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Humbird heads to Europe to share her Minnesota-made music

Siri Undlin said Europe is where she learned old folk music traditions while studying there on a research fellowship in 2013.

Siri Undlin of Humbird
Siri Undlin.
Post Bulletin file photo
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ROCHESTER — Humbird is finally headed back to Europe for a two and-a-half month tour there. Southeast Minnesota musician Siri Undlin, who performs solo and in ensembles as Humbird, begins a long-deferred European tour in Ireland and the United Kingdom through mid-September after playing the Blue Ox Music Festival on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Undlin said Europe is where she learned old folk music traditions while studying there on a research fellowship in 2013.

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“It was that year of research that changed the trajectory of my life,” Undlin said. “I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now thanks to the time and the creators and dreamers and stories there.”

After nearly a decade of collecting and creating stories and folk traditions in the upper Midwest, Undlin said she’s eager to return, learn more and share songs and traditions from here as well.

“I think the stories from this landscape and what we go through are just as important to share too,” she said.

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Undlin was scheduled to return there in 2020 to tour on her 2019 release Pharmakon. COVID-19 forced her to cancel those plans and many more.

The COVID-19 pandemic was hard on musicians. The venues they rely on for income and shows closed. The camaraderie and connection with crowds that motivates most performers were put on hiatus.

The people who attended the most recent forWARD concert at White Oaks Park in June heard how Southeast Minnesota artist Siri Undlin, who performs as Humbird, processed the ordeal. She ended the show with an emotional rendition of her song, “On the Day We Are Together Again,” written in isolation and imagining the joy of reuniting with friends and audiences again.

Humbird forWARD June 15.jpg
Siri Undlin performs with her band, Humbird at White Oaks Park in Rochester June 15, 2022 as part of the city's Civic Music Department's forWARD series of free concerts throughout the city.
John Molseed / Post Bulletin

“Now it’s sort of like a blessing or a ritual of gratitude whenever I sing it for a roomful of people,” she said.

In 2020, Undlin was poised to play Austin, Texas’, South by Southwest, tour her newly recorded music in Europe and the U.S. She turned to music to mourn the loss of opportunities and process the sudden isolation she and everyone found themselves dealing with.

“In a lot of ways, the song isn’t that different from a lot of songs I write,” she said. “It’s written from a very raw, fearful place but music is a good place to find strength again.”

Sung acapella, the song went out as one of Minnesota Public Radio’s picks for a COVID-19 singalong. The singalongs in 2020 featured uplifting songs people were encouraged to play outside and join their neighbors, from a distance, in a moment of connectivity.

Undlin will be joined by La Crosse, Wisconsin, native and Southeast Minnesota folk artist Luke Callen.

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His latest self-produced release, “Hard Sardine” was recorded by Noah Glenn Short in Winona, Minnesota.

Undlin will blog about the tour on her Patreon page .

“There will be good stories, good adventure and good scenery,” Undlin said.

Some of the details of the tour have yet to take shape — such as where the two will sleep during some of the two and-a-half months they will be on the road there. At the very least, a rented sprinter van will keep them dry.

“It can be kind of stressful to sort out logistics in places you’re not familiar with, but that’s the reality of being a touring, independent musician,” she said. “It always leads to adventure one way or another.”

A full schedule of the tour can be found at humbirdmusic.com .

Related Topics: MUSICEXCLUSIVE
John Molseed joined the Post Bulletin in 2018. He covers arts, culture, entertainment, nature and other fun stories he's surprised he gets paid to cover. When he's not writing articles about Southeast Minnesota artists and musicians, he's either picking banjo, brewing beer, biking or looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter "b." Readers can reach John at 507-285-7713 or jmolseed@postbulletin.com.
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