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Feb 182013

Greetings, loyal and new friends and followers! vericon

Sassafrass will be giving a concert at Vericon, at Harvard University on Sunday, March 24th at 1 PM.  This concert will feature many of our pieces from Sundown, our upcoming Norse album.  We are SO excited to once again be performing at Vericon, especially with so many incredible guests this year!

Register here!  You can also see information about our awesome speakers this year here. This exciting lineup includes Greer Gilman, N.K. Jemisin, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Pelland, Jo Walton, and Guest of Honor Tamora Pierce! Make sure to check out the Schedule page as Vericon approaches, too, so you can stay appraised of all the exciting events we’re planning for you this year.

Hope to see you all at Vericon!

Balticon, With a Little Help from Our Friends

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Feb 072013

Hey all!

Balticon is quickly approaching and preparations are picking up!  Costumes are being ordrered, rooms are being booked, and transportation is being arranged.  And, of course, we are working on all of our songs, recording, and Balticon souvenirs for our table in the Dealers’ Room!

To that end, we received a request from Kate Nepveu, asking if we could signal boost this amazing project:

“Balticon has donated two memberships to Con or Bust, the fund I run that helps fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons and that is administered by the Carl Brandon Society, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. I would really like these to be used (Balticon donated memberships last year and no-one took them up on it, and I hate when that happens). The donations are good for a new registration or a refund on an existing one–can you spread the word that they’ll be available?

I’ll be taking requests for assistance to attend Balticon (and other cons in April, May, and June 2013) from February 15-25, 2013; the info page is here.”

We really hope that everyone can join us at Balticon, May 25-27!  See you there!

Duel of the Concept Albums: Sassafrass and Stranger Ways at Arisia 2013

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Dec 142012

Where: Arisia 2013 at the Westin Boston Waterfront, Boston, MA
When: Saturday, January 19, 2013 · 12:00 – 2:00 pm

RSVP on Facebook

Dark folk group Stranger Ways and folk fantasy a capella group Sassafrass have each been working on new, ambitious concept albums, and both groups are excited to debut their latest material at Arisia!

Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok is Sassafrass’s upcoming and long-awaited Norse-themed CD. The songs fit together to form a narrative, beginning with the creation of the world and dramatizing the disastrous consequences of the falling-out between the Allfather Odin and his blood-brother Loki. The lyrics and stories draw directly on the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda, the two oldest primary sources of Norse mythology.

Iron and Rust is Stranger Ways’s upcoming “folk-rock opera.” It tells the story of a war between humans and the fae, those who try to stop it, and those who want victory at any cost. Adventure, tragedy, and a bit of twisted humor come together in the band’s most ambitious project to date!

The groups will perform alternating sets of selections from the new albums, old favorites, and a few surprises–come see the show, and spread the word!

Sundown, Kickstarter, and Balticon Update!

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Oct 262012

We’re making progress by the day on our Sundown CD!  Every day, a new track is recorded and new pieces come through for the Sundown Play!  We are so excited, not even Loki would joke about it.  We’re getting ready to launch our Kickstarter Campaign to raise money to help us cover costs for this and the play production, as well as our lyrics booklets for the CD, and authentic Norse costumes for the play!

Remember: Sassafrass will be the Featured Filkers and our composer, Ada Palmer, the Musical Guest of Honor at Balticon 2013, the Maryland Regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, Memorial Day Weekend May 24-27.

We aim to release the finished Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok CD at the same time, over Memorial Day weekend 2013.  Because the music is so complicated and its mythological references sometimes subtle, we want the CD to have a thorough lyrics booklet, with the complete lyrics for all the parts in all the songs along with notes explaining the mythology.  Because this will make the CD an expensive project, we are planning to use Kickstarter to raise money to help us cover costs for this and the play production.  We aim to launch the Kickstarter in a month or less, and will be very grateful for support from our friends to help us make this project a success.  If you want to be notified about the kickstarter, please subscribe to our updates here, or like us on Facebook.

This will be more than just another concert, however.  At Balticon we will perform on stage, for the first time, Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok, a Norse Mythology story song-cycle, staged as a play with costumes and characters.  Here our completed set of Norse myth songs will be woven together into a narrative, tracing the rise and fall of the Norse cosmos, and focused on the death of Baldur and the strife between Odin and Loki which leads to Ragnarok.  The play will be narrated and the stories presented by cast members representing the two major authors of our surviving Icelandic myth primary sources: Snorri Sturlson, author of the Prose Edda, and the Seeress who narrates the Völuspá or Seeress’s Prophecy, one of the core sections of the anonymous Poetic Edda.

Sassafrass is especially excited to debut our finished project at Balticon, since it was the enthusiasm and encouragement of the Balticon community which encouraged Sassafrass to start performing again when the group had effectively ceased to exist for a few years.  We are delighted for this opportunity to give back to the community which helped us get this far.

Sassafrass at Pi-Con Coming Up!

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Aug 082012

So a while ago, we posted about Sassafrass giving a concert at Pi-Con, and asking you, our loyal followers, to watch this space for updates.  For all of you who have been patiently waiting, here you go!

YES, seven members of Sassafrass will be at Pi-Con from August 17-19.  We will be giving a concert on Saturday night, and will be debuting several Norse pieces and bringing back some older pieces that you may not have heard for a while or may even be new to you!

On Sunday at 11 AM, we will be giving a workshop on multi-tracking and using REAPER, an awesome, low-cost piece of recording software.  Come learn about REAPER and you will have a chance to get your voice on the final chorus of Somebody Will.

We look forward to seeing you, both at our concert and at our workshop!

Sassafrass at PiCon 2012!

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Jun 112012

Sassafrass will be performing at PiCon this year!  Come out and join us August 17-19 in Enfield, CT! 

At this point, we are not quite sure what our set-list includes, but watch this space for updates!  We are hoping that the entire Boston chapter of Sassafrass, and possibly a few of our comrades from other chapters will be able to attend.

Anyway, save the date and we’ll keep you updated.  It promises to be an enjoyable time for all.  We hope to see you there!


Fantastic Balticon 2012!

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May 102012

This is not actually us at Balticon, but getting excited for it at an earlier concert.

Sassafrass had a great time at Balticon! No concert this year, but we performed at open filk circles on both Saturday and Sunday nights. We performed, in no particular order: Hearthfire; Sapphire, Ruby, and Gold; the Futhark Song; A Proper Mermaid Tail; Caravan; and Somebody Will.

Friday night, we had a chance to celebrate once more with Mark and Barbara, and see how happy they are in their new life together. Much of the weekend was spent in pleasant company, good games, and interesting panels, for the most part. But we did get a chance to see three concerts, all of which were spectacular. Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps, the Music GoHs this year, were spectacular as always, and it was great to hear some of the music from their newest album. S.J. “Sooj” Tucker gave an amazing performance. Each set of performers backed up the other, and it was awesome to see them work together so beautifully. The other great concert we experienced was the Chromatics, a delightful group of NASA scientists who are also a professional a cappella (in this case, “astro cappella”) group. We got a chance to talk to them after the concert, and were able to perform “Somebody Will” for them – one of the more appropriate audiences we’ve ever had for that song. Thanks again to the members of the group for the music exchange!

Huge thanks also goes to Gary Erlich, the Balticon filk chair, who sat down with us on a busy Saturday night for a long meeting to hammer out the logistics for next year’s concert – the complete Sundown cycle, on stage. Keep watching this space for more news on that concert and see the post above this one for more about Balticon 2013!

Thanks again to the entire Balticon staff and membership community, for a wonderful weekend.