriters Chinn and Chapman to produce “Can the Can,” which reached #1 in 1973 and sold 2.5 million copies. She continued to release hits and was featured in the British Charts for 101 weeks between 1973 and 1980. Suzi then expanded her career into acting where she played roles in TV series and then hosted her own talk show. Throughout the 90’s, Suzi continued to release records, and began a radio career with BBC in 1999 that still continues today. In 2006, Suzi was nominated for broadcaster of the year at the Sony awards. While Suzi is successful in multiple areas of her career, she is widely recognized as the first female frontwoman to also play bass in rock and roll, paving the way for more female rock pioneers such as the Runaways and Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads.

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Daily Discovery: Explore Origami- Fold Your Own Music Note/Descubrimiento en casa: Explora el arte del origami- cómo hacer una nota musical

Post written by Eisen Tamkun, Music Education Lead.

Daily Discovery: Explore Origami- Fold Your Own Music Note

Just like any other language, music can be written down. Instead of letters making words, musicians write down music using notes! Create your own music note using the amazing art of Origami.

Supplies:

  • 8 ½” by 11” paper
  • Clear tape
  • Coloring pencils or markers

Instructions:

  1. Start by folding the paper taco style. Be sure you press down every fold!
  2. Fold your paper again.
  3. Next, three inches from the right side make a diagonal fold across the back.
  4. . Now flip the paper around so the tab is sticking up on the left side. And make another taco fold, folding up from the bottom!
  5. Fold the tab out and refold it tucking it to the left side.
  6. Fold the two corners of the tab back.
  7. Take the top 2 ½ in. of the shaft and fold diagonal in the opposite direction of the tab. And then unfold.
  8. Now push the fold in forward splitting this new tab in half and bending back.
  9. Congrats you have made your very own music note origami! All that’s left is to color tape it up.
  10. Give your music note a good coloring on both sides. And then tape all the folds shut!

Great job! You’ve learned how to fold an origami music note. Keep reading for brief facts on Origami!

Origami- History, Facts, and Legend

Origami is the art of folding uncut pieces of paper in shapes such as birds and animals. First appearing in 17th century Japan, Origami has become a popular activity around the globe. The word is derived from ori- meaning “folded” and –kami, meaning “paper”.

There are thousands of origami creations; from mice and fish, to houses and balloons, the possibilities are practically endless! Explore the world through origami creations. Find patterns and more with a simple web search.

Probably the most famous origami sculpture is the Japanese Crane. There is a legend which states whoever folds a thousand cranes will have their heart’s desire come true. A thousand cranes is called senbazuru in Japanese. If you are feeling up to the challenge of creating a thousand cranes, or even just one, visit this website and give it a shot!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

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Image Credit: Pinterest

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Bohemian.

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Explora el arte del origami- cómo hacer una nota musical

Como cualquier otro idioma, la música se puede escribir y  entender. En vez de usar letras para formar palabras, los músicos escriben notas para expresar frases musicales. Crea tu propia nota musical usando las técnicas maravillosas del origami.

Artículos necesarios:

  • Hoja de papel tamaño carta (8 ½” por 11”)
  • Cinta adhesiva transparente
  • Lápices de color o marcadores

Instrucciones:

  1. Empieza doblando el papel a la mitad, asegurándote que el doblez esté bien definido.
  2. Dobla el papel de nuevo pero a lo largo.
  3. Haz un doblez diagonal de tres pulgadas (7.5 centímetros) del lado izquierdo.
  4. Voltea la hoja de papel para que el doblez que hiciste en el paso anterior esté boca arriba al lado izquierdo. Agarra el papel desde abajo y dobla el largo otra vez a la mitad.
  5. Saca la lengüeta pequeña hacia afuera. Dóblala hacia adentro, situándola dentro de tu nota al lado izquierdo.
  6. Dobla las equinas para formar la cabeza de tu nota musical.
  7. Para formar el corchete de tu nota musical, usa la parte superior y haz un doblez en la dirección opuesta de la cabeza. Debe medir 2.5 pulgadas (6 centímetros).
  8. Por último, desdobla el corchete y empuja el doblez hacia adentro, dividiéndolo a la mitad y doblando hacia atrás.
  9. Colorea tu nota musical de cada lado. No te olvides
    pegar todos los dobleces con cinta adhesiva.

¡Buen trabajo! Ya aprendiste cómo doblar una nota musical de origami. ¡Sigue leyendo para aprender algunos datos curiosos sobre este gran arte!

Origami – Historia, datos, y leyenda

Origami es el arte de doblar retazos de papel en distintas formas como pájaros y otros animales sin cortarlos. Originando en Japón durante el siglo 17, el origami se ha vuelto una actividad practicada en varias regiones del mundo. La palabra se deriva de las raíces ori- que significa “doblado” y –kami, que significa “papel.”

Hay miles de formas que puedes crear con origami; desde ratoncitos, peces, casas hasta globos, ¡las posibilidades son infinitas! Podrías explorar el mundo a través de esta técnica. En el internet puedes encontrar infinidad de guías y plantillas para practicar.

La escultura más famosa del origami es la Grulla Japonesa. Una antigua leyenda japonesa nos dice que, si logras hacer mil grullas de origami, tu más grande deseo se cumplirá. Las mil grullas de origami se llaman senbazuru en japonés. Si quieres aprender cómo hacer una Grulla Japonesa o completar el reto de senbazuru, visita este sitio web: https://origami.me/crane/

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

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Musicians from Colorado/ Músicos de Colorado

Post written by Eisen Tamkun, Music Programming Lead.

Musicians from Colorado

Colorado has produced some amazing musicians. Explore these groups and individuals! Learn where they are based, interesting tidbits, and more!

Pretty Lights

Band Members (current): Derek Vincent Smith- Born Nov. 25, 1981, Fort Collins, CO

Formed: Boulder, CO 2004

Genre: Electronic

Top Album: A Color Map of the Sun

OneRepublic

Formed in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2002, OneRepublic has won several music awards with many nominations. Including nominations for American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, World Music Awards, and Grammy Awards.

Band Members (current): Ryan Tedder,, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Brent Kutzle, Eddie Fisher, Brian Willett.

Genre: Pop Rock, Pop, Alternative Rock.

Top Album: Native

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Currently based in Denver, Colorado. Nathaniel Rateliff grew up in Missouri. When he came to Denver he first formed Born in the Flood (2002-2008), which transitioned into a more stripped down solo focused effort called Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel (2007-2014). In 2013, while still preforming in earlier bands and groups, Rateliff began a more upbeat and soulful project with longtime collaborator Joseph Pope III and other collaborators. Thus Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats was born.

Band Members (current): Nathaniel Rateliff, Joseph Pope III, Patrick Meese, Like Mossman, Jeff Dazey, Mark Shusterman, Andreas Wild.

Genre: Soul, Gospel, Folk Rock, Blues Rock, Americana

Top Album: In Memory Of Loss

Gregory Alan Isakov

Currently based in Boulder, Colorado, Isakov originally lived in Johannesburg, South Africa. He and his family immigrated to the US in 1986 and was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He draws influence from Leonard Cohen, Kelly Joe Phelps, and Bruce Springsteen.

Band Members (current): Gregory Alan Isakov

Genre: Contemporary Folk, Indie Folk, Country Folk

Top Album: This Empty Northern Hemisphere

The Lumineers

Based in Denver, Colorado. The original two founding members Fraites and Schultz began writing and preforming music together in Ramsey, New Jersey in 2005. They were influenced by musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty.

Band Members (current): Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites

Genre: Indie Folk, Folk Rock, Americana

Top Album: The Lumineers

30H!3

Duo from Boulder, Colorado. They took their name from the area code of Boulder, 303.

Band Members (current): Sean Foreman, Nathaniel Motte

Genre: Synth-pop, Crunkcore, Trap, Electronic Rock, Alternative Rock

Top Album: Streets of Gold

DeVotchka

Denver band, formed in 1997. They take their name form the Russian word devotchka (девочка) meaning “girl”.

Band Members (current): Nick Urata, Tom Hagerman, Jeanie Schroder, Shawn King.

Genre: Gypsy Punk, Dark Cabaret, Indie Folk, Indie Rock

Top Album: A Mad and Faithful Telling

Big Head Tod and the Monsters

Formed in 1986 by three Columbine High School students. Began

touring clubs in Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder until they built up a following across Colorado and the West. Started touring extensively dubbing their van the “Colonel” who drove over 400,000 miles.

Band Members (current): Todd Park Mohr, Brian Nevin, Rob Squires, Jeremy Lawton.

Genre: Rock, Blue Rock, Alternative Rock, Funk Rock, Southern Rock, Country Rock, Folk, Jass-Fussion, Jam Band.

Top Album: Sister Sweetly

Tennis

From Denver, Colorado, Tennis formed in 2010. The husband-wife duo debuted their album Cape Dory in 2011.

Band Members (current):Patrick Riley, Alaina Moore

Genre: Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Surf Pop, Lo-Fi

Top Album: Yours Conditionally

Yonder Mountain String Band

Formed in Nederland, Colorado 1998 this progressive bluegrass group played their first show at the Fox Theater in Boulder.

Band Members (current): Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston, Adam Aijala, Allie Kral, and Jake Jolliff.

Genre: Progressive Bluegrass, Country, Jam Band.

Top Album: Elevation

The Fray

The Fray originate from Denver, Colorado in 2002. They achieved worldwide fame with their song “How to Safe a Live”.

Band Members (current): Isaac Slade, Joe King, Dave Welsh, and Ben Wysocki.

Genre: Rock

Top Album: How to Save a Life

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Músicos de Colorado

¿Sabías que muchos músicos increíbles y famosos han salido de Colorado? Explora los grupos musicales y artistas de nuestro estado, conoce en dónde se basan, algunos datos curiosos y más, mientras escuchas estos géneros musicales diversos.

Pretty Lights

Artista actual: Derek Vincent Smith, nacido el 25 de noviembre de 1981 en Fort Collins, Colorado.

Inició en: Boulder, Colorado, en 2004.

Género: Música electrónica.

Álbum más exitoso: A Color Map of the Sun.

The Fray

La banda The Fray se originó en Denver, Colorado, en el año 2002. Alcanzaron fama mundial con su canción “How to Safe a Life.”

Miembros de la banda (actualmente):

Isaac Slade, Joe King, Dave Welsh, y Ben Wysocki.

Género: Rock.

Álbum más exitoso: How to Save a Life.

Yonder Mountain String Band

Este grupo se formó en el año 1998 en Nederland, Colorado, tocando su primer concierto en el Fox Theater de Boulder.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston, Adam Aijala, Allie Kral, y Jake Jolliff.

Género: Bluegrass, Música country, Jam Band.

Álbum más exitoso: Elevation.

Tennis

Originalmente de Denver, Colorado, Tennis se formó en el año 2010. La pareja casada debutó su álbum Cape Dory en 2011.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Patrick Riley y Alaina Moore.

Género: Música pop/independiente (Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Surf Pop, Lo-Fi).

Álbum más exitoso: Yours Conditionally.

Big Head Tod and the Monsters

Formado en el año 1986 por tres alumnos de Columbine High School, este grupo empezó a tocar música en discotecas y clubs hasta que alcanzaron popularidad por todo Colorado y partes del oeste. Les gusta viajar en su vehículo extensamente, y por lo tanto nombraron a su camioneta “La coronel.” Han manejado más de 400,000 millas recorriendo Estados Unidos.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Todd Park Mohr, Brian Nevin, Rob Squires, y Jeremy Lawton.

Género: Música Rock (Blues Rock, Rock alternativo, Funk Rock, Country Rock, Folk, Jazz-Fusion, Jam Band).

Álbum más exitoso: Sister Sweetly.

DeVotchka

Un grupo de Denver formado en el año 1997. Su nombre viene de la palabra rusa devotchka (девочка), que significa “niña.”

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Nick Urata, Tom Hagerman, Jeanie Schroder, Shawn King.

Género: Punk gitano, música cabaret oscura, Indie Folk, Rock independiente

Álbum más exitoso: A Mad and Faithful Telling.

30H!3

Dúo de Boulder, Colorado. Tomaron su nombre del código de área de su ciudad, 303.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Sean Foreman, Nathaniel Motte.

Género: Synth-pop, Crunkcore, Trap, Rock electrónica, rock alternativo.

Álbum más exitoso: Streets of Gold.

The Lumineers

Basados en Denver, Colorado, los fundadores Fraites y Schultz empezaron a escribir y tocar música juntos en Ramsey, Nueva Jersey en el año 2005. Son influenciados por músicos como Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan y Tom Petty.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Wesley Schultz y Jeremiah Fraites.

Género: Folk y rock independiente, música Americana.

Álbum más exitoso: The Lumineers

Gregory Alan Isakov

Actualmente basado en Boulder, Colorado, Isakov originalmente vivió en Johannesburg, Sudáfrica. Junto con su familia, emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1986 y fue criado en Filadelfia, Pensilvania. Se inspira en la música de Leonard Cohen, Kelly Joe Phelps, y Bruce Springsteen.

Artista: Gregory Alan Isakov.

Género: Folk contemporáneo, Folk independiente, Country Folk.

Álbum más exitoso: This Empty Northern Hemisphere.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Actualmente basados en Denver, Colorado. Nathaniel Rateliff creció en el estado de Misuri. Cuando se mudó a Denver, formó el grupo Born in the Flood (2002-2008). Eventualmente se volvió un proyecto diferente nombrado Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel (2007-2014). En 2013, mientras todavía tocaba en otros grupos, Rateliff empezó a colaborar con Joseph Pope III y otros miembros. Así nació Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Nathaniel Rateliff, Joseph Pope III, Patrick Meese, Like Mossman, Jeff Dazey, Mark Shusterman, y Andreas Wild.

Género: Soul, música góspel, Folk Rock, Blues Rock, música Americana.

Álbum más exitoso: In Memory of Loss.

OneRepublic

Formada en Colorado Springs, Colorado en el año 2002, la banda OneRepublic ha ganado varios premios musicales y muchas nominaciones, incluyendo algunas para premios de Billboard Music Awards, Premios American Music, World Music Awards, y los premios Grammy.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Brent Kutzle, Eddie Fisher, y Brian Willett.

Género: Pop Rock, Pop, rock alternativo.

Álbum más exitoso: Native.

 

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Interview with Write Minded’s Guitarist, Forrester

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant. 

Interview with Write Minded’s Guitarist (& FCMoD Employee), Forrester

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery was thrilled to interview local musician and Music & Sound Lab employee, Forrester Tamkun. Forrester, a Colorado native, is the guitarist for local band Write Minded. Based out of Fort Collins, CO, Write Minded features a unique mixture of hip hop, rock, reggae, funk, and soul. Write Minded pushes the confining boundaries of genres to bring Northern Colorado something new.

Forrester sat down with staff for an interview to talk about the music scene and FCMoD. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to FCMoD.

I am a music assistant at FCMoD. I help in the Music & Sound Lab with programs, exhibit care and maintenance, and program development. I became a volunteer with the museum when I was… about 6? So I have been with the museum for almost 20 years.

  1. When did you first discover a passion for music?

I started playing piano around the same time when I started volunteering at the museum, so around 6. I pretty much always had a passion for music. In junior high school I started to play with bands and learn cover songs and play concerts and battle of the bands. Then when I was 14 I started playing guitar. I continued to play in some bands during high school, and after high school is when I got more serious about music. My first concert was at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Heritage Courtyard. It’s great that the museum has been involved in my music career through multiple events over the years. As an Eagle Scout I helped organize six local bands to play at a concert in the museum’s Heritage Courtyard in awareness of suicide prevention.

  1. What instrument do you play and what drew you to that instrument?

I primarily play guitar, and also a little piano. I like the piano because it is an expressive instrument. When you play a note on the piano it is different than with a guitar. With a guitar you can slide, bend, or do vibrato with the string, whereas with piano it is one note and one dynamic. Guitar is challenging, and I like that. I was self-taught in guitar for the first 5-6 years, and then I took my first guitar lesson when I was 20.

  1. Can you please describe your typical day at the museum?

A typical day at the museum for me consists of running different music programs, such as those hosted in the Music Garage. I instruct kids in mini-lessons, as well as maintain the area, and make sure none of the instruments are broken. (No guitars smashing at the museum, please.) My responsibilities include keeping an eye on the Music & Sound Lab exhibit, maintaining supplies, fixing exhibits when they break, giving Reactable lessons, and providing pop-up lessons.

  1. Tell us about how Write Minded started as a band.

I met Jarod, our bassist, the first day he moved to Fort Collins and came with his family to the museum. He came into the Music Garage and his roommate and him started jamming with me. From there I got his number, but didn’t hear from him for a few weeks. When we finally connected the next thing I knew we started the band- Eye Above right away. That was the initial creation of Write Minded. Write Minded started out of three different groups – a band I was previously in called Eye Above, the newly formed Write Minded cohort, and then an additional keyboardist. The original band was an acoustic rap with djembe. The keyboardist, Wilson, joined and I knew a drummer from high school that we approached about joining the band too. Once we all got together we were offered a show – opening at the Aggie. Then we ended up getting invited to play a Colorado band showcase at SXSW in Austin, TX. The rest is history.

  1. How has FCMoD developed a creative and open space for music?

Oh boy, having the space we do, it’s awesome. Our Music & Sound Lab exhibit allows the public hands-on access to real instruments. On Thursday nights we have Musician Meetup, which is an open jam session for musicians of all skill levels. It’s great – participants bring their own instrument and receive free general admission. People show up and play music together, and volunteers help facilitate it. The open exhibit gallery space offers a comfortable environment. And the program is free, which is important. So many spaces created for jamming together throughout town can be intimidating and scary, especially if you’re alone and just getting started. Ours is facilitated, and we do our best make it as welcoming as possible for everyone. It’s cool seeing younger kids have that opportunity.

“It’s cool seeing younger kids have that opportunity.”

  1. Who is your favorite band or artist? How have they inspired you?

If I had to pick one, I’d have to say Umphrey’s McGee. They’ve been playing for about twenty years and are a total jam band from the Chicago area that regularly plays at Red Rock Amphitheater. They have progressive rock influences. Their guitarist is one of my favorites to see and experience. How they connect and vibe as a band is cool. I’m a jam band fan. They have head signals to improvise like crazy. They are really into their art and connecting with their fans – which I think is important. I think I see them perform twice a year.

  1. What’s the hardest thing to describe about being a musician?

Any art form requires perseverance and confidence. You will never be able to get better at a task if you don’t believe you can. Confidence is key, especially when it comes to performing. You have to have perseverance in the art form and remember there are certain things that take years to develop.

  1. What role would you like to see museums like FCMoD play in helping encourage and support an artistic community?

I think we do everything pretty well. But there is always more that can be done. We can look for ways to plug in with other groups in the community promoting local music, like the Music District. We do so many music programs and events, from live music in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater, to our  LaserDome series, to Musician Meetup, to providing hands-on instruments in our Music & Sound Lab exhibit, and more. Plus FCMoD is a venue for music festivals in town, like FoCoMX. Providing feedback on how else the museum can get involved is welcome.

  1. What is your favorite part about working at FCMoD?

It’s great getting to be involved in the music programs and exhibits so much, since that’s where my passion lies. I really like the family vibe that not only the staff, but community has. Being at FCMoD every week, you really see the community connection. Walking through the doors you see community members from local bands, City Council members, regularly visiting museum members, and more. You get to see and experience the big picture of our community. It takes a bunch of people contributing their time, talents and more to create spaces like FCMoD. It’s really cool getting to meet everyone.

“Any art form requires perseverance and confidence.”

Thank you to Forrester for his time and for sharing his skills at FCMoD!

To find out more about Forrester’s band, Write Minded, and hear more from local musicians follow: www.writemindedmusic.com. Write Minded will also be performing, January 25th at Hodi’s Half-note with new music coming soon!

Image Credit: Daryl Love

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