The Meaning Behind “Ravens and the Wrens”

Lyrics and music written by Molly McGinn
Backing vocals performed by Kate Tobey, Brooke Stokes
Electric guitar by Molly McGinn
Violin and violin arrangement by Kate Tobey
Synthesizers and electronic score by Quilla (Anna Luisa Daigneault)
Musical arrangement by Quilla, Kate Tobey, Alex Bingham
Produced and recorded by Quilla, Mike Garrigan, Kate Tobey
Recording studio: Two Egrets (Greensboro, NC)
Released by Ritual Fire Records, August 2021

Art by Church Goin’ Mule
Animation by Stefan Kei DiMuzio
Subtitles by Quilla

“Ravens and the Wrens” – a new song by Molly McGinn, Quilla, Kate Tobey, featuring Brooke Stokes – is now out everywhere! You can stream or buy the track here.

Notes from Quilla:
“When I first heard a home recording of Ravens and the Wrens, I literally fell off my chair. I was taken aback by its power and beauty, and I sat on the floor in stunned silence for a while after listening to it. Kate Tobey had recorded a video performance of the song with Molly and Brooke, and had shared it online. I thought they were playing a cover of a classic Dolly Parton or Fleetwood Mac song that I had never heard before. I read the credits and realized that my dear friend and musical collaborator Molly had written the song, but I had never heard her sing it before. I immediately picked up the phone and called Kate and had a mild freak-out. I don’t know what I said, but I conveyed my enthusiasm for us to work together to produce a studio version of this track. Then we phoned Molly and asked her if she wanted to do that, and she agreed. She was surprised that I thought the song was so great. I said “OMG this song is literally the sound of angels”! And we got to work making the studio version you hear now.” – Quilla (August 2021)

Description of the Project
The song embodies a sound created for the new South: modern, inclusive and spiritual. Both a prayer and an anthem, “Ravens and the Wrens” lures the listener into the magic of the moment, bridging the human and natural worlds. McGinn’s vocal style conjures a blend of jazz, folk and soul, and Tobey’s violin brings a traditional, rustic quality to the piece. Powerful backing vocals provided by Tobey and vocalist Brooke Stokes resonate throughout the piece. Through carefully woven synth layers that form a lush, ambient bed of sound, Quilla’s electronic score adds a contemporary dimension to the song, elevating the folk genre by fusing the analog and the digital.  

The lyrics were inspired by Molly McGinn’s friend: trans activist and author Sam Peterson. In his book, “Trunky: Transgender Junky,” Peterson writes about his first experience as a transgender man in the men’s ward at a drug and alochol treatment center in Butner, North Carolina. The lyrics attempt to capture his confusion as he struggles to see the difference between what’s healing and self-defeating as he makes his way through recovery. The chord progression is inspired by the Appalachian Old Time tune “Red Rocking Chair.” 

“Ravens and the Wrens” is a folk song for the LGBTQIA community in the new south; it’s a call for healing from the trauma that held us back, and a plea for grace as we stumble our way forward. All genres of art are looking to be more inclusive. And folk music should be leading that conversation. This song attempts to represent that shift as we embrace non-binary narratives, and electronic instruments, and provides a place of inclusivity for all us. 

“Behind the Scenes” – VIDEO CREDITS
Directed, produced and edited by Kate Tobey
Video footage by Kate Tobey, Quilla, Molly McGinn

Social links

Molly McGinn 
IG: @busterdilly  

IG: @quillamusic

Kate M. Tobey
IG: @katemtobey 

Embrace 2021: Reclaim What You Love, Restore How You Feel

On July 22nd, The Ink Project and Poetic People Power will present Embrace 2021: Reclaim What You Love, Restore How You Feel. This spoken word event will showcase the work of writers as they explore this theme in their own narrative. Artists will present pieces on topics including time, language, race, gender, and democracy. Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 8 PM (EDT) via Zoom.

Writers will present new works in response to a commission by the producers. As our society navigates the repercussions of 2020 and begins to emerge after a long period of isolation, this event provides a vital, communal space for writers to express their anger, hope, disillusionment, and resolve.

Writers include Suzen Baraka, Yolanda “Yogii” Barnes, Tara Bracco, Jim Buckmaster, Marsha Habib, Philippe Garcesto, Karla Jackson-Brewer, Cohen Kraus, Anna Luisa Daigneault (Quilla), Deonna Kelli Sayed, and Rashaad Thomas.

If you would like more info, here’s the Facebook event. Hope to see you there! Tickets are $5 at Ticket Tailor (link here: The Zoom link will be shared via email once you have registered.

Quilla’s music video for “Beans Beans Beans” will premiere on PBS Kids NC and Rootle

Exciting news! The music video for Quilla’s beloved song “Beans Beans Beans” is officially premiering on Saturday, July 24th, 2021 on PBS Kids NC and Rootle. It will be a featured segment on Rootle’s Block Party LIVE! At Home, an hour-long television extravaganza showcasing summertime activities, music and entertainment for kids of all ages.

Directed and edited by Alexei Mejouev with animations by Stefan DiMuzio, Quilla’s music video was filmed inside the amazing setting of Elsewhere Museum, a collaborative art world created from a former thrift store, housing a 58-year collection of things and contemporary art pieces. Many thanks to the curators of Elsewhere Museums for allowing this video to take place. Shout-out to artists Jesse Hoyle, Ashley Virginia Buffa and Liam Trawick for production assistance.

You can catch this episode of Rootle’s Block Party LIVE! At Home on Rootle on the following dates, at these times (all in EST):

Saturday, July 24 at 9AM and 3 PM
Sunday, July 25 at 9 AM and 3 PM
Saturday, July 31 at 7 AM and 1 PM
Sunday, August 1 at 7 AM and 1 PM

You will also be able to watch the full episode online when it’s available on July 24th, 2021:

Partners & performers of this Block Party include:
NC Division of Child Development & Early Education
Smart Start of Transylvania County
Get Set Transylvania
Mountain Sun Community School
Rise & Shine
Pisgah Collective
Mr. R

Quilla Writes Nature-Infused Theme Song for WUNC’s podcast “CREEP”

WUNC Creep podcast art

I was both thrilled and intrigued when I found out WUNC was creating a new podcast entitled “CREEP” about invasive species in North Carolina and beyond. Writing music for this project was a dream come true: the show brought together my interests in music production and science communication. It felt very synergistic and timely to me, because I had recently been making bird loops on Instagram. I thought writing this theme song would be a good opportunity to use the ambient nature and species recordings I had been collecting during the pandemic as textures in a composition.  

Writing a theme song is part alchemy, part deep listening to the creative brief, part distillation of your collaborators’ personalities. In my initial meeting with the producers of Creep, I asked them: what emotions do you want the listener to feel when they hear the theme song? What moods are you trying to convey? Their answers were: mysterious, subversive, dark, intriguing, tantalizing. Not a slasher pic, but unsettling. We want it to be simple yet ominous. I love a creative challenge and the mood felt ripe to make something that would suit this unique show.

I thought a prominent bass line would help translate the feeling of mystery. I had a lucky flash of insight while sitting at my piano soon after meeting the producers of CREEP. An early version of the bass line came spilling out onto my keyboard, very jagged and haunting. It felt like I was pulling it out of the ether. After a few more tries on piano and some quick recordings on my phone to not lose my initial palette of ideas, I came up with a solid version of the bass line and tempo, and then recorded it in Logic with various electronic instruments. I settled on layering a plucky upright bass with a warm analog synth. I produced four slightly different versions of the bass line before settling on the one you hear in the final version of the theme song, which is entitled “Dark Science.” 

It was really fun weaving in bioacoustic sounds into this piece. I asked the producers what species they would be covering, and collected some useful insect samples online as well from my nature trove. I experimented with many different sounds before deciding which insects and animals made the cut. The final version of theme song contains samples from: solepnosis invicta fire ants, the eastern screech owl, the cotesia marginiventris wasp calling song, cicadas recorded outside my window, other ambient layers recorded in my backyard as well as bioacoustic recordings I made near the Dan River in North Carolina. It was important to me to include as many native North Carolina sounds as possible, since the podcast focuses on invasive species found in North Carolina and the Southeastern US.

Photo by Molly McGinn (near the Dan River, NC)
Photo by Molly McGinn (near the Dan River, NC)

I also wrote three interstitial pieces for this podcast entitled “Multispecies Party”, “Chance Ecologies and “Unintended Consequences” – more on those later when I make them available online! They play in between segments of the show to highlight different moods of the story being told.

About the podcast: “CREEP is a podcast that encourages us to lean in for a closer look at how insects, animals and plants are changing the environment, economy and health of our region in ways we never expected. Listen, subscribe and get to know some of nature’s most fascinating, grotesque and mysterious members. Presented by WUNC in partnership with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.”

Listen and subscribe to CREEP:

Quilla will headline “City Sunsets” concert series on June 5th, 2021

Bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket (and your dancing shoes) for a night of live music in Center City Park in downtown Greensboro, NC.

Quilla will kick off the “City Sunsets” summer concert series with a live performance on Saturday, June 5th from 7-9pm. This is a free, all ages event. All details here

The City Sunsets Concert Series runs 7-9pm, every Saturday from June 5th until August 28th. Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc. would like to thank Well-Spring: A Life Plan Community for its support of this concert series.

Around Town Sessions: Performance by Quilla

Recorded at Elsewhere Museum in downtown Greensboro, Quilla was featured in the most recent episode of Around Town Sessions.

She performed a song in Spanish entitled “Un alma del norte y del sur” (The North-South Soul) from her recent album, The Handbook of Vivid Moments (2020). She and musician Ashley Virginia played an improvised vocal loop piece called “I Belong Here” that was inspired by a mural piece entitled “You Belong Here” by Canadian artist Bronwen Moen, created at Elsewhere. Lastly, Quilla played a new piano & voice single entitled “Surreal” that will be coming out on her label, Ritual Fire Records, in summer 2021.

Around Town Sessions was directed by Alexei Mejouev and produced by Ashley Virginia Buffa, with production assistance from Liam Tramwick.

Thank you to Program Curator Jesse Hoyle at Elsewhere Museum for allowing us to film in the library!

Interview in Authority Magazine

In an interview with Ed Sylvan, Quilla opened up about her background and creative process. Read the full article here.

Screenshot from Quilla's interview with Authority Magazine

Here are some highlights from the article.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was 15 years old (in the late 90s), a musician friend made me a mixtape full of powerful and visceral songs by Tori Amos, Bjork, and Diamanda Galas. Listening to that mixtape on repeat was very influential. I remember thinking, “Wait, I’m allowed to feel like this and write about it in songs? Sign me up!” That mixtape was one of many factors that sent me down the lifelong path of pursuing songwriting. I wanted to find ways to express inner landscapes of emotion and imagination.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am working on producing two folk-electronic tracks with Americana artist Molly McGinn. The songs are hauntingly beautiful and I am thrilled to be working with her. She calls me her “ride or die chick” because I take these productions very seriously. The details are very important when I am combining acoustic and electronic elements. Other than that, I am working on solo material such as new vocal loop pieces and instrumental pieces that will become the score for a documentary film series called “The Mothers” (working title) about women artists who balance motherhood and creativity.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I just wrote in my journal the other night: “Mothers hold up the sky. We also create the eyes that see the sky.” This is important to me because as a mother, I am always inspired by the joys of motherhood but also I am constantly constrained by my role as a mother, so I always have to remember the important roles that mothers have in this world. We are shaping the next generation of human beings. We are also shaping ourselves in the process.

Read more here.

Quilla featured on the last episode of “The State of Things”

Thank you to North Carolina Public Radio for having me on the last episode of “The State of Things” on WUNC. It was an honor to discuss my new album, as well as the story behind creating the theme song for WUNC’s amazing Embodied podcast (a show that will continue to air every Friday at noon on WUNC). It was a pleasure to be interviewed by Anita Rao and her team, and to work with them to craft the theme song.

Listen to the full interview here.

The instrumental I produced for “Embodied” was inspired by the WUNC team’s innovative exploration of the science of pleasure. It became the song Algorithms with Benefits. The lyrics were later inspired by many conversations with my dear friends and colleagues who are also conservation scientists: Karen Park and Felice Wyndham. I ended up featuring the song on my album.

With the song “Algorithms with Benefits” my goal was to convey the idea that nature is the true source of our power as resilient and beautiful human beings. The patterns in nature are what have shaped humanity over millennia. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in technology that we forget we are intrinsically connected to Earth’s primordial cycles and rhythms. The digital algorithms that are molding our online realities can also be a distraction from our relationship to nature.

Thanks for listening!

Dec 19th: Quilla, Molly McGinn and friends at The Carolina Theatre

Quilla and Molly at Ghostlight Carolina Theater

Quilla and Molly McGinn will play live at the historic Carolina Theatre in Greensboro, NC on Saturday, December 19th, 2020. This event is part of the Ghostlight Series. LIMITED TICKETS ON SALE NOW.

What is the Ghostlight Series? “Ghostlights are a tradition almost as old as theatre itself – they light the stages when there are no performers, keeping the spirit of the theatre alive. After six months of just our ghostlight, we are thrilled to replace it with live performances on the Carolina Theatre stage! Seating will be available, but will be limited to 25 guests for each show, per government mandates. All guests will be asked to sign a liability waiver, and wear a face covering unless seated in the Auditorium.”

Tickets are $20 plus 6.75% NC Sales tax.
Tickets include one admission, one concessions item and one beverage.
Sorry, draft beer and popcorn not currently available.

*** *** *** *** ***

Quilla – the moniker of Montreal-born Anna Luisa Daigneault – is an electronic music producer, vocalist, songwriter and educator based in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is known for her ethereal soundscapes, hypnotizing beats and vocal loop compositions, as well as for teaching music production workshops for women. She was a featured vocalist on hit dance tracks released by Universal, Revealed Recordings, Armada, Vicious, and Ministry of Sound. Her third album, The Handbook of Vivid Moments, was released in September 2020 to critical acclaim. Quilla will perform all the tracks from her new album, including guest violinist Kate Tobey on several songs.

Quilla and Americana artist Molly McGinn will also play a set together in this performance. Known for their electronic folk track “Wild and Kind” (Ritual Fire Records, 2016), the duo will unveil a new collaborative piece entitled “All Ye Outs” for this Ghostlight Series concert.

*** *** *** *** ***

Molly McGinn and friends will open the evening with their signature style of jazz-infused Americana. The band includes notable North Carolina artists such as sacred steel player DeShawn Hickman; musician and producer Sam Fribush on keys, a special appearance on drums by world-renowned jazz artist Charlie Hunter, as well as producer and bassist extraordinaire Alex Bingham. They deliver a beautiful blend of story-telling, soul influences and original songs by Molly McGinn

*** *** *** *** ***

What you need to know before your visit to the Carolina Theatre

Please bring your mask/face covering as it is required to wear unless you are seated in the Auditorium.  We will have complimentary disposable masks available if needed.

The front doors will open 30 minutes prior to scheduled curtain time.  Please bring your email receipt for entry, and your Waiver of Liability with you.  This is not a public performance so only ticketed guests will be allowed in, and there will not be any walk-up sales. But don’t worry, we will have a list of those who have purchased tickets if you leave your email/receipt at home.

Staff will greet you inside the Lobby doors (with face coverings).  Temperatures may be taken at this time. You will be given a drink coupon (or coupons if you have pre-purchased additional beverages).  Our staff will assist you with your beverage and concessions selections.  We will have a variety of bottled beer, wine, soft drinks, tea and water, as well as an array of candy.  Unfortunately, popcorn will not be available.

Please maintain social distancing at all times.  This is a general admission show, and with only 25 tickets available and over 700 seats downstairs to choose from, we will not be blocking off seats, but we do require you to leave two empty rows and at least three empty seats between parties.  Staff will be available for any seating questions.

Remember to use one of the many hand sanitizing stations throughout the Theater. They are there for your safety and convenience.

This event is being videotaped for rebroadcast at a later date.  Your entry acknowledges your consent to use your image should it be captured on video during the performance.

Oct 15th: Writers Read

Writers Read is a live streamed event at Scuppernong Books for North Carolina writers to share work-in-progress. It will be broadcast on Zoom and Instagram.

WHEN: Thursday Oct. 15th. 7pm EST // 4pm PT.

ANNA LUISA DAIGNEAULT (Quilla) holds an M.Sc from University of Montréal in Linguistic Anthropology and works for the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. Anna is also a songwriter, producer, performer known for her ethereal vocals and live electronic sets. Originally from Montreal, Canada, she currently resides in Greensboro. Learn more about her new album at

ELIZABETH ILLIG is a writer and career coach who focuses on YA fantasy novels, career and personal guidance, and book reviews. Currently pitching her first YA fantasy novel while working on her second, she dreams of seeing her name in her local bookstore. Learn more at

ASHLEY LUMPKIN is Georgia-raised, Carolina-based writer, editor, actor, and educator. She is the author of five poetry collections: As a lover of performance as well as the written word, she has been a competing member of the Bull City Slam Team since 2015 and currently serves as its assistant coach. She co-curates the series “First Draft,” a reading of new works and works in progress. She currently serves as a member-at-large on the board of the North Carolina Poetry Society. Learn more at

ILARI PASS is originally from Maplewood, NJ. She is a retired maintenance worker of the United States Postal Service. She holds a MA in English, with a concentration in literature, from Gardner-Webb University. Her work appears or forthcoming in RedFez, Unlikely Stories, Triggerfish Critical Review, Rigorous Magazine, The American Journal of Poetry, Drunk Monkeys, Broad River Review, Common Ground Review, and others.

DEONNA KELLI SAYED is an internationally published author, a TEDx speaker, and a performer. She is the Membership Coordinator for the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and the PEN America NC Piedmont Representative. Deonna is currently working on a novel set in the Florida Panhandle. Learn more at

Register in advance for this meeting: