Archive for July, 2010

i love blues

July 31, 2010

Classy, smooth, and as cool as can be. Wes Montgomery for a summery Saturday. Just right.

festival des arts

July 27, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I received a press release about the upcoming Festival des Arts, a week-long festival taking place in Québec’s Eastern townships. The dates were straightforward enough: July 24th through August 1st. The exact location, though – now, that was a bit more difficult to nail down. I visited the website and discovered why: it’s a festival spread out over two towns, and four different venues along the shore of Lake Memphrémagog.  Alright then. Sounds like a road trip.

After a little confusion accidentally(!) crossing the Canadian border in Derby, VT (where only some of the many town streets that serve as crossing points are marked…sheesh!) and a short drive North on 247 after going through an approved border crossing, the little elephant signs began to appear on the roadside. I had been to the website. I’d seen the pictures. I realized Georgeville’s Elephant Barn venue must be the first stop. And so it was: a large red barn with typical white trim, except for the huge white elephant on the side. The inside glowed with refurbished natural wood and soft lighting strung artfully from the ceiling. Every surface was covered in art: pastels, acrylics, oils, aquarelles (watercolors) and stained glass…along with glass and driftwood tables and a whole back yard filled with tall sculptures. And what a location! Views of the hills in the background, woods and grassy fields in the foreground. A natural setting for a lot of interesting, locally created art. My favorites here were all liquid acrylics from the same artist, Christine Pelzer. I liked her loose, fluid technique and the colorful, bold, architectural compositions that resulted from it.

Next stop was also in Georgeville, at the Murray Memorial Center. It’s an open, airy, gallery-style space with light paint and hardwood floors. The first thing that caught my eye upon entering was the works of sculpteur Matthieu Binette. His small (4-8 or so inches) faceless metal human figures are whimsical and invested with personality, while remaining fairly static at the same time. They don’t bend as much as they are gently curved into the flow of the larger work, while the single figures in shadow boxes stand against backgrounds painted with the subtle shapes of shadowy wings. (You have to see it: check out some pictures at Binette’s gallery website here.) When I mentioned to the artist that his figures reminded me a little of Giacometti’s figurative sculptures, he lit up: “yes, I did not know about Giacometti until one of my art teachers saw my sculptures and told me about him! Then I read a book, and learned about Giacometti.” He didn’t deny the resemblance, but having learned about the master sculpture after arriving at his own individual style seemed a perfectly acceptable explanation. Binette’s work, however reminiscent of anyone else’s, is nonetheless personal and certainly uniquely crafted – the metal he uses to create his figures comes from welded and melted coat hangers!

Two more stops on the afternoon tour (Town Hall in Fitch Bay, and the Art Nitsche Gallery in Georgeville) revealed fine bowls made from wood burls, imaginatively formed hanging stained glass pieces, many oil and watercolor paintings, more sculpture and many other fine objects d’art.  It was hard to take it all in during a single visit.

The Eastern Townships Festival des Arts runs through this coming Sunday. Take the drive, it’s both a rewarding trip and destination!

playlist #121 (7/26/10)-encore, en français

July 27, 2010
World of Music
Pgm #121 – Alors, put on your accent and get dancing already!
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm EDT – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Paris Combo: Mais, Que Fait Le NASA? (But, What Is NASA Doing?) / Attraction / ARK21 186810079 – (FRANCE)
Paname Dandies: Les Chips / Le Swing de L’Escargot / Volvox 703 – (FRANCE)
JP Nataf: Je Mange Mal (I Eat Badly) / Plus de Sucre / Tôt Ou Tard 2004 – (FRANCE)
Hadouk Trio featuring Malouma: Tourneblues / Baldamore / Naïve 812891 – (FRANCE/MAURITANIA)
Didier Sustrac: Baisers Volés (Stolen Kisses) / Je Chante Un Air / ZinZin 70268791 – (FRANCE)
Rose: Saisons (Seasons) / Rose / Source etc. 696582 – (FRANCE)
Ukulélé Club de Paris: Chigadaging / Manuia! / EmArcy 17741 – (FRANCE)
Hamed Daye: Ne Me Quittez Pas / Le Grande Épopée / Blackdoor Records 25663 – (FRANCE)
MC Solaar: Galactica / MC Solaar / Polydor France 557603 – (FRANCE)
Accoules Sax: Je File Au Goudes (I Feel Good) / Fiesta Music / CMD 12597 – (FRANCE)
11 Acorn Lane: Le Sexe Au Téléphone / Painting Coconuts / 2009 – (FRANCE)
Pascal Parisot: Bip / Les Pieds Dans Le Plat / Milan Jeunesse 2008 – (FRANCE)
Les Boukakes: Lila / French Essentials III / Bureau Export 2005 – (MOROCCO)
Paris Combo: Lettre A P… / Paris / Putumayo 249 – (FRANCE)
New Quintet du Hot Club de France: Micro / Jazz Manouche vol. 2 / Wagram Music 3118072 – (FRANCE)
Mathieu Mathieu: Cette Ville / La Gloire est Morte / Milagro 1313 – (CANADA)
Emily Loizeau: Fais Battre Ton Tambour / Pays Sauvage / Opendisc 531407 – (FRANCE)
Gérard Pitiot: Marine / Vues d’Ailleurs, Pour Mots D’ici / Productions Spéciales 2003 – (FRANCE)
Ocho y Media: Mi Fiebre Parisina / Ocho y Media / OYM 8 – (FRANCE)
Astier & Les Frères Sakarine: Le Bal du Malheur / Le Bal du Malheur / Les Disques Gavlois 70268014 – (FRANCE)
Georges Brassens: Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis / Georges Brassens / Wagram Music 3093622 – (FRANCE)
Carla Bruni: Raphaël / Acoustic France / Putumayo 281 – (FRANCE)
I Muvrini: Terra / Pulifunie / Higher Octave World 82621 – (CORSICA)
Petru Guelfucci: I Detti Di U Ventu / Corsica / Tinder Records 42841002 – (CORSICA)
Nassima: Les Douleurs de L’Exil / Des Racines et des Chants / Rue Stendahl 2009 – (ALGERIA/FRANCE)
Aldo Romano: A St. Germaine des Prés / Chante / Dreyfus 346050366882 – (FRANCE)
Coralie Clément: Ces Matins d’Étè (These Summer Mornings) / Salle des Pas Perdus / Nettwerk 30273 – (FRANCE)
Dino Mehrstein: Notes d’Étè (Summer Notes)/ Jazz Manouche vol. 2 / Wagram Music 3118072 – (FRANCE)

à la france

July 25, 2010

It’s the time of the year when Paris empties out as her residents leave the city in search of cooler and more ocean-oriented places to spend the summer.

That leaves a lot of French entertainers, with no one to entertain. We’ve invited them to visit World of Music this week for a tout-français show. Aldo Romano, Emilie Loizeau, Django Reinhardt…they’re all coming, and we’ll even have a special guest appearance from the French first lady, chanteuse Carla Bruni.

World of Music is a fully accented bouillabaisse of blues, poetry, jazz, and international music every Monday from 3-5pm ET on the Radiator. Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re listening in Burlington, VT. (Use the online option if you’re one of those last poor remaining folks still sweating it out in Paris right now.)

r.i.p. daniel schorr

July 23, 2010

Late this afternoon the world found out that Daniel Schorr had died: 93 years old, with over 60 of those years spent as a journalist. I’ll leave the comprehensive, newsy remembrances for those better equipped to write them than I. (Like, NPR’s tribute.)

Instead I’d like to honor Schorr’s legacy in the best way I know how. With music. Here’s Diane Reeves, from the Good Night and Good Luck trailer – a great film about Edward R. Murrow, who recruited Daniel Schorr in 1953 to become one of the original members of the now-legendary CBS TV news team.

Thank you Daniel for your unwavering integrity, your fearlessness in shining the light under the carpet, even when that dedication meant landing on the Presidential “enemies of the state” list – and for establishing a new standard for respect, both personal and professional.

Good night, friend, and…good luck.

playlist #120 (7/19/10)-latin street party

July 23, 2010
World of Music
Pgm #120 – Latin street party. Get sweaty, be happy.
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm EDT – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Pete Escovedo: Ah Bailar Cha Cha Cha / Jazz Moods: Cha Cha Party / Concord Picante 5220 – (MEXICO/USA)
Los Van Van: Bailando Mojao / The Best of Los Van Van / Milan 35799 – (CUBA)
Ramito w/Nieves Quintero y sus Campesinos: No Hay Cama Pa’Tanta Gente / Aguinaldo a Borinquen / Ansonia Records 1560 – (PUERTO RICO)
Costo Rico: Por Esos Mares / Radio Latino / Putumayo 255 – (SPAIN)
Los Mirlos: Sonido Amazonico / The Roots of Chicha / Barbès Records 16 – (PERU)
King Bongo: El Baile del Boogaloo / Academia de Baile-Salsa en Vivo / Tropisounds 1111182 – (CUBA)
Bobby Valentin: Tú Eres Mi Coco / Bad Breath / Fania 773130344 – (PUERTO RICO)
Forró for All: Feira de Mangaio / Forró for All / Mezzogiorno Records 2006 – (BRAZIL)
Romulo Caicedo: La Luna y El Pescador / The Rough Guide to Cumbia / Rough Guide 1043 – (COLOMBIA)
LA-33: Bomba Colombiana / Gozalo / 2007 – (COLOMBIA)
Chabuca Grande: Jose Antonio / Serie de Oro-Latinoamericana / EMI 76935 – (PERU)
Pulpo’s Hot Bread: Tirandote Flores / Pulpo’s Hot Bread / The Mambo Project 801 – (PUERTO RICO)
X Alfonso: Perro Que Ladra / Latin Funk / Rough Guide 1196 – (CUBA)
Novalima: Camote / Coba Coba / Cumbancha 9 – (PERU)
Francisco Aguibella: Guajira Candela / Ochimini / Cubop 42 – (CUBA)
Tiné: Cobrinha / What’s Happening in Pernambuco? / Luaka Bop 6808990065 – (BRAZIL)
Los Guaracheros de Oriente: A Santa Barbara / Vol. 3 / Ansonia Records 1417 – (PUERTO RICO)
Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca: Le Rendez-vous / São Salvador / Putumayo 158 – (CUBA)
Luis Miranda: Se Muere Mi Gallo & Controversiando / Mi Musica Borincana / Ansonia Records 1626 – (PUERTO RICO)
Willie Colón: Te Conozco / Cosa Nuestra / Fania 773130223 – (CUBA)
Alex Cuba: Caballo / Alex Cuba / Caracol Records 2009 – (CUBA)
Sonido Vegetal: Sur Peninsular / Sonido Vegetal / 5000 Records 32 – (SPAIN/SENEGAL)
Señor Flavio: Lo Mejor del Mundo / Supersaund 2012 / Nacional 20008 – (ARGENTINA)
Fruko y sus Tesos: Manyoma / Grandes Exitos 1 / Discos Feuentes 11011 – (COLOMBIA)
Grupo Galé: Ave María Pués / Autentico / Tropisounds 2251036 – (PUERTO RICO)

muy caliente!

July 18, 2010

We’re riding the crest of the July heatwave this week on World of Music, with two hours of salsa, merengue, chicha, and cha-cha-cha…for starters.

It’s a Latin street party this week with Peru’s Novalima, Cuba’s Ricardo Lemvo, and other hot sounds from Brazil, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Argentina.

World of Music is a combustible concoction of blues, poetry, jazz, and international music every Monday from 3-5pm ET on the Radiator. Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re listening in Burlington, VT.

warebrook institute

July 18, 2010

I didn’t come very well prepared.

After the 2+1/2 hour sunset-lit drive north on I-91 through some of the most pristine forest lands in the Northeast, I arrived Friday night at the United Church of Newport only to discover I didn’t have the $10 admission fee for the night’s concert. At least, I didn’t think I did until in a desperate flash of inspiration I said, “I do have $10 Canadian”, offering the two blue bills to the woman with the cash box. “That’s great!” she said, smiling and reaching out to accept them.

There just aren’t many places in the US where you can pull that one off.

Newport, VT is around six miles from the Canadian border. This time of the year it’s host to the Warebrook Institute and Contemporary Music Festival, now in its 17th season. The whole last week has been devoted to workshops held at the Coventry School in Coventry, VT, just down the road a piece. Participants can spend five days in intensive sessions on composition, choral singing, or chamber music. The end of the week holds four concerts on Thursday and Friday evenings, and Saturday morning and evening.

I left Burlington around 4:45pm and arrived just in time for the Friday concert’s 7:30 start time. It’s been a rough couple of weeks in this area with high temperatures and equal humidity levels, and the United Church was quite stuffy for the night’s performance. I only noticed it until the music began, and then my thoughts were on tritones, non-traditional harmonies, and the great musicianship on show with the Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival performers.

The Concordia String Trio opened with Walter Piston’s Three Counterpoints (1973),  a set of pieces whose reward lies in the delicacy of the inner voicings and interplay between the instruments. The Trio played these beautifully, infusing Piston’s spare score with warmth and luminosity. The next two works were by William Anderson and performed by the composer himself, and his guitar partner Jason Sagebiel. Of Course (2004, for solo guitar) and Coursing Again (2007, for guitar duo) . These two pieces were followed by Anderson changing out his guitar for mandolin, and playing another duet with Sagebiel in Frank Brickle’s Genius Loci (2008). Really lovely.

The last piece in the first half is a contemporary classic, the Fratres for Violin and Piano (1980) by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. The musical conversation between the two instruments resembles the economy in certain poetic forms, like Japanese haiku or sijo, where the structure is as relevant in appreciating the work as what is actually expressed in the content. Violinist Susan Jensen and pianist Daniel C. Padgett played Fratres with great rapport and gentleness, punctuated by brilliant flashes of color and volume that elegantly communicated the work’s underlying vitality. Fratres is typical Pärt in its essentially contemplative and quiet nature – but never underestimate the fire that simmers just below the surface, waiting to find just the right fissure to explode wide open.

The second half commenced with another guitar duet featuring the same performers from the first half, in Charles Wuorinen’s playful Dodecadactyl (2003). From there we moved on to the second of the Three Postludes for solo piano (2010), a world premiere performed by Joan Forsyth. And, Anderson was in the audience to hear it! I always enjoy that aspect of contemporary music, there’s often a good chance the composer will be in attendance for the premiere of their music. John Orfe’s Barcarolle (2009) was next, a work written for Eb Clarinet, Violin and Cello. This and the last piece were probably my favorite works in the concert. Mark Margolies expressive clarinet was matched by violinist Marcia Henry Liebenow and cellist Darry Dolezal, alternating phrases throughout the piece.

The evening’s finale was another work written this year, the premiere of Sara Doncaster’s Songs of Whimsy and Devotion, a setting of six poems by Vachel Lindsay and William Butler Yeats. Pianist Padgett was joined by tenor Jon Garrison in a passionate, riveting reading of the songs. There are certain considerations one has to make when listening to song settings of verse – how well does the music support the text? Does the music enhance the text, without overcoming it? Franz Schubert and Ned Rorem are exemplary in these ways, and so is Doncaster. From the first song, Lindsay’s hymn-like St. Francis of Assisi, to the last one – Yeats’ typically idiomatic and rollicking The Fiddler of Dooney – the music was in complementary balance with the strength of the poetry. Padgett and Garrison’s performances were also deeply engaging and entertaining, with Garrison gesturing to underscore the music in appropriate moments. I talked briefly with Padgett afterward and he confirmed, he had acquainted himself thoroughly with the text of the six songs to be able to offer the best possible interpretation along with Garrison’s singing. The Six Songs were a fine finale.

Warebrook’s season is over now, but if you enjoy freshly written music played by invested performers, consider adding it to your list of must-experience events for next summer. Guaranteed whatever the program, it will be an adventure, and undoubtedly a very rewarding one at that.

And don’t forget to bring a few dollars to get in – or don’t, and hope you at least have the amount to offer in Canadian currency. It just might work!

battery park

July 15, 2010

…that’s Battery Park, Burlington, VT – not Battery Park, at the tip of Manhattan. Battery Park in Burlington is also nicely situated near the waterfront, however, and the Park’s cultural life is every bit proportional to its lively NY City namesake. We manage to get a lot into our short summer months here.

It’s the place to be, for example, Thursday evenings in July for the annual free concerts sponsored by Burlington City Arts. The series opened last week and the next concert will be starting in just a few minutes. If that’s not enough time to get there, then consider going to one of the two remaining shows:

  • Thursday, July 22nd: Foley Artist – The intricate acoustic guitar melodies of Michael Chorney, the ripping blues of the Eames Brothers and the sultry, ethereal vocals of Miriam Bernardo combine for an evening of eclectic blues and roots music.
  • Thursday, July 29th: Gin Wigmore – Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. Her latest album Holy Smoke was recorded with the backing band The Cardinals (Ryan Adams)

Summertime in Vermont is all about the live music, especially when it’s outdoors.

“in the event of an actual emergency…”

July 13, 2010

There are certain challenges one contends with in operating a statewide radio network. Especially in places like Colorado (where I came from), and Vermont (where I live now) with vast geographical and topographical differentiations possible over such a broad area. Where there may be truly severe weather occurring in one area, it may be quite localized with weather that’s just fine everywhere else. What to do, broadcast the warning over the air (when the radio signal covers the entire region, afflicted and unafflicted areas alike) or not?

One of the issues we must consider carefully is the broadcast of messages from the Emergency Alert System. You know what I’m talking about: these are the pre-recorded, often very difficult to hear message preceded by a series of brapping tones that start with something like: “At 7:19pm Eastern Time, the National Weather Service reported a line of dark clouds and ominous winds in a line 20 miles Southeast of…” You hear these a lot in the summertime, when hail and lightning and thunderheads are most prevalent.

Well it’s easy enough to decide what kind of alerts to broadcast: the ones that are imminent or expected to impact life and limb (tornado, flash flood) are a given. But what about the severe thunderstorm watches? What about all of the high wind warnings, or those dire freeze advisories? Keeping in mind that with storms of the “imminent” kind, it’s also very likely that they will be fast-moving, so that any warnings one decides to air must go out IMMEDIATELY or face the very real risk of being irrelevant because they speak to a system that’s already passed.

And so we learn that there are many subtleties, indeed, in deciding what should be broadcast immediately and what could possibly wait, or not be aired at all.

That must be where this video comes in, featuring a very distraught caller (with a very thick Texas AX-cent…). The poor woman – all she wanted to do is catch the season finale of her fave TV show, and what she got instead was some guy on the local TV station talking about tornadoes that weren’t even  “in her area”!

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