Colorado is coming to life with Guayaki and Rising Appalachia

As part of our month-long “Come To Life: Colorado” campaign, we’ve been hosting events and concerts to bring the Front Range community together to ultimately take steps to regenerate the Colorado community and show that taking positive action is possible. Our gatherings have been raising awareness around the Caring 4 Denver initiative which supports funding for mental health care, supporting the use of gourd circles to connect with others on organic levels via Natural Highs, and working towards prison reform by showing an example of compassion via a concert and meditation ceremony with Rising Appalachia in a local institution. Teaming up with Rising Appalachia was just a natural step as these sisters have personal stories related to the causes and already use their music for activism. Overall, we are here in Colorado to become involved in the community and inspire all via music, feasts, and meaningful gatherings.

This past Thursday evening, the partnership with Rising Appalachia began at the Phil Lewis Art Gallery, which provided an ideal atmosphere to receive the band upon arrival. David Brown of Rising Appalachia set the mood for the night playing under his project DJ Castanea, playing electro-lounge vibes complimenting the bold and vibrant visuals in the space. Stirring introductory speeches from Leah Song and by Kristin Cardenas of Caring 4 Denver and the Denver Arts & Skills Center created a fertile ground of awareness around the issues and reasons behind our presence here in the Denver/Boulder area.

The spotlight tonight and for the next couple of Rising Appalachia concerts is on relevant social issues that affect all Coloradans: the reformation of the criminal justice system and the Caring 4 Denver ballot initiative. Their talk increased the attendees’ excitement to be a part of an event in a series that collaborates with local non-profits and artists to raise the collective consciousness about these causes. The night ended in pursuing art and smiling guests.

We believe that art is activism.

After an intimate kick-off event, Friday night, Lyla June accompanied by her fiddle player, Lydia Violet, opened the Rising Appalachia sold-out show at the Boulder Theater! In her native language of the Dine’, she welcomed everyone with prayers for peace, singing for forgiveness, reconciliation, re-awakening, and the importance of unity. The musical ceremony continued as elders Phil Little Thunder and Paul Stover Soderman from Lakota and local tribes, introduced Rising Appalachia to a full house of happy Boulderites. The familiar feeling of home set in, and an unspoken bond was almost tangible in the full house of community concertgoers.

Friday’s show prepared the way for the season finale at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre set on the picturesque banks of the Poudre Canyon River in Northern Colorado outside of Fort Collins on Saturday evening. The air was crisp and clear, carrying the melodies and harmonious vocals to resonate in the ears and hearts of everyone present and far into the mountain canyons.

With Arouna Diarra, Biko Casini, and David Brown, Rising Appalachia’s unique synthesis of cross-cultural musical compositions created an undeniable and beautiful kinesthesia that had us grinning and kicking up the dust in a new-fangled, good old-fashioned hoe-down. The sister’s music, that now includes a cultural backing band, draws from a wealth of rich heritage and sources from revered and venerable traditions across the globe. As the music wound down and the dust finally settled, Biko Casini reminded us all to, “Get involved,” as he discussed the concert being, “…more than it appears.”

Paralleling that statement, our team knows that the simple act of sharing Guayaki is more than it appears and really does make the world a better place in a multitude of ways, and our intention is to share that message via our Colorado campaign.

We hope to see you out there for our final events. Come to life, Colorado!

Boulder Theater

Mishawaka Amphitheater

Photos by the Come To Life Team: Syd Woodward, Hemmie Lindholm, & Brittany NO FOMO