A perceptive friend once asked me, “When did you realize that music was your religion?” As long as I can remember, music was indeed central to my sense of meaning, identity, and calling. Steeped in community and church music, I grew up in small town Milo, Maine, where I recall earnestly trying to play my Great-Aunt-Lydia’s piano as a very young girl, until my family got me my own ($1 at a Lion’s Club auction – no other bids!). I took piano lessons from first grade onward, taught myself to play the guitar my mother got me with S&H Green Stamps, and sang at every opportunity.
Since then my adventures have included studies at Oberlin College, Paris subway busking, recording film music, Boston’s Lithuanian Ethnographic Ensemble Sodauto, homesteading, working on the Maine island of Monhegan, joining the People’s Music Network, performing (Caffè Lena; Peoples Voice Café, Champlain Valley Folk Festival, New England Folk Festival, and more), being a folk/world music DJ, musical activities in nursing homes, serving as a church musician, song leading, playing hammered dulcimer on the street, and marrying David Wallace-Lawrence, a Brit with a stupendous bass voice who leads interfaith chant.
With voice, Marxophone and violin-guitar (play-by-number American fretless zithers sold door to door in the early 1900s), harpeleik, accordion, Lithuanian kanklės (from the land of my mother’s people), and more, I do a blend of originals, traditional music, and off-the-beaten-path covers. I love to turn folks on to my instruments, especially my fretless zither collection, which began with one ukelin, grew with the gift of a Marxophone from a flea market dealer friend, and has expanded to include a tremoloa, Apollo harp, dolceola, Phonoharp No.1, harmolin, celestaphone, lion zither, Harp-O-Chord and (seriously!) many more. I usually bring just a few when I perform, but I also do special presentations with a wide variety.
Above all, I aim to share heartfelt music fostering authentic human connection. In the face of so many forces that separate and isolate us, my goal is to be joyfully subversive, drawing listeners into an experience of contact, ease, mutuality, gusto and Big Fun. Whether sharing a traditional song, an original instrumental, or a piece of social satire, I try to bring a lucid and refreshing quality of intelligent, respectful, openhearted presence to my work.