" Not since Bob Dylan's early years has a 23 year old songwriter had such power and meaning. "Hymns For the Exiled" comes to us from both sides of a story, here and there, inside and out. With literary aplomb, she gives us footnotes in the artwork, so that we can do our reading and catch up with her. Political and poetic, personal and universal, Anaïs Mitchell's work is my latest obsession. Look for her influence on my future projects." -Jonathan Byrd
" Folk music is in good hands." - Susan Werner
In times of great evil, wearing away under the weight of lies, we need our poets, shamans and truth-speakers most. We need questions raised and idols smashed by ordinary people with extraordinary courage. We need Anaïs Mitchell.
It is rare thing when a songwriter can deliver a powerful political message without compromise to the songs' poetic value. Mitchell's fusion of American roots music with high literary sensibility and broad cultural/political understanding is something new. An enormous presence on the stage, with a mix of girlishness and fierce intellect, Anaïs is utterly disarming. The raw, sweet timbre of her voice and serene picking style draw you in, and her dazzling lyrics keep you there. On "Hymns for the Exiled" she writes from the perspective of an Arabian woman; an American child caught between terrifying reality and anti-terrorist rhetoric; of the cynical political use of the survivors of the Quecreek Flood; of the death of an Austin drummer, and her grandmother's dress.
Raised by a novelist and a community organizer in rural New England, Anaïs grew up listening to Dylan and the Dead, Cohen, Velvet Underground, Joni Mitchell, Ani, Dar Williams and Tori Amos. At 18, she moved to Boston, where she did time at open mikes and the Park St. T station. At twenty, she moved to Austin, where she released her debut album, "The Song They Sang When Rome Fell." The Kerrville Folk Festival honored her work with the prestigious New Folk award in 2003. She recently graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, with a degree in political science. Anaïs is passionate about the music of her native land, from old-school country to dustbowl labor ballads to rebel rock. Anaïs has spent extensive time in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East, studying languages (Spanish, German, and Arabic) and international politics, bringing a worldly depth to her writing - which she presents to her audience with a graceful presence of spirit. When asked of her goals, she says, "I want a career as a folksinger." You got it, Anaïs.