October 24, 2009
Musical Encounter - All Kinds of Strings
We had an unplanned musical encounter last night at a place I've been wanting to visit for other reasons - but what fun! S saw an announcement about a concert being given at the Montague Book Mill, featuring the duo of Cheyenne Brown (on celtic harp) and Seylan Baxter (on cello and vocals). Seylan is from Scotland, and Cheyenne is originally from Alaska, but met Seylan in music school in Scotland. Anyway - cello and celtic harp is quite a felicitous combination. The Book Mill is in an old mill house, complete with creaky floors and doors and lots of atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the cello-harp concert and look forward to listening to their new CD. Here is their website.
Following their set was Jozef van Wissem on baroque lute. A pretty interesting guy, but he never let fully loose with his playing. Most of his pieces sounded similar, more like etudes than the real thing. But the real treat came at the end, with 2 early 20-something guys who look like the most improbable duo you could find. There were only 2 of them, but in the course of their one (long) set, they played bass clarinet, violin, sleigh bells, other bells, a small keyboard powered by blowing, a gadget that looks like a castle with a keyboard, a small piano played by bellows, and I'm sure I'm forgetting at least 5 other things. The piece lasted about 30 minutes and was surely improv - but they made some interesting sounds and had some nice points of contact. And oh yes, they had 3 small casette tape recorders and did looping -- recorded snips and played against their recordings, becoming ever more complex. One of the guys told me they were from Brooklyn, but I didn't catch their names. They were in their own world, totally absorbed ... Flow personified.
The encounter was largely unplanned and unexpected - a welcome respite to a month that has been very highly structured with commitments and deadlines. Montague is 45 mins north of here, but there are lots of little places like it (well, not really like it) tucked away here in western MA. I look forward to exploring many of them!