The Performance of the Divine

A songbird and a cello pair up at the ongoing Goddess Fest

By Dawn Franco
Posted 4/3/19

Unity of Taos will be hosting Martha Reich and Michael Kott in one performance of an uplifting musical chain called the Goddess Fest.Sunday (April 7) at 7 p.m. the Santa Fe artists …

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The Performance of the Divine

A songbird and a cello pair up at the ongoing Goddess Fest

Posted

Unity of Taos will be hosting Martha Reich and Michael Kott in one performance of an uplifting musical chain called the Goddess Fest.

Sunday (April 7) at 7 p.m. the Santa Fe artists Reich and Kott will be bringing award-winning lyrical poetry and multi-instrumental folk to the spiritual space.

Reich has lived in New Mexico for 20 years. Originally from New England she has been nationally recognized. She received a Gold Medal for Female Vocalist in the Global Music Awards in 2018, LA Critics Award for Best Folk Artist, Global Music Awards in 2016 and 2017 as well as the Southwest Independent Music Award in 2014, and in 2015 she was awarded the New Mexico Music Award for Best Folk Song. She has released six musical compilations and has performed at festivals and in the Southwest area. She has been reviewed as honest and vulnerable, with an elaborate and flowering lyrical style. Along with Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, Reich's main inspiration comes from nature.

She will be performing her latest 2018 release "Brave Bird," which won Clouzine International Music Award for Best Indie Album. Reich has dedicated the collection of songs "to honor all courageous voices and life's sacred transitions." She alternates between playing piano, banjo, ukulele, and nylon and steel string guitar. Kott will be joining her on the cello - an accomplished player and professor at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico.

The seven-song compilation features six original songs and one cover. The track written on banjo, "If You Only Knew," is arranged in poetic couplets. Written with guitar, "Fade Away" presents the perspective of struggles with memories as one ages. Reich's musical narratives reveal the reality of life and nature. The darkness, a raven, a flower blossom, struggles and personal relationships have shaped the record and her musical style.

"Every place has beauty and light and every place has parts of it that are dark, but it's how we can live in that balance," said Reich. "I think my music is about that [balance] because I do see the difficult things in life, but I also see the hope."

Six years ago Goddess Fest, a series of all-inclusive musical performances, was created by Unity of Taos' musical director Jenny Bird. She has been the director for more than 30 years at the spiritual, communal mecca known as Unity of Taos where there is no established doctrine, but an emphasis on spiritual practices for many walks of religion including prayer, meditation and scripture study. As a career musician, Bird has toured the world and performed with Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLaughlin, the Indigo Girls and many more.

"I say it's all-inclusive, because everyone is welcome. I call it Goddess Fest, because it began as mostly shows by women musicians, but we have LGBT musicians, and men who have a balanced God/ess energy, and simply to help balance the all-male musical offerings available," said Bird in an email.

Previously Goddess Fest has featured celtic harpists Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter, a musical Black History month tribute that displayed music from artists like Duke Ellington and Nina Simone, as well as an opera performance from Salman Lee and Claire Detels. Following Reich's performance will be artists from around the country and artists who have settled in Taos. Subsequent performances include Spanish and jazz guitar from Taos' own Omar Rane (May 12). Sunday (June 30) will feature Brooklyn, New York's Gina Breedlove's coined folksoul, a mixture of gospel, storytelling, rhythm and blues. Following Breedlove will be Appalachian folk duo Tina & Her Pony, from North Carolina. Members are classically trained and bring what they describe as "queer" arrangements and harmonies to traditional folk. For the final August 4 performance of Goddess Fest, Bird will be collaborating with vocal activist Melanie Demore and singer, songwriter Adrienne Braswell. It's unsure what these women will create for the performance, but Bird and the Goddess Fest mission suggests an awakening experience.

Tickets will range from $10-$20 for each act. Unity of Taos is an alcohol-free space. There are 100 seats available for each performance. All performances are at 7 p.m. at Unity of Taos located at 69 Blueberry Hill. For more information, visit jennybird.com/goddess-fest.

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