Rising Appalachia in the North

Winona LaDuke

There are a couple of amazing songstresses headed towards Duluth in a special engagement that the band Rising Appalachia has squeezed in between northern shows, such as the Harmony Park Revival music festival. Leah Song and her sister have taken a new music scene in stride, with a combination of bluegrass, rhythm, traditional Appalachian music, and thoughtful lyrics. “I love my filthy dirty south…If you poison my water I’ll come after you. If you muddy my water, I‘ll come after you.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uuT4KOB4yM)
The band intends to visit the headwaters of the Mississippi, as the river runs through their homeland as well. “The headwaters of such a vast and sacred river are profoundly valuable to our overall movement. I intend to come out of this trip much more aware of the lands and the sacred motions to protect them, and imagine I will have a vast amount more to say about the impact of this run after we have done this work,” said Leah. And I was able to interview Leah Song recently about her work, and the upcoming concerts…
From the Gulf to the Headwaters

“Rising Appalachia creates sounds and stories that share the human journey, and takes deep pride in linking their music regionally to the front line movements of environmental justice and direct action outreach as they travel”…Their deep belief in the holistic need for a cultural upheaval and return to more sustainable ways has continued to motivate their touring as a tool to work with current environmental issues, food justice, farming rights, and cultural empowerment. “Having just finished a tour across Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and the gulf coast area of Florida, it has been a profound experience to bring our music to the vast mouth of the Mississippi basin, bringing song right to the water’s edge. It is with deep honor and importance that they now venture to the very headwaters of the same river which has run through so much of their music…the Rising Appalachia tour in support of Love Water Not Oil with Honor the Earth is an exchange to show solidarity with protecting our earth’s great water sources, and to continue to fight for indigenous rights, human rights, and environmental justice.”
Why do we do this?

“Rising Appalachia is a grassroots-run, world music project that uses the lens of Southern music traditions as a jump off point to address the role of roots and folk traditions around the world - cultivating performance as a tool for community gatherings, oral memory holding, cultural preservation, justice work, and building living traditions…We continue to look at ways in which performance (and specifically music) can cultivate a container space for community outreach and locally run initiatives. We catch and collect traditional music from our southern homelands, as well as from the musical wellspring of world traditions, looking to highlight the many crossroads of traditional music around the world. As songwriters, we also sculpt our own lyrics by looking at social and environmental justice and honoring a living-folk component through contemporary lyricism.”

Art as a Tool

“Rising Appalachia’s deep dedication to cultural work and social justice through performance continues to look at the responsibility of ART to create IMPACT. In this way we strive to create a holistic approach to performance, bringing intention into each layer of our presentation. We strive for thorough political and cultural content, well-developed lyricism and musicianship, and a visual aesthetic that appeals to a greater audience and draws people in. It is with great pleasure and a sense of urgency that we bring our sounds to the frontline of the Love Water Not Oil campaign, as we continue to see the negative impact of fracking on our communities across the country.”

For more information and to get tickets, visit honorearth.org/events. Tickets are also available in Duluth at Clyde Iron Works 2920 W Michigan St, 55806 and the Electric Fetus,12 E Superior St. 55802. This event is Co-sponsored by Niijii Radio.