As a young girl Judith-Kate Friedman fell in love with acoustic guitar, roots music, folklore and people's stories as well as melodies from Baroque to Broadway and vocal music from ballads to the blues. Years later, graduating from Oberlin College with studies in world music, poetry and literature she made her way to the San Francisco Bay Area, started gigging as a singer-songwriter and exploring the meeting point of social activism, service and original songs. After releasing and touring with her first album she was offered a series of performing jobs playing for folks in nursing homes. Their stories and the spark that lit in their eyes when they heard the old songs - Yiddish, Celtic, Spanish - led her to wonder what writing new songs together might be like.
In 1990 she joined a California Arts Council team of artists serving homebound older adults through Artworks at SF's Institute on Aging, with director/mentor Robert Rice. Funders wanted to see more people engaged, so the team set out into adult day health centers and Friedman began writing songs with groups diverse in culture, language of origin, age and ability. Her background in heritage studies, consensus building, eliminating racism, and improvisation were a boon in this in-the-moment environment. Her approach was to listen and capture the verbatim speech of every person in the room, creating song portraits of the community's imagination and concerns. Over time, these projects grew into the Songwriting Works™ process, the core program and set of principles
around which the Songwriting Works Educational Foundation
is now organized.
Friedman's credits include award-winning songs and solo and ensemble recordings, major event productions, concert tours, grants, years as a public radio disc jockey and numerous conference and keynote presentations.
To learn more, visit: judithkate.com
Judith-Kate Friedman and Freyda Epstein sing "The Things We Keep." Video coming soon.