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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Susan Reed, a Dover resident and nationally recognized singer and storyteller, performed a family concert in the heart of Dover at the Town Library on July 26. Reed has brought her collection of string instruments, captivating voice, and her bright spirit to children and families worldwide. She performs frequently across the nation, but returned home to Dover after touring in Kentucky, Utah, and Colorado over the last three weeks.
Reed mentions that she has been performing for a long time. She started her musical career with the violin, but has since become a fanatic of any instrument with strings. She is now known as a contemporary violinist and folk musician.
However, it wasn’t until Reed had two daughters of her own that she became truly passionate about songwriting and storytelling. “I would write songs about [my daughters’] favorite stories and things they needed to know,” Reed said about the beginning of her career. Once they got older, Reed’s daughters and husband joined her as backup vocalists and ensemble. As a solo artist and with her family, Reed has produced over 10 CDs of songs and stories, and is also a published author.
To begin her concert at the Dover Town Library, Reed sang a song about how to say “hello” in many different languages and the countries in which one could hear it. As she strummed on her banjo, she encouraged the audience to join her in pronouncing the greetings found around the world.
Once finished with the song, Reed taught her audience about the instruments she brought with her, showing the children the number of strings and pegs on her guitar, dulcimer, and banjo. Reed alternated between songs and stories to keep the children engaged and entertained. “Songs and stories go together, kind of like matching sweater set,” said Reed, before incorporating a rhyming game into one of her songs.
Reed incorporated folklore from the Philippines and Japan in her performance, and told the story of a trouble-making pig with such a big appetite, that whenever a merchant would come to town to sell their food, the pig would eat it all before the merchant had the chance to make any money. When a young girl, Priscilla, gave the pig bubblegum, the pig burped up a bubble so big, he was able to fly around the world and eat anywhere he pleased.
Reminding the audience that she began the concert singing, “Hello, hello, hello, hi, hi, hi,” she felt it would only be fitting to end the concert with a song to say goodbye. Teaching her audience the phrase for saying goodbye in Africa, Reed carefully pronounced “Sabunana Kusasa” for her young audience to repeat and sing along with her, incorporating some silly animal noises in as well, while she peacefully sang and performed with her guitar.
Even after singing goodbye, the warmth, happiness, and tranquility Reed brought to the concert remained with the audience as they left the library with a new knowledge of songs and stories from around the world.