photo of Marilyn McNeal on a tractor in West Oakland

My name is Marilyn McNeal and I am a musician, composer and video maker working on experimental roots music, sound art and mobile phone videography.

In 2017, I started Chantmagick, an alt folk music and video project dedicated to original instrumental and vocal harmony driven music.

Currently, I am composing mostly on acoustic guitar and piano, but at an earlier point I made around 60 recordings based on chanting over electronica.

I love making folk / pop music and atmospheric soundtracks that weave together acoustically and digitally generated sounds. I incorporate everything from simple chanting and body rhythm to street noises and digitally synthesized sound.

I am inspired by a wide range of sounds and experiences that include American roots music, West African music, indigenous and hand made musical instruments, Gregorian chant, English folk ballads, and nursery rhymes.

As a musician, I play blues piano, fiddle, ukulele, wooden flute and spoons. I also make my own folk instruments out of cardboard boxes, coffee cans, cookie tins, plastic water bottles, sticks, wire and string.

As an instrument maker, I am interested in exploring how common materials like cardboard, plastic, tin and wire can create and amplify sound. I like the idea that tuning systems do not have to be fixed and that the instruments I make may change over time.

As a sound artist, I am curious about how acoustically generated sound can be merged with digitally composed audio. What happens when the handmade comes into contact with digital tools and tactics? Can the old and the new play well together? If so, how?

Chantmagick facebook page