Down Home Up Here Workshop: Harmony Singing in Bluegrass

Down Home Up Here Workshop: Harmony Singing in Bluegrass

  • Americana
  • Bluegrass
  • Country
  • Folk
  • Roots
  • School of Music workshop
  • Singer/Songwriter

Join singer, multi-instrumentalist, and harmony singing nerd Isa Burke for an exploration of those close, tight, powerful harmonies that have become one of the most distinctive features of the bluegrass sound. In this workshop, we’ll listen to some representative examples of bluegrass singing, discuss those singers’ stylistic choices, and sing some three-part harmonies. We’ll explore the elements of singing in a distinctively bluegrass style, including pitch, tone, timbre, blending, and choosing the right note. In order to get the most out of this workshop, you should feel comfortable singing a melody and matching a pitch with another singer (i.e. if I sing a note, you should be able to sing the same note back to me). Harmony singing experience or music theory knowledge is not required. Let’s dig in to that high lonesome sound! 

This workshop is part of the Down Home Up Here Festival and runs from 2-4pm. 

Workshops fees are seperate from your festival ticket.

Please note: The Passim School of Music is located at 26 Church St. Cambridge, MA. Classrooms are located on the third floor and, unfortunately, we do not have an elevator. 

Isa Burke

  • Americana
  • Bluegrass
  • Folk
  • Singer/Songwriter

Isa Burke (pronounced like Lisa without the L) is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist based in Boston, MA. She spends most of her time as one-third of the powerhouse indie-roots trio Lula Wiles, but she has also made a name for herself as a side musician, educator, writer, and occasional solo performer.

Her musical life has been a continuous process of finding new modes of expression, from studying Appalachian fiddle with Bruce Molsky to learning all of Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar parts for a Rumours tribute show to starting a group dedicated to writing a song every day for a month. In recent years her songwriting has moved to the forefront of her musical identity, and her songs contain a subtle power, blending the minimalism and grit of traditional folk and country with a modern indie sensibility and an eye for emotive detail. As an instrumentalist, she weaves textural, evocative lines and rhythms that support her assertive, soulful vocals. She is a collaborator at heart, drawing inspiration from the interlocking grooves of the fiddle and banjo or the alchemic harmony of a country duet.

In addition to her recording and touring with Lula Wiles, she has performed and recorded on fiddle, vocals, and acoustic and electric guitars with artists including Session Americana, Corporate Punk, Caitlin Canty, Stash Wyslouch, and many others. Her influences are numerous, beginning with old fiddle tunes and folk ballads and encompassing contemporary artists from Joni Mitchell to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings to Sam Amidon to Courtney Barnett. Driven by a love of good songs above all else, Isa is “as versatile a musician as they come, and a true showwoman who commands the stage and the audience‚Äôs attention” (Red Line Roots).

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