Catch some rising (female) stars: Let’s celebrate the ladies of song March 25 at the Shaskeen

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Rising Stars poster

NEC LOGO GSMWhen we returned to the WMNH studio on Elm Street last fall, after a summer of broadcasting from Pembroke City Limits (my barn) in Pembroke, we consciously made the decision to book more female performers on “Granite State of Mind.”

Not that we ever omitted a single female in the past.  We love our female recording artists.  In fact, one of the very first guests on GSM, some 10 years ago, was Jasmine Mann, an unworldly talent from Concord.  Some of the other regular performers were often females as well, like Jenn Whit, Becca Myari, Delanie Pickering, Kate West and many others.

The problem was ratio:  For every 20 bearded musicians that came on the show, there were less than a handful of females that I ever heard of.  It’s impossible to know every performer – male or female – in the state, obviously.   But male musicians seem to crawl out from the ground swell, like graying moles with a guitar stuck between their teeth.

So, this past winter, we took it upon ourselves to look harder for more female acts around the Granite State.   That meant me tuning into more “Live” Facebook open mic night feeds and sifting through the beards to get to the gold. And I found a plentiful basket of righteous females right under my nose.

The first act I discovered while creepin’ was Bri Bell, a simply fabulous Manchester musician with a vibrant energy and a sweet, clean, original voice.  Her songs are filled with conflict and resolution…and questions.

Songs from her 2022 EP release, “Fall,” like “How Does A Man?” and “When I’m Gone” are perfectly crafted love songs.  Then Bell has her “radio ready” song (which should be blasted on all radio formats) called “You Can’t Have It All” that will turn the hairs on your legs upward.

Bri Bell will be opening the Rising Star Series on March 25.

Then I heard this young lady named Rachel Berlin playing at Area 23 or maybe the Hen House and she knocked me out with her authentic, folksy, outlaw country feels.  Her voice is, well, one of the very best I have heard in quite some time.  It’s old-timey almost, conjured up from a time well past. Berlin’s voice, on her cover of “Rosemary” by Sierra Farrell, is haunting, original and all-consuming.

Rachel will be closing the show out at the Rising Star Series.

Continuing my hunt, I came upon Savoir Farie, aka Sarah Meliheh from Boston.  Savoir Faire has a smokey, lounge feel to her music, a cascading ensemble of goodness tangled up in jazz.  Savoir Faire plays a delicious guitar, and her voice is straight class, which matches the layered sound of her music perfectly.

Savoir Faire will be the third act on the bill.

Lastly, one Friday night as we were prepping for the show “high above Margaritas,” a long, curly dark haired young woman who works one flight up from the studio at a counseling office walked in and said, “I’m a musician myself.”  I handed her my card and said, “Call me.  We can get you on the show.”

I’m an easy sell.

A couple weeks later, Fatma Salem, originally from Tunisia now living in Manchester, came onto the show and performed a few songs.  She was just great, playing the guitar with a tenderness built for back rubs.  An eye-closing kind of performance where the host is so locked into the songs he fades into the songs, lost in the rhythm of the songs, the presentation.  Fatma is that good.

That said, we have four top-notch musicians taking the stage at the Shaskeen Pub, 909 Elm St. in Manchester, on March 25 from 4-7 p.m.  They each will play for 30-40 minutes with a 15-minute intermission between the third and fourth performance.  The show is FREE.

We hope to see everyone there.  We at GSM would never steer you wrong.

Join us, please.


About this Author

Rob Azevedo

Rob Azevedo is an author, poet, columnist and radio host. He can be reached sitting in his barn at Pembroke City Limits and