Who are the Go Janes? And what’s with the rocks?
The Go Janes feature ukulele, guitar, and generous doses of delicious harmony. Arni Adler, Patrice O’Neill, and Kathleen Tracy (pictured l-r above) have decades of experience as performers, visual and recording artists, community organizers, educators and inquisitive consumers of life. Arni and Patrice are members of the satirical trio Uncle Bonsai, while Kathleen Tracy is an accomplished solo artist and community choir director. Patrice also produces the Wintergrass Festival. Arni and Kathleen are both sought after educators working with children, adults and the differently-abled. The trio’s members write individually and collaboratively. And that’s just part of the story.
It’s not their first rodeo, you might say, and so The Go Janes work in dog years: in less than 24 months, the trio has written over two dozen songs, collaborated with storyteller Auntmama and writer Marie Peters, performed at the Seattle Folklore Society, and Dusty Strings (with Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer), Traditions Cafe, Black Dog Arts Cafe, Folklife, and and others. In addition, the trio has painted over two hundred pounds of rocks. Why rocks? Settle in now, and let us tell you all about rocks:
The best things are often the little things. (Even little heavy things.)
When The Go Janes met for the first time we already knew a lot about what we loved. Humor. Delicious harmony. Well-crafted songs. Instrumental interplay. Good stories. Friends. Making things with our hands and minds. Community. Kindness. We believe humans are creators and everyone needs to create in some form. We love being a spark that ignites creativity in our world. We knew, no matter what, we would weave these things into our shared work.
That part was easy.
What we didn’t know yet was the importance of rocks. Lying quietly in the field next door, they waited for us to discover their enduring purpose in our orbit.
So we wrote, arranged, rehearsed, learned, planned, performed, and had a ton of fun. But it did not take long for us to realize in order for us to keep The Go Janes going, we were going to need more than hope and delight.
The first time we collected and painted rocks it was just for something to do with our hands while we talked and dreamed. At the end of that first session we joked that we could sell these things and maybe finance a recording session. Like selling matches in the snow.
Since then, whenever we perform we carry a 50-pound box of rocks with us and marvel as people connect with their very own rock and then — lo, and behold! — pay us! Similar to how our songs and stories connect with others, the rocks have created an avenue of connection as well. Those heavy buggers have inspired many beautiful conversations, made people laugh, or stand aghast. They have given them permission to tell their own story, and perhaps, because of the humble accessible rock, to connect to their own creativity. And — bonus! — the rocks have indeed financed recording sessions, and the purchase of a beautiful Ear Trumpet microphone.
We love to sing with each other and for others. We always have a grand time and we invite our audiences into our party wherever we happen to be. (And that party’s favor is rocks. 🙂
Our friend and frequent collaborator, storyteller Auntmama, once told us, “You’re never going to get rid of those rocks. Rocks are central to who you are.”
We’re good with that. If rocks make it possible for us to sing, record, travel, love people and make friends, we’ll carry them with us forever.
Wearer of many hats Patrice O’Neill is a touring musician, festival producer, sometime audio book narrator, full-time mother/grandmother to a couple of generations and curious inhabitant of Earth. She has performed as a solo artist, releasing two projects of original music, Only Mercy Knows and Elusive. Her award-winning, multi-lingual collaborations with classical guitarist, Hilary Field, Siente and Cantelina, feature night songs from around the world. In her early years she lived in South Africa, and spent significant time in both Ecuador and Guatemala, gaining perspective and gratitude. She’s worked with genius songwriter, Andrew Ratshin in The Mel Cooley’s and currently performs with the iconic trio Uncle Bonsai. Patrice is the founder and director of the annual Wintergrass festival in Bellevue WA and was an integral part of the team producing the Mandolin Symposium working with Mike Marshall and David Grisman. An avid early-morning runner and long-distance cyclist, she has 4 amazing children and 5 exceptional grandchildren. For fun, she reads books about physics, bakes bread and makes pathways in her garden. Got wood chips?
Musician/Mom/Artivist Kathleen Tracy is a composer, arranger, singer, choral director, teacher, workshop presenter and multi-instrumentalist. She performs solo and with others, releasing five projects of original music, Speaking Stones, So Bodaciously (with Linda Severt), Calling the Dragons Home, Like the Stars That Made You, and Thursday Morning Alleleu. She also composes and arranges for theater and dance, most recently for Robin and Marion, Ellen Cooper’s modern day re-write of the Robin Hood story, performed by Anything is Possible Theatre. Kathleen is the founder and director of the Columbia City Community & Family Chorus, a twelve year old living laboratory where the metaphor of mycelium, human connection, and the power of community singing gets put into joyful practice every week. She writes songs about the beauty and mystery of the world, and wanders into the mountains on a regular basis to find inspiration and commune with deep time, bringing home waaaay too many rocks.
Arni Adler crosses arts disciplines regularly. As a long-ago graduate of Bennington College (known for its “institutionalized creativity”), Arni has worked in theater, music, film, visual art, multi-media, and creative writing. As a stalwart fan of the trio format, she is a founding and current member of the super-harmony trios Uncle Bonsai and her ninth trio, the uke-based Go Janes. Her song cycle for voice, viola, bass, and piano based on poems by Charles Bukowski premiered at Seattle’s Royal Room. Arni exhibits her paintings and collages, and teaches visual art and writing to all ages, with a special love for working with kids with disabilities.