RISING APPALACHIA: AN INTERVIEW

RISING APPALACHIA: AN INTERVIEW
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Rising Appalachia is best described like this: a grassroots, front-porch family band from the Appalachian region of Georgia, with grit from New Orleans to match, spiced with some Latina Americana and European traditional. Mix all that in with a social activism ethos and you get the badass soulful-sisters Chloe Smith and Leah Song of Rising Appalachia. Proudly accompanied by double bassist and guitarist David Brown and percussionist Biko Casini.We recently caught up with Leah Song at Summer Meltdown Festival before the bands three island San Juan tour and talked new, old and now.Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.50.20 AMEYES & EDGE: You blend social activism with your message, with your music, with your art. How do you find that equilibrium?Rising Appalachia: We’re always trying to figure that out, because we don’t want to make music that bludgeons people in any way. So, finding that real delicate balance between a catharsis and a celebration and also a plea and a request for people to pay more attention. We are trying to give everyone a little bit of all that and hopefully come out with some balance. Some balanced experience and each person has their own journey so we can't really dictate where social justice lies for people. We can just try to create a space where that’s a question people are asking themselves. That’s really a big part of our effort, to create that space but not overdo it.E&E: You’ve traveled to Europe, Latin America where’s, what’s grabbing you next?RA: Musically… we are excited to tour in Europe and we’re really excited to go and study the music of West Africa. There are so many traditions of world singing - global styles of singing we will never run out of places to go study and sort of harvest traditional gems.IMG_2492E&E: You have a three-island tour coming up in the San Juan’s, you’re back, different venues, stadium seating, dancing, open air… what brings you to these island communities and why different venue settings?RA: For 11 years we have tried to find places off the beaten path to make music… we’re always, in a way still travelers, we’re not just following the path of the industry. (Rising Appalachia created “the Slow Music Movement” to promote sustainable touring practices such as single-use waste at performances and promoting local sourcing and outreach at their events.)Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.35.00 AMWe went to San Juan last year on an invitation from a art center there and we totally fell in love with the culture and the pace and just the spirit of the islands. We said for sure we were going to figure out how to come back in a bigger way. So, as we put this together we gave ourselves a couple days on both sides to be able to explore and learn about what’s going on in the islands and take out boats and we are always always trying to figure out how to make music as far off the beaten path as we can. We tour in tiny towns that no ones heard of all over the world and play in tea houses and then play in street theatre the next day and big festivals the next. We try to keep it fresh for our ourselves and our audiences too.Catch the inspiration at Rising Appalachia's show November 11 at the Crystal Ballroom.Photos courtesy: Wylie Hoover, Rising Appalachia's Instagram & Chad HessInterview by: Wylie Hoover