Logo: Susquehanna Folk Music Society
Central Pennsylvania's grass-roots voice for folk music and dance!

The Susquehanna Folk Arts Center presents
Artist to Artist: A Residency
Women’s Music

Saturday, December 4, 2021 — all day!

About This Event:

Women’s music, blossoming alongside the women’s movement of the 1970s, created community and belonging for women seeking to empower their lives. Join us for a fascinating exploration of the genre's roots, culture and evolution with some of its early practitioners.

Jamie Anderson performing onstage, laughing and looking off to her right. She is playing a guitar and wearing a yellow-and-white dress with open shoulders.  Her curly gray-blonde hair is held back from her face with a wide white hair band.  She is wearing dark-framed glasses and four necklaces.

Jamie Anderson (photo by Elizabeth Cooper)

Bobbi Carmitchell is playing her guitar and singing at an outdoor concert. Behind her is a field of corn; the corn plants are densely planted and much taller than she. Just in front of the corn to Bobbi's right, satin ribbons of various colors and widths hang from a curved branch, creating a colorful informal banner. She is wearing a tie-died shirt in shades of blue, and has dark curly shoulder-length hair that is starting to go gray.

Bobbi Carmitchell

Barb Barton performing onstage, smiling and looking off to her right as if speaking to someone. She has a banjo on a colorful neckstrap but her hands are held together above it. She is wearing a dark brown shirt that blends in with the very dark background. Her gray-blonde hair is straight and the feathered ends fall on her shoulders.

Barb Barton (photo by M Jacobs)

Women’s music, blossoming alongside the women’s movement of the 1970s, created community and belonging for women seeking to empower their lives. Join us for a fascinating exploration of the genre's roots, culture and evolution with some of its early practitioners.

“Women's Music Saved my Life”

In this FREE virtual artists’ residency, three singer songwriters come together to tell stories, play songs, and share their experiences. Central PA’s own Bobbi Carmitchell joins two of her favorite musicians: Jamie Anderson and Barb Barton. With guest moderators Kay Turner (a scholar and maven of the lesbian rock movement) and Debra D’Alessandro (long-time host of WXPN’s Amazon Country) and SFMS folklorist Amy Skillman, it will be a day of thoughtful, playful and informative workshops.

SESSIONS

MEET THE ARTISTS

and moderators
Session 1 10 am - 11 am ET

Our artists and guest moderators will share a song and talk briefly about what women’s music means to them. Get to know these amazing women and learn about the day’s workshops.


VENUES, VIEWS & PEWS

2Creating Community through Music
11:15 am to 12:15 pm ET

Women’s music is as much about the audience and the message as it is about the places and spaces that foster a culture of support for women artists. This storytelling session with guest moderator Debra D’Alessandro will reveal backstage insights about the infrastructure that creates a sense of community for women seeking to express themselves or see themselves in the music.


o LUNCH BREAK

12:15 pm - 12:45 pm ET


DRIVING THE MESSAGE HOME

3 Tricks of the Songwriter’s Trade
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm ET

Women’s music is political. It is about messages that matter to women; messages of empowerment, of beauty, of love, of sorrow and of social change. These are messages that seek to reinforce a sense of identity and change the world, if only one neighbor at a time. Our artists will play songs that illustrate their song writing styles, using comedy, story, and emotion to make connections and drive the message home. With guest moderator Kay Turner.


ROUNDING OUT THE SOUND

4 How Craft Creates Mood
2:15 pm - 3:15 pm ET

With over 100 years of performing between them, our women artists know their stuff — and they are always eager to learn more. During this workshop, the musicians will share some of the open tunings, strumming, and rhythmic techniques they have developed to round out the sound they seek to achieve. Bobbi Carmitchell moderates.


ROUND ROBIN SONG CIRCLE

5 Honoring Women's Music
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm ET

At the heart of any women’s music festival is the Round Robin: the opportunity to swap songs and honor each other’s music. The day has included a few representative songs and snippets of others, some techniques and a glimpse into the song writing process. Now we pull it all together into a final concert demonstrating the power and beauty of women’s music.

Bobbi Carmitchell sings her song "I'm Heading Home to Your Place" along with Ashley McFalls on cello and a cast of characters from their Facebook livestream community.
Jamie Anderson will use her song "Beautiful" to illustrate open tuning in session 4.
When Barb Barton plays her song "Predator and Prey," its powerful rhythm is laid down by guitar, low whistle and bass.


ABOUT THE PERFORMERS:

Bobbi Carmitchell

Bobbi Carmitchell is playing her guitar and singing at an outdoor concert. Behind her is a field of corn; the corn plants are densely planted and much taller than she. Just in front of the corn to Bobbi's right, satin ribbons of various colors and widths hang from a curved branch, creating a colorful informal banner. She is wearing a tie-died shirt in shades of blue, and has dark curly shoulder-length hair that is starting to go gray.

BobbiCarmitchell.com Bobbi on YouTube

Bobbi Carmitchell has been a force on the Central Pennsylvania singer songwriter scene for 40 years, and has toured all over the country. Her music and singing supports many causes that she believes in: farmland preservation, domestic violence awareness, breast cancer research, AIDS education, arts in schools, and many others. She also organizes community-gathering events, such as the Central PA Women's Music Festival which she hosted a few years back.

Here's another video from Bobbi: her song "It Could Have Been Me", written in response to the tragic Orlando nightclub shootings in 2016.

Since the COVID pandemic shut down the live music scene, Bobbi and her partner, cellist Ashley McFalls, have been doing daily livestream performances on Facebook from their living room. This January, they hit a milestone of 300 consecutive livestreams! Dozens of regular viewers enjoy the classic folk songs, more recent compositions from artists like the Indigo Girls, musical commentary on current events, and the sense of personal connection and community that's fostered among the virtual participants.

Saying that art comes in many forms, Bobbi does not limit herself to writing, performing and producing music. She also creates with stained glass, bringing together color, light and design in unique ways.

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson performing onstage, laughing and looking off to her right. She is playing a guitar and wearing a yellow-and-white dress with open shoulders.  Her curly graying hair is held back from her face with a wide white hair band.  She is wearing dark-framed glasses and four necklaces.

JamieAnderson.com Jamie on YouTube

Singer-songwriter-comic Jamie Anderson is a multi-instrumentalist who’s folk without the Birkenstocks, country without the big hair and jazz without the angst. She hails from Ottawa, Canada, and has played her unique original songs in hundreds of venues in four countries.

Her twelve recordings include the recently released EP Songs from Home, with music written during the pandemic where she and her engineer play all the instruments. Songs range from the tongue-in-cheek “Marry Me,” about her efforts to lure Rachel Maddow to Canada (Free health care! Milk in bags!) to fits of seriousness like “From Six Feet Away” (“You’re still beautiful, from six feet away”). "Black and White" is a thoughtful jazz number about growing older and “Beautiful” is a true story about body image that resonates with many women.

Jamie's YouTube channel (63,000 subscribers!) is packed with free lessons for guitar, ukulele and mandolin, as well as performance videos of her original songs.

Jamie’s an author, too. Her second book, An Army of Lovers, is a history of women’s music that focuses on its beginnings in the seventies, as well as the eighties, a time when it was most popular. She’s also a music teacher with lots and lots of free lessons on her YouTube channel.

Barb Barton

Barb Barton performing onstage, smiling and looking off to her right as if speaking to someone. She has a banjo on a colorful neckstrap but her hands are held together above it. She is wearing a dark brown shirt that blends in with the very dark background. Her grey-blonde hair is straight and the feathered ends fall on her shoulders.

BarbBarton.com Barb on YouTube

Barb Barton’s music comes from the nameless place that connects brain and heart. As a biologist, she might tell you the location does not exist. As a musician/songwriter, she knows right where it lives. And her music lands precisely on the X at the sweet spot. Think ear reiki. Close your eyes, imagine a soul massage. Picture a Lake Superior mirage. Drench your brain. Music your heart. Count your senses. You sure you only have five?

Barb's' fingers first touched strings when she was five years old. Her lyrics found life in elementary school, written with a No. 2 pencil. Her music was born and raised in the woods and waters of the Great Midwest, accompanied by her father’s singing voice that reminded her of Vaughan Monroe. Barton has been playing over five decades. She has followed the musical cues of the artists she listened to in her early years. Buffy St. Marie, Dan Fogelberg, Heart, Roy Clark, Michael Hedges, Zeppelin.

Here are a couple more videos from Barb: performing "Turtledove" onstage with her band, and an informal performance of "New Wings," live from her living room.

In small or large venues, whether she’s brought one DADDAD-tuned guitar or four, her audiences love her. Those who don’t want to adopt Barb Barton, want to fix her up with their friends. You like Barton and her award-winning music because you chose her with all your senses. Like you chose your mechanic, your daycare provider, your partner. Her music is personal.

Today, as a musician, a woman and a biologist, Barb Barton hopes that “people can reconnect with themselves and Mother Earth and all our Relations,” and she finds renewable energy from other musicians, her audience and the planet.

If trees sang back-up, they’d be touring with Barb Barton.


ABOUT OUR MODERATORS:

Debra D'Alessandro

Debra D'Alessandro smiles serenely for a portrait in her radio studio.  She is wearing a headset over short blonde hair; she has a broad oval face and wears glasses. A broadcast microphone is poised in front of her on a mount. A mixing board with many tiny colorful controls is behind her at the bottom of the frame.  Further in the background, at the top of the frame, are two large computer monitors: one with software running, the other displaying a colorful wallpaper image.

Debra D'Alessandro is the host and producer of WXPN's Amazon Country, the nation's longest running lesbian/feminist radio program. Amazon Country features women’s music of many genres, plus interviews with artists, activists and authors. The show was founded in 1974; Debra has hosted since 1996.

Amazon Country airs Sundays at 11pm on WXPN-FM and is livestreamed at XPN.org. WXPN broadcasts at 88.5 FM in the greater Philadelphia/South Jersey and Wilmington areas; 104.9 FM in the Lehigh Valley; 88.7 FM in Lancaster/York; and 99.7 FM in Harrisburg.

From 1999 to 2005, Debra hosted the weekly call-in TV talk show "Philly LIVE: Your Gay and Lesbian Community Connection" on WYBE public television. The two-time Emmy-nominated "Philly Live" was America's first live gay-themed television call-in talk show.

Debra is an entertainer, activist, educator and entertainer in addition to being an award-winning broadcaster. She has emceed and led workshops at many women’s music festivals since the late 1990s, including the National Women’s Music Festival and the Southern Women’s Music Fest. She emcees and leads the fest choir at SisterSpace Weekend.

A lifelong singer and occasional songwriter, Debra sings lead with the Roadshow Relics, a rock, blues and folk band, and also is part of the Philadelphia Threshold singers, providing bedside singing to hospice patients. She sang for 17 years with SheWho, a 7-voice women’s a cappella ensemble.

Here are a couple of Debra's performances with Roadshow relics: her original song “Sixteen Forever” and a short montage video from their gigs at the Tin Angel.

Debra lives in Philadelphia with her wife of 28 years and their two rescue dogs. In addition to music, she is passionate about her ‘day job’ in the field of public health; she enjoys birding and walking in the woods with her hounds.

Kay Turner

Kay Turner strikes a rocker pose, lit up with magenta light and singing into a microphone on a stand that she's pulled over at an angle. Behind her are people playing electric bass and rhythm guitar, but only the headstocks are visible. The rock & roll pose is at odds with her grandmotherly appearance with loosely curled short hair and turtleneck sweatshirt. She's wearing a large black button with white print that says 'Lesbing.'

Kay Turner is a lesbian-feminist queer activist; a songwriter and performing singer; founder and host of "Lesbopalooza"; a scholar, professor, and past president of the American Folklore Society; and creator of “Otherwise: Queer Scholarship into Song.”

< Kay singing at Otherwise - photo by Andrew Hinderaker

As one of the first exponents of women's music in the 1970s, Kay was part of the New Jersey-based early lesbian-feminist “Oral Tradition” (1972-1977). She has performed in numerous all-women bands, including being the lead singer and songwriter for Austin, TX based rock punk lesbian-feminist art band “Girls in the Nose.” That band was active 1985-1996, toured widely in the early 90s, and recently (2015) started touring again.

“Girls in the Nose” has a YouTube Channel where you'll find videos of recent shows (2015-2017) and a few from the HERstorical archive.

After moving to Brooklyn, NY in 1998, Kay continued her feminist and queer-focused songwriting and performing career, joining Carolyn Dinshaw in the duo “Snaggletooth” (2003-2009). In 2012 she created “Otherwise: Queer Scholarship into Song,”, co-writing and performing songs with guitarist Viva DeConcini and bass player Mary Feaster. This "musical cabaret of queer theory" has been staged at venues from NYC to Austin, from Joe’s Pub to the NYU Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies. “Otherwise” will return to performing as soon as the pandemic fully subsides.

A cabaret of queer life, history and world-making: Kay Turner and her bandmates transform dry academic studies into fun, hummable songs. Check it out in these two videos: a quick one-minute trailer and a full-length show of “Otherwise: Queer Scholarship into Song” (an hour and 40 minutes) from 2016.

Kay is also the well-known creator and host of “Lesbopalooza,” an epic lesbian music and performance variety show. Its 25th anniversary show was recently made into a documentary, “Lesbopalooza: The Movie” (2021).

Kay's books include Baby Precious Always Shines: Love Notes Between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas and Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms, both of which have inspired the “Otherwise: Queer Scholarship into Song” project. She is Adjunct Professor in Performance Studies at NYU.

Amy Skillman

Amy Skillman

SFMS folklorist Amy Skillman worked as Pennsylvania's state folklorist for over 30 years, managing the statewide folk arts infrastructure program for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and overseeing fieldwork around the state. Now living in Maryland, Amy is a part-time professor at Goucher College where she is the Academic Director for the Master's program in Cultural Sustainability. She also enjoys and teaches sailing.

Tickets

A Full Day of Sessions! from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
US Eastern Time

  • Live on Zoom
  • FREE admission, but please pre-register
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Donations Welcome!

If you have the means, we would welcome your help to cover production costs for this and other SFMS programs. Registration includes a donation option. We appreciate your support!

About this Residency

This is the last in a series of four opportunities for local artists to collaborate with nationally-recognized artists for a day of workshops, conversations and performances.

This residency is sponsored by our Susquehanna Folk Arts Center, created in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Meet more amazing artists from Central PA in our Folk Artists Gallery.