Small Batch is no stranger to collaboration in the arts. There are five permanent members of the local Americana/bluegrass group, four of whom will perform next Friday at CSA LIVE. Between them, though, they are part of 15 different musical groups.
Reva Williams, singer/songwriter and member of Small Batch and Ancient Warfare, and Emily Hagihara, solo artist and drummer in Ancient Warfare, both sat down with LAL to provide a glimpse into the collaborative, creative process that lays the groundwork for art making in Lexington. Reva will be performing with both Ancient Warfare and Small Batch at CSA LIVE. Emily will be performing her solo work and with Ancient Warfare, but will also be appearing in place of Small Batch's bass player.
“Collaboration definitely depends on the people you’re with,” Williams said. “When you’re working with people who realize the creative process takes time it gives you the chance to come up with something truly organic.”
"I love collaboration. It's comforting to form those relationships and grow by performing," Hagihara said. "I try to say yes to as much as I can."
“To me, the only thing I’m interested in is good work that speaks something to the human person,” Williams said. She and the other musicians were given the opportunity to choose the poets who will be featured in CSA LIVE. After reading See How We Are, a book featuring Lexington Poetry Month writers, the musicians decided that work by Kentucky poets Savannah Sipple, Leatha Kendrick, and Marianne Worthington would fit best in the show.
Williams said that she, along with the rest of Small Batch and Ancient Warfare, believe Lexington can provide great things.
“We work hard to support the local economy. Not out of sentimentality, but because our local things are excellent,” Williams said. “Lexington is ripe with art…a lot is going on here.”
While artistic fellowship is a main focus for these musicians, organizing practice times between their busy schedules of work and rehearsals can become a task all its own.
“Sometimes it’s a struggle to puzzle piece things together because we all have jobs and our own lives,” Williams said. “It can be crazy, but it’s always a rewarding and fun experience,” she said.
Small Batch’s first experience with CSA was being part of the April crop with their seven-inch vinyl contribution. Williams said being contacted by LAL was perfect timing, because they needed an impetus to get in the studio to start recording.
“Having cash up front to record music is expensive,” she said. “It was great having the funding to continue doing what we wanted.” Small Batch is now in the studio adding to their CSA contribution in hopes of releasing a full album soon.
"The financial aspect of creating our art is no easy feat, especially pressing vinyl," Hagihara said. "CSA allows that to happen and gets material into the hands of people who wouldn't normally buy it or see us perform."
The music scene in Lexington is an interwoven web of creative resources. It’s not uncommon for artists to roam from band to band exploring new depths of musical talent with a myriad of people, feeding artistic energy of all kinds. CSA LIVE is designed to be a testament to the ongoing cross-pollination of the arts.
“Most of Lexington’s music scene happens when people are asleep,” Williams said. “CSA is a chance to introduce that music and art to people who haven’t had a chance to experience it yet. People don’t know the richness of music here and that it can add a lot to their lives.”
See Reva Williams, Emily Hagihara, and the rest of Small Batch and Ancient Warfare at the Lyric Theatre next Friday, June 27 at 8pm. Tickets are $15.
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All Lexington Art League programs are made possible through the generous support of LexArts. LexArts allocation of $50,000 represents the largest single donation to the operations of the Lexington Art League.
The Kentucky Arts Council, a state arts agency, provides operating support to the Lexington Art League with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by Lexington Parks & Recreation.