Hai Hai Cats and Coots, Hope yours was a cool yule and a frantic first. I want to let you know about a seminar at the Mountain Songwriting Retreat I'm leading May 11-15, 2020, and if you're near New York City in January-February, I have a humble BRAG.
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News and updates from Michelle Shocked
Hai Hai Cats and Coots,
Hope yours was a cool yule and a frantic first. I’m launching this inaugural 2020 newsletter with a humble BRAG.
B is for Bohemia as in Cafe Bohemia. Café Bohemia is a jazz club located at 15 Barrow Street in the historic, landmark West Village neighborhood of New York City. Café Bohemia is being revived and restored to the same glory of the late 1950s. It has reopened after a 60 year hiatus. I have a residency here in January and February. Please help me get the word out, I really want to support this venue because its oh so hep and cool, ok? It’s a sweet deal, the solo gigs are $10, the trio is $20. All at 8pm. The play dates are Sun Jan 5, Wed Jan 22, Wed Jan 29, Sun Feb 9 (with my rumba trio), Sun Feb 16, Sun Feb 23, and Sun Mar 1(with my rumba trio) and I’ll take requests at the solo gigs. If you’d like to sit in on a song, let me know at Twitter @micheIleshocked or Instagram @mshockedrox. As always, no recording is justified at a live gig, dig? 
R is for Rockwood as in Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street in Soho where Blake Morgan holds a residency with a 5-year streak of sold out concerts, and I am his invited guest on January 23rd! I’m so excited! The show is already sold out, but I can’t help myself, I'm bragging about this collaboration with one of our leading voices in the the fight for artists' rights. Get Tickets Here
A is for APAP, as in Association of Performing Arts Professionals, which holds its annual conference in Midtown Manhattan each year, and this year I was selected among 18 performers for their UP Next! presentation. I have 4 minutes to explain my Musical Chairs project, and I’d love your feedback on my pitch, below. We’re doing guerrilla showcases but you’ll have to follow me on the socials to know where to go. If you're attending APAP, RSVP Here
G is for Grammy Museum, as in Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center, on February 6 and the subject under discussion is “Protest Music,” so how perfect is that? Put me in, coach. The Grammy Museum Experience at Prudential Center Website is Here
I have one more very extra special surprise, and that is an invitation to join me, producer Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson, GWAR, Tony Levin, etc) and Dave Nachmanoff (Al Stewart, Alison Krauss, Steve Forbert, etc) for a songwriting retreat in May. The annual Mountain Songwriting Retreat is hosting a 5 day seminar May 11-15, and I’m looking forward to hanging out one-on-one with attendees, discussing the art of song crafting. I’ll present a seminar on my own style I call "song-cycling" (that’s my idiomatic approach to concept development for a complete suite of songs.) And for comic relief, we can head outside and run across Alpine meadows singing “Doe a Deer.” More Info Here
I am in my third semester at the Screen Actors Guild’s awesome sight-singing class, under the excellent tutelage of Bishop Chantel Wright. We are solfaging our way around moveable Do while gesturing with our hands, which are empty of everything except meaning. Watch these clips, Here and Here and you’ll see what I mean.
Bern 🔥 On,
Ready to Rumba - My APAP Pitch
I am a side effect of the fever dream of a mad professor, Ned Sublette, and his seminal authorship, Cuba and its Music. It all began, as do most things these days, with a tweet.
In 2015, my friend Bill Bragin was saying how excited he was about his upcoming trip to Cuba with Ned’s Postmambo Studies, a masterclass in rumba. I expressed my disappointment at the missed opportunity, but next thing I know, I’m on a flight to
Miami to meet up with a serious group of cultural savants for ten days of non-stop Cuban rumba. I’ve made the journey twice since then, and by my third trip, this concept was taking shape.
I was in Havana at a concert one night, surrounded by about 400 people all swaying to this groove, and realized, “Oh my God, I can’t find the one!” In case anyone isn’t hip to West African rhythm and it’s Cuban love child, clavé, I’ll ask maestro Max Pollak to
Fun fact. After the Cuban revolution, the Castro government abolished copyright - maybe it was bourgeois or counter-revolutionary, I don’t know.
What I do know, some savvy musicians here in New York City - Puertoriqueños, also others - said “hey, if you’re not gonna use those copyrights, we’ll take them,” and a 400 year old rumba tradition gave birth ... to salsa.
At this point, the Cuban government said ... on second thought. ... hang on ... and reinstated copyright as the truly revolutionary concept it is.
Do you know, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 45% fewer musicians work today than when Our Glorious Internet Revolution arrived 20 years ago with its great libertarian promise for the creative class?
  • Wikipedia abuse of the moral rights of authors.
  • Google and Amazon monopsony abuse of safe harbor and fair use.
  • Wall Street predation of intellectual property chain of title.
  • Justice Department consent decrees and antitrust compulsories from 1909 protect global corporations … from independent songwriters!
  • Unsustainable streaming rates on Spotify due to a value gap by advertising tracking and data surveillance on YouTube and Facebook.
  • Liberty Media funded Trump’s inaugural, - think iHeart, Sirius, Pandora, Ticketmaster, Live Nation - but abuse terrestrial radio exemptions and pay nothing to play our music.
  • Anti-copyright tech companies make billions from our unprotected intellectual property.
  • Creators are forced to play a never ending game of whack a mole against ad sponsored piracy.
  • Do you know copyright infringement claims cost $300,000 dollars to defend?
  •  Meanwhile, a bill to protect independent creators with a small claims tribunal in the Copyright Office, called the C.A.S.E. Act, passed the House 410-6, and is blocked in the Senate by just one man, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.
In theory, these dry, arcane policy issues are impossible to give artistic voice. But think back for a moment to the first time you heard Graceland by Paul Simon, or Buena Vista Social Club by Ry Cooder, and you’ll understand. Somewhere between these flawed masterpieces is my latest effort, Musical Chairs: A Comparsa for Artists’ Rights.
Cuban rumba and copyright. This musical conversation starts where these two subjects meet. Guaguanco. Mozambique. Son. Boogaloo. Yambu. Changui. Guaracha. Trova. Comparsa. These unique Cuban idioms are the perfect vehicle for my latest song cycle. By the time Max and I are done, you’ll know “Nunca Provoques a Los Compositores” means “Never Piss Off a Songwriter,” and its corollary Never, Ever Underestimate the Power of Art to dispel an ocean of lies with one drop of truth.
Musical Chairs is often misunderstood as a winner takes- all party game. In the end, it’s two players fighting over the final chair. The real game of Musical Chairs depends on all of us standing up for the rights of artists, by any means necessary, for as long as possible. Because when the music stops, it’s truly “Game Over”
Michelle Shocked
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