Cassandra Jenkins, who released one of our top ten favorite albums of 2021 with An Overview on Phenomenal Nature (and also an accompanying album with alternate takes and outtakes), is the latest artist to curate a playlist for Smithsonian Folkways' People's Picks series, which "gives listeners deeper insight into how the artist is drawn to sound. Along with the playlist, each artist shares the thought process behind their song choices, and how their own personal histories have been influenced by music."

Speaking about her playlist, Cassandra said:

Grasping the Lyrebird’s Tail
Voices mimicking instruments mimicking animals mimicking instruments mimicking voices. Transmutation, Cloud relaxation, heart beat, beat poet, bird songs, cow boys.

I immersed myself in the World of Sound Catalog and gravitated towards the scientific, sacred, psychological, and spoken word corners of the collection. What emerged from my wanderings is a string of recordings that speak to our need to interpret, interact with, and immerse ourselves in nature, and occasionally aim to empower the listener with their innate inclination towards healing. Once I began listening, I found myself following one recording to the next, curious about each character I met along the way. The experience felt like a walk through a museum of natural history, because the individuals capturing the world around them became just as fascinating as the subjects they aim to put on display. The whole experience led me to the question, why do we sing?

My chosen mascot for this collection revealed themselves when I came across an album of recordings of the Lyre Bird, a large peacock-like ground-dweller from Australia, known for it’s uncanny ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment. We have come to understand the calls to be part of an elaborate mating ritual (during which they sing for up to four hours a day), and the scientist suggests that there remains much mystery around the bird’s behaviors, likening their reception of another’s call to telepathy. So while we struggle to understand the world around us, perhaps nature too is seeking the songs, sounds, and language that allow us to connect with one another as well as the worlds that extend just beyond our grasp.

With a mix of music, poetry, field recordings of nature sounds, and more, the playlist includes tracks by Pete Seeger, Allen Ginsberg, Sri Chinmoy, Milton Feher, Jim Nollman, Baxter Black, former Huun-Huur-Tu member Anatoli Kuular, and others. Listen below.

Past contributors to People's Picks include Jolie Holland, Daniel Bachman, William Tyler, Marisa Anderson, Yasmin Williams, Pearl Charles, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, Aaron Dilloway, Bonny Light Horseman, Shannen Moser, This Is The Kit, Itasca, Sunny Jain, Hiss Golden Messenger, and more. Check out all past playlists here.

Cassandra also has upcoming tour dates with Courtney Barnett and The Weather Station, and those are listed below.

Cassandra Jenkins -- 2022 Tour Dates
1/20/22 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater *
1/22/22 - Minneapolis, MN - Palace Theater *
1/23/22 - Chicago. IL - Chicago Theater *
1/25/22 - Detroit, MI - Masonic Temple Theater *
1/26/22 - Columbus, OH - Express Live *
1/28/22 - Nasvhille, TN - Ryman Auditorium *
1/29/22 - Atlanta, GA - The Eastern *
2/4/22 - Nashville, TN - The Basement East ^
2/5/22 - Oxford, MS - Proud Larry’s ^
2/7/22 - Dallas, TX - Club Dada ^
2/8/22 - Austin, TX - 3ten ACL Live ^
2/12/22 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour ^
2/13/22 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent ^
2/15/22 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios ^
2/17/22 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern ^

* - with Courtney Barnett
^ - with The Weather Station

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