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.

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.