Artist-in-Residence with The Stagenorth Groundlings

Artist-in-Residence Opportunity

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be calling the Stagenorth Theater, in Washburn, Wisconsin, my theatrical home away from home later this winter! I have the opportunity to serve as Artist-in-Residence with The Stagenorth Groundlings during February and March, for their production of Jesus Christ Superstar (JCSS), in which I’ll be performing the title role. With the support of The Stagenorth Groundlings, I’ll live and work for 5 weeks in the Chequamegon Bay area, rehearsing in the evenings, and engaged throughout the week in area schools working with drama clubs, show choirs, and theater departments.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of driving over to Washburn and Bayfield to take part in the annual Holiday Show at Stagenorth, sharing the stage with both young and veteran performers of the area, as well as some special guests, including Wisconsin Public Radio legend John Munson. Upon my arrival, a warm, welcoming, and artisticly vibrant tone was set by Liz Woodworth, Artistic Advisor with the Groundlings, and also director of their upcoming production of JCSS. She gave me a tour of the theater, got me settled at the lovely Winfield Inn in Bayfield, and was just such a joy to spend time, laugh, and make music with over the weekend as I participated and performed in the Holiday Show over two nights. Aside from the enjoyment I got from singing The Christmas Song with Liz on the keys, as well as sharing a live-looping wintery improvisation with the audience, I love my time backstage with my fellow actors and musicans performing in the show, meeting board members of the Stagenorth Groundlings, and chatting with the wonderful patrons of the Chequamegon Bay theater community.

Huge thanks to Liz Woodworth and The Stagenorth Groundlings for the invitation and opportunity to serve as Artist-in-Residence this winter! I’m looking forward to sharing time, developing new artistic relationships, and further strengthening the artistic connection between our two theater communities on Lake Superior – the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior, and the Chequamegon Bay.

-Adam Sippola

Stagenorth Theater Artist-in-Residence

Stagenorth Theater in Washburn, Wisconsin

Nine – Director’s Notes

Nine: The Musical

Nine – Director’s Notes

“The great secret of Nine is that it took 8 1/2 and became an essay on the power of women by answering the question, “What are women to men?” And Nine tells you: they are our mothers, our sisters, our teachers, our temptresses, our judges, our nurses, our wives, our mistresses, our muses.”” – Maury Yeston

“I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t know which way to turn anymore.”

As I traverse midlife, the themes of personal and creative crisis and struggle that permeate Fellini’s masterpiece 8 ½, upon which Nine is based, are closely relatable. However, contrary to Guido, struggling to bring clarity to his vision, “I am ready”, and very pleased to present our production to you tonight.

 “I would like to have another me to travel along with myself.”

Our concept: Director and actor playing a director and actor, struggling to create and direct a film in which he’s also an actor. Stay with me now. The other actors are cast as characters in the movie in his mind, as well as the women who have informed and shaped his reality, many of whom are actors playing roles in his film – worlds within worlds here.

“I am about to enter a realm I have never dared enter before. Wish me luck!”

As I began this journey into the world(s) of Nine many months ago, I voluntarily entered a surreal, meta-theatrical experiment of life imitating art. But it wasn’t luck I needed. In this story of women in a man’s world, and a man in a world of women, what brought me through was the foresight to surround myself with the most talented, courageous, intelligent, strong, focused, and hard working group of women I could find, as well as one special boy.

To the cast – You are my heroes, you artists who give so much, taking emotional risks, opening your hearts to friends and strangers so that they might laugh, cry, cringe, reflect, love, and perhaps make a deeper human connection with themselves and their fellows. Thank you!

-Adam Sippola, Director

 

Rising Point Review

Rising Point Album CoverSippola uses talent, creative energy to great effect in ‘Rising Point’

By Tony Bennett, for the Duluth News Tribune
Thursday, January 22, 2015

It’s tough to distinguish yourself as a musician. Use a guitar, and you’re speaking the same language that so many before you have spoken. Play a drum, and it’s hard not to play it in a way that is reminiscent of legions of others who have put stick to head.

On the other hand, you can do something radically different to really stand out. There are people who start bands with homemade robots. There are people who dress in black cloaks like druids. There are people who play four-string guitars tuned to top-secret exotic tunings. Anything to set a musician apart visually or sonically, it’s been attempted.

Which brings us to Adam Sippola, who is known locally for playing the didgeridoo. That’s not all he does, but it’s something he does that no one else really attempts. So, in listening to Sippola’s new solo album, “Rising Point,” it’s hard to not be listening for that instrument’s deep drone. And it’s there. It’s actually the first thing you hear on the album, on the track “Overture.” The sonorous instrument’s plane-flying-by sound is the basis of the opener, which Sippola adorns with layered vocal tracks and church organ sounds.

In this his first gambit, Sippola makes clear he’s not here to sing a pop song that uses traditional pop vocabulary or instrumentation. He’s going for something that’s more evocative of non-Western music, something more chant-based. The words are there, but they’re obscured, cast in shadow.

The second track gets much more direct and fast. In “Let’s Start a Revolution,” Sippola repeatedly and melismatically sings a capella. It’s here that Sippola’s background as a stage actor and singer comes to the fore — there’s a quality in this song’s opening moments that is doubtlessly informed by his ability to inhabit different characters, a quality that feels dramatic and pointed in a way that lots of singers who don’t just sing have. It’s a self-awareness, an intent.

The song itself loops that key lyric, eventually turning it into a group-vocal stomp-gospel thing that leads into a lush, meticulously arranged bridge of overdubbed Sippolas. It’s actually quite a feat, and one that not many in the local area could pull off. Truly remarkable.

Same with the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan-styled vocals of the track “Daybreak,” which again finds Sippola — a Western person singing non-Western styles — trying on some throat-singing for size. He layers his vocals beautifully, building mood and emotional content step by step.

But one has to wonder what the sounds he’s making are. They sound like language. They tonally have the character and sound of something recalling African folk music, and yet Sippola isn’t of that culture or background. So is he trying on a specific style and using the actual language of that style, or is there an appropriation that’s happening? Or is Sippola, a talented actor and singer, doing a bit of role-inhabiting? The lyric book for the album lists no words for this track.

As with “Revolution,” which finds Sippola repeatedly calling for revolution while also suggesting that humans “teach our kids to learn war no more,” there’s a bit of cognitive dissonance at work. In “Daybreak,” he sings what sounds like the music of another era or culture, and it may even be an impression or a pidgin version of actual languages that Sippola doesn’t speak.

Realistically, one’s enjoyment of “Rising Point” may depend on perspective. There are no doubt those who might listen to the album and hear someone doing stylistic trying-on of hats and wonder who the real Adam Sippola is. Others will hear the tremendous vocal talent, marvel at the looped arrangements and bask in the reverb-drenched production. Your mileage may vary, but there’s no doubt Sippola is talented in a way that sets him apart from just about everyone else around.

There’s a track on this album called “How Do You Know” that is based around a scratchy percussion loop and some fantastic cello (also played by Sippola), and it’s less evocative of other styles than much of the rest of the LP. A good move for Sippola on future releases may be to try and find himself and his identity in less genre-locked songs like this, to use his voice and his unique musical sensibilities not as costumes, but as ways to communicate his essential Adam-ness. For now, though, here’s a guy with tons of talent and lots of creative energy using his stage-honed skills to great effect. And playing a mean didge.

Lead single “How Do You Know” released ahead of “Rising Point”

Rising Point Album CoverToday I’m releasing a lead single, How Do You Know in advance of my forthcoming album, Rising Point, due out January 24th. How Do You Know is a live looping, experimental rock song, driven by the cello on top of a found-sound rhythmic foundation created from recordings of my kitchen appliances, all supporting my voice and words.

I’m excited to share How Do You Know with you a bit early – one moment in the midst of Rising Point, my live looping concept album of vocally diverse songs spanning alternative, experimental rock, pop, world, and folk, and exploring themes of war, search, purpose, potential, and justice.

Lyrics:

How do you know?
Does anybody really know?
When will I see?

You look like me

Where are you from?
Do you believe in life to come?
Can it be true?

I look like you

*********

The entire album, Rising Point, will be available at my website, http://adamsippola.com, as well as on cdbaby, itunes, amazon, and locally at The Electric Fetus in Duluth, after the January 24th album release concert to take place at Sacred Heart Music Center. Buy advanced tickets here.

Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

-Adam

Carrying Songs

Yesterday, I wrote down a list of songs for my upcoming live looping album. I’ve been carrying these songs – often born out of improvisation, some which I’ve been playing and fine tuning for a couple of years… others just recently emerging – carrying them with me from performance to performance, like I carry my bag of cables, mics, pedals and papers. I wrote them down, an asterisk here, a question mark there, names of possible collaborators in the margins, and I got really excited!

By the time this 40 day Kickstarter (http://kck.st/1DxSAb3) is done next Tuesday, November 4th at 11:59pm, I will have performed 9 shows and concerts in 40 days, including 8 Live Looping performances and 1 choir concert, spent around 40 hours rehearsing, another dozen or so hours working on promotional materials, including press releases, posters, emails, updates, and video editing, all while working my day job and being a husband and parent. It’s been an incredibly full, and very productive month.

And in the midst of it all, to see and feel the huge show of support from friends, family, strangers, and community, both financially and socially, has been absolutely wonderful, and I’m so thankful! Thank you all who have contributed and supported me in this endeavor one way or another!

I can’t wait to get into the studio, where I can focus my energy and attention to translating this list of songs into the creation of an album as a unique musical experience for you, as well as a chapter marker in my creative journey. My project is nearing the first stretch goal, with a couple of other goals on the horizon. So, if you’ve been thinking about checking out my project, but have been waiting until near the end, now’s the time: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamsippola/adam-sippola-creates-live-looping-album-at-sacred

Tonight, I hope you’ll join myself and Rachael Kilgour for a concert at the Teatro Zuccone at 7:30pm: Adam Sippola & Rachael Kilgour at Teatro Zuccone. And next Saturday, I’ll be singing with the Twin Ports Choral Project at Mitchell Auditorium at 7:30pm to round out my 40 days of live performances: Heaven and Earth. I hope to see you, so I can sing you some of these songs I’ve been carrying with me.

Initial Goal Acheived!

Initial Kickstarter Goal Acheived! Thanks to everyone for all of the support so far! 12 more days to get in on this project! Check out my updated goals here – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamsippola/adam-sippola-creates-live-looping-album-at-sacred

Initial Goal Acheived

$500 Bonus Pledge

Kickstarter Bonus Pledge

If I reach my Kickstarter Project goal of $4000 by next Saturday, October 25th, one of the project backers has pledged to give an additional $500! So please, if you’re considering giving to the project, this week is the best time to do so. The extra $500 would be a great boost towards my extended budget goal, which would enable me to do even more with the project!

Visit my Kickstarter Project here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamsippola/adam-sippola-creates-live-looping-album-at-sacred

$500 Bonus Kickstarter Pledge

My Live Looping Kickstarter Project!

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

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Upcoming Performances

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:

Thank you so much for supporting me by supporting my project! See at one of my shows.

Sincerely,
Adam

Star of Les Misérables launching Kickstarter at The Red Herring Lounge!

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2014
Contact: Adam Sippola
218-590-8670
contact@adamsippola.com

www.adamsippola.com

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.

Film Duluth Promo

Two beautiful days to film Duluth

Adam Sippola through the lens

Through the lens

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!

Shambhala

Please enjoy a FREE mp3 download of the song “Shambhala” by Adam Sippola, featured in the DVD, “2012: Shambhala and the Thirteenth Crystal Skull“.

 

2012: Shambhala and the Thirteenth Crystal Skull