Sing Me Back Home Songwriting, Llc

“Sing Me Back Home: Place-Based Collaborative Songwriting”

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“Sing Me Back Home: Place-Based Collaborative Songwriting”

About: Sing Me Back Home is a collective of songwriters, social workers, and international community members who believe in the transformative power of song and storytelling. In singing stories that center our own life experiences and others, we shift the landscape of whose stories “count,” build understanding about arts and social justice, and empower diverse artistic voices.

Mission: To teach collaborative, place-based songwriting workshops in spaces of conflict around the world in order to facilitate conversation across lines of identity, nation, religion, language and culture. Using the tools of cultural anthropology and community-based art practice, we offer week-long workshops in which participants are paired with one another to write a “cowrite,” each day. This facilitates deeper connections and conversations, which in turn provide the pathway toward deeper and more nuanced understandings across lines of cultural difference.

Vision: We are committed to the broader movement of undoing the violences of racism, casteism, white privilege, settler colonialism, slavery, and genocide, through the power and poetry of our songwriting and performance. We believe in the liberation that rhythm, lyric, melody and harmony, performed through the singing voice, inaugurate.

Using a trauma-informed approach, we offer these workshops specifically within socially marginalized communities, including spaces of incarceration, zones of conflict, rural “flyover” country, and spaces privileging the voices of veterans and those who identify as LGTBQIA2S+; many of these are communities which historically have had less access and support to arts-based training in creative practice and performance. Focusing on community building, finding one’s voice as writers and singers, and intercultural communication through cowriting, participants learn to reconnect to themselves and others through (re)discovering the importance of their own stories.

How do we write about another person’s life, or our own, with accuracy and nuance? When does the line get crossed into appropriation? How do we create art and songs in culturally sensitive ways? Workshops are designed to create economic growth and artistic synergies in host communities based on the songwriters who visit, each year. Thus, these workshops will appeal to songwriters, but also to a much broader net of participants, including world travelers, poets, social justice advocates, artists, anthropologists and travel writers looking to learn a new art form.

Values: We believe that songs matter in the world, and that they can do powerful social work to narrate lived experience. We believe that cultural specificity, and the places in which stories-as-art are produced, also matter.

What we do: We have offered workshops for prisons in North Carolina, Sweden and Italy, on the Navajo Nation (“Songs from the Rez”), in townships in South Africa (October 2022), in rural villages in Italy, and to refugees and asylum seekers in Finland. We offer weekend- and week-long workshops that include guided daily writing prompts, cowriting partners, and song sharing circles, each night. We end our workshops with a community-based concert, held in the community where the workshop is offered.

We began as a collective of artists and friends in 2017, when Artistic Director Kristina Jacobsen called together New Mexico-based songwriters, yoga instructors and Diné artists and community members from the Navajo Nation to offer the first, week-long workshop in Many Farms, Arizona, “Songs from the Rez.”
About the Facilitator:
Dr. Kristina Jacobsen is a singer, songwriter and cultural anthropologist. An Associate Professor of Songwriting and Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, she is the founder of the Prison Song Project, a Prison Arts Collaboration between songwriting students at the University of New Mexico and a local county jail in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A Fulbright Artist and Scholar (Italy 2019-2020), Kristina has been nominated for three New Mexico Music Awards and tours internationally. As a long-time practitioner of mindfulness, Jacobsen completed her introductory MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) training at Duke University’s Center for Integrative Medicine and graduated with a Certificate in Mindful Leadership from Spirit Rock Insight Meditation Center in 2021. She enjoys bringing mindfulness and a trauma-informed approach into the songwriting process in beautiful places around the world. Kristina speaks Italian, Spanish, Norwegian and some Navajo.

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  • WOMEX 2023


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