David LaMotte is a songwriter, speaker and author. He has performed over 3000 concerts and released thirteen full-length CDs of primarily original music, touring in all of the fifty states, as well as five of the seven continents. The Boston Globe writes that his music “pushes the envelope with challenging lyrics and unusual tunings, but he also pays homage to folk tradition,” while BBC Radio Belfast lauds his “charm, stories, humour, insightful songs, sweet voice and dazzling guitar ability.” His most recent album, Still, features the number one song on Folk Radio in September, 2022 (September Me), and the album remained in the top twenty for six months. He has been a featured performer at top tier music festivals including the Kerrville Folk Festival, Merlefest, the Auckland Folk Festival (NZ), and the Australian National Folk Festival.
His dense speaking and workshop calendar has included presenting at the PC(USA) Mission to the United Nations, keynoting peace conferences in India, Australia, Germany and at the Scottish Parliament, as well as offering the baccalaureate for 2016 graduates of Columbia Seminary. His TEDx talk on what music can teach us about peacemaking is featured on TED.org.
LaMotte suspended his music career for two years, beginning in 2008, to pursue his other primary vocation by accepting a Rotary World Peace Fellowship to study International Relations, Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. As part of that study, he also spent time in rural Andhra Pradesh, India working with a Gandhian development organization.
David has published three books, including two illustrated children’s books. The first based on his award-winning children’s song SS Bathtub and the second, White Flour, is based on the true story of a creative, effective, and whimsical response to a Ku Klux Klan march in Knoxville, Tennessee by a group called the Coup Clutz Clowns. His most recent book, You Are Changing the World Whether You Like It Or Not, was published by Chalice Press in 2023. An earlier version of that book, Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness, has been used as a textbook in universities across the United States and in Australia, and the more recent edition is the primary textbook for a 2024 course at Westminster College in Pennsylvania.
In 2004, David and his wife Deanna founded PEG Partners, a non-profit organization that supports mentoring, education, and artistic expression in Guatemala. He is also a consultant on Peace and Justice for the North Carolina Council of Churches, and served as Clerk the AFSC Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Task Group.
As a touring artist with an over thirty-year career, LaMotte has developed a large and loyal following around the world. His music has been honored with numerous awards and artist grants, and has been featured on dozens of artist compilations. Notably, his song Dark and Deep was included on Songs Inspired By Literature, Chapter One, a benefit CD to raise money for adult literacy. Other artists on that CD include Suzanne Vega, Grace Slick, Aimee Mann, and Bruce Springsteen. Several independent films feature David’s music, and it has been heard on the Today Show and the Showtime television series This American Life. In 2023, his song, Coming Alive Again, was chosen as the title track for the Spring album on Christine Lavin’s Seasons project.
LaMotte is also part of the musical trio Abraham Jam, an interfaith band made up of a Christian (David), a Muslim (Dawud Wharnsby), and a Jew (Billy Jonas). The trio has produced to albums together, White Moon, and Abraham Jam Live. They were also the subject of a short documentary by John P. Kennedy and David Saich, Braided Prayer.
He is also the creator of Let’s Be Neighbors, a banner campaign based on a sign he hung on his house, and rooted in the idea that we seldom reject each other into making more compassionate decisions. Let’s Be Neighbors banners and signs are now hanging across the United States, including a large one on Abraham Lincoln’s church in Springfield, Illinois.
As a result of his work with schools in Guatemala, he was named a “Madison World Changer” by his undergraduate alma mater, James Madison University, and was awarded an E-chievement Award by the syndicated radio show E-town. David makes his home in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with his wife Deanna and son Mason. He is currently touring again, post-pandemic, hosting a digital community on Patreon.com, writing songs, working on a new podcast, and writing his next book, tentatively titled, “Harmony: What Music Can Teach Us About Peacemaking In a Troubled Time.”
Learn more at https://www.davidlamotte.com
Kristin Schwecke has been heralded by Opera Lively as “A name to keep in mind…Her voice filled the house and dominated the stage. Simply spectacular! What a promising dramatic soprano!”
On the operatic stage, Kristin’s highlights include La Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, First Lady in The Magic Flute with Piedmont Opera, Magda in La Rondine with the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, Abigail in Robert Ward’s The Crucible with Piedmont Opera, and 2nd Sprite in Rusalka with North Carolina Opera, and as the title role in the World Premiere of Michael Ching’s opera Anna Hunter with The Savannah Voice Festival.
In concert, Kristin has sung Verdi’s Requiem with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra and Mozart’s Requiem with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra. Her other solo concert engagements include Rutter’s Requiem, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Debussy’s L’enfant prodigue, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Dubois’ Seven Last Words and Handel’s Messiah. She has appeared with orchestras nationwide including Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, Cobb Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Wisconsin Madison Symphony Orchestra.
She has received honors in the Heafner Williams Vocal Competition, the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Competition, Charlotte Opera Guild Competition, Rosen-Schaffel Young Artist Competition, Schubert Club Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition and internationally from the Czech and Slovak International Singing Competition. She was also the winner at the District level and received an Encouragement Award at Regional level in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
A native to Wisconsin, Kristin graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a Masters degree in Voice. She also holds a Performing Artist Certificate from the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Ms. Schwecke is currently part of the music faculty at Salem College and Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
Learn more at https://www.instagram.com/schweckesoprano
Formed in 2013 by songwriters Daniel Zezeski and Melissa Wright, Mink's Miracle Medicine was named after a craft-fair drawing of a snake-oil-sales-wagon.
Mink’s continues to woo audiences, snake-oiling what a fans describe as “songs that feel like paintings” at venues like NPR’s Mountain Stage and Nashville’s legendary Bluebird Cafe.
Learn more at https://www.minksmiraclemedicine.com