Ben LaMar Gay

Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist, Poet, Singer

Chicago, United States

Ben LaMar Gay is a composer and multi-instrumentalist who moves components of sound, color, and space through folkloric filters to produce brilliant electro-acoustic collages. An explorer of many genres and mediums who has been called a “polymath” by the Chicago Reader, his unification of various styles is always in service of a narrative and never solely a display of technique. The Chicago native’s true gift is an ability to create constellations of disparate ideas that poetically expand our definition of “Americana.”

Gay received his B.A. from Northeastern Illinois in Music Education. He has shared information as a music instructor in the Chicago Public School system, a guest lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a facilitator with the Chicago Park District’s Inferno Mobile Recording Studio for 8 years. The latter instructorship helped set the tone for a staple philosophy that fuels his musicianship: a commitment to exploring the lineage of ideas passed from one generation to the next. Gay aims for his work to have the same functionality as folktales and oral traditions, which create variations on timeless themes to help people make sense of their existence and their place in the world.

His musical influences derive from a collection of personal experiences gathered across all the Americas; and his musical practice is concerned with channeling all his experiential data through organic and electronic technologies. Gay’s avant-garde version of “Americana” is very global, expanding far beyond the terrestrial.