TIM ERIKSEN is
... one of the best singers in music - T-Bone Burnett
... Sacred Harp (the oldest american music tradition) reinventer
... voice of the "Cold Mountain", several Oscar nominated and winning movie
... guitar, banjo, fiddle and voice of Cordelia's Dad, the prophetic US band, joining traditional music with punk and hardcore, the band which has almost 2 decades foregone today's american roots music revival
... 19th century New England music scholar and Wesleyan University professor
... the only person to have appeared with both Doc Watson and Kurt Cobain
... and many more
One of the best singers in American roots music, Tim Eriksen "connects the present and the ancient with an immediacy that will make your bones tremble." A songwriter of rare intensity and an inventive multi-instrumentalist, he transforms American tradition with a "northern roots" sound that embraces old Massachusetts murder ballads, chilling shape-note harmonies and originals with a dose of southern Appalachian and Irish songs. His new solo album "Northern Roots Live in Namest" (Indies Scope, 2009) celebrates the power and timeless appeal of this music in concert.
Eriksen is a founding member of the prophetic underground bands Cordelia's Dad ("folk-noise"), Northampton Harmony (shape-note quartet) and Zabe i Babe (Bosnian folk and pop). The only musician to have shared the stage with both Kurt Cobain and Doc Watson (not to mention Jack White and Ralph Stanley), he is known for his extensive contributions to films including the Billy Bob Thornton vehicle "Chrystal" and Anthony Minghella's Oscar-winning "Cold Mountain." His work for "Cold Mountain" beyond performing has included teaching Nicole Kidman, Elvis Costello and Sting to sing 19th-century American "shape-note" music and leading a group of 40 people in an Academy Awards performance of his own arrangement of Costello's Oscar-nominated song "The Scarlet Tide." In 2004 Eriksen was featured on the six-week "Great High Mountain Tour" with Alison Kraus, Ralph Stanley and a cast of Americana luminaries.
Tim Eriksen cut his teeth playing hardcore punk at New York's notorious CBGB and getting a degree in South Indian classical music (veena and voice), all the while honing his "northern roots" Americana style and mining local library archives, junk sales and obscure field recordings for gems of old New England and American song. Having graduated from the dank punk clubs of the 80's and 90's, he recently made his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist in Evan Chambers' new symphonic work "The Old Burying Ground" and returned to New York for two six-night stints at The Blue Note ("the jazz capital of the world") as the special guest of world-jazz innovator Omar Sosa. A recording of the Sosa shows, "Across the Divide" (Half Note, 2009) has recently been nominated for a Latin Grammy.
TEACHING AND SCHOLARSHIP
Eriksen's work as an ethnomusicologist and teacher, closely tied with his performing career, has included extensive research on "shape-note music" in New England and the venerable Sacred Harp four-part harmony tradition. He is a founder of what is currently the world's largest Sacred Harp singing convention, in Northampton, MA. In the words of Paste Magazine editor Josh Jackson, "no one has done more to help revive Sacred Harp singing among a younger generation." Eriksen has taught college courses including American Balladry, Global Sounds, Film Music From Hollywood to Bollywood, American Music, and Songwriting at Dartmouth College, Amherst College, The University of Minnesota and Hampshire College. He is currently director of the Northern Roots Music Collective at Wesleyan University. In addition, Eriksen has taught hundreds of hour to week-long workshops and seminars in shape-note harmony singing, American music history, ballad singing and instrumental accompaniment at festivals, universities, museums and arts centers, including the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, the Society for Ethnomusicology Convention, Colours of Ostrava Festival (Czech Republic), Camp Fasola (Anniston, AL) and the Early Music Festival in Jaroslaw, Poland. His students have ranged from a group of kindergarteners at an inner city school in Portland, Oregon to a group of fifty Romanian extras in the film "Cold Mountain" and the senior citizen members of the now-legendary "Young at Heart Chorus."
SELECTED PAST PERFORMANCES:
- Newport Folk Festival (1997, 2006, 2009)
- Sidmouth Festival (England)
- Winnipeg Folk Festival
- Vancouver Folk Festival
- Dranouter Festival (Belgium)
- Rudolstadt Festival (Germany)
- Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic)
- Folk Holidays Festival (Czech Republic)
- Savannah Music Festival
- Lowlands Rock Festival (Holland)
- Crossroads Festival (Poland)
- Jaroslaw Early Music Festival (Poland)
- Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts (Minneapolis)
- Open House Festival (Northern Ireland)
- Philadelphia Folk Festival
- Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (NYC)
Arts Centers, Concert Halls and Clubs
- Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC)
- Carnegie Hall (NYC)
- Red Rocks Amphitheater (Boulder, CO)
- Barbican Center (London, England)
- Grand Opera House (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
- Blue Note Jazz Club (NYC)
- Kennedy Center Millenium Stage (Washington, DC)
- Lincoln Center Rose Hall (NYC)
- Sanders Theater (Harvard University)
- CBGB (NYC)
- Civic Opera House (Chicago, IL)
- Sanders Theater (Harvard University)
- Somerville Theater (Somerville, MA)
- Fox Theater (Atlanta, GA)
- Royce Theater (Los Angeles, CA)
- Kodak Theater (Los Angeles, CA)
"Soul of the January Hills" (Appleseed 2010)
"Northern Roots Live in Namest" (Indies Scope [CZ], 2009)
"Every Sound Below" (Appleseed 2004)
"Tim Eriksen" (Appleseed 2001)
Omar Sosa w/Tim Eriksen, "Across the Divide: A Tale of Rhythm and Ancestry" (Half Note 2009)
"The Old Burying Ground" (upcoming, 2009). TE appears as a soloist in the new symphonic work by composer Evan Chambers.
"Awake My Soul / Help Me To Sing" (Awake Productions 2008)
"Sowing the Seeds - The 10th Anniversary" (Appleseed 2007)
"Song Links II" (Fellside 2005), UK.
"Alt-Traditional: A Tribute to Traditional Music and the Public Domain" (Dren 2002)
"Behold the Earth" feature documentary (Compass Light 2009)
"Chrystal" (First Look 2005)
"Cold Mountain" (Miramax 2004)
"Cold Mountain" Soundtrack (Sony 2003). Produced by T-Bone Burnett.
PRODUCTION/LINER NOTE CREDITS:
"Help Me To Sing" (Awake Productions 2008)
"Sacred Harp Singing in Western Massachusetts, 2000-2001" (WMSHC 2002)
Elsa Namaaraa, "Hundinu Harka Kee Keesa Jira" (World in Two Cities 2001)
"Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still" (Appleseed 2000). Field recordings by Anne and Frank Warner.
"Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention" (Hazmat 1999)
SELECTED BAND RECORDINGS:
(Tim Eriksen - voice, guitar, banjo; Peter Irvine - voice, drums; Cath Oss - voice, bass, accordion, dulcimer)
"What It Is" (Kimchee 2002). Recorded by Steve Albini.
"Spine" (Appleseed 1998). Recorded by Steve Albini.
"Where Have All the Flowers Gone" (Appleseed 1998). One track on CD tribute to Pete Seeger.
"Road Kill" (Scenescof 1996)
"Comet" (Omnium/NORMAL 1995)
"Joy Fun Garden" (NORMAL 1993)
"How Can I Sleep?" (OKra/Omnium/NORMAL 1992)
"Cordelia's Dad" (OKra/Omnium/NORMAL 1990)
(Tim Eriksen - lead; Kelly House - treble, Jeff Colby - bass, Cath Oss - alto)
"The Hookes' Regular Sing" (Hazmat 1996)
"Glory Shone Around: A Christmas Collection." With Tony Trischka (Rounder 1995)