Tricia Alexander

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Artist / Musician

Tricia Alexander has been singing for as long as she can remember. She was raised on ‘old country’ Assyrian music, the Benny Goodman Orchestra, Rosemary Clooney and the Smother’s Brothers (which – if you’ve seen her perform – explains a lot!). She began playing guitar in her late teens; she swears it was an act of musical revenge, “Guitarists were always getting really mad at me because I didn’t want to sing the songs the way they were already being done – I mean Dylan already did Dylan, I didn’t want to be Dylan – I just wanted to be Tricia.”

In college (after flunking music theory twice), she got serious about playing the guitar and about reinterpreting other people’s songs – making them uniquely her own. She also started writing songs. Rich Warren (of WFMT’s Midnight Special and Chicago Magazine) said she “has one of the most GORGEOUS voices” and is ” … particularly adept at interpretations of other contemporary singer-songwriters.” The Folk Music Source Book described her own material as “intelligent, contemporary writing.” in the same league as Anne Hills, Cheryl Wheeler, Holly Near, Christine Lavin, John McCutcheon, Nancy Griffith and John Gorka.

Tricia is also an accomplished guitarist and harmonica player, a performance poet, an award winning facilitator of creativity and self expression – and a Reiki Master / teacher.

She combines her ability to vocally channel Reiki energy with her love for music, spoken word and humor. Weaving together the best of jazz, blues and folk, she creates concerts that are entertaining, soothing and joy-filled.

She’s opened for some of acoustic music’s greats including: Loudin Wainwright III, Steve Goodman and Jethro Burns, Chris Williamson and Tret Fure. Her double bill concerts include: Bill Camplin, Darkwood Consort, Dev Singh, Garnet Rogers, Pete Morton, Small Potatoes and the people she’s shared the concert stage with reads like a ‘Who’s who” of the chicago Music scene.

Early in her career, Tricia served as an Artist in Residence for both the Chicago Council on Fine Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Then in the mid 80’s, she began touring extensively throughout America and Great Britain (she’s also given concerts and workshops in Canada and India). In the late 80’s, she served as Free Street Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director, serving the Cabrini Green Community and directing FREE STREET, TOO (the first professional touring company comprised entirely of Elders).

Tricia’s music, literary projects, and community-based workshops have received awards both in America and Great Britain: Williams Prize (England), Spectrum Awards (Scotland), Joseph Jefferson Special Honors Citation (Illinois), Special Recognition Award (Chicago Council on Fine Arts, Illinois).

In 2013, she received the Woodstock Folk Festival’s 12th Lifetime Achievement Award

For more than 30 years, Tricia’s been performing, facilitating, mentoring, directing and writing – always steering true to her original course, “to stay with community.” She’s appeared on festival stages and in theaters, in living rooms and coffeehouses, in schools, hospitals and prisons. She has released three CDs (Grace, Make Me Your Song, Trishmas Carols), three cassettes (Entirely Too Much Tricia, Love That Strains the Heart, Alexander Noelle, one 45rpm record, one poetry ‘chapbook’ (The Path of Love) and one poetry journal (Moon Cycle). She also has to her credit four self-published chapbooks of poetry and art created by inner city youth during her Creativity and the Self workshops at Cabrini Green and in Rogers Park – and one chamber orchestra composition (Children’s Suite). Tricia served on the creative teams that birthed several other classical pieces, several small community theater pieces and one award-winning full-length musical theater documentary, Project! (with Free Street Theater and Chicago’s Cabrini Green Community).