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MusicNOW 2012: Friday preview

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One more night of MusicNOW left. One more chance to absorb the genius of the musicians. One more night to take in the amazing ambiance of Memorial Hall. One more, at least for 2012. Have you enjoyed the first two nights? Last night we got to see some incredible premieres from Nico Muhly, performed by eighth blackbird. We saw Sandro Perri play a memorable set and of course, we all got to wish the legend Phillip Glass a happy 75th birthday, while watching him perform as well.

Tonight the stakes are even higher as Sufjan Stevens, along with Muhly and festival organizer Bryce Dessner take the stage as the headliners. They sit atop another well rounded field of musicians this evening that are more than worth your time on a Friday night.

Pedro Soler returns to MusicNOW tonight as well. He first appeared at the 2007 festival and played his flamenco guitar unlike anyone I’ve seen before or since. For the festival this year, he is teamed up with Gaspar Claus (cello), who he recorded the album Barlande with, and who also happens to be his son. And festival organizer Bryce Dessner also to produce the album. I really like what NPR had to say about the album…

In flamenco, the guitar is traditionally an accompaniment instrument to singers or dancers. Its role as a solo voice is a comparatively recent development. So, when you listen to Soler’s playing, you hear an attention to tone color, phrasing, space; not dramatic rasgueados and lightning-fast picking — what Soler calls “shiny” virtuosity. His music is based on a very old approach to flamenco learned from some of its masters, who were forced to leave dictator Francisco Franco’s Spain. Soler’s childhood home of Toulouse, France, became a kind of capital-in-exile for tens of thousands of Spanish Republicans (unlike our Republicans, they were mostly liberal and leftist) in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. It was in that sad ferment that, as a teenager, Soler began to understand the meaning of flamenco.

But this is not a flamenco album, and Soler doesn’t so much accompany Claus as interact with him. You’re hearing a father and son talk to each other through their instruments. Listen to the way the 73-year-old Soler and his 28-year-old son listen to each other. Play off of each other. Converse across time, geography, culture, history.

For a preview, here is a video directed by Vincent Moon for the Take Away Show series featuring Soler and Klaus.

And as if that wasn’t enough, This Is The Kit are also on the bill tonight. The UK based band’s 2011 album Where It Lives is a beautiful record, and I can already imagine the sounds echoing through Memorial Hall. Here is what Elbow frontman Guy Garvey had to say about This Is The Kit….

“just one of the best things i’ve heard all year, the rest of the lp’s pretty good too….wonderful wonderful stuff”

Listen to this song….

So I think it’s pretty safe to assume that tonight has the potential to be another epic MusicNOW experience. I hope to see you there.

Pedro Soler and Gaspar Claus will perform improvisations for flamenco guitar and cello at Memorial Hall. Just added! This is the Kit joins the bill. Doors will open at 7:00 pm. Concert begins at 7:30 pm.

Posted by Joe Long   @   30 March 2012 0 comments


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