Saturday, 5 October 2013, 8:00 pm
165 McGraw Hall, Cornell Arts Quad, Ithaca, NY
Cornell Folk Song Society Concert
Old friends Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt, each with productive and storied solo careers, relish joining forces to make glorious music. Between them, they have over 30 fine recordings, but only three as a duo, most recently Evidence of Happiness in 2012. Radio stations across the country voted their 1987 collaboration, Closing the Distance, in the top 10 most popular albums of the year. Their separate home bases (Rogers in Connecticut, Schmidt in Minnesota) and full teaching, composing, and touring schedules make it challenging to converge. This Ithaca concert is a rare chance to hear them create magic together, with the synergy that comes from shared musicality and a gift for lyrics, instinctive harmonies, passion for social justice, education, and the environment, and radiant joy in the “Tree of Life.” These are energetic, powerful women who revitalize their audiences with a mix of humor, poignancy, and fire. Both drew attention decades back as regulars on A Prairie Home Companion, and have traveled far and wide since then.
Free-ranging and unclassifiable, Claudia Schmidt is fluent in folk, jazz, blues, and world music styles, a prolific composer and great wordsmith, and a soulful player of 12-string guitar and mountain dulcimer. In addition to taking the stage at festivals, big arenas, and house concerts across North America and Europe, she writes and performs in film, television, and theater. She’s an inimitable force. “When Claudia sings a song, it stays sung,” declares Garrison Keillor. A reviewer in the San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote, “Schmidt’s shows are a lot like falling in love. You never know what’s going to happen next, chances are it’s going to be wonderful, every moment is burned into your memory, and you know you’ll never be the same again.”
Sally Rogers is firmly grounded in traditional folk, old-timey, and children’s music, graced with a pure voice and accomplished playing of guitar, banjo, and dulcimer. In her hands, songs, whether original, contemporary, or hundreds of years old, have a timeless quality. Once heard, audiences remember them and take them home to sing in the kitchen, car, or at gatherings. As a born, and now professional, teacher, Sally Rogers’ successful mission is to set the world singing. When she’s not in a schoolroom, she’s likely to be touring across the States, Europe, or China, recording, creating books and videos for children, composing songs for Unitarian and Quaker hymnals, and quilting. She has won numerous awards, including Best Folk Album of 1982 (Circle of the Sun), Parents’ Choice Gold of 1990 (Piggyback Planet: Songs for a Whole Earth), Best Children’s Recording in 1993 (What Can One Little Person Do?) and in 1994 (At Quiet O’Clock). Her eagerly awaited recording for adults, We’ll Pass Them On, was recently released on Red House Records. She can tackle serious subjects in a way that uplifts rather than numbs. Writes Peggy Seeger, “Sally Rogers has a clear, fluid, and remarkably agile voice, a keen sense of drama, and a most refreshing sense of fun.”
Rogers and Schmidt tore up the stage at last June’s Old Songs Festival, and are sure to delight and inspire when they make their first duo appearance in Ithaca. Seating is limited, so it would be wise to get tickets in advance.
Tickets: Ithaca Guitar Works, Autumn Leaves Books, GreenStar, Bound for Glory, online at www.cornellfolksong.org/, and by mail (SASE to CFSS, PO Box 481, Ithaca, NY 14851). $15 advance/$17 door; $3 rebate for members, seniors, teens. Cornell students $10/$12. Children free. Info: 607-351-1845 or website.