Interview with Eimear Arkins, St. Louis, Missouri

Originally from a small village in Ireland’s County Clare, St. Louis-based fiddler Eimear Arkins is also a singer and dancer with eleven Irish music world championship titles. Eimear has toured extensively with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann throughout Ireland, Britain, North America, and Canada. She has also performed with the show Brú Ború and helped to represent Ireland at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. In August 2015, she traveled to World Expo in Milan with St. Louis Irish Arts where she promoted Irish culture and the expression of Irish culture worldwide. Eimear has toured with The Paul Brock Band, Cherish the Ladies, Tomaseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas and often performs with harp player and St. Louis native, Eileen Gannon. Eimear is a qualified Irish music and dance instructor and teaches at St. Louis Irish Arts. In June 2018, she released her debut album, What’s Next?, and was awarded “Best Newcomer” from Live Ireland in 2019. In January 2020, Eimear was awarded an Artist Fellowship from the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 09/04/2020.

Interview with Beau Bledsoe, Kansas City, Missouri

Beau Bledsoe studied classical guitar at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music under Douglas Niedt, where he received a Master of Music. There he continued his professional career in the Kansas City music scene playing with jazz musicians, classical chamber musicians, and also participating in the burgeoning Latin music scene. His interest in exploring new repertoire, cultures, and programming ideas led to the creation of a large body of arrangements, transcriptions and compositions for the solo guitar and guitar chamber music. He also founded Ensemble Ibérica, a group that performs the music of Ibéria (Spain and Portugal) and the colonial Americas while educating the public about Iberian cultural influence. His music is regularly programmed on Radio 1 BBC and All Songs Considered on NPR. His recording Yalnız by Alaturka received 4.5 stars and Best Albums of 2013 from Downbeat Magazine. He serves on the music faculty at the UMKC Conservatory of Music.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 09/09/2020.

Interview with DJ Mahf, St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis-based DJ and producer Dan Mahfood, better known as DJ Mahf, is the younger brother of famed LA comic-book artist Jim Mahfood, and is the DJ for the local St. Louis group Earthworms. As the official DJ for the New Orleans Super Bowl as well as the official DJ for the St. Louis Blues hockey team, DJ Mahf has spent much time performing at both local and corporate gigs. While he specializes in old and new underground hip-hop records, he spins a wide array of music, from Motown to rhythm and blues, avant-garde, and Top 40.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 09/09/2020.

Interview with Ellie Grace, Kansas City, Missouri

Ellie Grace grew up performing in a family band. She is now a singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and dancer who specializes in roots-based Americana and percussive dance. Ellie has performed at prestigious venues across the U.S. and Canada, from the Winnipeg Folk Festival to Lincoln Center to the National Women’s Music Festival. She has appeared as a featured guest with Peter and Paul (of Peter, Paul and Mary) at the Rubicon Theater in California. Ellie Grace is also a teacher, having taught at camps, schools, colleges, and festivals across the country. In addition to her time on faculty at Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and University of North Carolina-Asheville, Ellie has directed schools of folk music and dance in Missouri and North Carolina.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 09/24/2020.

Interview with Eddie Moore, Kansas City, Missouri

Jazz pianist and bandleader Eddie Moore was raised in Houston, Texas, and began his musical journey at Texas Southern University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and immersed himself in the Houston music scene. As a lifelong musician traversing a number of bands and styles, he then relocated to Kansas City to study under Bobby Watson at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he received his MA in Jazz Studies. After forming jazz/fusion group Eddie Moore & The Outer Circle in 2012, he released his debut album, The Freedom of Expression, which was given 3.5 stars from Downbeat jazz magazine. Moore’s third album, Kings & Queens, incorporates elements of soul, R&B, rock, and hip-hop into his take on contemporary jazz. Released with Ropeadope Records, Moore’s forward-thinking sounds are part of the rich continuum of African American music that continues to be imbued with indigenous African elements. Moore is also recipient of the 2016 Charlotte Street Generative Performance Award; 2017’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art “Artist in Residence” in collaboration with Rashid Johnson; 2018’s work with The Outer Circle was nominated for an Indie Music Award; and his music has also been featured commercially for Sprint, Netflix’s Queer Eye and Morgan Cooper’s short film Room Tone. Moore has shared the stage and recorded with Bobby Watson, Pam, Watson, Logan Richardson, Maurice Brown, Boys II Men, Brian Blade and the Fellowship, John Baptiste, Erykah Badu, Mosdef, Bilal, Ledisi, Chantae Cann, Krystal Warren, Matt Otto, Brandon Draper, Andre Hayward, Tivon Pennicott, Various Blonde,  Dominique Sanders, 77 Jefferson, and the Marcus Lewis Big Band.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 10/06/2020.

Interview with Steddy P, Kansas City, Missouri

Ray Pierce, better known by his stage name, Steddy P, is a Kansas City-based rapper who, for many years, has come to represent underground Missouri hip-hop. Through his college years, he built a dedicated following in Columbia, Missouri, and then began to spread outward across the state and beyond. He is also the founder of the label Indyground Entertainment, which has artists Farout and Dom Chronicles on its roster. His music is often biographical, often political, and is inspired and assisted in creation by St. Louis-based DJ and producer, DJ Mahf.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 09/08/2020.

Interview with Alonzo Townsend, St. Louis, Missouri

Alonzo Townsend is the youngest son of Delta blues legend and patriarch of the St. Louis Blues Henry James “Mule” Townsend and blues singer Vernell Townsend. Alonzo has made it his mission to carry on the blues heritage and become an active voice for St. Louis’ history and vibrant music scene. Alonzo accepted the posthumous Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 2008 on behalf of his late father for his album, Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas. Alonzo himself is a spoken word emcee, booking coordinator, event manager and talent manager for events like Taste of St. Louis, River Front Times Music Showcase, Big Muddy Blues Festival, Blues at The Arch and more. His spoken word recording, “A Letter To My City,” was featured as a part of the 18 N 18 St. Louis Blues Society Compilation Album. Townsend is a speaker and writer for the St. Louis Blues Society, Blues Education programs including “Hip-Hop to The Blues,” and a presenter/youth educator for Blues in The Schools Programs.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 09/04/2020.