Tim_Eriksen-web.jpgThe Mayville State University Music Department will host Grammy Award nominee Tim Eriksen, renowned ethnomusicologist and amazing musician, for a one-day residency Wednesday, March 8. Community members are invited to participate in the day’s activities, which include a shape note singing school and concert by Eriksen. Both activities are free of charge and open to the public.

Eriksen will lead a shape note singing school using the Sacred Harp from 10:30 a.m. until noon on March 8. Anyone who is interested should gather in the MSU Classroom Building Auditorium. This will be a great opportunity to learn about some of America’s oldest music. Participants need no previous experience. Eriksen is a scholar on this topic and will discuss origins, historical aspect, and how to sing the shapes, leading participants through tunes of the Sacred Harp, a standard book of shape note tunes.

This method of singing was specifically introduced to people who were not classically trained. The harmonies and full voice aspect (loud) of this singing is absolutely haunting, powerful, and entirely American in its practice. What’s really unique about modern shape note/Sacred Harp diasporas is that it is open to people from all walks of life. It is the love of the sound that draws groups together.

You can learn more about shape note music traditions with the Sacred Harp by viewing a YouTube preview (https://youtu.be/YHUfHNEZDPc) of “Awake My Soul,” a film entirely about shape note music traditions with the Sacred Harp. The MSU Music Department has a DVD copy of this movie available to share. Contact Cody Hunter at cody.hunter@mayvillestate.edu if you are interested.

The finale for the day will be a concert by Tim Eiksen, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the MSU Classroom Building Auditorium.

Tim Eriksen is acclaimed for transforming American tradition with his startling interpretations of old ballads, love songs, shape note gospel and dance tunes from New England and Southern Appalachia. He combines hair-raising vocals with inventive accompaniment on banjo, fiddle, guitar, and bajo sexton - a 12-string Mexican acoustic bass - creating a distinctive hardcore Americana sound that ranges from the bare bones of solo unaccompanied singing on his album Soul of the January Hills (Appleseed 2010) through the stripped-down voice and bajo sexton Christmas album Star in the East (timeriksenmusic 2012) to the lush, multi-layered arrangements on Josh Billings Voyage, the new album of northern roots American music from the imaginary village of Pumpkintown (timeriksenmusic 2012).

Eriksen’s own compositions, which NetRhythms UK described as “strange and original works,” have been featured in films like the Billy Bob Thornton vehicle Chrystal and the upcoming documentary Behold the Earth. Eriksen’s other notable work has included extensive contributions to Anthony Minghella’s 2004 Oscar-winning film Cold Mountain as well as collaborations ranging from hardcore punk and Bosnian pop to symphony orchestra and the 2010 Grammy-nominated album Across the Divide with Afro-Cuban world-jazz pianist Omar Sosa.

Learn more about Tim Eriksen at www.timeriksenmusic.com. For questions regarding Erikson’s residency at Mayville State, contact Cody Hunter at cody.hunter@mayvillestate.edu. Eriksen’s appearance at Mayville State is being made possible through the generous support of the MSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion.