Remembering 2018: Rising Appalachia at the Bowery Ballroom

Chloe Smith and Leah Song of Rising Appalachia at the Bowery Ballroom on May 24, 2018

Chloe Smith and Leah Song of Rising Appalachia at the Bowery Ballroom on May 24, 2018

As the year was winding to a close I remembered some photos I left unedited from a memorable May night in New York City. I have been following Rising Appalachia since meeting the founding sisters Chloe Smith and Leah Song down in New Orleans about 8 years ago. I see them every time they come around, and it makes me happy to see them deservedly get more popular as time passes.

This year Siewli and I went to see them at the Bowery Ballroom on May 24th. Since I was not there as an official photographer I just brought my Sony A6300. We made our way up to stage right and I grabbed some shots of the band as they played. It was a busy time of the year so after I uploaded the pics to my computer I kind of forgot about them, until now.


Flashback to New Orleans

I first encountered Chloe and Leah photographing my friend and yoga teacher Libby Love’s wedding to her man, Hermann. Seeing them first with my eyes, I wondered who these beautiful hippie goddesses could be? Then hearing them sing for Libby and Hermann I fell in love. The sisters’ vocal harmonization creates a vibration divine that effortlessly melts hearts and minds.

In April of 2011 Hermann organized a photo shoot with Libby and Chloe to promote his hair styling business. He applied face paint and styled their hair and then we wandered around uptown capturing these images.

In February of 2012 I was working on a project with Laura Sheffield of New Olreans Henna, photographing her friends wearing henna for our individual portfolios. I hit the jackpot with Leah Song, since she could also rock some amazing yoga poses.


Rising and Falling

I have a longstanding dream of creating portraits Chloe and Leah together. I want to officially state it here as a 2019 intention. They have created some of my favorite chill music, and they use their talents to promote environmental awareness and social justice issues. I regularly add their music to my yoga playlists and it never fails to inspire the flow.

They also formed the Rise Collective, a crew of elaborate global performers, activists, youth educators, dancers, circus artists, yoginis, acrobatics, fire spinners, poets, aerialists, cultural workers, and more who come together to create powerful community spaces. They bring acrobatics and ariel silks to the festivals, sound education workshops to the local youth centers, music to the rallies, and fire arts to the streets.

They just dropped an new EP called Remast

Rising Appalacia Photos

Photos of Chloe and Leah and the band playing the Bowery Ballroom, including special guests and performers:

  • Arouna Diarra on the n'goni
  • Biko Casini drum
  • David Brown bass and baritone
  • Akil Davis dancer
  • Duncan Wickle fiddle.

Rising Appalachia Playlist

Here are some of my favorite Rising Appalachi songs. Happy New Year!