Sunday, January 25, 2009

DEVOTCHKA/CLARE and THE REASONS


Last night I went to Webster music hall to see Devotchka, a Denver based indie quartet that merges rock with Russian and Mexican music.

Although the format they use is not common, it serves perfect the repetitive music they perform specially when Jeanie Schroder plays the sousaphone. I was impressed by the versatile musicians in the band because they play multiple instruments and that gives the band a very specific and original sound. A very interesting show, specially when the dancer came out.

The sound was pretty bad;poorly equalized but the energy of the band was enough to make the audience jump and toast with Nick (the singer that sings like Bono).
Clare & the reassons (Pic by Andres Villaveces)
Although I went to see Devotchka I loved the opening act, Clare and the reasons who will perform @ the Abrons art centre on Jan. 31st.
Besides the music, Clare & the reasons have a great visual stage performance, not only because they all appear dressed in red but because they also use simple twinkle lights that combined with their amazing format (string quartet, voice,guitar, bass, xilophone, baroque flute, keys, and tambourine) create an intimate atmosphere.
They performed a baroque-like cover of "everybody wants to rule the world" and I taped it for you, but before you take a look to the video I'll just quote some of their Myspace description, something I find very sureal.
"About Clare and The Reasons
First, Clare writes songs.
Then she brings them to the Reasons' test lab. There, the songs are submitted to a series of intense treatments and tests until they become what some people call: "lush and sinfully beautiful". This process named in the scientific community "Reasonitis Polymorpheus Synthesis" or RPS, lead to the making of "The Movie" (Frogstand Records) their debut album. (no known side effects. FDA approval pending).

But who is this Clare anyway?

She was born on the island of Martha's Vineyard, in a vegetable garden amongst the most incredible tomatoes grown by her mother Sheila. Her father, music innovator Geoff Muldaur, introduced her to artists such as Mildred Bailey, Bessie Smith and Sam Cooke. Clare rode hundreds and hundreds of horses and listened to these inspiring musicians on her walkman while working in the barn.

One day, she rode her horse all the way to Berklee College of Music. With a handsome scholarship she was able to study jazz arranging and composition. There, she met now long time collaborator Olivier Manchon. On their first encounter, he made her cry and then they got married."
video video

Saturday, January 24, 2009

POP-QUIZ

Well we finally got Obama! and that's the reason I've been thinking about politics and have a question for you...a little old but the related artists have a lot for 2009 plus the answer applies for today so here's my question.
What was the name of the politically charged package tour featuring Pearl Jam, REM and Bruce Springsteen that crossed North America in the run-up to the 2004 election?

funny huh?
VOTE FOR CHANGE

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A DEVILISH DUET


Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda and American drummer Mark Guiliana performed together as a duet for the first time last December @ Rose bar in Williamsburg.
I've seen each musician perform before but I've never seen them together. As Castañeda said: "we met in Israel and we both where amazed by each other's playing so we decided to get together."
This duet is a very interesting musical and cultural combination because Edmar plays Arpa llanera (plains' harp), which is a typical Colombian and Venezuelan instrument used to play música llanera(and it's not a diatonic instrument), while Mark is a jazz drummer who happens to love rock and reggae music but who demonstrated to be able to master the 6/8 rhythm in a unique, almost South American way, and that's the base for this duet.
Although Edmar started playing música llanera, he has developed a special technique for the harp and has brought his skill to jazz and world music without leaving his roots behind.
The chemistry of Castañeda and Guiliana is so special and virtuous that evokes a typical cliché: the traditional pact with the Devil.
This interesting batter of cultures and experimentation (Castañeda uses guitar pedals for the harp) brings me to "Florentino y el Diablo," a traditional canción llanera where the mithycal power of this South American musical genre is embodied by the counterpoint which is not treated as in the classical repertory but as a duel, just like in the hottest jam session, bringing this music to a universal understanding, in this case the encounter with this unbelievable duet.
Here are some videos for you to enjoy
video
I found this video on youtube. It's Edmar Castañeda performing with Now V.S Now

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"MY FUNNY BUSINESS": MATISYAHU

I don't like religious music or proselytizm, but when music's good it stands above everything, even words. Last Sunday (Dec 28) I went to see Matisyahu @ the Music hall of Williamsburg; Great sound, great venue, good musicians, and great energy once the opening act was over because that was BAD, really bad.
I've come to the conclusion that in music, once the technical aspects are exceeded, it is all about the energy, and relegious or not, the energy that night was special.
Jewish reggae might sound like a contradiction, but these days everything merges and Matisyahu knows exactly how to do it, no wonder he said it was his "funny business" when he tried to anounce a ringtone code.
It was very exciting to see souch a diverse crowd attending the same concert, just imagine the dough of people that wanted to listen to Reggae, drum n' bass, hip hop, Jew chants, middle Eastern instruments, free music (including a bike handlebar with different bells and horns), and beatbox in the same show, and not happy with that, Matisyahu brought 5 guests and performed for 3 hours.
Here are some pics and videos I'd like to share with you






video