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Bethlehem, Pa., October 29, 2009—Grammy Award winning singer Kathy Mattea will present her multi-media presentation “My Coal Journey” at Moravian College on Wednesday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Foy Concert Hall. The public is welcome to attend and admission is $10. Tickets can be purchased on the www.lvartsboxoffice.org or at the door.
The two-time Grammy Award winning singer’s “My Coal Journey” is a one-hour program incorporating stories from her family history and her current advocacy for the environment, combined with a PowerPoint slideshow and a performance of songs from her 2008 release, “COAL”. The presentation traces her motivation for beginning the recording project, her research into the musical genre’s history and elemental style, and her family’s ties to coal mining culture in Appalachia, along with discussion of environmental and social justice issues surrounding coal mining methods in today’s world.
Mattea’s childhood was steeped in the culture of mining and Appalachia; raised near Charleston, West Virginia, both her parents grew up in coal camps, both her grandfathers were miners and her mother worked for the local UMWA. Her mining heritage is reflected in the album, but according to the singer, the songs on Coal are more than just mining songs. Mattea says she wanted to pay tribute to “my place and my people.”
Though it has long been a dream to do this album, she was finally inspired into action by the Sago Mine Disaster, which killed twelve West Virginia miners in 2006. Her carefully constructed and varietal song list includes an a capella recording of a song titled “Black Lung” and her energetic rendering of “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore.”
She picked songs by such celebrated songwriters as Jean Ritchie, Billy Edd Wheeler, Hazel Dickens, Si Kahn, Utah Williams, Merle Travis, and Darrel Scott. “With these songs, it’s not about how you sound, it’s about sheer communication and expression, and a way to give voice to someone else’s life experiences. It’s being a voice for a whole group of people, a place, a way of life. And that’s a sacred use of music,” Mattea says. More can be found about the singer at her website: www.mattea.com.
This event is sponsored by the ZTA sorority with additional funding from Moravian College Arts & Lectures, the Biology & Environmental Studies departments and the cooperation of the International Music Network.
Foy Concert Hall is located on Moravian College’s Hurd Campus near Main and Church Streets in Bethlehem, Pa. For information, call 610 861-1491.
On Thursday, November 12, Mattea will follow this up by speaking to two classes involved with environmental studies from 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America’s sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.