John Gorka – Kipyn Martin opensNov 13, 2015 | 0 comments
John Gorka was born in Newark, NJ on a Sunday in July, 1958 under Eisenhower skies. He grew up in Colonia, NJ and at age ten got his first guitar as a Christmas present. Before John’s fingers were strong enough to press the strings down his older brother claimed the guitar for himself. and carved his name in it. The younger Gorka never recovered from this blow. A few years later he took up the banjo to retaliate. The family was never the same. In high school Gorka started writing songs and singing with a church folk group. When he moved away from home to go to Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, he started performing in the school coffeehouse programs and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band, a non-traditional bluegrass, country, blues and folk band. Future songwriter and recording artist Richard Shindell was asked to join the band as the lead guitar player when the others learned he could play Black Magic Rag. Fellow Spasm member Doug Anderson took Gorka to a coffeehouse that had just opened on the south side of Bethlehem, PA called Godfrey Daniels. It was there Gorka discovered the kind of performer he wanted to become. He went to shows when he could afford them and regularly performed at the open stage nights. He later hosted the open mikes and volunteered as MC, sound man, usher and counter worker. By the early 80’s he was the virtual house opening act at Godfrey Daniels and many of the people he met and opened for there went on to open doors for him in other parts of the country, among them, Nanci Griffith, Bill Morrissey, Claudia Schmidt and Jack Hardy. Griffith encouraged him to enter Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk Competition, which he won in 1984. Hardy invited him to record for the Fast Folk Musical Magazine and introduced him to the revitalized Greenwich Village folk scene.
visit his website: http://johngorka.com/
Kipyn Martin is an emerging Americana singer/songwriter whose roots sink into the banks of the Shenandoah River. According to folk legend John Gorka, Kipyn is “a beauty of a singer.” She currently plays festival stages in Virginia and Maryland and delights audiences at vineyards, coffeehouses, and house concerts throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
2015 has been a milestone year for Kipyn. In January, the Washington DC premier of Joan & Joni: A Tribute to the Music of Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell, Kipyn’s collaboration with recovering opera singer Allison Shapira, sold out in advance. Upcoming Joan & Joni shows are booked from upstate New York (at the historic Caffe Lena) to acoustic mecca Asheville, North Carolina. (For more information on Joan & Joni, please visit www.joanandjoni.com.) In March, Kipyn was honored by the Washington Area Music Association with their WAMMIE Award for New Artist of the Year.
In 2014 Kipyn had the privilege of opening for John Gorka, Ellis Paul, John Flynn, The Stray Birds, Humming House, and The Kennedys. Other accolades in 2014 include winning Gold and Silver Awards, plus 3rd Place Overall in the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest for her original composition “Dance Across the Sky,” and being selected as a Showcase Artist at the Southeast/Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (SNERFA) conference.
Songs from Kipyn’s debut album, Undercover Muse (2013), have also earned attention both nationally and internationally. “I Believe in You” scored a semi-finalist rating in the 2013 UK Song Contest, while “Nightbird” took home a Gold Award, as well as the Director’s Choice Award, in the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest. Offering an authentic representation of Kipyn’s live performance, the songs from Undercover Muse are strictly acoustic. Michael Granberry of The Dallas Morning News calls her song, “Undone” (which was written about her mentor, Shenandoah acoustic blues artist Pops Walker) simply “a terrific song.”
Placing in the NewSong Academy Songwriting Competition inspired Kipyn to pursue a Master of Music degree, which she attained from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2012. A passion for poetry and song fuels her as she writes the songs for her second album, scheduled for release later this year. A vitality of voice, both poetic and musical, makes this woman a performing artist not to be missed.