Port Townsend musician seeks donations to record album, go on tour

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Ash Devine, a local musician and former “caring clown” with Dr. Patch Adams’ tour of children’s hospitals, is one of a varied slate of musicians at the Harmonic Convergence, a benefit concert at 2 p.m. today at the Masonic Lodge, 1338 Jefferson St.

Admission to the event, also to feature jazz songstress Robin Bessier, singer-songwriter Simon Lynge, guitarist Sam Amazyan and others, is a suggested donation of $15 to benefit Unity of Port Townsend.

At the same time, Devine is hoping to release an album of her original songs inspired by her travels across the world. Working with George Rezendes of Toolshed SoundLab and other musicians in Port Townsend, Devine is recording “Something to Say,” and gathering support via Indiegogo, a time-limited fundraising site similar to Kickstarter.com.

“I am so excited to have these songs recorded. I really believe they represent the message I’d like to share with the world, and this project will help to springboard my future dreams as a community-based artist,” Devine writes on her Indiegogo page, http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ash-devine-and-music-for-folk.

Through Indiegogo, Devine is seeking to raise $6,000 by April 21. This will allow her to finish the album and start a tour promoting it — not only as an “entertainer,” she says.

Devine believes in music as an agent of joy and transformation, and she has seen those happen in unlikely places.

A child of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the heart of Appalachia, Devine taught herself to play the guitar at 13.

“From the beginning, I wanted to do something meaningful with the music,” she writes. “I continued on my path as a songwriter, performing at community events, human rights rallies and local music venues. I had no idea that the music would later lead me on international journeys into the poorest hospitals in the Western Hemisphere.

“In 2008, I got my first ukulele and went to Haiti with Patch Adams and the Geshundheit! Institute, my first humanitarian musical clowning mission.

“In Haiti, I was shocked by the immense poverty and suffering,” she adds. Yet she also experienced Haiti’s culture, one she says is filled with music and community.

Her clowning travels then brought her to Vietnam, Costa Rica, Peru and Guatemala, and to assisted-living homes in this country.

“I witnessed suffering, transformed,” she says. The transformation came through “joyful human interaction and simple musical connection.”

Performing in hospitals and nursing homes changed her view of music and play. Devine no longer considered herself simply an entertainer; she hopes to use her music for something more.

These days, Devine says, she brings her music to community song circles, nursing homes, group homes for people with disabilities, youth programs — and sometimes the public transit bus.

“Music, arts and joy are basic needs,” she believes.

Rezendes, coproducer of the new record, hails Devine as one versatile musician.

“Her guitar techniques range from old-time Carter Family-style picking to rock playing inspired by Prince,” he says. As for her singing, it travels from Appalachian folk-flavored to a Cyndi Lauper pop sound. And there’s plenty of whimsy running through it, Rezendes adds.

To spread her music, arts and joy to the wider world, Devine writes, she needs some “energetic and financial help.” And those wanting to support her can do it at many levels. A $15 donation brings a copy of the new “Something to Say” CD; $35 brings the new album plus Devine’s previous CD “Bird Must Fly,” and a handful of foam clown noses.

Levels go up from there, and a $100 contribution includes the new CD, an Ash Devine Music for Folk T-shirt, a pack of Ash Devine postcards and a bunch of clown noses to “share with your kids and strangers on the street,” as she writes on the Indiegogo site.

For more about Devine, her music and her fundraising efforts, see www.AshDevine.net or email Rezendes of the Toolshed SoundLab at grezendes@q.com.

Last modified: March 23. 2013 6:52PM
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