The Return of the Michigan Global Roots Music Festival!

After unveiling a new concept for a family-friendly, affordable, multi-ethnic music festival last year, I’ve decided to attempt to make it an annual event! We’ll be repeating the three-city concept: Lansing, Kalamazoo, & Grand Rapids, over the course of a weekend, with daytime programming to better meet the needs of families. The emphasis will again be on world folk music styles and the accompanying dance/movement traditions that typically appear with the music. Watch the calendar link for final details, but expect a diverse, spirited, and interactive program with groups like Wisaal (Arabic-fusion), An Dro (Celtic/world), Dunuya Drum & Dance with Ghanaian master drummer Francis Kofi, Native American song/dance, Ethiopian folk music, Latin/Chilean roots music and much more!

New Recordings and 35 cities in China in 2014!

carolynkoebelcdI’m pleased to announce that Honoring the Passage: Voices from Hospice Music Therapy & beyond is now available! Visit for album/single downloads, or to purchase the album hardcopy, featuring a 28-page booklet with multi-faith resources.

The project contains contributions from nearly forty music therapists, and over twenty community partners, totaling 77 tracks. This 3-CD set contains diverse materials that speak to the breadth of work that hospice music therapists are generating. Disc 3 is dedicated to multi-faith traditions that lie beyond the Judeo-Christian boundaries and feature many contributors from the Kalamazoo community. The album cover art features the original batik “Ascension” by local Kalamazoo artist Cynthia Plum; tremendous gratitude to Cynthia for granting me permission to incorporate her art into this project.

The project originally began as a collaboration with hospice colleagues David Melbye (MN) and Laura Pawuk (IL) and was intended to be one disc’s worth of our collective music. We very quickly realized that we had many friends and colleagues within our region and profession who also had incredible music to contribute. This led to a bit of a historical survey of hospice music therapy, and I spoke to both Deborah Salmon and Susan Munro-Porchet (two seminal Canadian pioneers in palliative care music therapy work), in the hopes of bringing their musical voices to the project. This was not possible at this time, but they kindly referred me to additional colleagues. Laura also brought the pioneering work of music therapist Deanna Edwards to my attention during this time, and we were able to bring her elegant song “Teach Me to Die” to new life for the project. Deanna worked closely with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

The cd was officially released on March 30, 2014 at the Great Lakes Regional music therapy conference.

An Dro also completed our first foray into meditational music making with the beautiful Cantus Lyra harp project. The cd features a collection of improvised textural melodies built around the Celtic harp, exploring the more ambient potential of the Celtic sound. This album is a segue into our new project for 2015~The music of Jim Spalink. Jim has been quietly composing music in homage to many of Michigan’s places of natural beauty for some many years now. We’ve embarked on an ambitious recording project to document these pieces in a cinematic, more orchestrated Celtic setting; we look forward to sharing these with the world later this year.

Carolyn Koebel: Collected Works~Vol. III was released in time for my 40 day concert tour in mainland China with Rhonda Larson & Ventus during the fall of 2014. This cd features spirited new improvisations and historical recordings from some of my many artistic projects over the past 15 years. It will be followed up by the release of Vols. I & II during 2015, featuring my catalog of singer/songwriter materials and more out-takes/improvisations from those sessions.

Oscillation, a new ambient meditation project with the brilliant Elden Kelly will be forthcoming for 2015, as well. We embarked on a series of improvisations and textural explorations revolving around the theme of percussion instruments that produce a unique oscillation in their resonance and vibration. Think NPR’s “Hearts of Space” meets “Echoes”….a collision of sound and Spirit.

Rhonda Larson & Ventus embarked on both a three-week and six-week concert tour of mainland China during the summer and fall of 2014. We were accompanied by a documentary photographer/videographer, and world-class sound engineer who recorded the tour for potential release as a live album in 2015. We are already setting dates for our fall tour for 2015, and looking forward to more cultural exchange with this amazing country.