The Silicon Valley Voice

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Local Americana Singer-Songwriters Perform with Braly Students

Local Americana Singer-Songwriters Perform with Braly Students

“We are celebrating our diversity through our oneness,” says Nalini Marie, a music and kindergarten teacher known to Braly Elementary School students as Ms. Nalini. “My students have been working on their songs the whole year. So the recital is the culmination of their work.”

Young singing voices filled Braly School’s cafeteria on the morning of April 30. Songs from first graders included “Listen to the Water” and “We All Live Together,” and from second graders, “Same Voice, Same Song” and the “Bell Choir Song.” A special treat for the second graders was singing “Everyday’s Back in Town” with singer-songwriters Bev Barnett and Greg Newlon, a husband and wife duo.

“Nalini taught the second-graders to sing one of our songs,” says Barnett, a former Santa Clara resident. “The song was co-written by Greg and a top 10 songwriter named J.D. Martin. We don’t often perform at schools and we don’t do children’s music but Nalini contacted us.”

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Barnett refers to herself and Newlon as independent musicians who create music without fitting into a mold.

“Our music is considered Americana or contemporary folk; it comes from American roots music and it’s rooted in blues and jazz and combined with the storytelling of folk music,” she says. “Shows like The Voice and American Idol point toward stardom as the goal for making music. Music is not about becoming a star. When you’re making music with other people, that is a feeling like no other. When you’re in an ensemble and you’re all singing together or you’re playing instruments together, that’s where the strength and beauty of music is.”

Years ago, Barnett and Newlon, with other song writers, hosted a monthly concert series called Songwriters in the Round.

“It’s a Nashville tradition of song writers sharing songs for an audience,” Barnett says. “This was at Mission City Coffee on the Alameda near Santa Clara University. We did that for three years. Mission City Coffee closed a few years ago.”

The couple also founded Woodshed Music & Arts, to promote concerts in Willow Glen.

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