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‘On Debut Album, Seacoast Band Black Agnes Explores The Meaning Of Home’

NHPR's "All Things Considered"
March 9th, 2015 by 
mike dunbar and album cover

Frontman, Mike Dunbar ’15, of the Seacoast-based group “Black Agnes” talked with NHPR’s Brady Carlson of “All Things Considered” about the band’s debut album titled “Mason Jar of Home.” Dunbar was awarded a Mellon Summer Research grant from the College of the Holy Cross to create an extended play (EP), which is a recording containing more music than a single, but less than a full studio album. The foundation offers grants to students working towards a variety of careers who apply each year, from writers to researchers. In his interview Dunbar discusses how each song explores a different perspective of what home means – where you’re born, where your ancestors lived, or even a moment in time.

Dunbar talks about his “Mason Jar of Home” which he started sophomore year when he was away at college. While at Holy Cross he realized how much he appreciated where he grew up, on the seacoast of New Hampshire. He went back to his home state and filled up a jar with earth and keeps it with him as a reminder of home. The name of his band’s first album plays homage to Dunbar’s revelation.

The album is based on the poetry of T.S. Eliot and his use of the literary epigraph. Dunbar asked himself the question “what are our epigraphs” he further explains “what are the quotes that come before our own story” for Dunbar it is ancestral lineage. He enlisted the help of his grandmother on the album and she is the first voice you hear. She is reading from census records that she has from her ancestors that resided in Ireland.  He reading is set to the music a 1912 vinyl recording title “Come Back to Erin” which essentially means “Come Back Home.”

 This “Holy Cross in the News” item by Kelly Ethier.



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English, In The News, Music, News

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