My name is Marilyn McNeal, and I am a San Francisco-based musician, instrument builder and composer who records and performs original and traditional songs from the American old time music idiom.
I play piano, ukulele, wooden flute and spoons and I also make my own folk instruments out of cardboard boxes, coffee cans, cookie tins, plastic water bottles, sticks, wire and string. The instruments are influenced by early American roots music and allow me to get lost in the sound, rhythm, energy, chaos, guts and magick of American folk music.
My compositional approach varies from simple chanting and body rhythm to working with live looping and pre-recorded audio (historic speeches, field recordings, ambient sound). I am particularly inspired by rural black folk music which includes laments, ballads, work songs and spirituals.
I respect roots music as a powerful vehicle for the stories of common people and I feel moved by the way this music elevates the present moment as a place of real time connection where tales and deeds and hopes and dreams are shared.