Musical Highlights - from the one woman, off-Broadway show "Fire in the Rain"
Holly Near is a powerful voice for change. After 40 years of work in social change movements, Near's historical perspective as well as her contemporary activism continue to challenge and inspire audiences around the country.
The spectrum of her work is staggering. She presents an inspiring and entertaining keynote while her teaching is a mix of history, therapy, and investigation of craft. Her songwriting invites the listener to his/her best self and her singing voice is full of range and dynamics; indeed, her voice is stronger than it has ever been.
She got a dynamic start in film and television in the early 1970s. But the world caught her attention, fueling her cultural and political perspective, and she began singing full time. Today, Holly calls herself "an elder in training". Experience has brought wisdom to her perspective and her singing has matured.
In addition to solo concerts, collaborations and festival, her 2004 season includes conducting a three day master class at The Leaven Center in Michigan, delivering the keynote address for the American Family Therapy Association in San Francisco and the annual Ware Lecture for the Unitarian Universalist Association in Long Beach, California; participating in Healing Journeys: Cancer as a Turning Pointâ¢ in Seattle, Washington, and appearing at The HerbFest in Norway, Iowa.
In the fall of 2003, Holly was invited to join Harry Belafonte, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and Pete Seeger at Ohio State University to discuss political song and how it has affected social change, public policy and responsible citizenship. In summer 2003, she received standing ovations both before and after singing at the Falconridge Folk Festival, and she and Ronnie Gilbert were greeted with great enthusiasm at the Oregon Country Fair. Recently, she has participated in a gala performance of the Vagina Monologues as part of the effort to raise consciousness around issues of violence against women.
Near has reissued her over 20 recordings on several historical collections (on her own label, Calico Tracks Music), and she continues to record new material: Edge (which includes the songs I Ain't Afraid and Planet Called Home) and Cris & Holly, a collaboration with Cris Williamson. She sings on the recent tribute recordings to Pete Seeger, released on Appleseed Recordings.