Send Them To Us
social bookmarking tools:
|Available RSS Feeds|
|- Top Picks|
|- Today's Music|
|- Editor's Blog|
|Add Louisville Music News' RSS Feed to Your Yahoo!|
Providing Some 'Shine for Shine
The Thursday Shine Barefoot Concert series is ongoing. Shine is an excellent spot for music – it has one of the best acoustic rooms in the city, if not the best, and it is the only recurring venue in the city, besides the Iroquois Library, where one can hear international music from the various nationalities' own.
That being the case, the series from this point will be spread out to various other locations around town, so that the wealth can be shared (and, yes, where there can be beer consumed): Dream Land Film Center, the Nach Bar, and the Douglas Loop Farmers Market – in addition to gigs at Shine.
There have been some concerts at Shine that have been quite magical, in a variety of styles. It began with a tribute to Appalachia, with Owensboro singer/songwriter Dan Bowlds and avante-garde performer/musician Cynthia Norton. Bowlds grew up steeped in two distinct but similar styles of folk music – the first being the traditional music of Western Kentucky, Southern Indiana, and Appalachia – and the second, the folk music revolution of his generation. My personal favorites are his homegrown songs of Kentucky and Appalachia – he has a very beautiful song about the Cumberland Mountains and another haunting number about the coal mines.
Cynthia McGovern performs in a character called Ninnie Novel; she should design a concert series around her unusual homemade instruments – namely, a six-foot cabinet turned into a giant banjo. She does this shrieking rendition of "Pretty Polly" where Polly sounds like she is being murdered in pain. It is very surreal, but very effective at the same time.
We had a beautiful Valentine's Day for lonely hearts – Wakim and Angel Cordero. George is a member of the Lexington group Alma Gitana, and he played his oud and other traditional instruments, while Puerto Rican Angel Cordero played both romantic songs in Latin and Perry Como songs in English.
Perhaps my personal favorite concert so far (so hard to choose) has been South Sudanese (likembe) thumb piano player Maurice Moro, who brought his singer friend Lino Loboholoka Nakwa; and melodic, "intellectual" hip-hop husband-and-wife duo Cyphr Dvn. Jared Zarantonello from the Americana Center came partly to help out Cyphr Dvn, but also to record Maurice for his Americana Digital Music Project. Cyphr Dvn brought this rotating orb that lit up in colors reflecting off the walls as it spun around. (Really cast a spell.) Combine that with Maurice plucking his thumb piano and Lino singing low, gutturally, almost blues-like, in his native Dinka language. This will never be seen or heard again – wish more of you could have been there.
An entire concert was centered around Jakson Renfro, because he is one of those Louisville artists who has been around for a long while and has done something special and personal to him – and that is his Southern Preacher character, which he has been honing at Church of the Rocks for years. His point of take-off is religious, yes, but not to worry – nothing controversial or disrespectful here, in spirit. You should definitely make an effort to catch his act if you haven't already somewhere. I talked about with Jakson about his character's orgins, and it seems a large part of it comes from television, which I can clearly see. While the premise of the character is that he is questioning his faith, it is also clear that Jakson's inspiration is coming out of love and not cynicism, and also because he finds preachers entertaining.
As I am writing this I am finally realizing why I am fascinated with his character and find it brilliant. Jakson is doing an archetype character without any heaviness – without either any love or hate of religion – but simply for the entertainment of it. For his Shine show, Jakson's partner Ken Lucchese performed with him, making it a Serpent Wisdom show as well. Yalonda JD Green opened up for Jakson with some gospel, and also to end the show. The program was full of joy and light-heartedness.
Another series show exemplified the two different pathways a first-generation American musician can take – one, to hybridize the native culture with American music, and the other, to let the native culture stand in the background, and just perform the new American and British styles the musician encounters in the new land. Kenya Goonz has chosen to integrate native Somali dancing with Kenyan dance and American hip-hop dance.
On the other hand, you couldn't tell on the surface that singer-songwriter Alex Boz isn't American-born and raised or that he probably has spent only as much time in the US as any member of Kenya Goonz. Born in Uzbekistan, one could not tell by looking that he hails from Central Asia, nor does he incorporate the wonderful, wild Uzbek drumming and other musical styles into his very American songwriting. Nevertheless, his roots must account for a good deal of the excellence in his American-made product.
Kenya Goonz' members have created something remarkable with their high energy, and, while they are winning contests and traveling to different cities in the US to perform, they are keeping primarily to their ethnic Somali community. Alex Boz has a very American mindset and, making full use as he does of the advantages he is being offered here, he is, as I think, very likely to succeed with his singer-songwriting.
I wanted a concert centered on our editor, Paul Moffett, who has been performing with his contemporaries in jams at various venues in and around the city for years, ranging from Lisa's Oak Street Lounge, the Zazoo's, Air Devils Inn, and countless others, his most recent being the LGBT bar Purrswaytions on Preston Street, which is home to the drag-king troupe Boyzz by Knight (scheduled for a Barefoot Concert in June). A typically vintage-Louisvillian atmosphere – quite quirky.
Paul's modest little jams will fool you: they are always 'staffed' by all exceptionally talented musicians, who may or may not play weekly – in which anyone can sit in. But I like to come and visit anyway. You should too, sometime. (Moffett recently released "The Bambi Walk," a song about barhopping on Bardstown Road, from his Post-Nuclear Spanish Opera House album, which features songs from thirty-five years of writing.) A regular at the jam is Marty Rosen, who reviews restaurants for the Courier-Journal. I love Marty Rosen's eclectic taste for North Atlantic Sea Shanties – and you get to talk food. Another regular is Roxane Maliszewski, with her haunting, original songs that sound like they could have been written in the Medieval era. As a child who played with the original Star Wars toys, I was excited to find out she designed some of the original toys for Kenner. (So with her, you can talk toys.) Nanine Henderson comes along to add bass, and, plus singer-songwriter Glenn Metzger, who doubles on fiddle. Don't sleep through these sessions. I'll tell you what it's like: a bit of Greenwich Village, right here in Louisville.
I was asked a couple of weeks ago by a representative of Catholic Charities to get Ernesto "'Pistola" Rivera of the famous Cuban metal band Medual into the local rock/metal scene – and for a couple of weeks I called every contact I could think of, whether local or national, to give them Ernesto's contact info. (It will be exciting to see what having planted those seeds might bring about!) The Louisvlle Film Society has shown strong interest in Ernesto, as well as Astro Black Records – so keep eyes and ears peeled. Ernesto is an unusual refugee for Catholic Charities not because he is seeking political asylum, which Louisville seems to specialize in, but because of his artistic bent. Exciting that he's here – don't you think? Let's make him feel welcome – and twist his arm to perform for us.