LUNENBURG — Little by little, you will get to know Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards through their unmistakable vocal harmonies, poetic lyrics, and down-to-earth personae at the Lunenburg Public Library’s Fall Music Concert Series at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the library, 1023 Massachusetts Ave.
Artists Mandeville and Richards are a married musical couple based out of Webster, whose hard work has contributed in over seventeen albums and toured consistently throughout the United States and Canada.
Their songs poetically reflect personal experiences as factory workers, teachers, community organizers, and natives of post-industrial mill towns in central Massachusetts.
Accompanying themselves on guitar, harmonica, ukulele, penny whistle, electric bass, and most uniquely clarinet, their live performances are both musically captivating and spiritually uplifting as audiences are carefully balanced between serious songs and humorous commentary.
“After experiencing the last two years, with limited live performance opportunities, we are grateful to be invited by folks like library director Lydia Gravell to perform a concert in their town,” said Mandeville. “Our audiences appreciate the way in which we present our music and stories, and from our side of the stage, that is much easier to accomplish in person.
The duo has also organized the Massachusetts Walking Tour where folk musicians play and travel on foot for two weeks along such trails as the Appalachian Trail. Midstate Trail, New England National Scenic Trail, Bay Circuit Trail, The SNETT, Wachusett Greenways, Southcoast Bikeway, the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and many more.
Each summer since 2010, the couple has organized the Massachusetts Walking Tour, where they hike the roads and trails of the Commonwealth, more than 100 miles in less than two weeks, in support of the arts in local communities along the way.
Each evening they stop over in yet another Massachusetts town, putting on a free concert there, along with local performers and fellow artists who accompany us on our journey.”
These annual two-week treks raise awareness of the trails and greenways in Massachusetts, including daily public hikes through recreational properties.
“Our first year was all road walking, so by our second year, we had decided to use the Midstate Trail and immediately found that we had a natural partnership,” said Richards. “The volunteers of the trail were thrilled to have additional recognition in the press, with a front-page article in the county newspaper talking about us using their trail.”
It was the first time, Richards says, the trail had received any press at all, with volunteers eager to support the couple with rides, snacks and cold drinks.
“From that point on we knew that our hikes would be much more pleasant using trail systems and that the people who keep the trails open and passable deserved to have a pat on the back every now and then which we could do personally and also at our local performances,” she said. “Supporting the local musicians in each town developed over time as we realized that our state is loaded with great talent who rarely get to share their music in their own community – especially in a seated, listening environment. We hope that sharing our event format can provide an opportunity for the folks trying to organize community events to see that it can be done and offer them some local connections to make it easier and hopefully when we leave they will keep having concerts.”
The Massachusetts Walking Tour has partnered with The National Parks Service, Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), Freedom’s Way, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Trustees, with primary funding through grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council Program.
“Human connection, especially through the arts (i.e. visual art, poetry, music), can help us better frame our perspectives, open our minds to new ideas, balance out the glut so ever present on television and social media,” Mandeville said.
For more information on 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 welcome to visit their website markandraianne.com.