Jake Blount and the Vox Hunters plan to explore Black maritime music in a full-length record with support from a Iguana Music Fund. (Photo: NoonChorus)

Club Passim and its yearly Iguana Music Fund have awarded $40,000 to 23 musicians with strong ties to New England. The fund has given $513,000 directly to artists since its establishment in 2008, a contribution to the artistic community that has taken on extra value at a time of uncertainty. Grants range from $500 to $2,000 to help local artists build their careers and for projects that provide community service through music. Additionally, the fund continues to support multiyear “Baby Iguana” grants for the Miles of Music Camp and the Sub Rosa Songwriting Retreat.

“With the state of live music still tenuous in our current world, the Iguana Fund is needed now more than ever,” said Abby Altman, club manager at Passim. “Last year, projects focused on home recording, solo albums and providing high-quality online content. Some of that focus is starting to shift back to in-person events, and we’re confident these grants will not only help the individual recipients but impact communities across New England as a whole.”

The recipients span a wide range of musical interests and intents, and several can be seen and heard at Club Passim during the Iguana Music Fund Showcase at 8 p.m. April 11.

Recipients Alida Mckeon, Chris Walton, Owen Kennedy and Owen Marshall are ready to put out their first records, while Honeysuckle is set to explore its new, evolving sound on an EP. The Green Tara Project is blending Nepalese music with Celtic and Americana, and Jake Blount and the Vox Hunters are exploring Black maritime music with a full-length record. Kimaya Diggs, C.J. Red Mouth, Coral Moons and Pamela Means will use the grant to buy performance and recording equipment. Finally, Lady Dust is heading out on tour and will use the grant to promote shows in the Midwest, and Opera on Tap Boston will hire two additional singers.

Several of the grant recipients will use the money to better their communities. Lisa Bastoni will use the grant to hold a songwriting retreat for women and nonbinary people whose access to creative time and space have been affected by the pandemic. The Know Better Do Better Project seeks to encourage awareness of songs that have played a role in sustaining systemic racism, and then write alternatives. Camerata Nova Anglia will hold a recital structured through storytelling featuring musicians of color. Medford Community Chorale & Youth Chorus will hold a concert to support the Citywide Hunger Free Initiative. Flukes plans to create learning opportunities, bringing music to lifelong learners at community, rehab, memory care and assisted-living facilities and centers in Maine. Kate Callahan will use the grant to fund a seven-week program designed to empower women through music education at the York Correctional Institution in Connecticut.

The impact of the grants is discuss in a video here by 2020 Iguana fund recipients Casey Murray and Molly Tucker.

In addition to the yearly Iguana Fund, Passim raised at least $160,000 for more than 250 artists through the Passim Emergency Artist Relief fund in 2020.