Interview with Martha Redbone, Harlan County, Kentucky

Martha Redbone is a Native and African American vocalist, songwriter, composer, and educator. Drawing on the tradition of her gospel-singing African American father and the spirit of her mother’s Cherokee/Shawnee/Choctaw culture, Redbone explores the boundaries of American Roots music and gives voice to issues of social justice. She draws from a number of genres, including folk, blues, and gospel. She has recorded numerous albums, including The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake (2012), a collection of William Blake poems set to the music of Appalachia. In her work in theatre, Redbone composed original music for the 2019 revival of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, the choreopoem by Ntozake Shange. Redbone’s own musical Black Mountain Women for The Public Theater addresses the ongoing environmental destruction of her ancestral homeland in Appalachia told through the lives of four generations of women in her matriarchal Cherokee family.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/06/2020.

Interview with Sasha Renee, Louisville, Kentucky

Sasha Renee is a rapper based in Louisville, Kentucky. Sasha Renee recorded her first song in 2010. By 2011, she was under the management of Double A Entertainment and released two underground mixtapes. A Proper Introduction and the Yearned Presence mixtapes were both released before 2012 and hosted by DJ Genius. Sasha Renee was nominated for #1 Female Hip-Hop Artist at the Kymp Kamp awards in Kentucky in 2013 and 2014. “Love Lost” was released as her first official single. She continued to record and release new music including a compilation album. She launched her weekly soul based open mic event The Vibe, which became a staple in the Louisville music scene, with artists, poets, and creatives traveling from surrounding cities to be heard. Sasha Renee released the EP I Am Sasha Renee in 2017 and won the KUEA award for Best Female Hip-Hop artist in Kentucky in both 2017 and 2018. 
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 11/30/2020.

Interview with Ben Sollee, Louisville, Kentucky

Ben Sollee is a cellist and composer based in Louisville, Kentucky. He has performed with companies including the Charlotte Ballet and the North Carolina Dance Theater, where he wrote original music for the play Dangerous Liaisons. Ben has toured on his bicycle, riding over 4,000 miles. He has been invited to speak on sustainability at festivals including South by Southwest Music (2011) and TEDx San Diego (2012). At home, Ben has raised awareness about Mountain Top Removal Strip Mining in Central Appalachia. His album Dear Companion (Sub Pop, 2010) with artist Daniel Martin Moore and producer Jim James sheds light on the issue. Ben’s music has been featured in film and television, including Mark Steven Johnson’s Killing Season starring John Travolta and Robert De Niro, ABC’s Parenthood, and HBO’s Weeds. Working with experimental technology, Ben has used the Vanishing Point virtual reality app, and created an interactive sculptural installation called Livestream.
Interviewed by Tamar Sella, 10/09/2020.