In Song Sing On: The Songbook Project, May 1-2

Friday, May 1, 6-9 pm | Saturday, May 2, 2 pm – | Benchspace Gallery & Workshop at The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design

In Song Sing On: The Song Book Project is a contemporary version of the timeless tradition of collecting songs in printed form to support and encourage occasions when people can come together to sing. Since 2013 artists David Wilson and Colter Jacobsen have been soliciting submissions from a wide network of musicians for songs that participants felt would inspire a group sing-a-long. This collecting has happened informally and the songs have been amassed in a photocopied artist book that continues to grow as new songs get added into the mix. The process of collecting and recording songs honors the work of folkloric historians and sound archivists Alan Lomax, Harry Smith, Pete Seeger (Rise Up Singing), and others devoted to collecting song traditions.

Wilson and Jacobsen have held Sing-A-Long events using the Song Book at homes, outdoor campfires, and various institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,  The Heliopolis Gallery (New York), and A.C.R.E (Steuben, WI). It is a nomadic project that seeks to absorb the traditions and input of each place that the project visits and leave behind copies of the book so that others can continue spreading the songs in their community. 

For the Asheville edition of The Song Book Project, Wilson will work with each participant on Friday evening to transcribe lyrics and simple chord progressions so that the songs can be easily played and others can easily join in the singing. A recording of each contributor playing their selection will accompany the song book so that new songs can be learned and old favorites can be appreciated. On Saturday afternoon participants will be invited to participate in a group Sing-A-Long. The ultimate goal of this project is for the Song Book to act as a tool to enable group singing, which proves to be one of the highest forms of community engagement and communing.

Cost: Free and open to the public. No registration required.

Friday, May 1, 6-9 pm: Bring a song or join along. Visitors may bring or discover a well-known traditional, pop, campfire, children’s, or folk song to transcribe, record themselves or others singing, and assemble songbooks. Snacks and drinks will be provided. No experience necessary.

Saturday, May 2, 2 pm: Explore where art can take you. Meet at CCCD, 67 Broadway Street, at 2 pm and grab a map created by the artist. Wilson will meet visitors at an undisclosed location to perform songs added to the songbook on Friday. This is an all ages event. Instruments are welcome.

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David Wilson is an artist and curator based in Oakland, CA.  He creates observational drawings and orchestrates site-specific gatherings that draw a wide net of artists, performers, filmmakers, chefs, and artisans into collaborative relationships.  He recently organized the experimental exhibition The Possible at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and received the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s 2012 SECA Art Award.  He has exhibited his work with SFMOMA, was included in the 2010 CA Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, had a solo Matrix exhibition at BAM/PFA, and has received grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation and The Center for Craft, Creativity, & Design.

In Song Sing On: The Song Book Project is the second event in the 2015 Back to the Drawing Board series.

Back to the Drawing Board has been made possible by the John and Robyn Horn Foundation and receives media sponsorship from Industrious Productions.


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