Couple of local musicians to perform fresh and refined folk music for modern times

LUNENBURG — Step by step, you’ll get to know Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards through their unmistakable vocal harmonies, poetic lyrics and down-to-earth characters at the Lunenburg Public Library’s Fall Music Concert Series at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1. 5, at the library, 1023 Massachusetts Ave.

Artists Mandeville and Richards are a married musical couple based in Webster, whose hard work has contributed to over seventeen albums and regularly tours across the United States and Canada.

Their songs poetically reflect personal experiences as factory workers, teachers, community organizers, and natives of the post-industrial industrial towns of central Massachusetts.

Accompanying themselves on guitar, harmonica, ukulele, whistle, electric bass and especially clarinet, their live performances are both musically captivating and spiritually uplifting, as the audience is carefully balanced between serious songs and humorous comments.

“After living the past two years, with limited live performance opportunities, we are grateful to have been invited by people like Library Director Lydia Gravell to perform in their city,” Mandeville said. “Our audience appreciates the way we present our music and our stories, and on our side of the stage, it’s much easier to accomplish in person.

The duo also organized the Massachusetts Walking Tour where folk musicians perform and travel on foot for two weeks along trails such as the Appalachian Trail. Midstate Trail, New England National Scenic Trail, Bay Circuit Trail, SNETT, Wachusett Greenways, Southcoast Bikeway, Cape Cod Rail Trail and many more.

Every summer since 2010, the couple have organized the Massachusetts Walking Tour, where they walk the roads and trails of the Commonwealth, more than 100 miles in less than two weeks, to support the arts in local communities along the way.

Every night they stop in another town in Massachusetts, playing a free concert there, with local artists and other artists accompanying us on our journey.

These annual two-week hikes raise awareness of Massachusetts trails and greenways, including daily public hikes through recreational properties.

“Our first year was all about road walking, so by our second year we had decided to use the Midstate Trail and immediately found we had a natural partnership,” Richards said. “The trail volunteers were thrilled to have additional recognition in the press, with a front page story in the county newspaper talking about us using their trail.”

It was the first time, Richards says, that the trail had received any press, with volunteers eager to support the couple with walks, snacks and cold drinks.

“From that point on, we knew our hikes would be much more enjoyable using the trail networks and that the people who keep the trails open and passable deserved a pat on the back every once in a while, which we could do personally and also at our local performances,” she said. “Supporting local musicians in every city has grown over time as we realize our state is full of great talent who rarely get the opportunity to share their music in their own community, especially in an environment of listen seated. We hope that sharing our event format can provide an opportunity for people trying to organize community events to see that it can be done and offer them local connections to make it easier and hopefully when we leave, they will continue to have concerts.

The Massachusetts Walking Tour has partnered with the National Parks Service, Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), Freedom’s Way, State Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and Trustees, with primary funding through to grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council program.

“Human connection, especially through the arts (i.e. visual arts, poetry, music), can help us better frame our perspectives, open our minds to new ideas, balance the ever-present glut on TV and social media,” Mandeville said.

For more information about this library concert, or to register, which is required, call the Lunenburg Public Library at 978-582-4140 or visit lunenburglibrary.org. For more information on Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards, you are invited to visit their website markandraianne.com.

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