Festival Of The Muses Set To Cultivate The Feminine Spirit Through Music, Workshops, & More

By: Mirna Tufekcic

It’s called the Festival of the Muses, but more than just a festival in the general sense of the word, it is an intentional gathering of like-minded people meant to cultivate the creative, feminine spirit through music, skilled workshops, meditation, and oh- soaking in hot springs.  

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The idea for such a gathering came to Mackenzie Page, the frontwoman of Gipsy Moon, a couple of years ago. Her and I sat down this summer to talk about her idea as it was coming to fruition.  

After spending a lot of time on the road with her bandmates, predominantly surrounded by men in the van and at music venues across the nation, Mackenzie would longingly meet the occasional female artist in passing, wishing she could keep that energetic field with her longer.  After awhile of witnessing the overtly masculinized music scene, Mackenzie felt how much she missed the feminine energy around her while being on the road. She realized the lack of female artists and the feminine spirit in the music scene. Eventually it became obvious to her that the feminine goddess is missing in many ways from our modern, Western way of life- and that it needed a reawakening. So, about a year and a half ago, she decided to bring the idea of the Festival of the Muses into reality. With the help of a very supportive, active, and visionary community, the event is set to take place this weekend at the Joyful Journey Hot Springs near Crestone, Colorado.  

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Spearheaded by three powerful women, Bonnie Paine and Bridget Law of Elephant Revival and Mackenzie herself, Festival of the Muses is welcoming men and women to shift away from patriarchy and a masculinized way of being in the world and experience what it feels like to approach an art form and skill through the feminine lens. The workshops at the festival are intended to awaken creativity within each person and empower the feminine nature of equality and non-competitive aspirations. The workshops range from bookbinding, painting, and tarot readings to meditation and making medicine through movement and herbs. Each is led by skilled men and women who have cultivated their craft over the years through a dedicated practice, and by honoring the divine feminine. The evenings at the fest will fill the air with music by various local artists, including the power trio of Mackenzie, Bonnie, and Bridget. The Joyful Journey Hot Springs spa will have open doors throughout the day to soak in the springs and, depending on your lodging and ticket purchase, even extended hours into the evening.

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I would wager a weekend of intentional and powerful immersion with the feminine is likely something most of us need, whether we want to accept it or not. So, if you’re one of those people who reads this and immediately dismisses it as hocus-pocus stuff, then you should definitely attend. And if you’re one of those alternative peeps looking for something less mainstream, less focused on external highs and intoxication and more focused on an intentional and purposeful gathering of beings, then go spend the weekend with these muses to fill your cup.  A happy journey and transformation to you all. It is surely going to be a fulfilling experience.

For more information on the festival, tickets, lodging, and everything you need to know before you attend, click here.  

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Jump Into Summer With Our 'Pickin' On CO Summers' Spotify Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Just in time for summer and the many folk & bluegrass festivals that come with it in Colorado thanks to Planet Bluegrass, here’s our ‘Pickin’ On Colorado Summers’ Spotify Playlist:

Tastemaker Sierra Voss has put some serious tuneage together for your summer soundtrack. Trout Steak Revival classically opens our pickin’ playlist, with tracks by Caribou Mountain Collective, Fruition, The Haunted Windchimes, Elephant Revival, Punch Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Blitzen Trapper, Railroad Earth, Sarah Jarosz, and others. Several of these artists play the upcoming 2017 Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to check out our many playlists, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it!

Happy Summer.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Colorado's Gipsy Moon Announce New Record, 'Songs of Olde'

By: Mirna Tufekcic

“When you think of a mandolin, you immediately think bluegrass!” exclaims Mackenzie Page, the lead vocalist and tenor banjo and guitar player of Gipsy Moon, a constellation of five talented musicians hailing from Nederland, Colorado. She finishes her thought, “But when you hear our mandolin player, Silas [Herman], you’ll hear more Latin than South. The way he plays the mandolin is just different, and it really fits the overall sound we make.”

Matt Cantor, Gipsy Moon’s upright bass player joins in, “That’s totally true. When I joined the band, I was stoked to be able to write the kind of music I like and for it to fit right in. I listen to a lot of Eastern European stuff on my own, and I love to write some crazy-sounding minor stuff. That’s what I believe I added to the band.”

Gipsy Moon. Photo Credit: Hearts Alive Creative Media

Gipsy Moon. Photo Credit: Hearts Alive Creative Media

Gipsy Moon are unique and lovely. They definitely have a flavor of their own as they pull from multiple genres: traditional American songs, bluegrass and mountain top music, Eastern European folk, and, of course, gypsy music. In their upcoming album, Songs of Olde (2017), they’ve added in percussion as well, played by Omar Al Tbal. It adds a lot of Middle Eastern flavor to the band’s sound, further enriching their uniqueness and deepening their melodies.

Gipsy Moon’s first album, Sticks and Stones, will take you on a melodic journey, but their upcoming sophomore record, scheduled for release in April, will definitely make you travel across the globe, back in time, and still keep you rooted in the present. For Songs of Olde, the band experimented with dozens of old, traditional songs from around the world, adopting the melodies and lyrics to relate to more modern times. The single off their new album, “Clementine,” has already dropped, and it’s a great example of what they’re doing with these timeless pieces of music.  

Listen to Gipsy Moon’s “Clementine”:

Says Mackenzie, “[Clementine] sounds very different from what you’ve heard before because we [are] adding a lot of ourselves to it. But, even still, you’re able to identify it. The most difficult and the most fun part of making this album for me was re-writing the lyrics to some of the [traditional] songs and figuring out how to fit them into the notes and melody. I never thought I’d utilize my college degree in writing poetry so directly, but this was definitely the test. My father would be so proud!”

The “old traditional,” as these songs are referred to, are rich with allegory and history. These songs have traveled around the world, embedding themselves in culture and taking on the respective culture’s hue.

As Mackenzie says, “What’s interesting to me about these songs, which I noticed after playing them live, is that people from a different country, like Spain or Latvia for example, would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, you just played our traditional song!’ The whole time, I was under the impression they were traditional American songs!”

The polymorphic nature of the old traditional tunes make them ripe for experimentation, and Gipsy Moon tapped into this new well of creation like pros.

Says Matt, “You know, some bands, like The Motet for example, got to find out who they are as a band by playing a lot of covers, which allowed them to figure out what they’re best at. That’s kinda what our upcoming album is about. We’re figuring ourselves out as we go and learning what it is that we do best together. Come to find out, playing old traditional songs is something we’re really good at.”

Adds Mackenzie, “Yeah and I really think this album is the most representative of Gipsy Moon yet. Even though the album is basically all covers, they still very much sound like us. The essence of the songs is there, but we’ve made them our own.”

So, if you want to take a ride on an enchanted journey led by Gipsy Moon, check out one of the shows they’re playing in Colorado this week with bluegrass band Mipso. And stay tuned for Gipsy Moon’s upcoming record, Songs of Olde. We can't wait to hear more tunes like "Clementine."

Get tickets to one of Gipsy Moon’s Colorado gigs this week here.

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Rare, Rough, & Revolutionary: Nederland's Nom de Guerres

By: Will Baumgartner

The band's French name is only half the story of Nederland-based Nom de Guerres' sound.

Nom De Guerres is one of the most interesting bands I’ve ever encountered. There is so much going on within their often deceptively simple-sounding music that any discerning and attentive listener quickly realizes they’ve got to dig deeper than the surface to get all of the gifts this group has to offer. The impossible-to-pigeonhole trio is the brainchild of Maus Nomdeguerre, an intelligent and eminently likeable guy well-known to local music lovers and the community in and around the quirky mountain town of Nederland. In an effort to get more insight into the band’s songs, and the man behind them, I recently grabbed Maus for a little chat, which turned out to be the most fascinating and instructive of any we’ve ever had:

I know the term nom de guerre means “an assumed name used by a soldier to mask his true identity”, but I’ve also seen definitions that apply it to fighting, writing, painting, or “a fictitious name used when a person performs a particular social role”. I’ve noticed the Guy Fawkes mask appears in a lot of the band’s artwork too. What’s the significance of all of this?

Nom de guerre is used in modern French to designate any form of an alias. In medieval times, it was a name assigned specifically for warfare in Arthurian romances. There’s a bit of an inside joke [for us] in the grammatical incorrectness in French with the band name. [Our artwork with] Guy Fawkes can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but he himself plotted to blow up the British parliament and was tortured as a result.

How, when, and where did Nom de Guerres become a group?

Nom de Guerres was formed from jamming at the Pioneer Inn open mic night in Nederland, which I hosted for three years. Eventually, I merged it with some players I was using from my fusion project and Nom de Guerres was born.

You’ve got a couple of great local players in this trio, including drummer Zach West and bassist Christopher Merz. What qualities make these guys perfect for your group?

Zach is probably the most consistent and versatile drummer I have worked with in Colorado, and possesses the ability to seamlessly transition between styles, something I need from a drummer. Chris really brings in the tone of the band; he’s definitely got that SoCal pre-grunge mentality when it comes to the bass, and can play a solid line or jam with a great rock-feel. He’s also a great singer, which has worked out well for expanding [our] harmony vocals.

You describe the band’s sound as “dirty folkabilly western swing”. Care to expound on that?

I am a jazz-trained musician, primarily on saxophone, in the Chicago tradition: essentially everything I do has the swing 8ths feel, but we reinterpret musicians from Willie Nelson to Leonard Cohen to GG Allin to Nirvana. I also spent a lot of time playing in the Midwest punk scene. We couldn’t come up with a genre that actually fits what we do, so we made up our own.

When you bring a song to the band, does it ever change as a result of the group’s interactions and ideas?

I wrote all of our originals, but I trust the musicians I work with to fill out their parts with a little direction; one or two bass lines Chris and I have sat down and written together. I also write all the chordal reinterpretations we do as covers, but things evolve in rehearsal and live performances. There’s a point when it sounds right to all of us and it just works. 

Maus Nomdeguerre.

Maus Nomdeguerre.

While you primarily sing and play guitar in the group, some of your great sax playing can be heard on NGD’s recordings. Do you ever play sax with the group in live performances?

Rarely. I usually rely on a fourth musician [for that]. I use a few horn players depending on who’s available: Paul Stadler, Prasanna Bishop, occasionally Jeremy Mohney- they’re all great saxophone players with different approaches and great ears. On the EP and on our work-in-progress pieces, I play all of the saxophone parts.

Have you ever considered expanding your current lineup by adding other full-time players?

Besides the sax players, I have used female vocalists, harmonica, trumpet, and lead guitar players. In an ideal world, Nom de Guerres would be a seven or eight-piece band.

What do you hope listeners will get from your music?

I hope people get a political and social message from it, as well as an artistic lyrical experience. I try to bring energy and passion to every show.

This Saturday, June 4th, you’re playing at the Pioneer Inn in Nederland. What can audiences expect at a Nom De Guerres show?

We will be debuting new songs all summer, as well as playing my social democratic song “Bernie’s Theme”. I will also be using a guitar with a body made entirely from cannabis.

Yikes! It might be worth it to some local stoners to come out just to hear you play that thing. So what’s on the horizon for the band? Any special plans for the coming year?

We have two recording projects in progress, one which will be primarily political songs, with a few covers, including a particularly heavy interpretation of “Masters of War”. The other record is called Hanging Songs, and is new originals written in the last year. We will be playing around Colorado most of the summer.

Check out Nom de Guerres’ show this Saturday in Ned, and keep up with their tour schedule and new releases here.

-Will

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.