Friday, June 14, 2024

Folk music’s lost duo make astonishing comeback for two nights only

Revisit the glory days of lesbian music festivals with The Songs of Starpath. Photos: Alyson Palmer

Created and performed by Maggie Moore (Hedwig & the Angry Inch) and Elizabeth Ziff (BETTY), The Songs of Starpath is a musical about friendship, fringe fame, and the creative path. With quirky and poignant original songs, this folk concert pays tribute to a time in women’s music history and live music that is disappearing today. In the show, Carole Willis Walker, an aging folk singer, reunites with her counterpart guitarist, Tink, after 35 years to perform songs from their lost album Starpath.

Tink (L), and Carole Willis Walker | Photo: Alyson Palmer

Carole, always the enthusiastic storyteller and songwriter, couldn’t be more sincere in describing her romantic and musical partnership with Tink, and a past day in the women’s music scene. The iconic duo, who had a hit on the folk charts in the late ’80s, performs their entire album again live for their dedicated fans, but mostly, as a tribute to themselves. They have no clue that no one really knows their music, their message, or who they are and were. And yet you feel sure you have heard of them — and after their concert is over, you’ll want to hear them again and again and again… Queer Forty caught up with Carole and Tink to find out all about the show.

Q40: What was the ah-ha moment for getting this show together?

Carole: Carpel tunnel.
Tink: Carole called me on my landline.

It’s been decades since we’ve connected with Carole Willis Walker & Tink. How have you kept in touch with your fans over the years?

Carole: Fan mail, reaching out, dalliances, living room concerts.
Tink: Drugs.

What is your relationship to social media — love it or hate it?

Carole: Now that we’re back, we’re really looking forward to delving into the world of social media.
Tink: Social media has killed the world.

Some young queer women have never experienced a great lesbian music festival — how would you describe the experience to them?

Carole: Life altering.
Tink: Sex and drugs.

Why is sisterhood and lesbian community so important? And what keeps you connected through life’s ups and downs?

Carole: Connection is everything. It’s why I do music. It’s my chosen community.
Tink: It’s where I’ve gotten my sense of fashion and guitars.

When did you discover the guitar was your instrument of choice?

Carole: At 8 years old in Otter Creek, Ontario during a family jubilee.
Tink: I found one in a garbage can in high school.

What do you most love about folk music and would you — if you could — swap it for any other genre?

Folk music is real life. I don’t think I would swap it out for anything.

Carole willis walker

Carole: Folk music is real life. I don’t think I would swap it out for anything.
Tink: I like opera. Folk is more Carole’s bag. Gangsta rap would be a close second to our folk music.

The Songs of Starpath at Dixon Place, New York | Photo: Alyson Palmer
If folk music is the music of the people and it unites them, do you think you might inspire a folk revival and the Songs of Starpath might bring people together?

Carole: I truly hope so.
Tink: We need something, right. The world is a shit show right now.

Do you feel like sharing your ages — or what do you feel is the best thing about getting older, especially as women?

Carole: I’ll keep the mystery.
Tink: I’m surprised I’m still alive.

What inspires you and keeps you going on life’s journey?

Carole: Nature and music. And love.
Tink: Carole.

If you could have a womyn’s history dinner party with anyone alive or passed, which sheroes would you invite?

Carole: Janis Joplin, Lady Gaga, Odetta and so many more.
Tink: RBG, Anne Frank, Janelle Monae.

Any other inspiring words for those who might be having a hard time right now?

Tink: Things will get better. They always do. Herstory proves that.
Carole: Everyone has value. Savor life. Flirt with nature. The music continues…

The Songs of Starpath, October 1 and 2 at 7:30pm at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St, New York. More info here.
Tickets $20/$15 here.

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Merryn Johns

Merryn Johns is the Editor-in-Chief of Queer Forty. She is an award-winning journalist, as well as a broadcaster and public speaker. Originally from Sydney, Australia where she began her career in journalism in the 1990s, she is based in New York City where she became the editor-in-chief of Curve Magazine and wrote for a variety of publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Slate, and more. Follow on Twitter at @Merryn1

Merryn Johns has 141 posts and counting. See all posts by Merryn Johns

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