By The Red
Faculty members release story-song album influenced by bluegrass music.
Two University of Manitoba faculty members are set to release their album By The Red at special events on August 30 and 31.
Mel Braun and Laura Loewen walked an interesting path to get to the point of releasing the bluegrass, story-song album.
“We’d long thought about doing a folk song recording project,” said Mel, “so when we encountered Margruite and Paul Krahn, who live in a converted house-barn in Neubergthal and have a performing loft space, things started to come together.”
The album’s theme of story-songs capturing life in the Red River Valley over the last 200 years fell into place naturally for Braun and Loewen. They wanted to feature some art song arrangements of folk songs by local composers like John Greer, Robert Turner, and Chester Duncan.
“You’ll hear a bluegrass influence in the songs we did with Fred Redekop and his band Big and Dinky,” said Braun. “There is colourful use of text and character. We’ve included a “fantasy” map of the Red River by Margruite Krahn with locations assigned to the various songs. English, French, and Low German are the languages we explore.”
The CD release on Big Round Records, with distribution by Naxos, took place online July 10th. The actual release events happen in the Krahn’s barn in Neubergthal on Sunday, August 30th at 3:00 PM and another one at McNally Robinson on August 31st at 7:00 PM. The release party events are open to the public.
Next up for Braun and Loewen is the exploration of the ballads of Pierre Falcon.
“Its tentatively called Folk Songs of Olde Manitoba,” said Braun. “It will bring stories of the buffalo hunt, of Louis Riel, and more of the immigrant experiences that have made us who we are.”