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Meet Noah Harrington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Noah Harrington.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in the Greater Boston Area attending Public Schools, and playing in the jazz program there (Shoutout to Arts Funding in Public Education!). Our band placed very well at competitions like the Mingus High School Competition, and at the Essentially Ellington Festival. When I was 18, I was one of 16 musicians accepted into the 2015 Acoustic Music Seminar at the Savannah Music Festival. This Seminar (AMS) provides an unparalleled opportunity for prodigious musicians ages 15-22 to meet each other and discover new genre-bending possibilities. It blew my world wide open, and when I returned to Boston to start my first semester at the Berklee College of Music, I brought with me that openness to possibility, along with the focus on a tradition I had learned from my teachers in high school.

I have since studied performance and composition with a variety of incredible teachers at Berklee, from Grammy-winning artist Terence Blanchard, to Old-time Music legend Bruce Molsky, to drummer Ralph Peterson, Bassists Susan Hagen (of the Pops) and John Lockwood (of The Fringe), to one of my favorite composers, Ayn Inserto. I am so lucky to be able to call them all my teachers, and they have helped me see ways to bring the music I make farther along than I could dream.

I am finishing my last year at Berklee pursuing a Dual-Degree in Jazz Composition & Performance. But I don’t feel settled at all in one style – I play and study Jazz, Brazilian, Pop, Rock, Country, Bluegrass, Old-time, and so much more, and am trying to reflect this diversity of interests in a unified sound with my own music. The key is to always be trying new things, and the best way to do that is to be working with the musicians you want as much as you can.

Since 2015, I have won The Charles Mingus Composition Award from the Jazz Composition department at Berklee, and have returned to The Acoustic Music Seminar in 2018, where I was able to perform my music onstage with Famed Mandolinist Mike Marshall and the band of my dreams.

My goal for the future is to continue my work and put the music I care the most about out into the world.

Please tell us about your music.
Music has co-evolved with language since the dawn of humanity, and is the other side of expression: it captures the emotional aspect of our experience.

One of my mentors, Thomas Stumpf, rebutted the famous statement “Music washes away the dust of everyday life”, writing instead that music is a mirror into who we are as individuals, and as a people.

My goal is to make music that helps people to confront their own personal dilemmas and grapple more effectively with difficult situations and emotions. The best music needs no explanation because no words can describe it’s a most critical aspect, which is its effect on the listener.

My music comes out of the music that I grew up listening to and have fallen in love with; that is, primarily Jazz, but with elements of many other critical styles like Rock, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Bossa, and some Cuban music. From these disparate styles, I inform my composing and playing.

I lead two groups that play my original music, Husky Sound, a jazz quartet of amazing players, and The B.A.G. Trio, a drummer-less group that focuses on musical interplay, drawing on Brazilian and Modern Jazz influences.

I also play with incredible Cambridge-based artist Alisa Amador, one of my favorite people and musicians in the world, and we were recently featured by NPR’s Tiny Desk series as one of their favorite submissions this year.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
When I was at Savannah Music Festival in 2018, I asked amazing NYC-based artist Sam Reider for advice on how to “make it” as an artist. I’m paraphrasing here, but he said to focus on the quality of the work, and sustainability would come.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
With music venues becoming scarce in Boston recently, there has been an uptick in house parties and other private events that feature great local music. Right now, my website is the best place to go to get in touch with me to set up a private event, or to find out about my public concerts.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Horizontal Image Louise Bichan – Picture with Banjo Player, and Picture with Fiddle Player – Joni Lohr

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