Passim Awards $41,000 to Local Musicians through 2019 Iguana Music Fund Grants

Passim has awarded $41,000 to 23 musicians through its Iguana Music Fund. The Iguana Music Fund awards gifts annually to musicians for career building projects and for projects that provide community service through music. Established in 2008 after an anonymous donor approached Passim with the idea to start a program to support local artists’ career growth, the fund provides grants from $500 to $2,000 for musicians with a strong New England connection.  

Grants are allocated in the areas of recording or manufacturing assistance, publicity and marketing support, equipment and instruments, songwriting retreats, tour support, special projects and other specific activities that promote artists work  and/or professional growth. Over the past decade, Passim has awarded more than $430,000 in grants, funding more than 200 projects. This year, Passim received more than 160 applications from across New England, 77 of which were first time applicants.

“The Iguana Music Fund is extremely meaningful to Passim because it gets right to the heart of what we aim to do – help artists progress at every stage of their career,” said Jim Wooster, Executive Director of Passim. “I’m incredibly proud of it, and I appreciate the financial support from our donors that makes it possible.“

Grammy nominee Alastair Moock has teamed with Grammy nominated producer Anand Nayak, for a new children’s album about leadership and activism. Moock plans to perform the album, free of charge, at underserved schools and give a copy of the CD to teachers across the country. 

Volkan Efe also plans to give back through the Makam Healing Project. Efe will use traditional Turkish arrangements known as Makams to help heal people at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain. 

Scottish Celtic artist Louise Bichan just finished up school at Berklee and is looking to continue to develop her talents in the Boston area. She hopes to hire a lawyer that can navigate the O-1 Visa application. 

Katie McNally, Dorene Higgons, and Katharine MacPhaill have started a weeklong Boston States Fiddle Camp in Groton, Massachusetts. The program helps educate fiddle players of varying abilities.

The Wolff Sisters and Arc Iris are both using the funds to help pay for upcoming tours, while Chris Sartori and Jim Haggerty are using their grants to buy new equipment.

Several artists will also use their grants to create new music. Abigail Vail, Rakish, and Rosemere Road are all working on their debut albums. Tory Silver, Yann Falquet, Kaiti Jones, Jeff Butcher, Albino Mbie and Aurora Birch are also recording new music. 

Clawhammer Banjo artist Allison de Groot is putting together an album of duets and singer-songwriter Prateek will record a live album in Somerville at Q Division Studios. Naomi Westwater is starting to work on an EP about race relations, climate change, and her health struggles. Molly Pinto Madigan will use the grant to promote her new folk opera. 

Passim’s Iguana Music Fund continues to support two multi-year “Baby Iguana” grants. The Sub Rosa Songwriting Retreat brings together a group of artists each summer to write and collaborate in a secluded setting on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Miles of Music Camp is a week-long retreat for students of all ages exploring traditional folk music and modern songwriting. 

The work of the 2019 Iguana Music Fund grant recipients will be showcased at Club Passim on May 19th, 2020 at 7:00 pm.

About Passim

The mission of Passim is to provide truly exceptional and interactive live musical experiences for both performers and audiences, to nurture artists at all stages of their career, and to build a vibrant music community. We do so through our legendary listening venue, music school, artist grants and outreach programs. As a nonprofit since 1994, Passim carries on the heritage of our predecessors-the historic Club 47 (1958—1968) and for-profit Passim (1969—1994). We cultivate a diverse mix of musical traditions, where the emphasis is on the relationship between performers and audience and teachers and students. Located in Harvard Square, Passim serves Cambridge and the broader region by featuring local, national and international artists. Our ultimate goal is to help the performance arts flourish and thereby enrich the lives of members of our community.

The 2019 Iguana Music Fund grant recipients: