cville music

A Feminine Antidote to Creative Fear by Annabeth McNamara

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This weekend I had the honor of hosting a flock of singer-songwriters in my home for a humble beginnings of a biannual womyn's music festival. It felt like all the power of a women's circle, amplified. Literally.

We began the event with a discussion of our creative lives, the pros and cons, the struggle and the reward. As I sat and listened, realizations sort of seaped into the sponge of my consciousness. I realized I'm not alone in the creative struggle. That it's a beautiful and worthwhile struggle. That having a muse, a cross to bear such as this, is also a gift that not everyone has.

More importantly, my sense of competitiveness and judgment and catty-ness, which seems like some kind of twisted instinct, melted away into sheer appreciation for these glowing, luminous, very human women sharing their songs and their hidden minds with us in intimate, quiet coziness of a full living room.

As a highly sensitive woman in the music industry, I feel my spirit calling in a new way of creating and sharing and making a living that cares for self, community, and planet. This evening of music, food, and art was the perfect first step into manifesting this vision.

It's just a simple part of feminine psychology and biology that we are stronger together. As I witnessed each woman sing her songs, I realized we all had distinct genres and niches we were filling. The hierarchy of who was best that I had in my mind was leveled by an awe for the distinctive beauty we each had to offer. 

This realization can be taken from the stage and applied to any field of achievement. When we work together and make space for each other, we become a cohesive quilt of many different patterns, that can comfort and warm the whole world.

The end of the night was an especially victorious moment, when one of the performers took a great risk and sang a song a capella. She was used to performing with a big digital sound or with other musicians, but in our presence, she felt strong enough to sing with her bare voice ringing out through the silence. 

By the end of the song, our crew of fine singers were humming backing chords. It was a spontaneous, improvised moment that we'll treasure.

What a beautiful metaphor of the courage we can access through witnessing each other supportively. I've heard it often how women's biggest stumbling block in the professional realm is their fear to take risk. I see this as an obvious outcome of being the weaker sex in the often vicious and tenuous lifestyle our ancestors surely endured. 

Yet I believe we witnessed our antidote at the end of the night. The cure for the resistant anxiety many of us feel, is realizing we're stronger together. If you're struggling to make strides forward in your life as a woman, perhaps all you're missing is this HUGE key-- female community.

Just a theory, my sweets! Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes?

Me and my bestie. Girl power!

Me and my bestie. Girl power!


I've been recently reading The Feminist Utopia Project.  It's amazing what a little intellectual stimulation can do for one's world view!

I'm reading the chapters like doses of cultural vitamins, educating myself to bolster my emotional immune system in our current political climate...

Nothing like a sexist tyrant to inspire the next wave of feminism! :)

We intentionally made the Ladyfolk Fest to not restricted biological women. Because femininity comes in different shapes and sizes!

I'm learning this first-hand, as I'm currently in love with someone who doesn't fit into the gender binary.  While identifying as a girly woman certainly works for me, I see how the patriarchal system hurts him daily.  It's like there's a roadblock between who he is and who he feels he's allowed to be every day.

Feminism means getting outside of your experience and empathizing with others less fortunate, and fighting for their rights. Because when we protect each other, we ensure protection for ourselves and our loved ones and the next generation...

Another thought to note, is that in my world of gigging and music touring, I've found many creative folks who live as question marks to this societal norm of boy versus girl.  Maybe it's because creativity and self-expression forces us to get in touch with our ambiguous, multi-faceted nature.

I'm so happy to present my sister's very own first novel, now available for pre-order on Amazon. It's a young adult historical fiction about two actual female pirates that sailed the ocean between England and North Carolina. This book presents a new narrative of gender and equality on the open sea... So proud of my big sis!

Big things in the works by Annabeth McNamara

Hello Cute Sprout,

It’s here---

The biggest show of my life to date.

We’re expecting several thousand friends of friends to flock to the Pavilion’s concrete shore. Sure, the timing is tricky. Our set is 40 minutes, starting at 5:30pm. And getting there on time is almost impossible because their world and his dear sweet mother will be trying to pass through the delicate arteries of Charlottesville that day.

Which is why I know you will plan accordingly to arrive a bit ahead of time, settle into your spot, perhaps grab a drink if of your predilection, and listen up.

I am specially requesting folks dress up in a solid color of their choice. My preference is for skittle / chakra / rainbow colors, but just wearing a single color that resonates with your mood (and what’s actually in your closet) would be grand as well.

Different hues of the same color are acceptable as well. The vision is that folks will stand up next to the stage and dance and sway and gently be part of a vision for other folks to gaze upon. This is living art! Be a part!

At Lockn' Festial playing a set for staff and volunteers on opening eve.

At Lockn' Festial playing a set for staff and volunteers on opening eve.

 

As for recording, we’ve finally got a couple of recording dates lined up for and it feels GREAT.

Mid-September we’ll be taking our gypsy-chic wagons to Norfolk and taking two days to get all our instrument parts tracked for a 5 song EP.

We’ll also be playing our first show in Norfolk while we’re there! It's going to be at an art opening for our favorite artsy friend Angel Graves on September 16th. Info here.

 

It’s going to be a full few days of musicking and I absolutely can’t wait.

I’ll never forget the time my carpenter friend told me that making a good album is like building a house. We sat in his permaculture chalet, an old stone shepherd’s barn he had gradually fixed up by dragging equipment and supplies up a kilometer mountain ridge. I didn’t want to believe him then.

I wanted to believe that the wave of bliss and excitement that usually sweeps me up in recording was the sign I was on the right track. I didn’t want to sober up and put in the careful hours to perfect a song over the course of years of test-driving it live, tweaking it in rehearsal, tuning into the ether to listen to what was missing or what could be carved away, and then investing the time and resources to honor it with the right recording and production.

Well, we’ve been laying out the blueprint all summer-- honing in on the songs for our EP and ship-shaping them up. This is the first time in my musical career I’ve really gotten to ask myself how I’d exactly like each of my songs to sound. I trust our producer Jake Hull, as I’m a doe-eyed fan of his previous works. Even if I give him no guidance, I’m sure I’d be stoked on his output.

Scratch that, recording an album isn't quite like making a house, it’s like building an ark. And the desert is our cultural landscape. And the rain is the rush of creativity we're all capable of.

"It doesn’t make sense, it’s crazy, why would you build a boat here?" 

"The economy sucks, you're such a smart girl and could do anything you want, why waste your time making an album?"

Because the flood is coming, a tide of darkness via the brainwashed hypnotism of a bought media. I think very few people really understand how easy it so to have their minds changed simply by listening to the same false information every day, or watching TV with very fast frames that the conscious mind doesn’t pick up on, but the subconscious absolutely does. I don’t write this to scare you, only to help you be aware of your dear, sweet impressionability, and to really take great care what you subject yourself to.

Art about love will get us through, will wake us up, will re-set our loving hearts. Will have the seeds we can plant on a land scoured clean by these dreadful times.  Let’s put the kind back in humankind.

In a world post-robot, music and art could be our major export. Rather than sad lost wars and subsidized cancer-causing corn, our national offering could be amazing marvels of music and beauty, like a bouquet we fling on the world stage.

More soon I hope!

xoAnnabeth // Larkspur