Music Review: Satchel of Songs

by Diane PattersonFOUR WINDS MUSIC
reviewed by John Malkin

Diane Patterson’s sixth studio album, Satchel of Songs, was released on International Women’s Day (March 8). Patterson told S&H, “I see International Women’s Day as part of the sacred cycle of celebrations, to celebrate what women bring to this world. It’s also because we need to lift up people who have been mistreated, big time.”

Patterson describes her music as “mystic-acoustic-Americana” that views “music-as-activism, and love-as-revolution.” Satchel of Songs continues her focus on spirituality, social change, and struggles to save indigenous cultures at places like Big Mountain and Standing Rock.

“The title song is an apology song to indigenous people from settler people,” said Patterson. And on the song “One Part Corn” she sings; “I was a child of the commons / no one owned the land.” Patterson recalls, “The first time I really understood this idea of the commons was when I read Dreaming the Dark by Starhawk. She explains how people were driven off the commons and lost their plants and animals and their indigenous ways of life, which were very integrated.”

Satchel of Songs is the second album Patterson has recorded at the New Orleans studio of Ani DiFranco and her husband Mike Napolitano. Guest artists include DiFranco, Alice DiMicele, kora player Gordon Hellegers, and Sami joik singer Elin Teilus of Sweden. DiFranco’s rhythm section of Todd Sickafoose and Terence Higgins add solid bass and drums.

In 2019 Patterson toured with DiFranco and more recently they became neighbors in New Orleans. “It’s really exciting to be here at the heart of so much music,” said Patterson. “My mom’s actually from Louisiana so there’s a kind of ancestral feeling here, too.”

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