During the nearly eight-hour drive from her home in Virginia to Berea, folk singer Narissa Bond said she watched the Kentucky countryside unfold before her and began to get emotional. “It was a very emotional journey for me,” she explained over a meal at the Village Trough in Berea on Friday evening. “I’m very excited to be here and learn more about the history.” It was Bond’s first opportunity to see the place where her great-grandfather James, who was born into slavery, would pursue his education as a free man at Berea College.Bond was in Berea to perform in the town’s First Friday event for September that was conducted in collaboration with the Clear Creek Festival. One of the highlights of her set was a song she wrote about her great-grandfather called “The Road to Berea.” It details James Bond’s journey from southern Kentucky to Berea College. “His mother gave him a cow to pay for his tuition, and he walked 75 miles from where he lived in Kentucky to Berea to attend college here,” Bond explained. “He was born into slavery, but was emancipated when he was about 3-years-old. It is a remarkable story.” Bond said she wrote “The Road to Berea” about four years ago and was excited to perform the song in the town where her great-grandfather studied. “It means a lot more to me now that I am here and see it first hand,” she said of the song. “A lot of times I write something without having actually experienced it, but now I have with this song.”Bond said she planned to visit Berea College’s archives to learn more about her great-grandfather’s time at the college. “I can’t wait to go there and visit,” she said Friday. “He wasn’t able to achieve all that he wanted to because of the Day Law (passed in 1904) and had to leave Berea. And I can’t wait to find out more about his time here and what he went through.” Bond, whose relatives include the late civil rights activist Julian Bond, said her family came to Berea a few years ago to accept an award on behalf of her grandfather, but she was unable to attend. “Now I can see it for myself and walked where he walked,” she said. “I’m on my own ‘Road to Berea’ in a way. It is amazing to have a tie to a place you have never even seen.”Bond, whose music includes themes of social change, said she enjoys the opportunity to do political songs. “I don’t get to do them much anymore,” she explained. “It feels great to be around other artists and activists at First Friday. I look around and see the tents and the people coming together and I’m hopeful.” Shortly after Bond’s performance Friday, Bereans for Michael Brown and civil rights groups from Berea College performed a demonstration for the gathered crowd.A musical theater piece from Clear Creek Festival organizers Bob Martin and Carrie Brunk titled “Land-Water-Food-Story” was also performed. The ensemble piece was designed to promote discussion on fracking in Kentucky and other important conservation issues surrounding the state. ” - Ricki Barker

The Richmond Connection

 Narissa Bond will be telling her musical stories in Hampton this week By Mike Holtzclaw  |Oct. 14, 2014|757-928-6479mholtzclaw@dailypress.com  When Narissa Bond sits down to write a song, or to perform one on stage, she always has something to say - a story to tell, with a point behind it. "A lot of songwriters, their first goal is to entertain - and that's great, it's wonderful," she says. "But that's not usually my first concern. I'd probably be further along with my career if was more focused on entertaining. For me, it's more about the stories. But, as fans of the local music scene know, Bond's stories are oh so entertaining. Written with her keen and poetic way with a lyric, delivered in her soulful voice and backed by her always fascinating guitar phrasings, these are songs that bring to mind performers such as Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman and even Odetta. After two shows over the weekend at the Port Warwick Art Festival, Bond will be playing at the Hampton History Museum's Front Porch series at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Sometimes she writes about things that make her angry - such as a song from her first album that was inspired by a book she read about the life of a slave girl, or a new song (one that's probably not ready to be played live yet) inspired by the fatal police shooting this summer in Ferguson, Mo. But even in the face of injustice, she is always looking for the light. "Sometimes I have to sit with it for a while," she says. "I might start off angry, but I sit and try to think about what I want to say and how I want to present it. Ultimately, I always try to write something with hope and with a message. I want to reach people at the heart level. Click here to watch a video clip of Bond singing "With These Two Hands." Born in Texas and raised in Kansas, she moved to Williamsburg in 2000 and now lives in Norfolk. She has become a favorite among fans of acousitic music in Hampton Roads, able to produce a very full, rhythmic sound with just her voice and her six strings. But in the past two years she has added bassist David Mills and percussionist Charlton Phaneuf to her live performances. "They're really talented, and they really get the music," she says. "The understand the mood and what I'm trying to do. They add another element to the sound. She has not released a CD since 2008's powerful "Three Words," but she has plenty of new songs and hopes to be recording again in the near future. The newer songs include "Walk Through This World With an Open Heart," with its jazz and reggae influences, and "Wishbone," a country-tinged tune based on stories of a grandfather whom she never met. Check her out: Narissa Bond will perform at the Port Warwick Art & Sculpture Festival at Styron Square in Newport News at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. More info at www.pwartfest.org. Those shows are free. She will also perform at the Hampton History Museum, 120 Old Hampton Lane, at 6 p.m. Wednesday. There is a $5 charge for that show, but museum members are free.” - Mike Holtzclaw

The Daily Press

Discs from area musicians offer a variety of sounds. What do they have in common? Quality.By SAM MCDONALD | 247-4732 March 2, 2008 …It's clear that local musicians don't slumber their way through the winter months. Many of Hampton Roads' best players and singers have been sweating it out in the studio, shaping cool beats and catchy riffs, sharp rhymes and sweet chord progressions.Here's a closer look at five new CDs from some of the area's most talented — and industrious — melody makers.NARISSA BOND "THREE WORDS"Overview: Acoustic performer Narissa Bond returns with a mellow, well-crafted album focused mainly on the faces of modern love.Backstory: A Texas native and former Williamsburg resident, Bond is a favorite on the Hampton Roads singer-songwriter scene. Now living in the Ghent section of Norfolk, she's made a third album that's intimate and contemplative.Highlights: "Soul Touches Sky," a gentle, seductive charmer; "The Grocery Story," a tune that champions the working poor through a whisper, not a scream; "Unexpected," a dreamlike exploration of erotic love; "Little Town," a song about getting lost and found in a strange, small place.For fans of: Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Janis IanSam's take: Bond's music is pillow-soft. Even when she's singing about racial or economic justice, her songs set out to soothe and comfort. On "Three Words" Bond sounds comfortable in her own skin. Her confidence makes the disc work…”” - Sam McDonald/Grab your CD player and spin these local tunes

Daily Press

Katherine Cummins December 23, 2007 Memorial vigil takes closer look at Celia "Celia was a young girl. Celia was afraid. No one heard the cries of a young slave. She was the property of a man, with power in his hands. For the slave there was no law or refuge in this land." --"Celia by Narissa Bond Who was Celia? That was the question guest performers and organizers of the third annual Celia, a Slave Memorial Program Friday night. Approximately 100 area residents gathered at the First Christian Church in Fulton to hear from painter Solomon Thurman and singer/songwriter Narissa Bond -- both of whom tried to get to know Celia a little better as they sought to share her story through their art. "...Celia was a young girl, no longer afraid. She did as she had promised, for freedom she had prayed. From being the property of a man, she took the power from his hands." -- "Celia"... Narissa Bond peforms during the Celia, a Slave Third Annual Memorial Program Friday. Bond wrote, "Song inspired by Celia.” - Katherine Cummins/Memorial vigil takes closer look at Celia

The Fulton Sun

Q + A Putting a Fresh Spin on Folk with Narissa BondBy Patty Jenkins I (757) 446-2298, The Virginian-Pilot© July 3, 2008 Norfolk's Narissa Bond is a "new folk" singer who moved to this area from Kansas City, Mo.She was asked to perform at a show for the National Organization for Women-Virginia Region. That was in May 2000, and by fall she was calling Hampton Roads her home.New folk is contemporary folk. It's pop music on an acoustic guitar," she said. "Of course, what makes it folk are the stories that we tell. People always relate to personal stories of life, love and politics." In February, Bond released her third CD, "Three Words."I'm kind of known for my love songs, and most of the songs on the CD are about romantic love, self love and loving our country and wanting to make it a better place."Her previous CDs were "Knocking at the Doorway to My Soul" (1999) and "Between Two Rivers" (2001).Bond, 48, picked up her first guitar when she was 8 and has been performing professionally for 15 years. You can catch her next week at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.What is your earliest musical memory?Listening to my dad practicing jazz on his guitar, in the evening before we had dinner. I was around 4 years old. What's your worst performance memory?When a friend asked me to fill in for him as an opener at a club in Raytown, Mo. When I got to the parking lot I realized I was at a biker bar. Being the professional, I walked in and got up onstage and played my folk songs for a really rough rocker crowd. My friend who had asked me to fill in for him never confirmed the change with the manager. So, halfway through my set the manager angrily told me to get off the stage. What's your day job?This summer I don't have a day job. I'm working full time as a musician. During the school year I work part time as a substitute teacher for Norfolk Public Schools and play music on the weekends and some during the week. If signed to a record deal, how would you spend the advance?The very first thing I would do would be to buy an economical car that is big enough to transport me and my musical equipment. I drive a 1993 Toyota Corolla named Sylvia.Patty Jenkins, patty.jenkins@pilotonline.com” - Patty Jenkins/Q + A Putting a Fresh Spin on Folk with Narissa Bond

Virginia Pilot-Hampton Roads

"I Live Here Too" Music Video