Eve Beglarian's Huck Finn Adventure

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In 2009 the composer Eve Beglarian spent four months traveling down the Mississippi River — from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. She made the trip mostly in a kayak, trading off for a bicycle on some stretches. But “it wasn’t stressful exercise,” she tells Kurt Andersen. “It was that kind of wonderful exercise where your mind can travel as you’re travelling. And I think it put me in a different kind of place in relation to the sources of my creativity.” 

The sounds and stories she gathered from the trip inspired her new collection of compositions, BRIM: Songs from the RiverProject. She performs songs from the album live in the studio.

Beglarian didn't have an itinerary. "By getting on the river you're following a line," she explains. "You may not know the outcome of anything that's going to happen along the way, but you are going in a particular direction. And that's what is in Huck Finn: it's that sense of both open endedness and that there's an outcome we're headed towards." One of the characters she encountered was a riverboat captain “straight out of Twain. He grew up in Mississippi and gave me all these Eudora Welty stories, and mapped them to the towns where they were set — it was basically a literary map of Mississippi."

Some of her songs were inspired by confidences told to her by people she met along the way. "I think the role of a traveler is to be a stranger,” she says, “to be someone that people can confess to. … I felt really lucky to find myself in that position."


Set list

  • "I Am Really a Very Simple Person" – Eve Beglarian and Jeffrey Gavett, vocals (with additional vocal tracking by Eve); Mary Rowell, violin
  • "In and Out of the Game” – The Guidonian Hand (Jenn Baker, Mark Breshinsky, William Lang, and James Rogers, trombones) with prerecorded electronics


Video: "It Happens Like This"
Eve Beglarian, vocals; Mary Rowell, mandolin and vocals


Video: "In and Out of the Game"
The Guidonian Hand: Jenn Baker, Mark Breshinsky, William Lang, and James Rogers, trombones

Music Playlist

  1. I Am Really a Very Simple Person

    Artist: Eve Beglarian, Jeffrey Gavett, Mary Rowell
    Album: BRIM: Songs from the RiverProject
  2. In and Out of the Game

    Artist: The Guidonian Hand
    Album: BRIM: Songs from the RiverProject