By MacKenzie Hawe, Contributing Writer
Over a dozen musicians performed at the “Perform for Freedom” open mic night this past Wednesday evening. What is even more beautiful than the sounds emanating from each performer is the cause behind why they come to the café.
The Freedom Café opened in February 2013 and is run by volunteers wishing to raise awareness to end human trafficking. The Café has been hosting open mic nights every Wednesday night from 7-9 p.m. since they opened.
Jess Ross, a freshman here at UNH, kicked off the night with Ed Sheeran’s song “Give Me Love.” Ross followed up by singing and playing on guitar two of her original songs and closing with an upbeat mash up of “Hey Soul Sister” and “I’m Yours.”
“I’ve been singing since I cold talk but my Dad taught me how to play guitar my freshman year of high school,” Ross said.
Ross tries to play at The Freedom Café every Wednesday if she can. She also performs at The Grind in the MUB and plays at local restaurants in her hometown of Charleston.
“I started writing songs in kindergarten, I remember I wrote a song that compared love to snot, because I thought it was gross,” Ross said.
Joe Harris, who heard about the café through Jess Ross, sang and played on piano two beautiful renditions of “Someone Like You,” by Adele and “Just The Way You Are,” by Billy Joel.
“I’ve been playing piano for 18 years, so since I was said,” said Harris, who is a sophomore at UNH.
Like Ross, Harris likes to play at Freedom Café as often as he can and also performs at The Grind in the MUB.
“Its amazing how so many people can write so many really great songs in such a short amount of time. It takes me a month or two for me to write a song,” said Harris.
One of the people who can write songs at a rapid pace is Aurora Lafond, who ended the night with one of her original songs.
Her friend Kristo Vanbrie from the Netherlands, accompanied her with an accordion.
“I play here regularly. At home in Albany, New York I play in the street sometimes and make some cash from it” said Lafond, a freshman here at UNH.
Her original songs can be found on soundcloud.com/Aurora-Lafond.
When asked about what their favorite part about performing at The Freedom Café was, they all responded with “the cause.”
“Art community appreciates a space to use their talent to benefit the world,” said Bryan Bessette, the Café’s director.
Every seat in the house was taken, some guests even sitting on the floor as they listened to the dedicated musicians that come back week after week to not only practice their passion, but use that passion to support a good cause.
Anyone can attend open mic night and anyone wanting to perform is free to sign up for the “Perform for Freedom” Open Mic night every Wednesday 7-9:30.