Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cliff Notez during a May performance at Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge. (Photo: Cliff Notez via Facebook)

Club Passim and its yearly Iguana Music Fund awarded $38,850 to 22 musicians, the folk institution announced Dec. 20. 

The awards will seed music projects ranging from a fully staged choral opera by soprano Angela Yam that features the poetry of Emily Dickinson to a four-day workshop in Maine to prepare women and nonbinary musicians and producers for joining the recording industry.

Passim has awarded $553,000 in grants since 2008, funding 325 projects by applicants with strong ties to New England with recording or manufacturing help, publicity and marketing support, equipment and instruments, songwriting retreats, tour support, special projects and other activities that promote artists’ work and professional growth.

More than 170 applications from across New England came in this year seeking grants from $500 to $2,000, up from 139 applications just a couple of years ago.

“We have been overwhelmed by the interest this year for Iguana Music Fund grants. Sixty-three percent of the applicants had never applied before,” said Abby Altman, club manager at Passim. “We had a very young turnout, with 36 percent of all applicants under 30. We have a lot of our usual folk and singer-songwriter recipients, but we also funded projects for opera, salsa and hip-hop. This year’s recipients are a great representation of the eclectic music scene across New England.”

The fund also supports a multiyear “Baby Iguana” grant for the Miles of Music Camp, a weeklong retreat for students of all ages exploring traditional folk music and modern songwriting, and the Sub Rosa Songwriting Retreat. The After School Arts Program, which offers career pathways in the creative industries for kids in under-resourced Boston communities, will use the grant to hire a producer to help the students complete their first recording.

Some recognizable names are among the recipients. Cliff Notez, Anju, Culomba, Matthew Lau, Kim Moberg, Zayra Pola, Maura Shawn Scanlin, Maurizio Fiore Salas and Carmen Marsico & Zafarán plans to use the grant money to release new music. Pamela Means, Matt Heaton, Sophie Wellington and Zakiyyah will all buy new equipment for performances. Live music performances as far as Worcester are funded directly as well.

Several recipients will perform at Club Passim during the Iguana Music Fund Showcase at 7 p.m. April 10.