Anais Mitchell Q&A: Tour promotes women voting

Singer performing with Patty Griffin and Sara Watkins.

Singers Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins and Anais Mitchell will be in concert at Dave Finkelman Auditorium on Friday, March 18, as part of the Use Your Voice Tour, in conjunction with the League of Women Voters, encouraging women to vote.

The show will bring all three women together on stage.

We talked to Anais Mitchell via email:

Q. Can you tell me about the tour and how it’s going? What is it like to tour with Patty Griffin and Sara Watkins?

A. “We’re three shows in as I’m writing this, and we are really having fun. I’m a great fan of Patty and Sara, both as artists and as people, and it’s an honor and a pleasure to perform with them. We’re doing a lot of collaborating on stage — three-part harmonies, messing around with drums and a Shruti box and stuff, and Sara is, of course, a really awesome fiddler. We also have a wonderful guitarist, David Pulkingham, with us.”

Q. Why did you want to partner the League of Women Voters, encouraging women to vote? Why do you think it’s important for everyone to vote?

A. “The League of Women Voters has been around since 1920 (when women got the right to vote), and their mission is very simple: they are a nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting and empowering everyone’s right to vote in this country. I think we all need to remind each other to get out and participate in the political decisions that affect our lives. As Patty says, with democracy, we gotta ‘use it or lose it.’ ”

Q. As an artist, how do you feel you are “using your voice” to make a difference in people’s lives?

A. “For me, writing songs is about telling stories, often other people’s stories. And performing concerts is about togetherness, people coming together to feel and think in the same place at the same time. Music is so emotional. I was onstage with Patty and Sara last night, and Patty sang this song, ‘Burgundy Shoes,’ which is a story about a child’s experience of her mother. And it made me think of my own little daughter (2½ years old) and what her experience of me might be, and I just could not keep it together. It’s the experience of being moved by someone else’s story, because it reminds you of your own story, and being in a room with other folks all having that experience, I think is a very special one.”

Q. In addition to the tour, what are some things you are working on musically?

A. “I’ve been working for the past few years on an expanded theatrical version of my 2010 album ‘Hadestown.’ It’s been a ton of work, and I’m so excited that it will finally be going up off-Broadway in May at a theater in the East Village called New York Theater Workshop.”

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