piano * american roots music * songwriting
Marilyn McNeal is a San Francisco-based musician and digital media instructor who is interested in experimental storytelling, communal ways of knowing and placemaking through everyday acts. She is self taught in photography, sound and web design and is currently teaching at City College of San Francisco and Bay Area Video Coalition.
For the past two years, Marilyn has been studying american roots music, specifically blues music through the piano. She s currently studying in Richmond, California with Aaron Blumenfeld, a noted blues and boogie woogie music scholar.
In the last five years, McNeal has traveled to Mexico, Cuba and Morocco to photograph and record the lives of community activists, healers, farmers and musicians.
In January 2008, McNeal traveled to Cuba and photographed three prominent organic farming projects around the city of Havana. Outside of the city, McNeal traveled to the Pinar del Rio province and photographed the people, places and spaces involved in several prominent local environmental and eco-tourism projects.
In 2006, McNeal completed a photo documentary of a Zapatista village in the state of Chiapas, Mexico while working as a human rights observer. The photographs of children, families and the jungle forest they live in powerfully capture the dignity of the indigenous people and the ancestral lands they are struggling to protect.
As a sound designer and audio documentarian, McNeal has done field recording in Fes, Chiapas, New York City and San Francisco. Soundscapes are based on a fusion of street sounds, ambient conversation, and layers of percussion.
Audio documentaries have featured "Picture the Homeless" a street level homeless advocacy group, members of New York's Haitian community organizing protests against the NYPD, local groups working to save community gardens, and a Lower East Side community center fighting developers over use of an abandoned school.
OPEN SOURCE PROJECTS
In 2007, Marilyn created Imaginopedia, a multimedia wiki that seeks to reinterpret narrative, information and community while offering visitors the opportunity to co-author original "stories." Recent entries have included ASCII code, email subject header spam text, pencil sketches, digitally manipulated photos, shapes made from 3D modeling software, embedded video, stop motion animation and audio clips.