emma's revolution in Concert

What: Cornell Folk Song Society Concert
When: Saturday, April 25, 2009
Where: 165 McGraw Hall, Cornell University,
Ithaca, NY
How Much: $17/$15 (door/advance) / $12/10 students / $3 off: members, seniors, teens / $free: kids

emma's revolution

If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution!
Whether or not pioneering feminist and human rights champion Emma Goldberg actually made this declaration, it rallies the energy of activist songwriters Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow.

These women create music for social and environmental change, delivered with dynamic harmonies, passion, irreverence, and a strong dose of hope. Their songs have become the anthems of peace and justice events around the globe: emma's revolution has led songs at Camp Casey and the White House with Cindy Sheehan and CodePINK, at the School of the Americas Watch, in Santiago, Chile with Holly Near, on the frontlines of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, in the Korean DMZ, at the Gay Games in Vancouver, and at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where Pat's 1995 song, "Keep On Moving Forward," was the opening and recurring theme.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom, composed a few days after 9-11, is sung around the world, and Pat's Swimming to the Other Side, translated into at least seven languages, deserves a place in the Folk Song Hall of Fame. In 2002, they won the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest with If I Give Your Name. And they've been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Pacifica's Democracy Now!

If you think an evening with emma's revolution might be heavy or self-righteous, think again. Pat and Sandy have that rare ability to inform and inspire without preachiness. Audiences call them, "bold, profound, moving, hilarious, rockin', and transformative." Their skill with lyrics, tunes, voices, and instruments infuses the political heft of their songs with rare beauty, warmth, and joy. Their music-making can turn tears to laughter, despair or cynicism to action. Their contagious motto is, "One x 1,000,000 = change."

Pat and Sandy have been co-writing and performing songs as emma's revolution since 2001, but their separate musical careers go back a bit longer. Pat cut some musical teeth on board the Clearwater and had an early grounding in traditional Appalachian ballads, old-timey and bluegrass, and contra dance music. Sandy's early love for Renaissance music and lute-playing shines through in her sweet, full contralto in counterpoint to Pat's edgier alto.

Pete Seeger, who has been a big fan for many years, predicted, "The powers that be can control the media but it's hard to stop a good song... Pat's songs will be sung well into the 22nd century." Don't miss what Sing Out! describes as "The epitome of great contemporary political music."

Tickets are available at Ludgate Farm Market, Ithaca Guitar Works, Greenstar Co-op, Small World Music, Bound for Glory, and at the door. You may also order tickets online and by mail: SASE to CFSC, PO Box 481, Ithaca, NY 14851.

(Margaret Shepard)

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