The musical duo of Briar and Joe Seamons will perform at the Treehouse Café at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6.
Admission is free, with donations accepted.
Both Briar and Joe Seamons grew up in tiny Pacific Northwest communities where their fathers worked in local paper mills. They met in 2014 at the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival, where they began to bond over a shared love of Bessie Smith, dancing and banjos.
In 2016, the duo, now a couple, began performing jazz, blues and folk songs throughout the Northwest.
Together, in 2017, they began bringing teenage musicians from South Seattle to join them at the annual festival “so that more youth, and especially students of African American ancestry, could connect with their cultural heritage,” the duo said.
This work continues to this day, as a part of The Rhapsody Project, a nonprofit music education program that is building a model for cultural sustainability through roots culture in America.
As director of the Rhapsody Project, Joe works with youth in Seattle to explore the influence of regional and personal history through the lens of American blues and folk songs. He serves as board chair of the Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center.
Touring internationally in a multi-instrumental duo with fellow songster Ben Hunter, Joe was awarded first place in the 2016 International Blues Challenge, as well as recognition by the Ethnic Heritage Council for excellence in ethnic performance and significant contributions to the development and presentation of the traditional cultural arts in the Pacific Northwest.
Briar is a singer of vintage jazz, blues and original music.
By blending a powerful voice with stories about the history and origins of her music, she shines a light on singers and tales that have been forgotten by the country that created them. Raised in the small community of Chimacum, Briar uses her music to help explore her unique background “as a black woman from the rural Pacific Northwest.”
Whether belting Bessie Smith numbers or crooning original songs about Sherlock Holmes, her performances are defined by her “combination of grace and playfulness, elegance crossed with down-home bravado.”
In addition to her regular engagements as a singer and ukulele player, Briar teaches music for Seattle JazzEd, is a leader of the Rhapsody Project, and is pursuing a degree in horticultural science from Olympic University.