(Cambridge, MA – December 28, 2020) Passim has awarded $40,141 to 24 musicians through its Iguana Music Fund. The Iguana Music Fund awards gifts annually to musicians for career building projects and for projects that provide community service through music. Established in 2008 after an anonymous donor approached Passim with the idea to start a program to support local artists’ career growth, the fund provides grants from $500 to $2,000 for musicians with a strong New England connection.  

Grants are allocated in the areas of recording or manufacturing assistance, publicity and marketing support, equipment and instruments, songwriting retreats, tour support, special projects and other specific activities that promote artists work and/or professional growth. Over the past decade, Passim has awarded more than $475,000 in grants, funding more than 285 projects. This year, Passim received 139 applications from across New England. Due to the pandemic, Passim saw a dramatic increase in requests for audio and video recording equipment for home studios and live streaming.

“With musicians unable to perform in traditional settings, the Iguana Fund is needed now more than ever,” said Abby Altman, Club Manager at Passim. “Artists are looking to make the best of these times by focusing on home recording, new solo albums, and providing high-quality online content.  We are confident these grants will not only help the individual recipients, but impact communities across New England as a whole.”

This year, with many artists unable to tour, they are focusing on putting out new music. The Iguana Music Fund will help a dozen new recording projects including rapper Nate Nics who plans to put together a concept hip-hop musical exploring the theme presented in Paul Lawrence’s poem “We Wear the Mask”. Starting in January, folk rock group Billy Wylder will be rolling out a series of singles off their new EP “Whatcha Looking For.” Casey Murray and Molly Tucker, Halley Neal, Home Despot, Lake Saint Daniel, Maddie Witler, and Màiri Chaimbeul are all working on debut albums. Dave Richardson, Ethan Setiawan, and Noah y Maurizio will also use the grant to create new music.

Passim also received a number of requests from artists looking to purchase recording or streaming equipment as the pandemic has forced most musicians to work from home. Alisa Amador and Hayley Reardon will purchase professional recording equipment to put together new albums. Diana Alvarez, Gabriella Simpkins, Isa Burke, Mercedes Escobar, and Sadie Gustafson-Zook are buying professional streaming equipment in order to share their music during the pandemic. Additionally, Abigale Reisman is looking to record a series of videos exploring the treasures of the Jewish violin, while Rockabye Beats will put together a 12 part video series teaching children about music, dancing, Spanish language, colors, food, and more.

A pair of musicians will use the grants to put together a live concert. DJ WhySham will create “A Social Justice Trap Story,” a showcase presenting women and non-binary artist in Boston. Juventas New Music Ensemble will host a concert featuring chamber music by composers from every continent. Finally, Little Roots Music will use the grant to hire guest musicians, dancers, storytellers, and puppeteers for online music classes for young children.

Passim’s Iguana Music Fund continues to support a multi-year “Baby Iguana” grant for  the Miles of Music Camp, a week-long retreat for students of all ages exploring traditional folk music and modern songwriting.