Rising Appalachia: A Boulder Friday – Folk Music to Enjoy and Important Causes to Support
On Friday the people of Boulder were treated to a memorable night of music, spoken word, and social activism. The Boulder Theatre was sold out and packed to the rafters. A large banner bearing the word RESILIENT in big black letters hung over the stage. Singer Lyla June and fiddle player Lydia Violet opened up the night. Lyla sang, beat boxed, and spoke about injustices against indigenous people and women both historical and present. Her message was one of unity, forgiveness, and peace between all people. She also sang songs in English, Spanish, and her ancestral language of the Dine’. She had a strong stage presence and a powerful voice. You could feel her passion resonating throughout the room.
Following Lyla June’s performance, Lakota elders, Phil Little Thunder and Paul Stover Soderman came out to speak and perform a short ceremony. Soderman told of his personal journey of reconciliation with Little Thunder after discovering one of his ancestors led a massacre against the Lakota people generations before. They spoke of their experiences at Standing Rock, and the importance of protecting the beauty and natural resources we have here. They ended their ceremony by singing a prayer and then introduced Rising Appalachia.
Sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith were accompanied by Biko Casini, David Brown, Arouna Diarra, and violinist Abram Racin. Rising Appalachia has an incredible way of connecting with the audience and drawing them in. Their music has a folky, Southern sound with a modern twist. They incorporate lots of instruments not traditionally used in folk music. They have guitars, banjos, and washboards of course. But they add didgeridoos, kalimbas, Afro-Cuban percussion, and a variety of horns with melodic vocals and some spoken word thrown in. In addition to the band, two dancers from Pendulum People performed onstage during their song “Resilient”.
This show was just the first of a series called Come to Life presented by Guayaki and Rising Appalachia. Come to Life is an artist driven music collective doing events all month long devoted to regenerating Colorado. This night was about supporting a few specific causes near and dear to our hearts. Caring 4 Denver is an initiative to provide mental health and addiction treatment to those in need. It also provides facilities and programs as an alternative to jail to reduce incarceration rates and help address the opioid epidemic. Also supported were anti-fracking efforts, and Natural Highs, using gourd circles to bond with others on an organic level.
Come to Life has a lot more on the way. They’re doing interviews with artists at the CRUSH festival, fancy dinners, dance parties, and of course, more concerts. Be sure to check out their upcoming events at cometolife.com/come-to-life-colorado/?src=bl&cid=coloradoctl&crid=part.
All Photos are Courtesy of Come to Life team (Syd Woodward, Hemmie Lindholm, Brittany NO FOMO)