An acclaimed composer and song leader, Brendan's workshops create community through singing together, drawing on songs from American traditions (shape note, gospel, ballads) and his original compositions. The workshop is open to people of all experience and ability level—each part will be taught by ear, and you will be amazed at what we can create together.
On mbira, banjo, and guitar, Brendan Taaffe blends Appalachian ballads with Zimbabwean rhythms, reimagining these songs in a way that invokes both Dock Boggs and Graceland. Steeped in the Shona tradition of Zimbabwe, his mbira playing has been hailed as 'something of a revelation' by fRoots magazine and the combination of that instrument's hypnotic lines with his lush tenor creates 'the kind of hushed, lonely warmth you experience sitting by a fire in a drafty house.' With his band, The New Line, Taaffe recorded Can't Hold The Wheel in 2013, a collection of these songs flanked by an all-star cast. Lauded by HuffingtonPost, Songlines, fRoots, and others, you can listen to it at brendantaaffe.bandcamp.com
Crankies are scrolling illustrations, hand-cranked in a wooden frame so that the image moves across a viewing screen. They are magic. Originally called 'moving panoramas' in the 19th century, this old art form is making a bit of a comeback now. Brendan's uses cut paper art that evokes the beauty of shadow puppetry to bring songs and stories to life. You can watch some examples of his crankies at www.brendantaaffe.com