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‘Songwriters Snowball’ Storms Sundance Film Fest

Posted in News on December 8, 2006

BMI will host its fifth annual "Songwriters Snowball" showcase during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival being held Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Utah. The Snowball will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 24 from 6-9 p.m., featuring performances by Grammy-winning composer/jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard, Grammy-winning blues artist Keb' Mo', and singer/songwriters Michael Penn and Viktor Krauss.

The showcase will be held at the Sundance House at the Kimball Art Center (638 Park Avenue). This is an official 2007 Sundance Film Festival event and is open to festival badge holders, press passes and invited guests only; tickets will not be sold. Performance times will be Viktor Krauss at 6 p.m., Michael Penn at 6:30 p.m., Keb' Mo' at 7 p.m. and Terence Blanchard at 7:30 p.m.

Having presented an array of composers and singer/songwriters at the Festival for more than 15 years, BMI is a longtime supporter of Sundance's film music program, including the Sundance Composers Lab held each summer at the Sundance Institute. Click here to see coverage from last year.

A Sundance Composers Lab advisor and a Thelonious Monk Institute instructor, jazz trumpet player Terence Blanchard is a true musical wonder. Having created dual careers in the jazz and film/TV worlds, he has seen the launch of his critically acclaimed CD Flow in 2006, along with his score to Inside Man and his stirring music for Spike Lee's documentary on Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke. Currently he is working on the score for director Kasi Lemmons new film Talk to Me starring Don Cheadle and will be going to Prague in January to record strings and orchestral arrangements for the When the Levees Broke CD release. A New Orleans native, Blanchard will be headlining the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on April 28, 2007.

Three-time Grammy-winning blues singer/songwriter Keb' Mo's music is a living link to the seminal Delta blues - the music that traveled up the Mississippi River and across the expanse of America before evolving into a universally celebrated art form. Born Kevin Moore, he adopted his better known stage name when he was a young guitar player who became inspired by his American legacy. His acclaimed self-titled 1994 debut album introduced that now famous appellation to the world, and his latest album, 2006's Suitcase - his eighth album for Epic/Okeh records - brings his talent to new heights. His distinctive sound embraces multiple eras and genres, including pop, rock, folk and jazz, showing he is well-versed in each. The disc follows his 2004 double play of Peace: Back By Popular Demand, featuring covers of classic '60s and'70s-era peace and protest songs, and the celebrated Keep It Simple, for which he won his third Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. In addition, he's done extensive songs and themes for TV and film.

One of the most acclaimed singer/songwriters to emerge during the late 1980s, Michael Penn was seemingly destined for a career in show business. Born in New York City's Greenwich Village, the older brother of siblings Sean (later recognized among the finest actors of his generation) and Chris (a noted character actor acclaimed for his work in features like Reservoir Dogs) chose music over acting. His debut March (1989) won him a 1990 MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist. He followed it up with Free-for-All (1992), Resigned (1997) and MP4: Days Since a Lost Time Accident (2000). Penn then moved into film scoring and worked on Hard Eight; Boogie Nights; Alan Cumming's first two directorial efforts The Anniversary Party and Suffering Man's Charity; Melvin Goes to Dinner; the documentary The Comedians of Comedy; and The Last Kiss.

In addition to creating an eclectic mix of original music ranging from rock to bluegrass, composer, songwriter and double bassist Viktor Krauss has worked with many Grammy-nominated and Grammy-winning artists, including Bill Frisell, Elvis Costello, Graham Nash, Dolly Parton and Lyle Lovett (he co-wrote his hit "You Were Always There"). The Illinois native and brother of bluegrass artist Alison Krauss is also known from performing with Lovett for nearly a decade. As a solo artist, Krauss shines with his CD Far from Enough released under Nonesuch Records to much critical and AAA radio acclaim. He is also behind a Zappa-esque rock unit called Difficult Listening, as well as progressive bluegrass pioneer Peter Rowan's group Free Mexican Airforce.

The Sundance Film Festival is the premier showcase for U.S. and international independent film. Held each January in and around Park City, Utah, the Festival is a core program of the Sundance Institute, a nonprofit cultural organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Presenting 120 dramatic and documentary feature-length films in seven distinct categories and 80 short films each year, the Sundance Film Festival has introduced American audiences to some of the most innovative films of the past two decades, including American Splendor, Clerks, Hustle and Flow, Maria Full of Grace, Napoleon Dynamite, sex, lies and videotape, Smoke Signals and Super Size Me. Beyond the streets of Park City, the official website of the Sundance Film Festival shares the Festival experience with a global audience through the streaming of short films, filmmaker interviews, and current news and box office information.