Old Albums Retiring Soon

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Apr 202013

FirebrandCoverLargeHello, friends. Sassafrass is about to revamp our website and online albums, getting ready to focus more on the upcoming release of Sundown. In preparation, we’re about to retire all our old albums from Bandcamp, and have already taken them off CDBaby. We are going to collect the best of the old recordings and re-release them, digitally remastered, in a new collection, but we are also permanently retiring more than half of our current music, particularly rougher live takes and alternate takes of things we have several versions of, plus the older, rougher versions of our Norse music. We hope you’ll all enjoy the new stuff, but if you want the old stuff, get it now, since it won’t be around much longer.

Pegasus Award Nominations 2012

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Sep 012012

Sassafrass is honored and delighted to once again have work nominated for the Pegasus Awards for outstanding filk music, hosted every year at the Ohio Valley Filk Festival.

This year we have been nominated for Best Performer, for the second time.  In addition, our tribute to fandom and the space program “Somebody Will” has been nominated for Best Filk Song for the second year in a row.  It’s wonderful to have such clear confirmation that the filk community shares our enthusiasm for the messages of collaboration, progress, community building and hope which Somebody Will represents. It’s also a thrill to see our work nominated alongside that of so many excellent friends and fellow artists, like Ben Newman, S. J. Tucker and Talis Kimberley.

You can find the ballot here with all the nominees listed, and we also encourage you to check out the nominee song clips, with all the nominated songs and performance samples from all the nominated performers.  This year Sassafrass has submitted a new take of Ice & Fire as our performance sample, so we hope people will enjoy hearing the clip, and the full thing when it is shared on the radio.  Anyone who wants to hear the whole thing can contact us.

As usual, it will be impossible for all our scattered members to make it to OVFF October 26-28, but we will definitely have a few people there, and can’t wait to see old friends.  Ada in particular is excited to attend after being unable to last year.

Many thanks to everyone who nominated us!

Sundown Story Cycle Play to Debut at Balticon 2013

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Jun 102012

Big news!  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.

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.

One goal of the kickstarter will be to fund more authentic Viking costumes for the play. Also, hopefully someday we will manage a group photo with the whole group together.

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 Fall 2012, 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.

Vericon Concert & Auction Great Success

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Mar 272012

The Forces of Evil at the Charity Auction

Our concert at Harvard’s Vericon was a great success.  We debuted our new six part Sundown finale piece, and were delighted by how many friends in the audience joined in on singing Somebody Will.

In addition, Sassafrass was delighted to be a part of the first Vericon Charity Auction, which raised $3,500 for Doctors Without Borders.  The “Doctors Without [Spatio-Temporal] Borders” auction was themed around Doctor Who, with two hosts dressed as the 10th and 11th Doctors.  We auctioned a CD with our recent rough tracks of the Sundown pieces still in production, as well as a fun tote bag with Sundown-themed images.  Ada served as the primary auctioneer.  One of the auction items was a cardboard version of Thor’s hammer, left over from the MST3K mocking of the deeply MST3K-worthy film Almighty Thor. Ada in her persona as Loki fought valiantly to win the hammer and bring about Ragnarok, and the crowd came forward forming first a coalition of Good to stop her, then a coalition of evil to aid her.  In the final fervor, the hammer sold for $700 to the forces of good, who trounced Loki, prevented Ragnarok, and made a fantastic contribution to bringing medical aid to the corners of the world most in need of it.

Loki's pledge to secure the Hammer

Auctioneer and Doctor can't believe when the bid hits $300

Loki eggs on the forces of darkness.

The Forces of Good (plus Tony) prevail!

Sassafrass at Vericon 2012 (March 18)

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Feb 272012

Sassafrass will give a one hour concert at Vericon this year, on Harvard University Campus (Cambridge MA) Sunday March 18th, circa 2:30 PM  (may move forward or back by half an hour).

We’re delighted to be able to return to Vericon, and scheduling and the whims of the airline-fare-setting gods mean that Ada, Matt and Alexa will be able to fly in and join the Boston Sassafrass group for an extra-large concert.

Our current planned set list (subject to change) includes “Ice & Fire“, “My Brother, My Enemy“, “Abandoned“, the new 3-part trio version of “A New World” (Frigg’s song), “Somebody Will“, and the debut of a very special new piece, part of the Sundown cycle, a recent composition which Ada hinted at in the fall.  All we’ll say about it is that it’s in six part harmony and we’re racing to master it in time so we can give our Vericon friends a taste of what to expect when the complete Sundown launches in Spring 2013.  In fact, given how hard it is to get enough of us together, this is likely to be the only performance of this piece in 2012.  We hope you’ll join us and enjoy.

Arisia 2012 encore concert

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Jan 112012

That’s right, Sassafrass will not be performing only once but TWICE at Arisia 2012! In addition to our main concert on Saturday night at 8pm, we will be rejoining Stranger Ways for an encore concert on Sunday at 6pm. This is a shorter show that will reprise some selections from our Saturday concert, as well as possibly bringing back some old favorites that we couldn’t get to on Saturday. We hope to see you there!

A New World (new song, new video, new downloads)

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Oct 292011

We have a lot to announce after OVFF. First, Ada has completed a new three part harmony version of A New World (aka. Frigg’s Song), which debuted at OVFF this year. The video is available on Youtube, but you can also listen to an even clearer streaming audio preview recording through our Songs from Nifflheim web only album.

In addition, several new concert recordings and studio recordings have been added to our Web Only Albums. This includes new downloadable takes of Daughter of Apocalypse, My Brother My Enemy, and Somebody Will, as well as a streaming file of our first live recording of the full five part setting of Gift of Life (from Balticon 2011).

And finally, Ada wants to announce that she has recently finished writing another new song: no details about it yet but it’s part of the Sundown cycle, and something to look forward to.

Sassafrass at the Ohio Valley Filk Festival

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Oct 212011

It’s OVFF weekend.  Three of our members, Alexa, Lauren and Matt, have managed to make it out to the festival this year.

Tonight we’re performing our two nominated songs, Somebody Will and My Brother My Enemy, in the Pegasus concert.  It’s a real honor getting to take part in such a great centerpiece of the Filk community.  And we can’t wait to see so many old friends again.

We also have a new piece to debut at Open Filk this weekend, the newly-completed three part harmony version of A New World a.k.a. Frigg’s song.  Ada finished it only a couple weeks ago, so this will be its first performance.