Ahead of Monday’s concert (see “shows and tour dates” tab for more info!), I was interviewed for a feature in today’s newspaper!
(To access the article and find out more about Monday’s show, click here or copy/paste this into your browser: https://www.oregonlive.com/entertainment/2023/01/fear-no-music-concert-highlights-alums-of-impressive-young-composers-project.html)
I really enjoyed the article, except I would also add the fact that Katie Fitz also happens to be an incredible artist and songwriter in her own right! (Check out Katie’s website if you never have before!)
I am so honored that Katie and I get to be included in this season’s “Locally Sourced Sounds VIII” concert! “Fear No Music” is the dynamic, progressive source for new music in Portland. Twenty-five years ago they started “The Young Composer’s Project,” and as a 7th-grader, I had the incredible opportunity to hear my own original song played by professional musicians, and be coached in composition. At the year’s end, my little piano song had grown into a musical score, and I got to hear it in concert! I participated every year until I graduated from high school. I could not be more proud to be an alumnus of this one-of-a-kind program, and so excited to get to contribute to this concert that Oregon Artswatch has called, “always among the best of the season.”
I will admit to you all, it feels good to think the Young Composer’s Project is proud of me! I’ve never been honored as an alumnus of anything before. And I am especially touched because I don’t necessarily do music in the same way that other alumni of the program do today. Many of them now compose for blockbuster movies or famous symphonies or are professors of music composition themselves–and as an artist it is incredibly easy to get “imposter syndrome.”
But Katie and I were talking this summer about how music has progressed for us in a slow, but lovely way. We aren’t breaking Ticket Master like Taylor Swift, but we are getting more and more invites to play music in places that we love, and we are both so grateful.
Tickets to the Monday, January 9th show are donations-based, and you can RSVP at fearnomusic.org.
It is officially fall…and to celebrate my favorite song-writing season, I wanted to share my summer stories from the new album. Every few days (or weeks!) on FB I posted a track, and gave a little background. I want to share them all here now, along with a link to each song. And please note that you can find all the lyrics by clicking each song at arbielle.bandcamp.com. I hope you enjoy!
Track #1, “Davis St”
This song was written for our housemates–such a special group of folks + friends who came over so much it was like you kinda lived there, too! All the occasions described in the song are true stories (co-writing credit: Katie Fitzgerald). Verse 1 is about the time we realized there was at least one bird nesting in my closet. Verse 2 references Katie’s successful (but real smelly) breeding (is that the right word?) of kombucha in her bedroom. In Verse 3 we remember how we would sometimes all sit around and watch the puppies play (R.I.P. Stella–we miss you and your funny ways!). Davis Street friends + others–love you guys!
Track #2, “Sandy River”
I know many of you out there are also Outdoor School super fans This one was written around 2011, back when so many of us were desperate to preserve MESD’s Outdoor School from budget cuts. When I listen back to this one now I hear many lyrics that I recognize as wisdom of other people–coworkers, student leaders, 6th-graders. And I still believe in the program just as much today–in the immersive power of nature, the wonder of science, and the magic of building community among strangers–what a beautiful, beautiful thing! (And there is GOOD NEWS: the combined efforts of so many passionate people worked! Outdoor School currently has funding, state-wide!)
p.s. I wanted to tag all my ODS peeps but so many of you I don’t remember your non-ODS names so I missed a ton–please “feel free” (insert Love & Logic tone here) to tag yourselves!
Track #3, “Anne & Gilbert”
I wrote this one when my dear husband and I were still dating, and he was living and teaching in South Korea. The original version of this song had (if you can believe it) even MORE “deep-cut” references to the beloved “Anne of Green Gables” 8-book series, but Katie and Jess gently encouraged me to trim those down a bit for the general public If I remember correctly, the chord structure was the same as a Sara Bareilles song I was learning on banjolele for Emily and Daniels’ wedding–so that must have been circa 2014! Anyway, I dedicate this one to all the other Anne of Green Gables fans out there, and of course, dear Matt husband I love you (the photo that goes with the track is of the wood cookies we wore for our wedding weekend )
Track #4, “29”
This one is for dear Matt Husband Even though we were both born in Alaska and raised in the Portland area, we first met when we were freshmen assigned to Anderson dorm at Whitman College in Walla Walla. In addition to both playing in the talent show, we also both tried out for the improv team (only one of us made it…) That was TWENTY YEARS ago this fall! How crazy is that?
Matt husband: Thank you for all your support always and especially while we’ve made and released this album, and for letting me sing songs about you!
Jumagos: thank you for welcoming me into your clan!
Track #5, “Blueberry”
This little song I first wrote about my bicycle at probably age 19 or 20. I remember playing it at least one Whitman College Coffeehouse (I have a distinct memory of HB Lozito and Aaron Mandel giving this one a shout-out from the crowd). This newest a cappella arrangement was created by Katie Fitzgerald and myself on our first tour, back in 2012. I recall coming up with it mostly from Brian’s house in Corvallis. You might be glad to know that dear Blueberry stayed in the family for quite some time, helping two of my younger siblings to school and work and college classes, as well. RIP, Blueberry!
Track #6, “East of the Garden”
This song came to me on early morning drives up the mountain to teach at Sandy High School, and while I helped in the garden at Sandy Baptist Church. There were the utterly beautiful mountain views and also the anticipation of long days, in which I would feel both helpful and also incapable, sometimes hopeful and sometimes not. I was thinking about myself, and also other friends with gorgeous early morning commutes to hectic days of public service. So this song is a prayer for all of the helpers.
I am so grateful that Jessica Tucker was able to sing her verse on this song! It also is the first track that features the gorgeous fiddle additions of Chris Kokesh. I can’t believe I got both of these folks on the track!
Track #7, “They’re Taking Away the Fathers”
Well I’ve been watching and listening to the Jan 6 Committee hearings and having all kinds of feelings (I knew it was bad at the time…but I didn’t realize the scope, to say the least…) At the same time, it also feels so good to hear bipartisan politicians speaking the truth! Anyhow, this song was written after the 2016 election. I was teaching at Sandy High School at the time, and I noticed a sudden shift in the culture. It was strange and a bit scary. And then we found out that a dad of five from our district, who worked on farms in the area, was picked up by ICE as he was coming home from work one day. I don’t know what happened to him or his family, except that last I heard he was in jail in Tacoma. It was all so distressing. I didn’t know what to do or how to help…some of my prayers became this song.
Track #8, “I Remember Beauty”
I think of many of my songs as belonging to a specific season (fun fact: I seem to write most in the fall!), and this one is definitely a “winter” song, so it feels a little funny to listen to it in July. But it is one of my favorites from this album. This was one of those songs that came to me almost entirely in one piece–like it was already finished, and I just had to catch it and write it down. I tend to get extra anxious when I see visible signs of climate change–when the winter feels too warm, or Mt. Hood looks like it doesn’t have much snow. So personally, this song is something I play when there isn’t anything I can do but lament.
Cliff and I decided to record this one “live” (rather than in parts), which I think adds to the intimacy. And the fiddle added by Chris Kokesh is SO GORGEOUS! When I first heard it, I think I cried.
Track #9, “So Much Better”
This one I wrote when Matt and I were newly-ish married, and living in our cozy home in Estacada (the beanbag by the woodstove combo featured in every song I wrote in that time period ) The photo is from a friend trip we took via war canoe from Orcas to Jones Island–such wonderful memories!
p.s. I was not wrong about the end of restful nights, but I am happy to report that ill-planned hikes still occur!
Track #10, “Polar Bear Child”
As a kid, I was very blessed to grow up in two families, both of which lived/spent time in incredibly beautiful places. Summer was my favorite season, and I loved playing in the woods & alfalfa fields that surrounded our house in Aurora and I loved climbing in the rocks & tide-pools of Saturna Island, just north of the San Juans.
For a time, I was away from both places. And then, as an adult, coming back to them, experiencing the realness of our changing climate–I have had some feelings! I continue to. This song is a lament, and also (I hope) a call to action.
(Speaking of action…how excited are y’all about the Inflation Reduction Act–reducing carbon emissions by 40%?? YAY)
I am amazed by how this song turned out on the album–it was the one I was least sure about going into the recording process!
I hope you enjoy it 🙂
(And credit to Renae Gregg for the quote about the stone age…I thought it was Mark Twain, but the internet says it was Ahmed Zaki Yamani)
Track #11, “Songbird”
The theme of this song came from a fascinating, almost pentecostal prayer group I attended once many years ago. A stranger prayed for me, and said that she saw me as a “songbird with a lion heart.” I’d completely forgotten about that powerful experience until Katie wrote a beautiful love song for me and Matt’s wedding, calling me a “songbird with a lion heart.” Soon after, this song started coming to me, and I finished it before recording the album.
I am so grateful to have on this track (almost) the whole gang–Katie Fitz on harmony, Brent Alan on banjo, Chris Kokesh on fiddle, Cliff Fitzgerald on recording/editing/mastering!
And I am happy to say that it appears that the answer to the question this song is asking is, “YES!”
And credit for the beautiful photo (and album cover and website pictures): Michelle Bates Photography!
Track #12, “Little One”
I started writing this song at the end of the summer of 2017, when I was pregnant with Juni, feeling both very excited and totally terrified of bringing a new person into the world. Then things got pretty distracting when our beautiful baby came (who, in hindsight looked more like an alien worm when she was first born, but I thought her exceptionally cute of course…) and I didn’t finish the song until Priti was pregnant with Eva I will never forget Priti’s baby shower, when we got to debut the song–such a special time of supportive and loving prayer! So this song goes out to all the parents and guardians out there, who need this prayer like I do.
Thank you, everyone, for being on this journey with me as I share each track with you this summer!
I will end by pasting the dedication, acknowledgements, and credits from the digital album.
Dear all you beloved people,
Can you believe it’s been ten years since the last album? Some things have happened since then! I never could have imagined all that would bloom from “Roots Grow Deep.” Thanks to you, those songs traveled from Oregon to Orcas Island to India and in between. They were part of coffeehouse shows and barn concerts, road trips and train rides, mornings and cooking dinners, weddings and celebrations, and even times of lament. Katie & I have been so blessed to be a part of so many stories–it fills me up with gratitude. When we last recorded, a strong theme was my singleness and longing for love and family. I never would have guessed that a decade later I would be recording love songs for my husband and hearing my own little daughter sing along to my album from the back seat of the car. Each story I’ve heard about ways a song has been meaningful to someone has been simply wonderful to me. Perhaps most precious was hearing my dad say that in my dear Gramma Stell’s last days, they held hands and listened to my songs. That is an honor I can hardly describe. So my prayer is the same for this album as for the last: may it praise God and bless all of you, some of His most awesome people.
I would like to dedicate this album to Gramma Stell and Matt Husband, with all the love
This wouldn’t have happened without you all! Dear Matt Husband you before anyone, Cliff and Sarah who literally made it, Priti who kick-started it and encourages me always, Katie my band-spouse-for-life, Jess the winkin’-est of Wandas, Brent A., Chris K., Juni, Ro, family, friends, and anyone who has ever listened or otherwise encouraged us: THANK YOU.
Released May 19, 2022
Songs written and performed by Rachel Jumago aka Arbielle
Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Cliff Fitzgerald in Redmond, Oregon May 2022. Additional recording by Alex Fitz, Eric Bestul, and Brent Alan
What a summer it has been! We had so much fun at the indoor and outdoor album-release shows (rain and shine!). Thank you all for being a part of those, in person and from afar. We truly felt the support!
We have also had some uniquelyglobal experiences these last few months! Through my parents, we got to meet and open for Sharon Katz, an inspiring, incredibly talented activist and world-touring musician from South Africa. Later in the summer, Katie’s friend Barrie got us a spot to perform at the World Athletics Championship track & field event in Eugene, where we got to play our songs for Olympians and athletes from every corner of the globe as they had their morning coffee and lunch break! A Polish athlete asked us to sing happy birthday to a teammate, and a coach from Germany jumped on stage at the end to play Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” while we all sang along. In-between sets, we got watch the men’s long jump and saw Tobi Amusen set the new world record in hurdles!
This week we have our last two shows of the summer!
Tuesday, August 30th, 7pm
Spinella’s, 436 N Main Ave Gresham, OR 97030
Larry Lotz plays his cowboy/Americana set at 6pm, and we will be on after at 7pm!
This FREE show is set to take place at Spinella’s lovely outdoor stage on Main street in downtown Gresham, where you can order dinner or drinks (including local brews) and sit at picnic tables near the stage. If weather is not cooperative, it will be moved indoors, and the venue will post the change on facebook. Note that the indoor venue is not ADA and masks are not required.
Ridgefield’s Overlook Park, 113 S Main Ave, Ridgefield, WA 98642
We are honored to be a part of Ridgefield’s “Musicians in the Park” FREE summer concert series, which takes place at an outdoor stage at the heart of their beautiful downtown, overlooking the Lake River and the Columbia beyond. This is an outdoor, free, event–rain or shine! Note that it is about a 40-minute drive from Portland.
After ten years, a wedding, two babies, an on-going global pandemic,and a few other events…we are so excited to announce… the arrival of Arbielle’s newest album!
“Little One” by Arbielle is now available for streaming or download from Bandcamp, streaming on Spotify, iTunes, etc. on June 4th, and in physical CD form from the artist on June 18th, 2022 .
“Little One” was lovingly recorded, mixed and mastered by Cliff Fitzgerald (aka Katie’s dad), and also features Brent Alan on the banjo, Chris Kokesh on fiddle, and the vocal additions of Jessica Tucker. This album recounts tales from Arbielle’s last decade, including adventures from the road, falling in love, prayers for climate justice, and all the fears and excitement of welcoming new little ones into the world. We can’t wait for you to hear it.
To celebrate the release of this album, we would also like to invite you to not one but two album-release shows! You are welcome at both or either! They are both outdoors, so please invite your friends and family!
~ Saturday, June 18th ~ Spinella’s, 436 N Main Ave, Gresham, Oregon 97030 4 – 6pm, suggested $5 cover. Enjoy a two hour set at the beautiful outdoor stage of the music-forward restaurant in downtown Gresham!
~ Sunday, June 19th ~ “The Barn” (email firstname.lastname@example.org for the exact address of this outdoor, North Portland urban farm venue) 7 – 9pm, suggested $5 cover Join the music-loving community of “The Barn” concert series to help us celebrate the long-awaited arrival of our new album.
We ask that you either bring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or wear a mask to either event.
All guests at either show who purchase the new CD, “Little One,” will also receive a complimentary copy of “Roots Grow Deep” (2012). And if you were part of the kickstarter campaign for this album, you will be able to claim your FREE copy of the new CD!
It’s a snow day! Wheee!Fun for students and educators, alike (sorry to everyone else who has to go to work…that sounds rough…) The other good news is, now that Katie and I are roommates again, a snow day = more time for music (baby J has been joining in with her rattle and tiny tambourine…she’s pretty impressive at percussion for a 1 yr-old, if I do say so myself…). We’ve lately been having fun working up new songs and arrangements and are excited to announce three upcoming Portland-area shows! You and anyone you want to bring are invited: Three upcoming Portland area shows!
Saturday, March 16th ~ Barn Concert Series, 6:30pm, dinner potluck and concert showcasing various artists, NE Portland (email email@example.com for address)
Thursday, March 21st ~ Spinella’s, 7 – 9pm, 436 N Main Ave, Gresham, Oregon 97030, suggested $5 cover. Enjoy a two hour set in a music-forward restaurant in downtown Gresham!
Friday, March 29th ~ Artichoke Music’s Friday night coffeehouse, 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm), $5 admission. Come here four local artists in an intimate setting!
Rachel and Katie
p.s. We’re trying out a new band name at the Artichoke show…what do you think of “Florence Lane?”
After our farewell show at Artichoke Music in March of 2015, we said good-bye to one of our most-talented band-mates as she embarked on service abroad. At that time, two years seemed like it would last forever! We cried a lot and wrote at least two songs about it.
And yet…our dear friend has returned! Our smiles cannot be stopped. And especially as she has written about a million songs while away, we cannot wait to announce some upcoming shows happening this month!
Arbielle & Katie Fitz
Weds, July 26th ~ The Mason Jar, 6:30pm ~ 360 Broadway St, Estacada, OR
Fri, July 28th ~ Amy & Julian’s House, 7pm ~ Seattle, WA
Sat, July 29th ~ Alberta St Pub, 5pm ~ 1036 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR
Good news! Arbielle is excited to announce TWO upcoming Portland shows this month and next! You are cordially invited to both:
Arbielle at the Jade Lounge!
6:00pm ~ Friday, February 27th, 2015
2342 SE Ankeny St
Portland, Oregon 97214
Arbielle at Artichoke Music!
8:00pm (Doors open 7:30) ~ Saturday, March 14th, 2015
3130 SE Hawthorne Blvd,
Portland, Oregon 97214
Which brings us to…other news!
It is with heavy and hopeful hearts that we announce that this Artichoke show will be a special one. A farewell, of sorts. While we certainly plan to sing together again someday–and hopefully soon– it looks like this upcoming year will send the Wandas in three different directions, albeit all toward wonderful things.
To console ourselves, we are pouring ourselves into these shows. We’re working up some new songs, new percussion, new recordings, and have even been collaborating with a new Wanda–cellist Emma Wood, from the Portland Cello Project, and Rachel’s former classmate!
So we do sincerely hope you can join us at Jade Lounge or Artichoke in the next few weeks, so that we can thank you in person for your support and love for the band over the past few years (or decades–shout-out to old friends & parents!). If you cannot, we thank you sincerely right now, and wish you
It’s true: Arbielle is getting ready to embark on tour #3, this time to new territory..what was once known as the Oregon territory…what is now known as…IDAHO! We’re so excited.
“We” these days is three of us: Katie Fitzgerald (back from Ukraine and better than ever!), Jessica Tucker (finally ready to let the masses hear her beautiful voice!), and Rachel Byron-Law (me!). As a trio, we’ve performed in a few local shows, and the three-part harmonies have made me so happy that I now have a perma-grin stuck to my face. It was reminding us (ever-so-humbly) of the Walin’ Jenny’s concert that Katie and I caught a few months ago in Portland (which was mind-blowing awesome). Jess had not yet experienced the wonder of the Jennys, and called them “The Winkin’ Wandas,” and then we giggled for a long time about that. Hence the new band name.
To celebrate, the three of us made a new “front porch house show” of the seasonally-appropriate song, “July.” The mics used were not quite enough to capture the awesome 3-part harmonies (my apologies) but I’ll send it on, anyway, just to give you a taste. Here it is: video
Below are the tour dates and information; please feel free to share and/or email back with questions!
“The Winkin’ Wanda’s Take the Wild West” Arbielle Eastward Tour Summer 2014!
CLARKSTON, WASHINGTON –Friday, June 27th, 2014 –
10pm, Hogan’s Place
906 6th St Clarkston, WA 99403, pay at the door
BOISE, IDAHO – Saturday, June 28th, 2014 –
7:30pm, District Coffeehouse
219 N 10th St Boise, Idaho 83702, FREE
WALLA WALLA – Sunday, June 29th, 2014 –
7pm, House Show
For exact address, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, pay at the door