Sunday, October 25, 2009

Revolutionary Harmonies

Imagine Peter, Paul nd Mary transformed, complete with tight harmonies and anti-war messages, into Petra, Paula and Mry. If you can imagine this transformation, you can pictury Near, Pat Humphries and Sandy O, also known as Holly Near and emma’s revolution.

Holly Near alone has been a vocal musical part of the Social Justice movement since I was very young (so young I didn’t know what that meant, but I was listening to “Puff the Magic Dragon”). She has been one of the leading voices of the women’s music scene and can be found at equal rights rallies and anti-war protests all up and down the Americas.

Emma’s revolution have beautiful lyrics and flawless harmonies in pretty much anything they sing. Pat Humphries is a talented singer/songwriter, but when paired with Sandy O, her wife and singing partner, their music makes me want to dance and sing all the way to the Revolution!

These three amazingly talented women have released a new CD together (oops-I almost wrote “album”) called “We Came to Sing!” Listening to this collection, you would think they had perfected their style over years of performances together, but other than at the occasional peace rally, their time in the studio was really their first time coming together. Holly said all she had to do was tell Pat and Sandy what she wanted to do, then they would go off into a corner and whisper. They would come back with amazing harmonies to her second soprano voice. Often, Sandy was harmonizing above Holly while Pat harmonized a base line in her smooth alto, sandwiching Holly’s voice in a luscious bread of sound.

I had the pleasure and honor of getting to see the three of them sing together live. I highly recommend this concert if you can catch them in their last few appearances across the country. I think their last gig on the tour is November 2ne or 3rd.

There was not one mediocre song in the entire concert, and, I must say of both their concert performance and their recorded version of “Study War No More”, I have never heard white folks sing that song so heartfelt. I felt it from my pinky toenail to the cowlick on the crown of my head. And, if you loved Holly’s version of “Sky Dances,” your breath will be swept away on musical winds when you hear Emma’s Revolution add their harmonies to Holly’s.

You can check either of their websites for scheduling information or to buy their lovely CD: or . I believe you can also buy the CD through the websites, or you can go to goldenrod Music’s website at where you can find not just Holly and emma’s revolution, but a whole mess of amazing artists and groups, including all of my favorites: Sweet Honey in the Rock, Libana, Lucie Blue Tremblay, Libby Roderick, Ubaka Hill, Chris Williamson and hundreds, maybe even thousands more of my favorites-many of which I have yet to hear!

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