October 11, 2009 | Comments Off
From his website:
Peter’s latest tour is on his 12th CD, Letters from a Flying Machine. Over the past 20 years, Mulvey has pursued a restless, eclectic path as a writer and musician – immersing himself in Tin Pan Alley jazz, modern acoustic, poetry, narrative, and Americana stylings. He has also shared the stage with luminaries such as Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, Ani diFranco, Indigo Girls, and Greg Brown, and has attracted an audience that stretches from Anchorage to Amsterdam. Peter Mulvey began as a self-described “city kid” from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He played, wrote, and sang in bands while studying theatre there, and then traveled to Dublin, Ireland, in 1989, where he learned the trade of the street singer. Having since resettled back in Milwaukee, Peter has continued his touring life. In every aspect of his career, Mulvey draws on an extremely broad swath of influence; he is always reading, listening, and eager to hear new poetry, modern minimalist composers, old-time fiddle tunes, Argentinean trip-hop, or top-shelf bar bands. Still, it is the live performance that defines his work. Night after night, whether performing solo, duo (with David “Goody” Goodrich), or sometimes even with a band, Mulvey attempts to be the sum of his parts, to draw on all the musical legacies he has studied, to make a fresh, vital moment out of everything he and the audience have brought to the table that night.
October 2, 2009 | Comments Off
From their website:
Beaucoup Blue is the Americana Philadelphia based duo of David and Adrian Mowry. Father and son have been performing their roots-based music nationally and internationally as a duo, quartet and, on occasion, quintet. Bridging many gaps in American music, their soulful traditional and contemporary styles mesh into an innovative and authentic sound. Although blues is a staple in their repertoire, they base their love in music from Folk, Soul, R&B, Jazz, Country and Bluegrass. All these interests and influences come out in their original songwriting in a unique way. A handsome range of instruments like six and twelve string guitars, slide guitar, round neck resonator guitar, combined with two soulful voices, encompasses a rich and honest feel, noticeably influenced by familial ties.
Beaucoup Blue had previously released two albums: Out Of The Woodwork (2003), and Hearts At Home (2005). The long awaited third album, Free To Fall, is produced by Grammy nominated Jim Salamone. The project features a world class rhythm section including Jeff Sheard on drums, Bill Zinno on acoustic upright bass as well as the extraordinary talents of a few friends. A guest appearance by Universal recording artist Melody Gardot, and the Americana Angels of Red Molly contributed their voices to this important work in classic proportion.
September 14, 2009 | Comments Off
From their website:
Elegant and epic, realist and romantic, foreign and familiar – Likeness to Lily is a Brooklyn-based New Music quartet with a flair for telling syncopated stories in the patois of post-modern pop. Vocalist Susan Oetgen’s classically poetic melodies come from the heart of everyday life and love, and find pulse and passion in the jazz-inspired rhythms, harmonies and compositional savoir-faire of pianist Tony Melone, drummer Evan Pazner and bassist Ian M. Riggs.
Since forming in 2003, Likeness to Lily has performed regularly in the downtown music clubs of New York City, recently venturing forth to appear in concert series and performing arts venues along the East Coast, notably on the Vermont Arts Exchange’s Basement Music Series in N. Bennington, VT, and the Hump Day Groovz Series at Washington, DC’s Busboys & Poets. In 2005, Likeness to Lily independently recorded and released their debut record, Solitude’s Dollhouse, which features the song ‘Jewelia’, as heard on A&E Television’s prime-time reality show, Random 1.
In March 2008, Likeness to Lily premiered an original multimedia song-cycle entitled Bazm-o-Razm on the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s Music off the Walls series at the Brooklyn Museum, featuring chamber musicians from the Brooklyn Philharmonic, visual images by artist Justin Waldstein, Iraq War photos by Pulitzer Prize-nominee Alan Chin, and choreography by Sahar Javedani. Bazm-o-Razm was reprised at The Performance Project @ University Settlement in May 2008, and will be performed again on December 5, 2008 at Galapagos Art Space, for the occasion of Likeness to Lily’s Farewell, Recruit CD release. Farewell, Recruit contains the complete music of Bazm-o-Razm, as well 6 other original songs that integrate the dramatic depth of opera with tight, but conversational, song arrangements and ageless acoustic appeal.
September 7, 2009 | Comments Off
Imani Winds has established itself as more than a wind quintet. Since 1997, the Grammy nominated ensemble has taken a unique path, carving out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming, genre-blurring collaborations, and inspirational outreach programs. With two member composers and a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging European, American, African and Latin American traditions.
The wide range of programs offered by Imani Winds demonstrates their mission to expand the wind quintet repertoire and diversify sources of new music. From Mendelssohn, Jean Françaix, György Ligeti, and Luciano Berio, to Astor Piazzolla, Elliott Carter and John Harbison; to the unexpected ranks of Paquito D’Rivera and Wayne Shorter, Imani Winds actively seek to engage new music and new voices into the modern classical idiom. Imani members Valerie Coleman and Jeff Scott both regularly contribute compositions and arrangements to the ensemble’s expanding repertoire, bringing new sounds and textures to the traditional instrumentation.
Imani Winds enjoy frequent national exposure in all forms of media, including two features on NPR’s All Things Considered, appearances on APM’s Saint Paul Sunday, NPR’s Performance Today and News and Notes with Ed Gordon, the Bob Edwards Show on XM Satellite Radio, BBC The World, as well as frequent coverage in major music magazines and newspapers.
September 5, 2009 | Comments Off
Dr. Kent: Now, my next guest on the show is Darol Anger, he’s known as one of the best fiddlers in the country for a long time now He was a member of the Turtle Island String Quartet, an amazing group of musicians. They cross over from classical music to folk music to all sorts of things. We’re going to listen to one song from him called Love On Three Levels, and after that we’ll talk to him live.
Dr. Kent: What a beautiful song from Darol Anger. That song is called Love on Three Levels. And now I have Darol live on the show. Welcome to the show.
Darol Anger: All right, I’m glad to be here.
Dr. Kent: Tell us about that tune, Love on Three Levels.
Darol Anger: Yeah, well, it was dedicated to somebody who I was with at the time, and we had a place that actually had three levels, so I decided to write a tune that had three sections, and had a lot of three-type rhythms. I decided to throw every three I could in.
Dr. Kent: You have such an amazing background, you know, when you started talking about numbers there, so many of the tunes that you’ve done and that the Turtle Island String Quartet, of course, and all these projects you’ve done have crazy rhythms and this and that, but they all sound beautiful or crazy fast, and this and that. And it’s only when someone tries to go and play it that they realize how difficult some of that stuff is.
Darol Anger: You must be a musician then, huh?
Dr. Kent: Yes, indeed. Yes. I wouldn’t even try to… But how’d you get your start with doing some of the more I guess crazy stuff? There’s straight time fiddle playing, and you’re certainly great at that, but how did you get into some of the more difficult stuff?
Darol Anger: Well you know, I grew up at a time when the Beatles were very popular. In fact, I got into music because of the Beatles. So that kind of ruined me for any kind of traditional, period, supposedly pure kind of music style, I think. Just growing up in that kind of aesthetic. And I’ve just always been interested in stuff that was interesting to me, you know. I’m just interested in a lot of things. I love all kinds of music, and to me it doesn’t seem that weird. I just try to make it so that it’s beautiful, you know, that you can listen to it without having to worry about how it’s all constructed, but if you really want to get in there, if you want to get into it, you can.
Dr. Kent: And you’ve played with some people that would make most fiddle players just absolutely drool. From legendary Stephane Grappelli to Mark O’Connor and Bela Fleck and then of course Vassar Clements who passed away a couple years ago.
Darol Anger: Yeah. it’s been an incredible education.
Dr. Kent: The violin is such a tiny little instrument, but it can do so many different things.
Darol Anger: It’s one of the most flexible instruments that is made. You can see it’s spread to all parts of the world, you know, just about every culture. Even the East Indians use the violin in their music now, it’s amazing. Something that was invented basically 400 years ago in Italy has spread all over the world. That sort of tells the story right there about how flexible and how you can just pretty much do anything with it. I love it. And I have been really, incredibly luck to play with all these people. I guess David Grisman and Tony Rice really were the guys that really taught me the most at first about music and playing music and stuff like that. Playing in David’s band was incredible, and he was very generous with his knowledge. He kind of stuck with me when I was struggling, cause I wasn’t that great a player when I first got on with him, and he had faith in me and let me develop at my own pace, which was as fast as I possibly could, but it still seemed like forever, trying to get up to those guys’ level. And who knows if I even am yet, but it’s been an amazing, amazing trip. I feel incredibly lucky and I was just in the right place at the right time.
Dr. Kent: And what’s so interesting about David Grisman’s groups and those is that they can pick extremely fast on some crazy tunes, but he and a lot of that generation of players, they can really do melodies, you know, they can slow it down and play the tune.
Darol Anger: Oh yeah, that’s been such an important thing for me. And that’s something you aren’t necessarily going to get at first. I think many young players are kind of in a stage where they’re just adding stuff and I think it’s a necessary stage, you know, that people just instrumentally try to do more, and just add to their repertoire, and it’s not necessarily, the time, to focus in on the essence, the melody. I guess I’m kind of in a place where I’m starting to carve away at everything that doesn’t sound like me in my playing. It’s an interesting time where I’m actually working on eliminating stuff, rather than adding. I might go through another period of adding, you know. I certainly just recently have been really interested in Swedish and Scandinavian string band music. There’s this group called Vasen, great, amazing Scandinavian players. And that seems like I’m going to be adding a lot of stuff there, you know, but right now I’m just carving away, trying to get at the melody.
Dr. Kent: What projects are you working on right now?
Darol Anger: Well, I’m in Berkeley, California and I’m going to be playing a couple shows at the original Fillmore auditorium with the Yonder Mountain String Band tonight and tomorrow night. I’m really looking forward to that. Those guys are just some really great people. They’re very creative, exciting musicians, and it’s going to be fun. For some reason they seem to just love me, and I’m happy to be part of their world. That’s good, I’m just kind of sitting in with them. And then next week I’m going to be teaching at a fiddle camp in Big Sur, California. That’s south of Monterey, down on the coast there, and it’s going to be a beautiful place. I’m going to be working with the great Irish fiddle player Liz Carroll and Bruce Molsky, and the Clarridges, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Tristan Clarridge, six-time Grand National fiddle champion who plays cello with Crooked Still.
Dr. Kent: Oh, I have heard that. Yep, I’ve heard him play. And Liz Carroll is an extraordinary player, she played with, what’s the name of that group, Solas, was it?
Darol Anger: She had possibly played in Solas for a short time. Liz is actually one of the few fiddle players who I get scared to take my fiddle out of the case around her. She’s amazing, you know. But I’m used to being a little scared.
Dr. Kent: It’s funny that yeah, it would be fun to watch all the fiddle envy going on backstage between all the fiddle players.
Darol Anger: Oh, yeah.
Dr. Kent: No, but I think you’re all underpaid enough that you all respect each other, right?
Darol Anger: Oh, we love each other, you know. It’s just such a different, difficult instrument. I always like to say that there’s this imaginary nation of string players. We’re all kind of go through the same thing, we’re just trying to struggle to play this instrument, it’s very unforgiving and you know, we’re a community of people whose imaginary boundaries are scattered through and beyond all the other imaginary boundaries that people make up. We’re very aware of how difficult it is to do this, and are mostly really supportive and very admiring of each other’s work. Liz of course is just one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. And I’m actually really looking forward to getting over my fear this week, this next week, just to learn some Irish fiddle playing from her. She’s just so terrific, and she’s got a new record out with John Doyle, the guitar player.
Dr. Kent: Oh, he’s the one that makes me put my guitar back in the case.
Darol Anger: Yeah, those two together are just like a meltdown, you just think the whole world’s going to just come alive and start playing and spinning.
Dr. Kent: Exactly. Well, your music is very much admired, and I’m a huge fan of the Turtle Island String Quartet.
Darol Anger: Well, thanks.
Dr. Kent: As a classical composer, actually, that was one of my earliest introductions to some crazy harmonies.
Darol Anger: That’s great. Um, you mean, Jazz harmonies, right?
Dr. Kent: Do you still do anything with that group?
Darol Anger: You know, I see those guys a lot. I left the group, let’s see, we started the TISQ in 1985 and I left the group in ’96. But they’re still going, with two of the original members, and they’re just doing better than ever. I think the group is just amazing. So it’s exciting to have helped start something that’s become sort of an institution, you know. Or to have started something that seems to go by itself. I guess it’s something that the world needed, and now it’s continuing.
Dr. Kent: Well, it’s been such an honor chatting with you, and we’re going to listen to one tune on the way out here called Overture From the Acadian Suite. Talk about that for a second, and then…
Darol Anger: Oh yeah. That was inspired by my friend Michael Doucet, who has the group BeauSoleil. Michael is sort of a closet jazz fiddle player, and he’s quite the amazing guy in general. He came to me with some music that he got from a documentary that was made in the 30’s, which was all drawn from this amazing Cajun source material that was some of the first field tapes to be made in Louisiana. And it was turned into this movie score by Virgil Thompson. So there’s this amazing score for this movie, called The Louisiana Story, all based on Cajun music. Michael wanted to sort of turn it back into a piece that The Fiddlers Four could play. So there are two layers of digestion here that are required, you know.
So I did that, and then I wound up doing music for a documentary about that same movie. Michael did the voice-over narration soundtrack for it. So I wound up kind of adapting all that stuff, and now it’s just into another phase, it’s been through a whole cow’s stomach kind of thing. And it’s actually genuinely something really nice, so I’m kind of working on that for string orchestra, I want to develop that into something and maybe Michael and I will do solos on that, so it’s a project.
Dr. Kent: Well very cool, I’ll be psyched to listen to that with everybody else here, and I really appreciate you talking to us.
Darol Anger: Well it’s a pleasure, yeah, I hope you guys are having nice weather out there. Of course in California it’s always the same. It’s pretty fun. All right…
Dr. Kent: It’s creeping towards summer here, very slowly.
Darol Anger: All right, that’s good. We like that part.
Dr. Kent: So we can find out a lot more about Darol Anger on his website, http://www.darolanger.com, and there’s a ton of stuff on there including where he’s going to be appearing, and all his recordings and samples and all sorts of good stuff. Thank you for chatting with us today.
Darol Anger: Hey, well, it’s my pleasure. Thank you so much.
Dr. Kent: And we’re going to listen to that track I was telling you about called Overture from the Acadian Suites, he just told us about that, let’s listen to it.
Dr. Kent: That was a beautiful tune by Darol Anger, and we’ll see you next week. Pick up a good book, and we’ll talk to you next time.