Aimee Ringle and Namoli Brennet will perform in concert Tuesday, June 18, at The Lingonberry Event Venue at 218 W Water Street in Decorah.

Called “among the best folk-rock artists in the US” by the Tucson Weekly, singer/songwriter and Iowa transplant Namoli Brennet has been touring the US and Europe for 15-plus years. Her music has been featured in The Advocate, on NPR and in the Emmy-award-winning documentary “Out In The Silence.” Recently nominated for the German Music Critics Award, Brennet has self-released 13 albums since her debut in 2002. Her live performances blur the line between singer/songwriter and sonic painter – incorporating loops, delays, keyboards, foot percussion and vocal effects to create an ethereal one-woman soundscape.

Aimée Ringle is a musician, song-leader and storyteller based in Port Townsend, Wash. She has been lauded for her soulful voice, invigorating teaching style, articulate percussion skills and intricate guitar work. Ringle’s work has woven her into an ever-widening community of cultural shifters around the country in the realms of sustainable agriculture, alternative education, community living, personal and interpersonal healing, creative expression and spiritual exploration – all of which are reflected in her music.

Tickets are available at the Oneota Community Food Coop and also at the door, beginning at 6:30 p.m. For more information call The Lingonberry at 563-419-2999.

A conversation with Namoli Brennet ...

DN: You’re just getting off a German tour, and you’re performing at two Pride festivals this weekend – Saturday in Detroit and Sunday, in Pittsburgh. Next weekend, you’re a featured artist at Iowa City Pride – the country’s second longest-running Pride celebration. Is your schedule generally this busy, taking you to so many places? How does being that busy feel, for you?

My schedule varies between being super-busy and doing a lot of traveling, and then having downtime to write and record. So it’s this cycle of putting out a lot of energy and taking a lot in, and then having some time and space to process it all and try to recharge. Being busy feels good and I do really love to travel, but I’m also highly introverted and easily exhausted. So it’s definitely a balancing act.

DN: Decorah held its second Pride festival last month, and it’s hard to describe the power of the positive energy on Water Street, that day. It was palpable. Is that something you would say is common to Pride celebrations with which you’re familiar? Does the experience of performing at a Pride festival feel different for you than performing does at other sorts of venues? Why or why not?

NB: Yeah, I can understand that feeling. Just being around a huge group of people with a collective tolerance for difference can make you breathe a huge sigh of relief. Every Pride is different, some are massive, some are a little more homegrown but the sense of acceptance and celebration is a common thread. A Pride festival is a little different for me than other venues maybe just because there are certain songs I do that are really specific to the LGBT experience. And I know those songs will really, really land with people who understand what it is to be marginalized.

DN: This year is the 50th anniversary of Stonewall; do you think this compels historical contemplation in some way, especially for the benefit of younger people who might be unfamiliar with the events? Does it add another dimension to the celebrations taking place across the country?

NB: It definitely compels contemplation, yeah – especially in light of all the recent legal attacks on trans and LGBT rights. It makes you realize that the rights you have, you have because someone else fought really, really hard for them. And that as much as sometimes it feels like the world is becoming more inclusive, there are a lot of people who don’t consider that to be a good thing.

DN: You’ll be performing a show with Aimee Ringle June 18, at the Lingonberry. Could you say something about the show and about your collaboration?

NB: Sometimes you just meet a musician where it’s like you both speak the same language, and things come together really beautifully and effortlessly. And that’s how it was for me when we met back in 2007 – it was like, Oh! Here’s someone kind of like me! And I think she was kind of thinking the same thing. We both play a bunch of instruments, love to listen and go deep into the music and it means you can very quickly get to this highly creative and musical space. Aimee is also this amazing vocalist, harmony singer and song leader so there are just so many levels the music is working on. And it’s such a complete joy to play with someone like that.

DN: In addition to your songs, you’re a talented writer of prose (and a pun-ster par excellence!). The bio section of your website is filled, it seems to me, with lovely insights and hard-won wisdom. This is one of my favorite phrases – would you maybe say more about it? ... “The recovery of the self and the recovery of creativity are almost impossible to separate.”

NB: Oh yeah – I could talk about that for awhile! I would sum up my philosophy by saying if you’re a repressed person then you’re going to create repressed art. And if you’re afraid of who you are then you’re going to end up creating from a timid, fearful place ... which, by all means, DO that because you have to start somewhere. But what I think great works of art have in common, whether they’re songs, paintings, poems, books, films, whatever, is this sense that it was inevitable that it came together this way. And I think that comes from learning to have confidence in yourself and your choices, because every work of art is the result of a series of small choices.


“I used to think that awards, reviews, opening slots, venues and a certain amount of recognition and success would bring happiness. All of those things are wonderful gifts but pale in comparison to the moment when music takes over, you close your eyes and play the perfect note at the perfect time and know that in that moment something meaningful is taking place and you’re privileged enough to be able to deliver it.

“That, to me, is what success feels like right now.”