‘Unchained’ and drumming in Alaska

Connie Brannock’s Tiny House of Funk seeks to “extend joy through music” at Soldotna Creek Park

Connie Brannock’s Tiny House of Funk. (Photo provided by Seldovia Arts Council)

Connie Brannock’s Tiny House of Funk. (Photo provided by Seldovia Arts Council)

Next week’s Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series headliner is Connie Brannock’s Tiny House of Funk — who flew up from Tucson, Arizona, this week for an Alaska tour that includes both the 6 p.m. performance at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday, and a headlining appearance at the Seldovia Music Festival this weekend.

“My personal mission is to extend joy through music,” Brannock said Tuesday.

The Tiny House of Funk brings blues-infused dance music. Brannock said they are looking to have fun, be engaging and keep folks moving on Wednesday.

The Tiny House of Funk is a smaller complement of the larger Little House of Funk, with whom Brannock plays in Arizona — with around 14 members. She said they can adapt, select the right members and “plug and play” to match the gig. Playing with Brannock in Alaska this week is Mitzi Cowell, Liz Fletcher and Rob Paulus.

Brannock was a successful artist and was signed to a record label in 1986. Instead of delivering a single, she went through basic training and joined the military at 34.

According to her website, she served for 21 years — until returning to music as a retired command sergeant major in 2009.

Now she’s 67, and plays music on her own terms. She said she saw photos of the Soldotna Music Series and knew immediately that it would be a good fit. There’s a special summertime energy in the “northern climes,” she said. Folks are pent up for winter, but then they get out and relish the good times.

“It looks unchained,” she said.

The Alaska tour came together when Brannock met Susie Stranik, chairman of the Seldovia Arts Council, who was visiting Tucson in the winter. That was last year. Now Brannock and her Tiny House of Funk are in Alaska and Brannock’s worried that “we’re gonna freeze”

She said that she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a “wonderful experience” for herself and her band. They’re going to be staying right on the water in Seldovia, see “eagles flying around like we have pigeons,” mountains and otters. She said they’re going to hike, see the beaches and ride a fishing boat. They’re being ferried from Anchorage by a floatplane that delivers groceries to Seldovia.

Ahead of the start of Brannock’s performance on Wednesday — before opener Wasabi Black takes the stage — she’ll host a drum workshop at 5 p.m. She said that she wasn’t too sure yet what that was going to look like, but she’s a good improviser. She said she’ll show off the beauty of her cajón, a Peruvian box drum, and encourage others to get involved.

“Playing in a band is the ultimate team sport,” she said.

She said that there’s a magic inherent in music, an interdependence of rhythms, a kinesthetic pulse that gets the people going. During the workshop, she said she’ll share her experience — then invite others to share theirs.

For more information about Connie Brannock’s Tiny House of Funk, visit conniebrannock.com or facebook.com/ConnieBrannock. For more information about the Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series, visit facebook.com/LevittAMPSoldotnaMusicSeries.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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