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Lifestyle

October 9, 2009

Young songwriter wins contest with 'haunting' piece

Molly Pinto Madigan, a 19-year-old from Peabody and freshman at Salem State College, recently won first place in the Boston Folk Festival songwriting contest. Her song "I'm Bound Away" was chosen out of five finalists in the youth division, and she performed the song last month on stage at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where the festival was held.

Click play to hear "I'm Bound Away" (Total time: 5:19)

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Madigan is a multi-instrumentalist; she plays bodhran, banjo, guitar, pennywhistle and is classically trained in piano. She is also the lead singer of a bluegrass band called Jaded Mandolin.

When did you begin writing your own music?

I wrote a few little songs when I was younger, but I started seriously writing music a few years ago when I was 15. I saw other people writing songs and thought, well I can do that. And I really like poetry so I can include that in my songs. I write mostly folk, though this ["I'm Bound Away"] is the first one I wrote for piano. I wasn't sure how to go about that. I'd written classical pieces. And I've written lyrics, but not piano and voice together.

How would you describe your winning song?

When I played the piano part for my piano teacher he said it was haunting. When I brought in the lyrics, my English teacher said the lyrics were haunting. And when someone heard them together, they described it as haunting.

What is the song about?

It's not about anything. Just what I was feeling. It's more about the emotion, not the event. My thoughts and feelings mulling around inside. I wrote the song in June. I started it, then I had to go to orientation at Salem State, and I kept saying, "I have to get back to my piano. I need to keep writing it." I think the whole song was influenced by the ballad tradition.

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