Celia, on the Road at Sacred Harvest Festival – Interview

Celia Farran, singer, songwriter, actress, and storyteller who dishes up the most delicious concoction of the silly and the sacred, performed  at Sacred Harvest Festival on Tuesday, August ninth . I got a chance to talk to her the next day.

What have you been up to since you last appeared at Sacred Harvest Festival?

I have been working really hard, really hard. I have been consistently putting out Cd’s

Do you have your own studio?

I have my own studio now. The first CD I did on my own equipment wasAlabaster in Blue‘, which the song ‘Symbol is on. I’ve done everything else myself since. I do the recording and then have someone else mix and master it. My most recent CD, ‘Carry Me Home‘ , I did all the recording, engineering, and the mixing, and the mastering. The learning curve is steep, a whole other hat to wear.

Where do you call home now?

Interesting, right now we are itinerant. We gave up our house in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We put everything in a ten by ten storage space, and are probably on the road through October. We don’t know for certain. It just seemed easier than keeping a house to take care of, so we are just ‘on the road‘.

The last two or three years I have lived in New Mexico. Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Before that I lived in Ashland. Oregon. Before that I was on the road full-time for a few years.

At least before you need a new CD, you’ll find a home?

(Laughs) Ya, exactly. The new CD is, well before we left, we created a pre-order form for it. There are eleven tracks done and when we find a place in October, we will set up the studio again and finish and release it.

How much are you on the road?

I am on the road a lot, about ten months this year. The pattern has been I go out for anywhere from 4-6 weeks and then try to come home for a time. This last year I toured a whole lot.

How have you gotten so much recognition nationally?

The touring, the albums, the new stuff. Showing up, showing up, showing up, showing up! It is awesome and also exhausting. For a music artist we have the internet, we have downloads, we have ways of being in your living room without physically being in your living room.

Celia performing at SHF

Are you moving in the ‘downloads’ direction or is it still mainly ‘showing up’?

A lot more the latter. It is showing up. 95% of sales are right there when I am physically present. That is changing with the addition of pod-casts and internet radio. All my music is down-loadable, People just have to find it. You have to direct people to it.

Being an independent artist is like herding cats on fire. It is like being on a tightrope walk with alligators below and the earth quake starts. Adjusting, shifting, moving. You never know what is going to happen next. I have been looking at how sustainable it is for me to do all these different parts. Because of doing all these parts for myself I have gotten to where I am now, however it is exhausting for one person to do all those things. Now I am traveling with my partner and our son. It is great and the first time I have ever done that. It is in some ways just exuberant. There is help and support. It is an adventure and there are new risks and new rewards. I am learning how much time and space I need to just be alone in my space, too. so I can be prepared and give the best show I can give. I can’t be on edge or agitated. I am learning what I need there, and how to ask for what I want, and do it gracefully. I also learn how to better honor the needs and wants of those I am sharing space with.

You got a lot of responses to song requests during your concert. Does that feel good that people know your music?

It is awesome. It is every singer, songwriter’s dream. Or when you start a song and people clap, “Oh, I know this one”. It is really affirming. I tend to do requests in most of my shows. Usually some exposure has made them want to come to the concert.

{brief break to hear SHF town crier announce next workshop}

In this day and culture, and in these financial times, for a person to make the choice to go out and hear a live musician is a big choice for a lot of people. It is well-earned money spent frugally. Do I feed the kids or do I have a transitory uplifting experience? Hopefully people can do both, and make both better. It is rare for people to come out for an unknown quantity. If they don’t have any connection to you, people rarely take the risk. This is where the internet comes in. On-line internet sales tend to get invigorated by the live shows. The interest in coming out to a live performance is said to be less than in the past. I have been doing this for eleven years, and I can’t figure it out. Sometimes advance promotion is everything, and then sometimes a huge crowd shows up on a rumor. Economics and ticket price certainly effects attendance in hard hit areas.

Do you still do house concerts?

Yes, I love them! They are intimate, it is a community, they are tied together. Like here (SHF), it is performing for an audience that has already jelled. It isn’t fragmented. You can totally feel the energy difference, and it affects the whole experience. House concerts are that, because people tend to know each other and have a community feel. I show up and there is an audience waiting. That is glorious.

What does a year from now look like?

I want both a home and the road. When I am home too long my creative energy starts to diminish. I don’t feel as enlivened. I also love being home, and being safe. A bed in the same place for more than one night!

Do your audiences support your new work?

I feel totally supported with my new work. What I hear as the consistent response is, “These are my favorites, What is next?” “When is your new CD coming out?” I have to answer in a conflicted response. It is so much work and money for a new CD. Then I have to advise what the best song, ‘child’, is on each CD. For me they all represent my best work, and I have to direct people to their favorites.

There is no feeling in the world like creating something and having it received positively. It is so affirming, to offer up something that has perceived value to your community is invigorating and inspiring. If I put something out and it falls flat, it is hard to get back up and do it again. I can’t not do it, because it is what is what I am here to do. This sort of music gypsy lifestyle is, well, it just is. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Celia is back in the Southwest already. To keep up with her,  check her schedule.

Nels Linde

2 thoughts on “Celia, on the Road at Sacred Harvest Festival – Interview

  1. Tasha-Rose says:

    I was particularly pleased to have Celia back at SHF this year! She performed at my very first Fest in 2005 and I have been a fan since. I got the rest of her music at SHF this year and have been listening to it all since. I think I have most of it put to heart at this point! Thanks so much Celia, for returning and for tolerating us as your neighbor during Fest! You are a gracious and beautiful guest. Many Blessings to you and your family!

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