Joe Goodkin

Singer and songwriter Joe Goodkin will perform Monday an adaptation of "The Odyssey" at the University of Montana, and offer audience members an opportunity to connect with Homer's classic epic.

"Goodkin brings the Homeric tradition back to life in his folk adaptation of an essential story of the human experience, reviving the centrality of song in the epic tradition," according to an announcement about the event.

The event is part lecture, part musical performance, and part interactive discussion. The centerpiece is a 30-minute continuous performance of 24 original songs with lyrics inspired by Odysseus' famous exploits, according to UM.

The ASUM (Associated Students of the University of Montana) Classics Club and Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures is sponsoring the performance.

It takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, at the Dell Brown Room in Turner Hall, and it is free and open to the public.

UM Classics faculty member Matt Semanoff said the artist offers people an opportunity to connect with themes in "The Odyssey" in a multifaceted way. It explores the longing for home as well as the pursuit of knowledge and spirit of exploration.

"Goodkin involves the audience in the performance by providing an opportunity after the performance to discuss the nature of the poem, (and) how his songs capture the themes," Semanoff said in an email. "The audience gets to participate in creating the meaning of the story by interacting with Joe after he sings in a spirited, interactive discussion."

Richard Martin, a classics professor at Stanford University, described the adaptation as "powerful," "highly personal," and "riveting," according to a review Goodkin posted on his website.

"Joe's 'Odyssey' — and his rhapsodic travels to perform it — make for the closest thing we might now have to Homer," Martin said in the review shared by the artist.

Geoff Bakewell, from Rhodes College, also praised the performance.

"Joe Goodkin brings Homer to vibrant life in his bluesy, operatic version of the 'Odyssey.' His guitar riffs and haunting lyrics will stick with you and your students long after the bard himself has moved on," Bakewell said in the review Goodkin shared.
Goodkin has performed his Odyssey more than 260 times in 36 U.S. states and Canada, and has been honored with several composer awards, according to UM.

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