"Blues isn’t about being sad, it’s about connecting with your soul. When other listen to you connect with your soul, there is a mutual understanding of life and what it means to be alive."
Sarah Rogo: Spiritual Transformation
Lady Rogo (aka Sarah Rogo) is a vibrant performer, singer/songwriter and multi-talented instrumentalist. Guitar in hand, she is a force on stage who's music is powerful and thought-provoking. She embraces classic styles such as country blues and folk while baring her soul through her enchanting melodies and honest lyrics. She draws from her passion for activism and as eastern philosophies like Buddhism to create music that makes a difference. Critics say "She's tradition with a twist" and her music has been compared to artists like Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, and Robert Johnson.
"Woman in the Blues are strong and beautiful warriors with important messages. The Woman of the old blues era were fearless and beautiful. Music needs the dance of both masculine and feminine. I am proud to be a woman and I am proud to play beside respectful men too."
Sarah is a Yoga teacher in the Boston area that is pursuing healing through sound. You can find her playing music for Yoga classes as well as healing sessions and facilities. She is in the process of working on her first full length album as well as playing clarinet and saxophone in a number of bands in the Boston area. Sarah talks about the blues, Paul Rishell, Bostonian music scene and spiritual activism.
What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?
Every time I play my guitar I learn something about my self. To me, blues means turning sorrow into Light. It means expression and individuality of the highest level. Everyone sings the blues differently but everyone feels it. Blues isn’t about being sad, it’s about connecting with your soul. When other listen to you connect with your soul, there is a mutual understanding of life and what it means to be alive.
How do you describe Lady Rogo sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?
I would say my music is heavily influenced by Americana and Blues music. I like to take the essence of the old country blues songs and write lyrics that are meaningful to me. I only write positively. If I am writing about an issue, I try to write about it in a positive way. Some view this as a unique mix of darkness and Light.
Why did you think that the Blues music continues to generate such a devoted following?
I think there is a devoted Blues following because it is derived from community. People don’t play this kind of music to make money. Blues musicians don’t play this music for fame. We play it because we have to – because we can’t live without it. Blues music is steeped in tradition. It was created on front porches by people who were searching for meaning in this crazy world we live in. True lovers of the Blues see this.
Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What is the best advice ever given you?
Every time I meet with my teacher and friend Paul Rishell, I am inspired. When we have lessons, we almost never talk of music. We talk about art, religion, nature, history- anything you can think of. By the time we are finished talking, I realize that they are all connected. To play music you must know the world around you and most of all, you must know yourself.
Are there any memories from gigs, jams, and studio which you’d like to share with us?
Once I messed up the words to a song in a funny way and I started laughing on stage. My band mate beside me started laughing too. We couldn’t hold it together! Every time we try to sing that song now, we try not to laugh!
What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
I always try to stay in the present moment. Music only exists there. I have no fear because music takes fear away. But I do have the hope that music will continue to influence people in a positive way. I have hope that we will use music for dancing and for joy. I have the hope that we will continue to use music to join together and share experiences. Music is just an expression of the present moment and the present moment is always changing. In that way, music is a form of documentation. We can look at the music of our past like a photo album.
If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
I would like to see artists getting more compensation for there work. It is often too hard for many great artists to make a comfortable living. The world needs art the most so I would love to see artist get more for the music they make and perform.
What does to be a female artist in a “Man’s World” as James Brown says? What is the status of women in Blues?
Music does not belong to a gender. Music is not a man’s world. We need to shake this idea that music belongs to some one. Woman in the Blues are strong and beautiful warriors with important messages. The Woman of the old blues era were fearless and beautiful. Music needs the dance of both masculine and feminine. I am proud to be a woman and I am proud to play beside respectful men too.
What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the chitlin’ circuits?
I start laughing randomly. Then I laugh at myself laughing. And then I cry, and then I laugh again. The autumn trees in Boston make me laugh. They are so beautiful! I like to laugh with everything.
I was very touched with the venues we played down south. All were warm and welcoming and very thankful for our music.
What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues with Folk and continue to Americana and music?
We are always being inspired by our past and the things that move us. One artist will hear and old song and then make it their own and then another person will hear that song and make it there own. Art evolves in a nonlinear fashion. The people of the past are almost singing the hymns of the future and the artists of the future are inspired by the hymns of the past, thus creating more hymns of the future. Confused yet? My point is- the tread that ties all music together is Love and the eternal quest to find meaning in the world around us.
What has been the relationship between activism and eastern philosophies in your life? How does affect your mood and inspiration?
I view myself as a spiritual activist. What does this mean? Spiritual activism means encouraging and standing up for the good of humanity. It is not connected with any religion and there is no rite or wrong. It is an activism that comes from the heart, not from the mind. It is about creating good change through the spirit of positivity. I am inspired by eastern philosophy because the pillar is peace. From this, all inspiration flows. It makes me feel good to make art that makes others feel good.
Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?
I would love to go back in time before humans walked the earth. I would love to see what the land looked like and how the air smelled. Then, I would travel forward in time to catch dinner with Martin Luther King Jr. and have dessert with my grandmother when she was my age.
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