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‘Tiny’ concerts with New Mexico musicians aim to help census

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Completing the 2020 Census.

It’s an important issue for New Mexico, and Cathryn McGill doesn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

bright spot“New Mexico has so much riding on achieving a 2020 complete count that we can’t afford to lose a single household,” said McGill, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Complete Count Committee chairwoman. “Over the next 60 days, we will roll out a number of innovative strategies to ensure that our state has done everything possible to educate and motivate people about the importance of this initiative. We are excited to be working with our beloved New Mexico artists to help us spread the word far and wide.”

One of those is the Tiny Census Concerts series, which McGill created.

Modeled after National Public Radio’s “Tiny Desk Concerts,” the series will feature New Mexican musicians performing two or three songs. Between the performances, there will be short informational talks from city and county leaders about the census. KNME-TV’s Gene Grant will host the series.

It starts at noon Wednesday on the ICountNM Facebook page. The series will run at noon Wednesdays through May 6.

The lineup includes Chris Dracup and Hillary Smith, Joy Harjo, Lara Manzanares, Larry Mitchell, Rosalind Sanders Jones and Jackie Zamora.

McGill said all of the artists are trusted messengers and influencers who will heavily promote the concert series on social media and within their expansive networks.

The series will hire and deploy about 35 more New Mexico artists to round out the rest of the concert series.

“We’ve had to develop new audiences from the standpoint of the census,” McGill said. “We have had to figure out how to bring new people to this conversation. The artists that we’ve chosen have huge social media footprints and they inspire all the time.”

McGill cites Zamora’s work with the census over the years, and Manzanares has a song called “Census Song.”

“Here’s an opportunity for us to put together these two needs,” McGill said. “We’re able to put these displaced artists to work and we keep the momentum up for the census. It’s important that we stress that the census matters. New Mexico can’t afford to lose any more funding or any more representation.”

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