In the beginning, bards went from village to village, bringing folks the news of the day with their ballads. The oldest Anglo-Saxon term for this singer of words was scop, which means shaper. In other words, it was up to the balladeer to shape the world for those who cared to listen. Not all of those Medieval songs were about battles, about castles lost and kings dying. There were also songs that spoke of love and hope, of life and death, of joy and despair. In a harsh world, Carpe diem or Seize the day, became a favorite motif. Listening to the words of the traveling bard, any common villager, any man or woman or child would soon realize that they were not alone with their feelings, that others had the same thoughts hidden in their hearts and minds.
That's how it started, with music as a public service. And yet, down through the years, and with the advent of technology and marketing, music often loses the purity those early storytellers - those shapers - meant it to have. In the new millennium, we seem to have forgotten what it was all about in the first place. Rebecca Martin is one who remembers: Music should be a public service.
Rebecca left her native Rumford Point, Maine, behind and made the big move to New York City in the spring of 1990. It was there that she met and formed a band with a musician and songwriter named Jesse Harris. They called the band Once Blue, and what happened next was one of those too-good-to-be-true show business sagas. In 1995, Davitt Sigerson, the newly-named president of EMI Records, had just left a nightclub in the city and was headed home. When he noticed an EMI limousine parked in front of the venue next door, he decided to drop in, see if anything special was happening. Something was: Rebecca Martin was on stage that night. When Sigerson heard her sing, he approached the stage and signed them on the spot.