Monday, February 13, 2006

To Stretch Our Ears

American composer Charles Ives wrote that his father would occasionally have them play a simple folk song in one key, but sing it in another. This was intended to "stretch our ears and strengthen our musical minds."

Getting out once in a while to hear something other than that to which we are accustomed is something I haven't done in a while. Thanks however to my friend, Jim, I took in quite an earful last night. I joined him last night to hear and watch Sigur-Ros, a band from Iceland that produces a blend of ambient and rock music. They were joined by Amina, an all-women group of four string and percussion artists, in performing most of the pieces. It was quite an experience. The music was very intense, at times ethereal and at times driving, but always mesmerizing. The musicianship was very high; no doubt many of the performers had been classically trained. To sustain that level of repetitive sound as was their style, also takes great skill.

The music of Sigur-Ros is a far cry from my daily diet of folk, bluegrass, and traditional repertoire. Every now and then I'll throw in a symphony or concerto from my old days, or my contemporary favorites like Dave Matthews or REM. I should do that more often, and get outside the bluegrass box more frequently to stay in touch with all the other contributions being made to the traditions around the world.

Write and tell us about the most interesting concert experience you ever had, who played, and the venue. What made it unique? I look forward to hearing about it.


At February 13, 2006 7:17 PM, Blogger Darkneuro said...

OOOOOh, I am SO FUCKING JEALOUS. Sigur Ros. ARGH. I LOVE Sigur Ros. They make me weep. I am jealous beyond compare. ooooh.....

At February 13, 2006 9:45 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Yes! Oh YES dear sister, they DID make me WEEP! I had never even HEARD them. I was compelled to go after seeing they had worked with the Brooklyn Acad and also sold out the Ryman for tomorrow night.

(And, by the way, I'm jealous back--come March, you'll be a LOT closer to the Ryman than I will;-))


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