by Lauren Ansell
A performer is as accomplished as his audience is impressed. Farmer performed at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11 in the Pond View Lounge, within Slep Student Center. Farmer is singer and guitarist, who performed a lyrical inspiration that is gauged by “things from the news, sometimes struggles from others, sometimes struggles I’m going through”, Farmer said.
Themes within his songs derived from his own experiences, while others were playful tunes such as “The Wheels on the Bus”, or referring to a coined term for a person who dates others for their financial success, gold digger. His song that referenced a gold digger was accompanied by high pitch singing and complemented by spanish influenced guitar pickings. This combination created a seductive and sultry tone to better describe his personal situation with this past gold digger. This musical mixture explained how a woman would present her demeanor through seduction to distract his mind from realizing her underlying desire.
The night of November 28, Farmer’s songs embodied cultural and political references, such as West African culture. His third song focused on a profession within West African culture by the name of griot, which is the culture’s historian/storyteller/entertainer. This song had the most amount of instruments including guitar, drums, and shakers, tambourines, and an accordian. The song is portrayed by the opinion of a fourth generation griot explaining how it feels to possess all of the past while witnessing the present memories. One of the lyrics were, “I am a keeper of words, I am the griot,” said Farmer. After the song, Farmer by saying, “when a griot dies, a library burns to the ground.”
At the present moment he lives in State College, where he educates college and high school students. With the high school students, Farmer focuses on songwriting but also, starting conversation that relates to self identity and social issues. Farmer was born in State College, PA and later raised in North Carolina. He received a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Pennsylvania State University.
Farmer said that “I let other people decide” when asked what genre of music his music is classified as. He states that his open genre policy is influenced by famous musicians such as Bo Diddley, Bobby McFerrin, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. And though these artists had a great influence on Farmer’s music style, the church (Bethel United Way of the Cross) he grew up in was responsible for inspiring his singing. Farmer said he’s been singing in the choir and musicals since he was a child, and also said that he taught himself guitar, with minor help from classes and friends.