Get to know the accomplished individuals who will present at the TEDxGreenville conference on April 8th! In this series, writer Jennifer Oladipo asks some compelling questions.
The only all-female, old-time string band in the SC Upstate, the BattleAxe Band is best known for hard-driving, old-time tunes and songs with powerful vocal harmonies.
Nancy: It is an opportunity to play our music to a different audience.
Lucy: Love watching TED talks on the internet, so this is an opportunity to interact with like-minded folks on a local level.
Brooke: While we all hail from different cities in the Upstate, Greenville is central for us. We have many friends and fans in Greenville. It’s only natural that we’d want to be part of an event that inspires and brings our community together.
What do you wish everyone knew about old-time music?
Nancy: It’s not bluegrass.
Lucy: We wish everyone knew that folk music, and old time music, is alive and well, not relegated to a dusty corner of a closet. And it is not a static music:even though based on traditional music from the 19th and early 20th centuries, new tunes and variations are being created all the time. It is exciting and vibrant.
Brooke: There is no wrong time to pick up an instrument. It doesn’t matter if you are 5, 55 or 105. If you have an interest go for it. When I first started playing banjo I was in college. My friends who played old-time music were in there 40’s, 50’s and 60’s mostly. Some of them had just started playing and we took classes together. Which is great! When you play through a song with someone on the same level over 100 times really slowly…you’re going to form a bond!
I lived in Japan for a few years and found that music is absolutely the international language. Maybe you can’t express yourself so well in words of the same language, but I feel like I get to know someone just by picking some tunes together. You can get a picture of someone by the songs they like, their voice, their manner of playing, how they listen, how they lead or follow. One tune can become this whole conversation. I feel like music is this whole other way of connecting with people, whether it is through songwriting, sharing a song that has personal meaning, or that give and take and weaving of different voices that happens in a jam. And when I am performing for an audience, I just love it when a person comes up afterwards and says they liked this song or that, or share their own related story. It means they are listening. It means we connected.
How does your work affect the way you see yourself?
Amy: Playing music gives me good vibrations through and through. Its positivity keeps me going from day to day, and enables me to feel free and confident in facing life’s challenges.
Brooke: Being part of a musical ensemble means not only having a great group of friends to hang out with. It means harmonizing (pun intended) with other people and can be very personal. It also allows us to create something more together than any one of us could alone.
Where do you find inspiration?
Amy: I find inspiration in friends, in nature, in all types of human connections.
Brooke: Also in animal connections. I wrote one of the songs on our album about my dog and my friend’s dogs. I think there is inspiration all around, you just have to slow down to appreciate it.
What is the next frontier for the human race?
Amy: Learning how how heal ourselves and each other with our innate abilities; learning to trust our ability to do so.
Brooke: The Internet! Isn’t it great? We can learn all this cool stuff that we don’t always have access to locally. And we can meet like-minded people. My son uses it to look up the names of the 67 moons of Jupiter. I use it for everything from learning guitar to reading reviews before I buy my next appliance. As a band it helps us to stay in touch with fans and let them know where we will be playing next. I can easily check in with friends across the globe. And watch TEDx talks of course! It doesn’t beat real life human contact (and never will) but it can be a great tool for bringing people together (as is music).
What was the last idea, big or small, that you thought was an idea worth sharing?
Lucy: Traditional music is alive and well, even though it isn’t found very often on the radio.
For more information about Kaleidoscope speakers and performers, visit our 2016 presenter page, where extended bios are available. The April 8th event at the Kroc Center in Greenville, SC, is sold out, but if you don’t have tickets, watch our Facebook page for details about the free live feed.