What are the Grand Hotel Garden Recordings?

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, symbolizes inequality. One of the island’s largest employers, most of its workers come to the U.S. on work-related visas to help their families survive. It blows my mind to imagine the difference between the lives of those who spend hundreds of dollars each night per person to stay here, the people who work to keep it running, and their family members around the globe.

Working on Mackinac myself, I snuck into the cool, lush garden of the Grand Hotel to record songs, mostly songs about hard times. Boat horns and pressure to finish measures quickly in order to shoo mosquitoes color these recordings. The environment speaks to me about persisting inequality in the arrangement of our world.

My Grand Hotel Garden Recordings include:

Where I Am: Mackinac Island, MI

This summer I returned to Mackinac Island, MI, working for the state park and focusing on the side on song. I visited here when a child and worked here for a summer when I was 19.

Where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron connect, the Straits of Mackinac feel wide open, and they hold history, from indigenous sacred usage and military conflict and takeovers to the annual policy conferences held here today. Today, this tourist destination showcases seething and converging consumerism, militarism, and nationalism colliding with immigration, racism, and rural poverty. Here I am with my heart open . . . grateful for the constant birdsong, bright yellow snails, trillium, and earth inhabiting this island as well.


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