The Muse’s Market educates with music, poetryLouise wanted to create a modern-day Chautaqua | ParkRecord.com
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The Muse’s Market educates with music, poetryLouise wanted to create a modern-day Chautaqua

The Muse’s Market isn’t a place to buy sources of inspiration or check the prices of the nine sister-goddesses in Greek mythology.

Nope. Folk singer/environmental activist Gabrielle Louise conceived the Muse’s Market as an evening of mind-stimulating music, poetry art and philosophy about sustainability.

The idea was born when the two-time John Lennon Songwriting Contest finalist and winner of the Jack Maher Songwriting Award wanted to spice up her touring routine.

"A year and a half ago, we were touring around the country in a van that ran on biofuels," Louise said during a phone call from Seattle, Wash. "We enjoyed the travels, but started to feel it would be more interesting to collaborate with others and open up the opportunity for them to use biofuels as a way to tour.

"Since it’s a little more difficult to tour with biofuel because you have arrange the fuel in advance, I thought about doing a carpool tour and get as many different acts that we could on tour with us."

That idea morphed into a show that featured musicians, visual artists, poets and photographers.

"We present the show simultaneously, so there is not opening act or headliner," Louise said. "It’s like a modern-day Chautauqua."

A Chautauqua, Louise said, was an education movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s in which musicians, speakers, teachers and preachers would make a stop in town and entertain and educate the citizens.

Comparatively, the Muse’s Market is a theatrical concert that combines a lot of different artistic elements, Louise said.

In addition to her music that will include drummer Carl Sorensen and bassist Myles Sloniker, and the avant-acoustic music of David Rynhart, Louise recruited poet Panama Soweto and philosopher and environmentalist Chris Garre to present spoken-word segments about sustainability.

"We also have artists Jimmy Danko and Laurie Maves, who painted pieces especially for this production," Louise said. "The images will be projected on the screens throughout the show."

The event will also feature the photography of Brazilian social-documentary photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, she said.

"Of course he’s not with us on tour," Louise said of Salgado. "But we’re integrating portraits he took of the people who work on sugar plantations in Brazil."

Louise, whose musical influences include Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, said she tries to make sure her ideas and music come from a pure and honest place.

"I really admire songwriters who are extremely honest and make themselves potentially vulnerable with that honesty," she said. "I think an audience detects if an artist is lying. People respond on an emotional level if you’re putting out the truth and something you believe in and care about."

In doing so, Louise has maintained her values as a professional musician, which is hard in this age of quick sound bytes, flash and flair.

"I’ve always had a goal for music to be the focus of my existence. Even when it meant I would not make a lot of money," she said. "The music is the main focus."

As a musician, Louise knows it’s also important to educate her audience.

"If I have people’s attention for two hours, I think I should take that time to express my views about something I really care about," she said. "Sustainability is one of those things for me. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time by singing about my love life. I don’t think my audience wants to hear about it, anyway. I want to share with people what I think is important and close to my heart. I want to use the time I have with the audience effectively. I also hope the audience will make that transition with me."

The Muse’s Market with Gabrielle Louise, David Rynhart, poet Panama Soweto and philosopher and environmentalist Chris Garre will take place at the Shop Yoga Studio, 1167 Woodside Ave., on Friday, May 6, 8 p.m. A potluck dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $20.


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