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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: October 8, 2018

Pay for a private concert and help Emilia Dahlin record an album

Written by: Ray Routhier

Emilia Dahlin in the Portland industrial space that will host her live album and video recording session on Oct. 18, in front of an audience. The wall drawing in the background is by local artist Clint Fulkerson. Photo courtesy of Emilia Dahlin

Want a personal concert, or a musical kids’ birthday party? Or maybe an island picnic with musical accompaniment?

Emilia Dahlin can help.

The Maine musician is raising money for a live album recording session Oct. 18 in Portland by offering her musical skills to people who donate a certain amount.

For $250, she’ll perform for 30 minutes at a group sing-along or kid’s birthday event. For $500, she’ll provide you with a 90-minute songwriting workshop. You’ll get a 90-minute concert by Dahlin, at the place of your choosing, for $1,000. And $2,000 gets you a kayak excursion for six to Fort Gorges in Casco Bay, where you’ll picnic and listen to live music, performed by Dahlin. And with those donations, you get tickets to the show and a copy of the album.

Dahlin is trying to raise $9,500 for the recording session and a video. She spends a lot of her time teaching music enrichment programs in schools and community organizations around southern Maine, and she decided that those skills would be something she could offer in exchange for help funding the album.

“I thought about what my skills are and what am I already doing in the community that I love and makes me feel involved,” said Dahlin, 41, of Gorham.

This will be Dahlin’s fifth album, but her first since 2006. Besides performing, she works organizing music enrichment programs. She teaches a songwriting workshop, for instance, in Portland public schools. She also produces a music series for children presented by the Maine Academy of Modern Music at the Portland Public Library called The Kids Are Alright.

By Oct. 4, she had raised about $2,200 on Indiegogo, with one person making a $250 donation for the sing-along session. None of the other higher-priced items had been claimed. There are lower-priced donation levels, beginning at $20, that get people a ticket plus a copy of the album, or a ticket to a community dinner of Middle Eastern food before the taping, or a signed CD.

At the recording session, Dahlin will sing as part of a quintet that includes Adam Frederick on bass, Seth Kearns on drums, Max Cantlin on guitar and Kate Beever on vibraphone and percussion. She’ll be joined on various songs by local musicians Sorcha Cribben-Merrill, Katie Matzel and Sara Hallie Richardson. The session will probably last about 90 minutes, Dahlin said.

The concert space, a warehouse, will be transformed with painting and sculpture and other elements. The show’s capacity will be about 150.

The music Dahlin writes and sings could be described as roots, but for this album, she says it has more of a jazz feel. The songs she’s written for this project are inspired by very different emotions or subjects: fear, hope, love and nature.

The last three seem connected, and not too unusual as song fodder. But fear?

“It’s just a reflection of the times, of how tumultuous and complex it is right now, and how we’re all grappling with it in our own ways,” said Dahlin.

In the song “Fear Itself” Dahlin writes: “Oh fear/How you rattle around in my head/ Can’t seem to stop considering/All the things in this world that I dread/Oh fear/How I love to entertain you/Come in for a cup of tea/And leave me full of anxiety.”

The song “Love, Love, Love” goes to the other extreme, with Dahlin writing of “sweet grass” and “sun kissed” skies that make the world a “wonder” when you fall in love.

Dahlin said combining a recording session with offering people music enrichment opportunities – and dinner – makes perfect sense to her.

“It came about because I was thinking about my role as an artist and community member and what I could do,” said Dahlin. “I look at this as a personal project to lift all boats.”

Emilia Dahlin Quintet live album and video recording

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18; 6:30 p.m. community dinner before show
WHERE: 121 Cassidy Point Drive, Portland
HOW MUCH: $15, $30 including community dinner
INFO: brownpapertickets.com; emiliadahlin.com
WHAT ELSE: Dahlin is raising money for the album and video by offering her musical skills to people who contribute certain amounts: $250 gets you a 30-minute group sing-along event, and $1,000 buys a 90-minute show at the place of your choosing. For more information go to indiegogo.com and search for Emilia Dahlin.

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