Celtic Junction Arts Center

Weaving the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language

836 Prior Avenue
St. Paul, MN, 55104

Fearsome Critters Workshops with Shawn McBurnie, May 15

Children's workshop, 5:30-6:30pm, $10.  Teen and Adult workshop, 7-8:30pm, $15. Advance reservations are encouraged.

Spotting Fearsome Critters in the Wild. The Northwoods is packed with fantastical creatures if you know their secrets. Learn where to look for wapaloosies; how to stop a hoop snake; what to say to a hidebehind; how to watch out for ice worms; why you don’t need to be afraid of treesqueaks; and even how to find Fearsome Critters in your library! We’ll practice ‘singing to squonks’ while exploring Minnesota folklore, history, and humor. Children 5-12 years. $10

A Fearsome Journey: a look inside one songwriter’s working process. The trip begins with the search for a class of songs that were nowhere to be found and arrives in the present with songs in a variety of traditional forms, ranging from Swedish långdans to blues worksong to country waltz. We’ll dig into the research - on the Critters themselves, the culture and tradition surrounding them, and musical forms that seemed potentially apt for individual Critters - and go through the process of sketching and writing the songs and then working them up. Topics will include the search for inspiration, navigating around writer’s block and competing time pressures, finding the right words, and knowing when to shift from an approach (or entire song) that isn’t working in favor of one that may. Teens and adults. $15

Traditional singer and songsmith, Shawn McBurnie teaches singing at The Center for Irish Music and writes articles on Scots language use in song for Scottish journal The Kilt and Harp. Like many great traditional singers, Shawn is mainly self-taught - inspired to learn by the time-tested combination of love of song and scarcity of entertainment. He fell prey at a young age to an abiding obsession with singing; his passion for wordcraft came later but was no less tenacious. Shawn is currently completing a 2012 MN Artist Initiative grant to write, perform, and record a project of original songs about ‘fearsome critters’ from Northwoods tall tales spanning the US/Canada border.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.