*Ask a Black person about folk music and they will probably give you that ‘I’m thinking’ look before blurting out the name Tracey Chapman. It’s a genre many of us haven’t explored, and one that not many Black female musicians have easily accessed.
Meet Miri Hunter, lead singer of “Hunter and the Wick’d” an increasingly popular Folk/Americana band based in the California hi desert of Joshua Tree. Hunter, a tri-racial beauty, is the quintessential rustic yet sophisticated woman living in touch with her heredity – all of them.
What’s so refreshingly unique about this musician is her musical authenticity and life-long refusal to be creatively shaped by stereotypes of what women of color are supposed to sound like or sing. Hunter pays perfect homage to all that she is — African, Native American and European as clearly represented on her CD of the same name “Hunter and the Wick’d” released in April of this year.
The CD offers a lighthearted, loving and witty accolade to traditional Folk, Americana and Country music; and each song on the 10-song CD delivers a distinct message that is as deep as Hunter herself.
“Music of a Dream” the 2nd song on the CD (co-written with guitarist/song-writer, Thom Merrick), is all about Martin Luther King, Jr., but could apply to anyone who speaks out for a better world. The song was also inspired by Emma Goldman, who stated that if she couldn’t dance, she wanted no part of the revolution.
Born in Roanoke, Virginia, Hunter later relocated to Los Angeles, where she lived for 10 years. She then found herself inspired and smitten by the beauty of the desert during a short trip there to recharge. The trip turned into a new life full of the creative energy she had been hungry for.
“I was just trying to re-charge myself but at the end of a few months, I couldn’t remember why I wanted to go back to LA. So, I rented a house in Joshua Tree and eventfully bought a small home nearby” she tells EURThisNthat.
While Miri’s songs are noticeably deeply personal, her thoughts resonate with sentiment that is shared throughout the human spirit.
Hunter’s claim to fame came after her song “My Soul Will Be Restored” from her 2007 CD “Ways of Love” was voted International Folk Song of the year by Toronto Exclusive Music Magazine.
Inspired by the Book of Psalms or Tehillim (Songs of Praise) “Ways of Love” received fantastic reviews from the Jewish community as well as mainstream communities and spiritualists.
In addition to singing/songwriting and strumming her many guitars, Hunter has a Ph.D., and is a scholar and past president of the American Academy of Religion, Western Region who presents at conferences around the world, speaking on topics such as women’s spirituality, diversity and multiculturalism, social activism, and various topics related to the Jewish and African Diasporas.
She is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Women’s Folklore and Folklife (2009) and Goddesses in World Culture (2010). She is also faculty advisor for the peer reviewed journal “Ochre.”
An actress as well, Hunter has toured nationally with her one woman shows “Grandmothers of the Universe” and “The Queen of Sheba? Yes I Am!”
Hunter and the Wick’d perform throughout Southern California including at the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, Ghenghis Cohen in LA, the Soundstage in Pioneertown and various venues in the Hi Desert and Las Vegas.
Concerts are kept fresh by virtuoso performances from regular band members, Thom Merrick on bass, who also co-wrote several of the songs for the CD; Rick Chaffee on lead guitar; and Erik Mouness on drums and percussion.
Hunter and the band have also worked with violist/violinist Tony Selvage, keyboardist Lisa Mednick Powell; bassist Kip Powell; the multi-talented Gar Robertson, who also engineered the recording; inspirational singer, Will Kelly; and keyboardist/guitarist Wayne White.
Music by Hunter and the Wick’d is available via cdbaby, iTunes, Amazon, as well as retail locations throughout the Southern California Hi-Desert.
For more information on the band, Hunter and the Wick’d click here.
or call (310) 849-3820