Moab musician Cali Bulmash will celebrate the release of her first album on April 23 with a performance and open mic showcase. The album, “Bee Radical,” encapsulates the local performer’s experiences with identity and political resistance on a personal and global level.
“The CD is partially about wanting to share my story with the greater public, but also to share it with all these people in my life that I love,” Bulmash said.
Bulmash, the host of “Open Mic” nights at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center (MARC), is known locally for her many forms of expression — rap-singing accompanied by ukulele, performing as a variety of alter-egos, and even puppetry.
Her performance style and persona, which covers issues from the deeply personal to the political, has been described as “queer-radical-roustabout-magic music.”
With “Bee Radical,” Bulmash focuses on a wide range of issues, including songs such as “Everyone’s a Little Bit Weird,” “Make it Grow” and “Consent is Sexy.”
“My stories are talking about queer identity, my experience as a woman, and my experience working to protect water on the Colorado Plateau,” Bulmash said.
By using an artistic platform to share those stories, Bulmash hopes to inspire broader conversations in the community surrounding identity and political resistance.
Bulmash has used her art as a means of resistance during protests and gatherings against the PR Spring tar sands mine in the Book Cliffs, as well as the North Dakota Access Pipeline. She advocates art as a tool to inspire conversation around difficult issues.
“Everything is under attack — women, LGBTQ people, public lands, human rights. Everywhere you look it feels like we’re headed towards the brink of some serious war,” Bulmash said. “I feel strongly about sharing my stories because that’s what I love to do. It’s not about me. The reason I share my art is to start these conversations, to share these ideas.”
Bulmash began hosting Open Mic events in Moab two years ago, after she recognized a need for an intimate performance space locally where individuals could share personal and political stories.
Last year, Bulmash moved those events to the MARC where “Open Mic Night” is now a regular event. The public facility serves as a space, she says, for artistic expression outside of a bar or restaurant.
“People go to bars and restaurants to unwind after stressful days. They’re not trying to have intimate moments with the artists ... [As an artist] it’s giving and not getting energy back,” Bulmash said. “Open mics are the exact opposite. When you go to that open mic you know that it is a safe place to say your story and be an active participant. Every week it’s completely different and amazing.”
In true “Cali Bee” style, her “Bee Radical” CD release show will feature an open mic showcase. That ability to connect with others is central to her art, Bulmash says.
“The whole point with this art form ... if we’re saying our truth someone will resonate with that,” Bulmash said.
Bulmash says making connections through art, promotes visibility for certain people and issues that might otherwise continue to feel “invisible.”
“It’s about visibility, because without visibility there’s erasure. And with that, there’s hopelessness,” Bulmash said. “All these stories are harmonious — that’s how we create safer spaces where we realize that we’re not alone.”
The April 23 “Bee Radical” CD release show is open to the public and free of charge, with albums and other merchandise available for purchase. The cost for the CD is $10, and they will be available at the show, or can be purchased online at: calibeerad.com. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the MARC, 111 East 100 North.