A folk music concert may not be the first image to crop up in someone’s mind when he or she thinks of President Barack Obama. On Friday, the Kerrytown Concert House and local musician Joe Reilly are hoping folk fans will make the connection when they host a concert to raise funds for the incumbent’s re-election.

Folk-Rock-O-Rama for Barack Obama

Friday at 8 p.m.
Kerrytown Concert House
From $12

Folk-Rock-O-Rama for Barack Obama is a collaboration of artists from the Ann Arbor area. It will feature folk, jazz, hip-hop and spoken word performances. Prizes, including signed concert posters, will also be raffled off.

There is a minimum $12 donation per person at the door. Donations of $25 or more will receive Obama swag and a copy of Reilly’s latest CD. All proceeds will benefit the Obama campaign.

Reilly — a singer and songwriter invested in environmental education and graduate student in the School of Social Work — organized a concert of the same name in 2008 and said his reasons for organizing this election year’s event haven’t changed from four years ago.

“I feel very strongly that President Obama embodies the democratic values that are most important to me: Diversity, justice, equality and the pursuit of happiness,” Reilly said. 

Reilly said Obama’s progress in ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream is another reason he supports the president and his re-election campaign.

“Making health insurance more accessible and affordable is a real concern for many Americans, including many musicians, including myself,” he said. “I want to add my voice, and the voices of others, in support of his re-election.”

In addition to Reilly, singer-songwriters Billy King, Markita Moore and Lesley-Anne Stone, pianist Allison Radell, poet/MC William Copeland, a.k.a. Will See and percussionist Mark Stone will share original compositions.

The concert hopes to bring positivity and warmth to the 2012 election cycle, aspects Reilly believes have been distinctly absent as Nov. 6 approaches. Instead of addressing negative talking points and partisan bickering, the concert will focus on diversity, peace and democracy. 

“We will not only be raising money for Obama, but will be generating the collective energies of love and joy through a diversity of musical styles,” Reilly said of the variety of performers.

He said the 2008 concert was a success, garnering more than $1,000 for then-Senator Obama and inspiring support among the attendees. He said one of the best outcomes of concerts such as this is that they bring communities together.

“We will connect with our love for the earth and our natural environment, our desire to help those in need, our longing for equality for all no matter race, gender or sexual orientation, and our intent to build inclusive and sustainable communities in Michigan and across the country,” Reilly said.

Folk music has played an important role in labor and civil rights along with environmental movements, the singer said. He hopes that the Folk-Rock-O-Rama will continue the legacy by breaking down barriers and placing all of folk music into one category.

Reilly said music reaches people in an emotionally powerful way, and he hopes the concert will bring a positive boost to the Obama campaign.

“These artists are all very talented at doing this and will do so in the spirit of democracy and justice, inspiring listeners to think beyond the realms of self and embrace an ethic of caring for the common good,” he said.

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