Sunday, April 21, 2024


Nani Agbeli, a lecturer in music at Tufts University, will use his Passim Iguana Music Fund grant to offer his African Drum and Dance Workshops to Cambridge area preteens.

Nani Agbeli, a lecturer in music at Tufts University, will use his Passim Iguana Music Fund grant to offer his African Drum and Dance Workshops to Cambridge area preteens.

The 26 New England musicians sharing $45,000 in Iguana Music Fund grants through Passim have been announced – as has a concert of the recipients taking place March 11 at Club Passim in Harvard Square.

The musicians were chosen from nearly 300 applicants to get grants ranging from $500 to $2,000, a process taking place every year since 2008, when after an anonymous donor approached Passim with the idea of starting a program to help local artists. With the newly announced awards, there have been nearly $200,000 in grants to more than 125 musicians, including Della Mae, Nerissa and Ketryna Nields, The Parkington Sisters, Aoife O’Donovan, David Wax Museum, Girlyman, Rose Cousins and more.

The idea is to help musicians’ careers or community outreach efforts, and grants are made in the areas of recording or manufacturing assistance; publicity and marketing support; equipment and instruments; songwriting retreats; tour support; special projects; and other activities promoting artistic and professional growth.

“The Iguana Music Fund grants really help cultivate our music community. The grants reinforce our overall mission not only to support the live experience but to help build careers,” said Dan Hogan, executive director of Passim.

Will Daily

Will Dailey

While some grants are on a small, personal scale – for instance, to let dobro player Abby Gardner upgrade her instrument and Ezekiel’s Wheels buy band gear and so Phillip Price of the Winterpills and Will Dailey (who has a Redstar Union show Thursday) can expand their home studios – there are several community outreach efforts also benefiting: Meena Malick will use grant money to buy sound equipment for the Voci Angelica Trio to use in its school outreach program through Young Audiences of Massachusetts; Nani Agbeli, a lecturer in music at Tufts University, will offer his African Drum and Dance Workshops for Cambridge area preteens; and Todd Mack will use the grant to fund a program in which high school students work with industry professionals to write a song together, record it, perform it and make a video.

“It is very satisfying that the 2013 awards support an amazing collection of projects that use the power of music to empower and to heal,” said Matt Smith, managing director of Club Passim.

Many of the 2013 grants will help pay for recording projects, of course. Brian Carroll is organizing a community recording project of area artists covering other area artists, while Jamie Kent is pulling together “The Valley Rising Compilation” to showcase emerging talent from Western Massachusetts. Christa Joy and The Pioneer Valley Woman Songwriter Collective are making their first EP, a multi-genre, multi-instrumental celebration of five songwriters. Dan Cloutier works with adults with special needs who have been performing for a decade together. This year he will use his grant to make a CD.

Jennifer Kimball plans to bring together songstresses and string players for a studio recording of “Wintery Songs in Eleventy Part Harmony.” Mark Erelli, Caitlin Canty, T.H.E.M. and The Stray Birds are recording albums, while Mark Whitaker and Annie Lynch of Annie and the Beekeepers will pay for debut releases. Barnstar! will use the grant to mix their new album, “C’mon!”

In addition, as part of the Iguana Music Fund Baby Iguana program, Rose Polenzani will get the third installment of a multi-year grant to help fund the Sub Rosa Three Mile Island Songwriting Retreat, a program she founded that brings together artists for a week each summer to write and collaborate in a secluded setting on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

The full list of recipients of the 2013 grants is: Nani Agbeli; Taylor Armerding/Barnstar!; Caitlin Canty; Brian Carroll; Dan Cloutier; Laura Cortese/Miles of Music Camp; Will Dailey; Maya de Vitry/The Stray Birds; Mark Erelli; Ezekiel’s Wheel; Abbie Gardner; Connor Garvey/The Octagon; Christa Joy; Jamie Kent; Jennifer Kimball; Annie Lynch (Annie and the Beekeepers); Todd Mack; Meena Malik; Alastair Moock; Peter Mulvey; Phillip Price; Hannah Read/T.H.E.M.; Mariel Vandersteel; Natalie Sara Weaver (The Song Project); Craig Werth; and Mark Whitaker.

This post was written from a press release.