An Interview with Amelia Hogan
October 2, 2011 in Uncategorized
Amelia Hogan, local folk music singer, will be performing at the Serpent’s Kiss Botanica on Friday, October 7th at 8:00 pm in Santa Cruz, CA. Serpent’s Kiss Botanica is located at 2015 N Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz,CA.
The serene voice of Amelia Hogan has continued to resonate with audiences in the Pagan community and her integration of traditional folk sound has been engaging to audiences in the Bay Area and all around the United States. Hogan has been performing as a soloist under Ameliaisaverb, working as a part of the group Threefires and occasionally as one of the expanded dulcimates with Deborah Hamouris, John “buffalo” Brownson, and Caith Threefires.
In a recent interview with the Bay Area Bureau of the Pagan Newswire Collective, Amelia Hogan answered some questions about her inspiration to write music, her musical influences and what to expect from her in the future.
What type of music do you sing?
Why, Folk music! It’s intended to be music by, for, and with people. But that means more than you might think. I got my start very early as a singer of traditional Irish, Scots, British, and American songs. But I also do some contemporary pieces, some with a more blues-ey feel to them, some with a darker tone, and some medieval and Celtic inspired. My favorite stuff that I do sounds old, really old and will sort of surprise you into being brought back into yourself, remind you of history past, present, future; something sacred, not buzzing and whirring with technological advancement. It’s the kind of stuff that really makes you sit still and quiet for a moment. I don’t sing at people, I sing to and with them as I bring them places, leading them by the proverbial hand. This is the music of my family, my own stories, and that of real human experience. The Harp and Bodhran just accentuate that purpose. It’s a sort of sweet, often haunting, frequently melancholy, intense and passionate, sound of subtleties.
What are your musical influences?
Oh definitely the singers I grew up listening to in folks music clubs from the early 1980s until now… Pete Seeger, Faith Petric, Bob Reid, Dick and Carol Holdstock, Joni Mitchell, my mom Lisa Aschmann, Jean Redpath, Peggy Seeger, Loreena McKennit, Maddy Prior, Sadie Damascus, Martin Carthy, Ray Frank, Hedningarna, Ella Fitzgerald, Lani Hermann,…. oh my gosh, tons and tons of people have touched, moved and influenced my music.
What has inspired you to write music?
My mother’s a brilliant songwriter, and I’ve always loved music… I’ve always been negatively compared to her genius at it, but in the last couple of years I’ve ventured out into being brave against comparisons and ridicule to free my voice. When I do write… some people are shocked to find out I don’t do it more… but it’s scary for me. I’ve won awards, and fellowships for my writing, because… it’s inside. I can’t not do it. The sharing part is the tough part. There are so many stories that people shy away from… some uplifting and hopeful, and some that just give voice to some kinds of sorrow and pain that needs letting out. Why not speak for those that can’t or won’t. Speak my truth and maybe offer some solidarity in that shared experience.
How do you view the importance of your spiritual path as it relates to your music?
Ahhh, I was born to do this. I was born to be an artist, and a priestess. My path has led me through a practice that is influenced by NROOGD, Feri, Reclaiming, Druidic, Thelemic, Celtophilic, and pantheistic veins. These are best served by the tools most appropriate to each circumstance. Each of these paths converge and separate depending on the nature of the story or song, or flavor of musical magic I’m weaving. I’m bringing back magic to the psyches of many; I’m reminding folks of where their own spark, and power lies… and I feel my own training as a witch has helped me to better see and address what kind of magic is right for each singing situation. It’s a matter of using my intuitive sense, my perception and magical force of will to touch hearts and stir pots that need stirring, but with a deep reverence for what I find when I meet those new people for whom I’m making magic. You know, you have to feel out what kind of art will be most effective at healing or invigorating. Also to take care to cast a sacred space in which those things inside can be touched and moved is a part of that confluence.
Are you recording currently or have projects in the works?
Recording… yes, I am currently in the process of recording my first solo project called, Transplants: From the Old World to the New. I’ve put out a couple of CDs with my former Irish band, Sheltering Sky. But this one is particularly near and dear to my heart and entails the journey from Ireland, or Scotland or wherever it is your ancestors are from and what they left, what they came to find, and what the arduous journey itself would have been like. I’m just beginning a project with my new duo group Threefires… though we’re still in the planning and rehearsing phases of that. Also, a music video to accompany the Transplants album, and well, ahem a kickstarter project to finish the audio recording is about to be set forth. I’m about 2/3s of the way through Transplants and frankly, need a bit of help to finish it. I’ll of course let people know when the kickstarter is released.
What upcoming events will you be performing at?
Friday October 7th at 8:00 pm in Santa Cruz at the Sepent’s Kiss Botanica I’ll be singing/ playing at the tour launch of my I-5 Northwestern tour with Deborah Hamouris.
On October 13th I’ll be playing in Volcano, CA at “the Wineroom” at 8:00 pm and on October 18th we’ll be in Chico,CA at the Cafe’ Flo with the group, Beltaine. October 19th we’re in Ashland, OR at a private house concert. October 20th, 21st,& 22nd we’ll be performing several times at the FarWest Folk Alliance gathering in Eugene, OR. Then October 24th we’ll be in Portland, OR performing at a house concert and then on the 25th we’ll be in Seattle, WA, again at a house concert. On the 26th we’ll be on Vashon Island, WA at the Vashon intuitive arts center.
Then we come back down south and hit up Newberg OR, and the Newberg music center on the 27th, Yreka, CA on the 28th, and Sacramento, CA at a house concert on the 29th.
After this tour…. I’ll breathe for a few weeks and perform again as Threefires on Nov 18th in Sebastopol, CA at the Dhyana healing arts center…. and more dates for the fall to come.
How can someone find your music?
… Come on out and hear me play.
Facebook Page http://www.ameliaisaverb.com/
Theree Fires Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ThreefiresOfficial
Crystal Blanton, PNC Bay Area