A fearsome journey: a look inside one songwriter’s working process. The trip begins with the search for a class of songs that were nowhere to be found and arrives in the present with songs in a variety of traditional forms, ranging from Swedish långdans to blues worksong to country waltz. We’ll dig into the research phase, then look through the process of sketching, writing, and working up songs. Topics will include the search for inspiration, navigating around writer’s block and competing time pressures, finding the right words, and knowing when to shift from an approach (or entire song) that isn’t working in favor of one that may. Teens and adults.
Traditional singer and songsmith, Shawn McBurnie teaches singing at The Center for Irish Music and writes articles on Scots language use in song for Scottish journal The Kilt and Harp. Like many great traditional singers, Shawn is mainly self-taught - inspired to learn by the time-tested combination of love of song and scarcity of entertainment. He fell prey at a young age to an abiding obsession with singing; his passion for wordcraft came later but was no less tenacious. Shawn is currently completing a 2012 MN Artist Initiative grant to write, perform, and record a project of original songs about ‘fearsome critters’ from Northwoods tall tales spanning the US/Canada border.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.