It's always reassuring when an organization recognizes the time and resources required for a musician to devote any significant portion of time to their art. So we were thrilled to hear that three local musicians have been selected by the American Composers Forum to receive Minnesota Emerging Composer Awards (MECAs): experimental multi-instrumentalist Jon Davis of Ghostband, rapper M.anifest, and drummer Pete Hennig of the Fantastic Merlins and the Atlantis Quartet will each receive $3,000 to complete a 12-month project of their choosing.
[jump] The musicians were chosen by their musical peers, making the awards even more meaningful. According to a description of MECA, "the program asks leading local artists--familiar with the improvised, electronic and world music scenes--to nominate an original, creative musician with significant potential in each of these areas."
See below for each musician's plan to spend their grant money. Congrats, guys!
Jon Davis [aka Ghostband] will make an integrated electronic sound and video project (perhaps based on a narrative such as the Prose Edda) using more sophisticated technology than has been possible in his previous work. He will also pursue studies in the extended bass clarinet and continue his support of the local free improv and electronica communities.M.anifest [Kwame Tsikata] is a hip-hop artist originally from Ghana. He will travel to Ghana to work with leading elders--Koo Nimo and Ebo Taylor, guitarists and storytellers--in the Highlife and Palmwine traditions. With them he will record a 5-7 song EP. He will learn new methods of song creation, develop his approach to language, and expand the audience for his performances.Pete Hennig plays drums for The Atlantis Quartet and Fantastic Merlins as well as writing for both groups, and playing the 5-string banjo. The grant will allow him to take the compositional lead and create a new body of work that takes new artistic approaches (including polyrhythmic experiments, hybrid song forms and improvisational structures). He will seek out musicians beyond his existing circle and bring his concepts into non-jazz settings.