Pieta Brown lights up Elias J. Halling Recital Hall

Pieta Brown, Liz Draper and Richard Medek filled the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall Jan. 31 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. with folk music. Brown played her guitar, Medek played the drums and Draper played both the upright bass and the electric bass guitar. 

This is the 26th year of this concert series. Dale Haefner, the performer series director and a music industry professor, gave insight into how he picks musical guests to come to Minnesota State. 

“Part of the process is putting artists on stage that coincide with what’s being presented in our pop music and intro to music classes. The performance series attracts many people from the Mankato community, so it’s regional and not just Mankato, but actually a four-, five-, six-state area,” said Haefner.

 “For the performance series, we usually get about 60 to 75 students. I hope that they get a lot out of these performances. I have always tried to present and curate a roster of artists that represents a wide range and wide variety of artists. That can range from folk, Americana, jazz and even blues.” 

Brown, daughter of well-known folk/Americana artist Greg Brown, is a singer-songwriter from Iowa City, Iowa. She got her start by being surrounded by music at home. Everyone in her family played an instrument. 

“I grew up around so much music that playing music was not really like performing for me, so it was kind of a hard thing for me to make the shift,” said Brown. “After I started writing songs, it was like the songs that led the way. So I just started trying to sing at little gigs. I had a little duo with the drummer, a woman named Tasha. We started playing gigs around, and I haven’t stopped since.” 

Some of her inspirations are from her family. 

“Growing up on so much music, it’s always been kind of a lifeline for me, like just a way of dealing with the world and transmitting how I’m processing things in a way to connect with others,” said Brown. “I also think it’s about connections you make in life.” 

During the show, Brown talked about the inspiration for her song “Street Tracker.” It was a motorcycle photo from an email from one of her friends. She also got the chance to sing this song with Mark Knopfler. 

“I don’t know why that sparked this next song that did somehow just this little photograph, and about 10 minutes later, I had this. It made me think about the road, and I had been out on it quite a bit,” said Brown. “I did this album called ‘Postcards,’ and I would send different friends and musicians worldwide. I got to send this song to one of my favorite musicians, Mark Knopfler, and he ended up sending it back to me.” 

Brown said she hoped students got a lot out of her performance. 

“Music is fun, and that music is one of the most open art forms there is, at least in my opinion. I hope they also know that they should be willing to try anything that they feel with music,” said Brown. 

For more information about Brown’s upcoming events, go to her website, pietabrown.com and click on the shows tab. 

Header Photo: Pieta Brown, pictured above, was born and raised in rural Iowa. The son of two preacher’s kids, Brown was introduced to traditional and rural folk music as a kid by her father, which can still be heard in her music today.

Write to Lauren Viska lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

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