Lula Wiles Pays Tribute to Hazel Dickens
Photo by Laura Partain
Even as folk-tinged trio Lula Wiles — Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland, and Mali Obomsawin — make music with a modern sound, about modern life, they are well versed in tradition, and in the music of the pioneers who blazed the path before them. You can read more about how that music (and much more) inspires them in our Spotlight story from this month. And you’ll want to read how they use their own music to make a difference in their essay.
Now, we’re happy to share a video of the trio performing Hazel Dickens’ “Won’t You Come and Sing For Me.” Burke told us a little bit about this performance:
This video was filmed in a barn in Vermont by our friend Brian Carroll of Red Line Roots. We thought the space – with its wooden beams, echoey space, and filtered light through the windows – would lend itself well to our arrangement of this old Hazel Dickens song. We first performed “Won’t You Come and Sing For Me” when we were filming some videos for Smithsonian Folkways. They asked if we might be able to pull out any songs from the Folkways catalog, and this was the first song that came to mind. It’s a popular one that we’ve sung at jams around campfires for years, but never officially performed. We love the way this song plainly celebrates life, memory, music, and above all, community. And we love paying tribute to Hazel Dickens, a fellow Folkways artist whose singing, playing, and songwriting paved the way for the music we make today. Hazel’s determination to carve out a space for women in music, and to speak to underrepresented experiences through her songs, inspires and resonates with us.