Andrea Baumgarten spent most of her childhood in rural Missouri, where she felt the power of the ballad. Ballads are sung horror tales; they are confession, witness, and warning, wrapped in the resolution provided by ancient melodies that have flowed between continents and counties for hundreds of years. Formerly common, unaccompanied ballads have all but disappeared—just as we urgently need their cathartic essence. Yesterday’s ballad can serve us in the same way that traditional ghost stories have been reborn as urban legends: fear will always be fear, and the telling of it releases us.
Andrea takes Missouri, Ozark, and middle-American ballads and relies upon their ancient structure to tell tales both old and new. Through innovative licensing and open distribution, she hopes to offer a handful of these utterly loud yet achingly quiet pieces back to their owners: listeners reaching for connection to the heart of the matter.
Andrea received a Hedgebrook residency in 2008 to explore her other artistic passion, literature for children and young adults. She is a preschool teacher and parent educator in a local community college program, a former deputy prosecuting attorney, and an avid gardener. Andrea and her family live in Seattle.
2009 Artist Support Program: Record a collection of traditional, unaccompanied ballads