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Juno Artist Dawson Ready to Shake Up Legends

Cassie Belek | Friday, April 11, 2008

Her music became essential to “Juno,” and it helped give the indie film its heart and soul. However, Kimya Dawson is more than the “Juno” soundtrack and she’ll be at Legends tomorrow night to give students a taste of what else she has to offer.

A member of The Moldy Peaches, Dawson has been a solo act since the band took a break in 2004. Both the band and her own music is featured on the “Juno” soundtrack, and composer Mateo Messina used Dawson’s music as the basis of the film’s score.

Since going solo, Dawson has released five albums, the latest being 2006’s “Remember That I Love You.” “Juno” borrowed four songs from the album, including “Tire Swing” and “Loose Lips.” Her sound is unique and often sounds cheery, but her words pack a punch. Chad Lavimonière, who is in charge of WVFI’s PR and events and has been a fan of Dawson for two years, compares the artist’s music to the protest music of the 1960s.

“I mean, she definitely inherits something from protest folk à la Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan to a certain extent,” Lavimonière said.

But he also said that she has drawn comparisons to Mirah and even Lisa Loeb. He calls her music “opinionated folk.”

In The Moldy Peaches, Dawson played a part in influencing the anti-folk movement. While anti-folk, a subgenre of folk, is difficult to describe, it takes the core of folk music and gives it a new, experimental sound.

“It’s not anti-folk as in they don’t like the way folk music sounds,” Lavimonière said.

Instead, he said, the movement takes the same traits of folk music but puts a new spin on the genre.

“A lot of folk is sort of soothing,” he said, “but this is a folk that shakes up.”

As for her heavy inclusion in the “Juno” soundtrack, Dawson can thank the film’s star Ellen Page for that. When director Jason Reitman asked Page what music the character Juno would listen to, the actress immediately said The Moldy Peaches, which led to Kimya Dawson.

In a November 2007 interview with Pitchfork, Page talked about why Juno would listen to The Moldy Peaches and Dawson.

“Well the Moldy Peaches’ music is very humorous. I mean, it has a hint of novelty, but it is full of so much heart and so much simplicity and it’s so genuine. It’s really unique and it’s quirky and all of those things, but it has heart to balance that,” she said.

Dawson is working on a new album, but in the meantime she will release a children’s album in August entitled “Alphabutt.” Lavimonière said the album was most likely inspired by Dawson’s daughter, Panda Delilah. In fact, Dawson tours with both Panda and her husband, Angelo Spencer. Spencer and L’Orchidee D’Hawaii will open for Dawson’s concert.

Lavimonière waited to bring Dawson to campus because she wasn’t a well-known artist to a wide audience before “Juno.”

“I got really excited when she did the soundtrack to ‘Juno’ because that was really great exposure,” Lavimonière said.

Lavimonière encouraged everyone to come to Dawson’s concert, even if they aren’t familiar with her work on the soundtrack.

“Even if people aren’t really interested in the message of the music, it’s a nice thing to listen to,” he said, adding that Dawson is still on her way up in the music scene. “We’re not catching her at her peak.”

The show starts tonight at 9 at Legends and doors open at 8:30. Admission is free for all Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students. For more information on the concert visit WVFI’s website, http://www.nd.edu/~wvfi/promo.html.

Contact Cassie Belek at [email protected]