We are THRILLED to announce that we’ve been selected for the 2021-2022 American Music Abroad VIRTUAL season! As a band, we’ve toured to 17 countries, and worked virtually with 13 COUNTRIES since April of 2020! We are honored to continue to serve our country as cultural diplomats, and can’t wait to connect with more communities across the globe.
We’re headed WEST! Lesleigh, Theo, and I are so excited to take the family band on the road for 6 WEEKS. This September and October, we’re speaking in schools, churches, and communities all across the Western United States, and we’re so excited to announce that this tour is being co-sponsored by The Lucky Fin Project.
It’s been my joy to serve as a Lucky Fin Project ambassador since March of 2011. I’ve had the opportunity to share my music and mission in 45 states and 17 countries. Speaking in schools. Hosting guitar workshops. Sharing meals with families. We are so excited to head West and to serve these communities that are so many miles away.
We are still adding dates and states! If you’d like us to come to your school, church, or community (in the West, or anywhere!), send us a message at email@example.com.
Our full tour schedule is posted HERE! We will see you soon, MemmelNation!
I’m going to ASIA this week!! I’m SO EXCITED to be a part of the very first “American Music Abroad Academy” in THAILAND!
I’ll be working with select students from all across Asia who are coming to learn about singing and songwriting with me. Excited for an incredible week in Bangkok, working alongside fellow AMA artists and educators.
I’m also very honored to be returning to SINGAPORE, working with the U.S. Embassy Singapore and building on the work I did there in 2017.
You are purposefully and wonderfully made. When I have the opportunity to speak in schools, churches, and communities across the globe, this is the message that I bring. Our “MemmelNation Declaration” encompasses these truths and words of encouragement.
The MemmelNation Declaration:
You are purposefully and wonderfully made.
ALWAYS be the BEST that you can be.
Look up, and reach for the stars.
Let your light shine.
If you ever feel small, remember: tall trees start as seeds.
Be bold, brave, confident, and kind, faithful, forgiving, and wise.
I’d never been met at the airport by a frenetic crowd of cheering, eager new friends and fans of our music…. that is, until arriving in Aktobe, Kazakhstan for the first time.
As we cleared baggage claim at the airport, there was a large group there to meet us. They brought flowers and baursaki (which are kind of like donut holes), we signed autographs and took selfies, and we were just so deeply touched by their generosity and eagerness to meet us, and host us.
How any future airport arrival could ever compare to this, I do not know.
After a quick hotel check-in, we dropped our bags, grabbed our guitars, and were back out the door to a local music school. Here, more baursaki was served, AND to wash it down, local treats: camel’s milk and horse’s milk (“[Camel’s] milk: Does a body good.” That’s a slogan, right?)
Camel’s milk: Imagine milk with little curdled floaties that’s quite sour and warm, and packs a powerful taste-punch. The horse’s milk is similar, but also has a very earthy scent to it… a peaty, grassy quality. Our hosts were thrilled to share it with us, and watched us with excited, bated breath between each sip.
At the performance, we jammed with local musicians, including a phenomenal dombra player (dombra is a two-stringed guitar-like instrument). We are told there’s a saying here: “If you really want to know the soul of the Kazakhstani people, listen to the dombra.”
This idea exemplifies exactly why these tours are so very meaningful and important. You can learn so much about people and also share so much of yourself through music. You can come to understand the soul of a person because music notes are a sort of transcendent, beautiful language all their own. It’s amazing to have first-hand experience witnessing how impactful they can be: the conversations they can strike up, the hardships they can heal, and the possibilities they can encourage.
In the afternoon, we visited a local library that houses an American Corner. We played some songs, and even in that often quiet, more reserved library setting, had a great singalong and energetic conversation. The group was so sweet, and welcomed us warmly.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST: It was Joey’s birthday, so we all went out to dinner as a big group, sat in the warm weather outside, ate some delicious food (khachapuri from a Georgian restaurant which was a really fun throwback to our recent tour), and enjoyed good conversation. The band went out exploring after dinner and enjoyed some time to unwind and celebrate this special man’s life.