Chloe and Leah Smith of Rising Appalachia in May 2008
|Origin||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Genres||World, folk, soul|
|Years active||2005 - Present|
|Associated acts||R.I.S.E. Collective|
|Members||Leah Smith, Chloe Smith, Imhotep, Biko Casini, Forrest Kelly, Abram Racin, Dee Nalam|
Rising Appalachia is an American musical group led by multi-instrumentalist sisters Leah and Chloe Smith. Leah also performs as a solo artist under the name Leah Song. Based between Southern Appalachia and New Orleans, the sisters work with an array of international musicians and the band incorporates everything from simple harmonics with banjos and fiddles, to a wide variety of drums, kalimbas, beatbox, djembe, baliphone, congas, didgeridoo, tablas, spoons and washboard creating a full mix of world, folk and soul music.
- 1 History
- 2 Rise Collective
- 3 Tours
- 4 Artistic collective members and instruments
- 5 Awards and recognitions
- 6 Discography
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
In 2005, sisters Leah and Chloe Smith, decided one afternoon to record their first album, Leah and Chloe, in the basement studio of a friend in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The album was meant as a gift for family and friends but they received so much support and recognition for it that they decided to officially start a band called Rising Appalachia.
In the early days, the sisters busked, in the French Quarter of New Orleans and elsewhere. They began to find their own natural interpretation of Appalachian music which brought together folk, soul, hip-hop, classical, southern gospel and other styles based on their upbringing on traditional Appalachian string band music, as well as on their exposure to urban music like hip-hop and jazz and the influence of roots music of all kinds which they experienced during their worldwide travels. They released their second album, Scale Down in 2007.
On June 29, 2008 the group played their last show under the name Rising Appalachia during Concrete Pandemonium III at the Eyedrum Art Gallery in Atlanta before it was changed to R.I.S.E. (sometimes written RISE). However, in February 2010 they announced they would reclaim the original name of the band, Rising Appalachia, but would incorporate RISE in the name of a supporting project, the Rise Collective.
Rising Appalachia is independent from the mainstream music industry. The sisters managed, produced and marketed the project themselves from the beginning and only later started to build up a small management team. Their first four albums have been self-produced and self funded. For their fifth album, Filthy Dirty South, they raised in 2011 within one month a total of $11,180.00 on the crowd funding web site Kickstarter.
Rising Appalachia has performed at many musical festivals throughout the United States but also in Colombia, Costa Rica, Canada, India, Puerto Rico, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Ireland and Scotland.
The Rise Collective uses both lyrical prowess and diverse artistic collaborations. It consists of a crew of global performers, activists, youth educators, dancers, circus artists, yoginis, acrobatics, fire spinners, poets, aerialists, cultural workers and others who perform at music festivals, rallies and street parties and hold sound education workshops at youth centers, schools, prisons and other locations. The Rise Collective activities include:
Together with the music of Rising Appalachia, the collective is used to support many of the Smith sisters' community-based projects uniting the arts and justice. Having themselves been community activists during their travels, Leah and Chloe Smith want their art to also be a source of activism, as well as of cultural development.
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The Slow Music Movement and the Wider Circles Rail Tour (2015)
Leah Song coined the term "Slow Music Movement" while preparing for a TedX talk. During their Wider Circles Rail Tour, the band travelled by Amtrak train. Song connected this with the "Slow Music Movement", which she described as exploring the question as to how music can be a public service,  saying:
We want to have relationships with the farmers and the food of each region and also to have a relationship with different educational initiatives and non-profits. We have a policy that at each show at least two non-profits are welcome, invited — non-profits or educational initiatives, arts justice projects — to the show to set up tables and let the audiences know, as well as ourselves, what’s going on locally.
The Permaculture Action Network and the Fertile Grounds Tour (2016)
The band chose the name "Fertile Grounds" for their 2016 tour to celebrate their new partnership with the Permaculture Action Network. In an interview, Chloe Smith stated that the band would be "hosting a series of Permaculture Action Days in association with a number of our performance dates with the goal of helping to connect our audiences with tangible on-the-ground action and education".
Artistic collective members and instruments
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- Leah Song - vocals, poetics, banjo, fiddle, kalimba, bodhrán, and tinky percussive things
- Chloe Smith - vocals, fiddle, banjo, washboard, kalimba, and percussion
- Biko Casini - djembe, congas, and percussion
- David Brown - guitar, double bass, and banjo
- Guest musicians and past members
- Abram Racin - double bass
- Forrest Kelly - beatboxing, hand percussion, and fire spinning.
- Imhotep - traditional New Orleans bass drum, djembe, m'bala, and West African percussion
- Maurice Turner- trumpet
- Liza Garza- vocals and poetry
- Theresa Davis-poetry
- Jan Smith - fiddle and voice
- Leyla McCalla -cello
- Aurora Nealand- saxophone
Awards and recognitions
- Green Album of the Year (2008 by the Huffington Post)
- Atlanta's Best Folk Act (by Creative Loafing)
- Rising Appalachia (2006). Leah and Chloe (CD). CD Baby/Rising Appalachia.
- Rising Appalachia (2007). Scale Down (CD). CD Baby/Unwound.
- R.I.S.E. (Rising Appalachia) (2008). Evolutions in Sound: Live (CD). CD Baby/R.I.S.E. (Rising Appalachia).
- Rising Appalachia (2010). The Sails of Self (CD). CD Baby/Rising Appalachia.
- Rising Appalachia (2012). Filthy Dirty South (CD). CD Baby/Rising Appalachia.
- Rising Appalachia (2015). Wider Circles (CD). Rising Appalachia.
- Rising Appalachia (2010a). Scale Down (video). Scott McKibben Photography and Captain Crazy Productions. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (2010b). Zavidi Me Lalino (video). Captain Crazy TV. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (2011a). Nobody's Fault But Mine (video). With Garrett Turner. W.B. Yeats Foundation. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
- Rising Appalachia (2011b). Sunu (video). Directed by Chad Hess. Chad Hess Production. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (2011c). Sunu #2 (video). Rising Appalachia. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (2011d). Swoon (video). Directed by Chad Hess. Chad Hess Production. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (2012a). Across the Blue Ridge Mountains (video). Rising Appalachia. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (2012b). Don't Miss Your Water (video). Rising Appalachia. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
- Rising Appalachia (2013a). Closer to the Edge (video). Directed by Chad Hess. Chad Hess Production. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (2013b). Filthy Dirty South (video). Scott McKibben Photography. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (2014a). Fly Around My Pretty Lil' Miss (video). Image Digital Media. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
- Rising Appalachia (2015a). Medicine (video). Jeremy Jensen Media. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
- Rising Appalachia (2015b). Wider Circles Live Cut on the Train (video). Rising Appalachia. Retrieved 2015-05-11.
- Rising Appalachia (2012c). Live at Echo Mountain (DVD). CD Baby.
- Rising Appalachia; The Human Experience (June 17, 2013c). Soul Visions. Bandcamp. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (October 6, 2014b). "The Sails of Self". Bandcamp. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (May 1, 2015c). Live in the Airstream (video). Taos, NM: KNCE. Retrieved 2015-05-11.
Interviews and talks
- Rising Appalachia (2015d). Wider Circles: an intimate conversation and collection (video). Deepthink. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
- VOA Music (April 20, 2016). Music Alley Spotlight: Rising Appalachia (video). VOA Music. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
- Rising Appalachia; The Human Experience (2013d). "Sunu". The Bloom Series Vol 1: Fundamental Frequencies. Muti Music.
- Sibley 2009.
- Rising Appalachia 2006.
- Freeman 2013.
- Alexander 2011.
- Brewer 2007.
- Rising Appalachia 2007.
- Williams 2008.
- Rising Appalachia 2012.
- Rising Appalachia 2011k.
- Brooklyn Daily 2008.
- NPR 2006.
- Rising Appalachia n.d.
- Keyframe Entertainment 2016.
- Rising Appalachia 2015.
- Bernhardt 2015.
- Ogbonna 2015.
- Kramer 2016.
- Biggers 2009.
- English 2014.
- Swaidner 2015.
- Alexander, Rachel (July 15, 2011). "Rising Appalachia Interview". RisingAppalachia.com. Archived from the original on 2013-07-04.
- Bernhardt, Erin (April 29, 2015). "The Slow Music Movement". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Biggers, Jeff (January 3, 2009). "Green Album of the Year: R.I.S.E. Evolutions in Sound". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Brewer, David (June 7, 2007). "Rising Appalachia’s New Fashioned Old-Time World Music". High Country Press. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Brooklyn Daily (May 25, 2008). "Sonic sisters of 'Rising Appalachia'". Brooklyn Daily. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- English, Brandon (December 19, 2014). "Rising Appalachia at the Fox Theater". Creative Loafing Atlanta. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Freeman, Scott (October 11, 2013). "30 Under 30: Rising Appalachia’s Chloe Smith stands on the beautiful edge of a creative cliff". ArtsATL.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Keyframe Entertainment (March 18, 2016). "Interview with Rising Appalachia and Permaculture Action Network". Reality Sandwich. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- Kramer, Ariana (May 18, 2016). "Rising Appalachia returns by popular demand". The Taos News. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- NPR (October 31, 2006). "Rising Appalachia: 'Say Darlin' Say'". NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Ogbonna, Thandiwe (April 29, 2015). "Rising Appalachia's Leah Smith on Wider Circles, the Rail Tour, & the Slow Music Movement". No Depression. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Rising Appalachia (n.d.). "The Rise Collective". RisingAppalachia.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Rising Appalachia (December 29, 2011k). "Rising Appalachia. NEW ALBUM!!!!". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Sibley, Ingrid (October 2009). Hess, Chad (photos). "Rise: Appalachian Troubadors with a global mission". Performer Magazine. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Swaidner, Erin (February 13, 2015). "Rising Appalachia Launches The Wider Circles Rail Tour in Advance of New Album". Appalachian Jamwich. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Williams, Jonathan (June 26, 2008). "SOUND CHECK: Pandemonium: Share the stage". accessAtlanta.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Arroyo, Angelique (March 10, 2015). "Medicine Womyn Interviews: Rising Appalachia". AngeliqueArroyo.com. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
- Centanni, Stephen (April 30, 2014). "Sisters rely on musical heritage to put together entertaining live shows". Lagniappe Weekly. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Hysen, Britt (March 30, 2015). "Rising Appalachia Uses Folk Music to Inspire Activism". Millennial. 1 (34). Retrieved 2015-05-10.
- LaDuke, Winona (n.d.). "Aabitoose: Love Water Not Oil Tour with Rising Appalachia by Winona LaDuke". Last Real Indians. Retrieved 2015-05-11.
- McDonald, Susan (May 9, 2015). "Rising Appalachia brings worldly melodies, folk-soaked sounds to The Met". Providence Journal. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
- McGregor, Emmett (April 29, 2014). "Featured Music: Rising Appalachia". SolPurpose. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Travers, Andrew (May 19, 2016). "Rising Appalachia brings 'slow music' movement to Colorado". The Aspen Times. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
- Wildsmith, Steve (November 21, 2012). "Sisters at the heart of Rising Appalachia showcase a different side of the South". The Daily Times. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
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