Last night I began my concert with a 20 minute improvisation inspired by John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”.
Who Killed Davey Moore?
Below is a cover of one of my favorite Bob Dylan tunes, Who Killed Davey Moore, performed during a live looping show I did at The Red Herring Lounge in Duluth, Minnesota, on September 27th, 2014.
I first heard this song when I was a teenager, and although I didn’t know the historical context at the time, I was impacted by Bob Dylan’s lyrics which spoke to me about a culture of violence through the story of the final fight of a boxer named Davey Moore. I continue to be affected by Dylan’s words in the way they speak to me about the culpability of our society in sustaining a violent culture, both directly and indirectly, and in challenging individuals to ask of themselves the difficult question, “Why, and what’s the reason for?” when witnessing, and even reveling in acts of violence.
Before playing the song at a concert in 1964, Dylan said:
This a song about a boxer…
It’s got nothing to do with boxing, it’s just a song about a boxer really.
And, uh, it’s not even having to do with a boxer, really.
It’s got nothing to do with nothing.
But I fit all these words together…
It’s taken directly from the newspapers,
Nothing’s been changed…
Except for the words.
In and of itself, the fact that Davey Moore, American world featherweight champion, lost his life after a match against Cuban boxer, Sugar Ramos, is sad, but not surprising, considering the inherent violence of the sport and the goal of hitting an opponent long and hard enough to knock them out. What is more tragic, in my interpretation of Dylan’s song, is contemplating the boxing arena as the arena of war, the boxers as soldiers, managers as governments, spectators as citizens, gamblers as war profiteers, and the boxing writer as the press. Dylan originally wrote and performed the song in 1963, when the Cuban Missile Crisis and the escalation of the Vietnam War were weighing on the minds of most Americans. Today, unfortunately, the metaphor resonates louder and clearer, as denial of the causes and motivations for war seems to have a firm hold on the psyche of American culture.
I perform this song to the rhythmic sound of a gas stove igniting.
Some Live Looping improvisations from performances at The Duluth Playhouse rotunda and The Red Herring Lounge.
My song “Revolution” performed at The Red Herring Lounge in Duluth, Minnesota.
Seventeen years ago today I ventured off on the road alone, with $80, a backpack, a sleeping bag, and my first homemade didgeridoo. I began hitchhiking around the country, never knowing who I’d meet, what I’d eat, or where I’d sleep. I wandered, reading poetry and playing street music to sustain myself, meeting new and fascinating people everywhere I went. Over the many months of my wandering, I experienced a side of America most people haven’t.
I learned to “dumpster dive”, ate many meals at soup kitchens, learned the right way to use cardboard and newspaper to stay warm at night sleeping next to the train tracks. I walked into dark forests with new friends to discover fire-lit kitchens and unknown family. I rowed in darkness out onto the reef and awoke on a floating pallet village, surrounded by dozens of dogs. I was entertained by angels, and wrestled with demons.
I experienced time expanded in a way I hadn’t since my single-digit summers. I was changed… and everything I’d done or become since has been greatly impacted by that time, those people, that new perspective on our country, America.
In celebration of this anniversary, I’ll be playing my didgeridoo and singing some wandering music tonight and throughout the month at various acoustically and atmospherically pleasing locations. Check out these upcoming events.
Dear friends, family, supporters!
I’m excited to share my Live Looping Kickstarter Project with you! My Kickstarter Campaign lasts 40 days, starting now!
I’m planning to record a Live Looping album this fall/winter at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth, but to do it, I need some help. Specifically, I’m asking for your assistance in 3 ways.
3 Ways to Help
- Donate to my Kickstarter Project here: https://www. kickstarter.com/projects/ adamsippola/adam-sippola- creates-live-looping-album-at- sacred
My goals, vision, budget, as well as rewards for backers, are all outlined in the project video and page. If you’d just like to support me, and the rewards aren’t important to you, please consider donating any amount… even a dollar will help. Thank you!
- Go to my Artist Page on facebook: https://www. facebook.com/adamsippolamusic, and if you haven’t already liked it, please do! And while you’re there, take a moment to like the Kickstarter Video.
- Share my project with your friends! Copy and paste the Kickstarter Video link into a facebook status update: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamsippola/adam-sippola-creates-live-looping-album-at-sacred/widget/video.html, or, share the video directly from my facebook Artist Page. Having your support on facebook and other social media (twitter, google+ etc.) will be a HUGE factor in helping me to succeed! It’ll only take you a couple of clicks, and it will help spread the word much wider and faster than I can on my own. Also, feel free to forward this email, and to spread the word in conversation with friends, colleagues, and anyone you think my be interested in helping out.
I’ve got several live performances coming up. If you you’re more familiar with seeing me on the musical theater stage, these are some great opportunities to check out my Live Looping music:
- “Looping in the Round” – Duluth Playhouse Rotunda: Friday, September 26th @1pm – Free All Ages
- “Kickstarter Kickoff Concert” – The Red Herring Lounge: Saturday, September 27th @7pm – Free 21+
- “Looping Under the Carnegie Dome” – Old Carnegie Library Rotunda: Tuesday, October 7th @8pm – Free All Ages
- “Looping like my soul’s on fire” – Lake Superior Interfaith: Friday, October 10th @7pm – Free All Ages
- “A Cosmic Loopening” – UMD Planetarium: Monday, October 20th @7pm $2 All Ages
- “Adam Sippola & Rachael Kilgour” – Teatro Zuccone: Monday, October 27th @7:30pm $5 All Ages
Thank you so much for supporting me by supporting my project! See at one of my shows.
From Les Misérables to Live Looping!
Duluth, MN – Adam Sippola, who starred as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables at the DECC Symphony Hall in July, will be launching a Kickstarter Campaign, beginning with a Live Looping Happening, or “Loopening”, in the Duluth Playhouse Rotunda on Friday, September 26th @ 1pm.
What is Live Looping? Sippola uses a looping pedal to create improvised music as well as structured songs with a strong focus on vocals – layering his voice and incorporating didgeridoo, hand percussion, found-sound recordings, some cello and other instruments to create a rich and evocative musical experience.
Concerts throughout the campaign will include the Kickstarter Kickoff Concert at The Red Herring Lounge on September 27th @ 7pm, Live Looping at Lake Superior Interfaith on October 10th @7pm, and a collaboration with Rachael Kilgour at the Teatro Zuccone on October 27th @8pm, with “Loopenings” in the Carnegie Library Rotunda, the MPAC Lobby at UMD, and others locations to be announced throughout the month at www.adamsippola.com as well as www.facebook.com/adamsippolamusic.
Sippola’s Kickstarter Campaign will focus on gathering support and raising funding to record a Live Looping focused album at Sacred Heart Music Center during the fall and winter, and creating an album release concert event, also at Sacred Heart. The album will feature songs in Sippola’s Live Looping style, as well as some special guest collaborations. The Kickstarter will go live online on Thursday, September 25th, and last 40 days, closing on Tuesday, November 4th. The goal is to raise $4000 to cover the studio recording sessions, mastering, CD duplication, album art and layout, concert preparation, rentals, and promotional materials, with an extended goal to raise $5000 in order to create a concert film. With a Kickstarter Campaign, it’s all or nothing, meaning that all of the funds need to be raised within the allotted time, or else none of the funds are collected. Adam Sippola’s Kickstarter profile can be viewed at www.kickstarter.com/profile/adamsippola.
All reward level backers of the Kickstarter will be invited to Sacred Heart for one of the recording sessions to lend their voices to a track on the album! Adam wants to pack Sacred Heart for a group sing! Many backers will have their names or name-meanings incorporated into the lyrics of a song that Sippola will record at home and send out to everyone involved.
Other rewards include a digital or physical copy of the album, receiving other albums by Adam Sippola, VIP reception and seats to the album release concert, a song or meditation/yoga track created specifically for you, a House Concert for you and your friends, or Adam serving as the entertainment for your special event!
The album release concert event to be held at Sacred Heart, will feature music from the album as well as unique improvisations, and will explore the relationship of audience to music performance. There will be multiple “looping stations” throughout the room, projection screens, and various “listening areas” with a focus on reflecting back to the audience the inspiration their very presence brings to a performance. There will also be a VIP reception and tables as an offering in some of the backer rewards. Sippola hopes to collaborate on the album release concert with other local musicians, choral ensembles, dancers, and visual artists, to create an unforgettable evening of collaborative, multi-media, multi-form art.
Come to the The Red Herring Lounge this Saturday, September 26th @ 7pm for free food, drinks at the bar, and sounds provided by Adam Sippola.
Two beautiful days to film Duluth
This past Tuesday and Wednesday, I was fortunate to be involved in the creation of a short promotional film, sponsored by the Minnesota Film & TV Board, for the purpose of attracting film makers to create feature films in Duluth. In 48 hours we hit around a dozen locations from the decrepit halls of Nopeming Sanatorium, to the picturesque end of Park Point, with the weather cooperating with us at every turn.
Miles Hanon and Tom Livingston headed up the project, supported by Riki McManus, as well as Erik Stolhanske and Troy Parkinson of the Minnesota Film & TV Board. We were also aided by a couple of other occasional crew members, not to mention the many accommodating individuals and organizations throughout the city that gave us access to these wonderful locations. Thanks to all who were involved in this project, and I can’t wait to see the finished piece. Film Duluth!
“We have become better artists together.” ~Dorothy Danner
Les Misérables at the DECC
Last week we brought the Duluth Playhouse’s production of Les Misérables to the DECC stage in Duluth, MN, after a truly beautiful, intense, absorbing, collaborative, exhausting, and joyous rehearsal process, led by our generous, sweet and brilliantly talented director, Dorothy Danner. With the great Topaz Cooks at her side, and aided by Kate Kulas Beth Gucinski, Robert Gardner, Dirk Meyer, and many other talented designers, crew, musicians, volunteers, too numerous to name, Dottie helped to bring out the best in each and every one of us, in a manner and style that crept up on you with an understated, profound effectiveness.
I am deeply grateful for this experience, and while I would love to keep performing the role of Valjean for months to come, and indeed hope to have the opportunity to do so someday, I’m thankful to have been privileged to perform this show with such a devoted group of performers who poured their all into this story each day and night with such artistry, enthusiasm, and unbridled passion. As Dottie once said, “We have become better artists together.”
To those who saw the show, supporting our endeavor, thank you! You made our short run of 4 nights feel much larger, filling Symphony Hall with your applause, laughter and tears.
I hope this type of collaboration continues in Duluth, as it’s easy for patrons and participants to become so focused on one or two arts organizations, that they miss out on the wealth of creativity happening in town in different circles than they’re used to exploring. We need more of this! When we raise each other up, the heavy lifting is easier.
A piece of music created for use with The Peace Labyrinth, a quilt installation by Janet McTavish.
Adam Sippola sings ‘Free’ during the concert “ladders/windows” at the Teatro Zuccone in Duluth, MN. Background film & music by Adam Sippola.
Walking Trees – December 10, 2009 – Adam Sippola
When you have purchased salve enough
To coat your eyelids heavily,
Through tears you’ll see the walking trees
Which once to you were still and cold.
Remember as the water flows
Like veins of sap upon your skin,
That those without must look within
To where the salve is bought and sold.
See them waiting at the water
With their leaves that never wither.
Hidden roots beneath the river;
Intertwining veins of gold.
When you’ve been clothed in white attire
And on the land have set your feet,
And there at hand have fruit to eat
From off the branches of the trees;
Remember that within your grasp
Are many seeds, if planted right
Will bring forth spotless deeds of light.
Consider that this food is free.
Watch them bending low and kneeling.
Touch their leaves which are for healing.
Manifested roots revealing
Drink the crystal water down,
And listen to the whispering breeze.
From the 2000 album “Awake”
Open – 4/6/09 – Adam Sippola
Last night I found an open area
Carved from rock, defined by loss and movement.
Piercing the veil, I climbed the spiral stair;
From the high land of promise heard the song
Of an unexpected angel with eyes
Like the sea, smiling in the freckled sun.
I came again to where I had begun,
Moving gently on strings of light and sound
To where the wet ground met the precious feet
Of a messenger seated in silence.
In life and in breath I circled above,
Lost in a song and gazing down upon
An open space, carved as a stage in time
By a raven’s wing and a word of love.