ChiChronicles

notes from a journey through Chicago's cultural landscape...

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

...this is not about me, this is about my city - a living document of Chicago's art's scene, a memoir of concerts I've been to & performances I've seen, a jaded scribe's small sampling of the many offerings of this vibrant cosmopolitan city that I'm lucky enough to call home. I work the city as the city works me, all of us connected in varying degrees, here i pay tribute to our evolving soundtrack, I plug praiseworthy endeavors & try to give a little back... Together with my peers we paint this crossroads with every shade we can find, in your mediums & mine, i run with deep house deviants & wrinkled blues cats, youngun' b-boy crews & quirky circus brats, snobby eclectic DJs & electric painters laboring on projected displays, film makers armed with mini-DVs & picky chefs sculpting tricky masterpieces out of vegan grease... i kick it with slam poets & theater geeks, powerbook producers & fashionista freaks, photoshop fellowships & choreographer hips, while jazz cats blow digital epics through pursed bebop lips... i'm at the nexus of the next wave of Chicago sound - this is where i share the stories of all the beauty I've found...

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Aerial Aloft Dance @ the Circus Factory

I spent an hour tonight at the Circus Factory checking out the newest anti-gravity stylings of Shayna Swanson and her crew of aerialist aestheticians. It’s been well over a year since I’ve been in that space, a unique high-ceilinged hall that is the home of both a Wu Shu academy and Chicago’s own Midnight Circus, a beautiful crew of clowns, jugglers, and well-schooled acrobats that I was blessed to stumble across a few years ago. Took a few classes with Shayna @ the Circus Factory…woman had me dangling by my ankles off a spinning trapeze with rope burns like love bites on every exposed limb… The form requires an unwavering tolerance for vertigo that my stomach couldn’t handle and the experience pushed my willingness to part with skin for the sake of beauty. Still, the sight of bodies spinning in ultra-smooth spirals is one of the most exquisite visions dance has to offer an audience, and the sheer strength required of aerialists inspires respect. A form that demands refined physical attunement at all times weeds out everyone but the truly devoted spirits determined to move beyond natural physical limitations. Honestly, though, aerial dance wasn’t really quite for me… …I’m more of an earthbound stepper / flimsy capoerista than anything more evolved… But that doesn't mean i can't appreciate the beauty of other artist's chosen forms... to each their own…

5 Pieces from 5 Dancers under the collective title:
“variations on a single point”

1…on Kimberly Olsen-Wheeler’s “break free”
…calls to mind the Buddhist definition of Bardo:
“A gap, a suspension between states of stillness and hard flow…”
two seams of red fabric entwining an inverted torso
a shining white soul screaming sweetly for a sustained release
held rapt within a double-helix by dual blood-colored glow…
symmetrical extensions unfold, fast falls from grace then sequential climbs:
nine inch nails remixed with knot tricks draped in crimson cloth vines
where the fabric ends and the body begins the weight streams off
she weaves a tale out of hard positions that seem soft
concave spinal curvature caused by pull from above
she craves freedom from the commitments that gravity is composed of…

2…on Claudia Finn’s “Fist”
pole issues and self-punishment publicly conducted in loud silence
the feminine receptive’s firsthand knowledge of manufactured violence
rope friction and coping with self-scripted fictions
what is proud to be unfettered gets wrapped in restrictions
there is no real freedom that is not struggled for
the body is repeatedly split along axis until it yields the hardcore
the cold steel feel of randomly encountered parts charts the evolution of confrontational art
there is a certain peace to be found by purging anger’s pollution from the heart…


3…on Shayna Swanson’s “anti-“
…godDAMN this girl’s got GUNS…
everytime she flexes my first impulse is to RUN…
a slow deliberate tango, a dancer's duet with a static trapeze
a professional’s nonchalance, a partner’s familiar ease
deep spirals script signatures using this woman’s frame
even after she stops spinning her tracings remain
witness the pain body awareness of an elevated soul
with this blackness as backdrop she navigates higher thresholds
skin stripped raw revealing rippled layers of tone
dangling from clenched claws, an skeletal epic inked by linked bones
hurt replaced with grace and a curling taint of defiance
senses swirling around the bittersweet taste of a furious self-reliance…

4…on Jenn Liang’s “out of the daily grind”
logical frames born from hard cubicle angles
multiple levels & flat planes & accessories that dangle
reinforcing negotiable bonds within whitewashed walls
building ties with skilled hands, a set of programs installed
a squarish peg forced into an oblong hole
the status quo structure determines everyone’s role
whole weeks wasted waiting for the clock to escape
the captive mind daydreams a beyond that the body makes…


5…on Gail Coover’s “goddess ascending”
ancient psalms & clean white robes
glittery hair above wide eyes that probe
the angelic layer thrown aside to reveal day-glow stitching
a swift and vicious alteration – criminally deliberate archetype switching
from the unspoiled virgin to blood streaks etched in lines down legs
from a vision of innocence to a spectacle of Gaia’s monthly dregs
the theatrical impact transcends the crafty skills
the meaning delivered marinated & impeccably distilled
a priestess in profile working the magic of the veil
a Technicolor temple concealed behind an impossibly idealistic pale
leave behind the temporary stigma of the stains
& the strength of the immortal awareness remains…

Related Links:
www.aerialgirl.com
www.midnightcircus.net

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bombay Beatbox @ Sonotheque 4-20-05

In April 2004, when I first started working for Six Degrees Records, I was told to go check out DJ Warp & Radiohiro, aka Bombay Beatbox, who have been holding down the Asian Massive tip in Chicago for as long as drum n' bass has been emerging from the Indian diaspora. They turned out to be the most gracious and cosmopolitan music collectors I've ever met, and a year after I first begain promoting their night, I'm blessed to now spin the early set with them at the monthly Bombay Beatbox showcase at Sonotheque. It's usually quite an evening, and although we don't have the highest turnout, I do believe we drop some of the most exquisite music to be found in the city. This month was no exception...
It was really good to see a whole bunch of my long lost friends who came out to support us, kick back a few drinks, and chill while digging on the newest worldbeat electronica. What was exciting and a little different about this month's showcase was that we squeezed in a small but potent improvised set of live Tablas vs. Turntable scratching over original beats provided by Bombay Beatbox's resident VJ Baseshot Scenario, aka Brandon Ross. The idea was Adheesh Sathaye's, an accomplished producer and tabla player who is a member of San Francisco's notorious Dhamaal Sound System, perhaps the largest and most successful desi musical collective in the USA. I was a little scared things might go horribly wrong with our unrehearsed Tabla vs. Turntable segment, but it went surprisingly well and I think everyone involved really had fun. The crowd dug it too, so I guess we'll be doing a segment like it in the months to come. Brian & Matt (DJ Warp & Radiohiro) have been totally supportive of opening up the scene for more opportunities to spread the Asian Massive gospel, and considering their list of friends and contacts, I have faith that this city will evolve into another central locus for the electronic desi aesthetic. Anyone who hears Radiohiro's junglist tabla tracks is already aware of the fact that Chicago has its own distinct Asian Massive sound, equally as valid as New York's or San Francisco's or Birmingham's. It is, however, still in the process of forming, and hopefully in the months to come, while Adheesh still graces us with his presence, we can begin to coalesce from a crew into a full-fledged midwest MOVEMENT with the help of our touring friends like Karsh Kale and Six Degrees' MIDIval PunditZ. If we continue to have nights like tonight, things are looking up for the Chicago's fledgling Asian Massive community...

Related Links:
www.radiohiro.com

Friday, April 15, 2005

Africa Hi-Fi @ Sonotheque

Another late Friday night spent at Sonotheque listening to the strains of Ron Trent's DJ selections while tabling for Sonia Hassan, my two favorite Afro-centric spirits in the city of Chi. Tonight Africa Hi-Fi featured guest DJ MKL, a Belize-born NYC cat who came armed with some incredible silk-screened shirts to sell, a fistful of vinyl to hustle, and a whole bunch of records to drop into what was a cohesive mix of old and new afrobeat. I had a real good time, flirted with a fine sister who was flattering enough to come talk to me while all the rest of the weekend warriors were busy getting sloshed to release themselves from what's been a long, stressful week. 4 hours spent in little room with a wall full of Six Degrees posters, a table full of CDs & flyers, and a listening station equipped with MKL's album "3 Generations walking." I had a good time, as always, met a bunch of cool folks, sold a decent amount of music... Africa Hi-Fi brings out the usual Friday night fiends looking for hook-ups and quick drunks but also draws a regular crowd of beautiful folks from Ron & Sonia's circle of friends, good people committed to the music and focused on the intentions underlying the concept of this monthly gathering. Since I was away from the speakers I couldn't really fully appreciate the mix, but Ron routinely drops a moving set of sounds that is both funky and conscious, which can be surprisingly hard to find in the hedonistic world of House music. But Ron is so much more than just another House DJ, and he's seriously altered my approach to spinning records since I met him last year. Hearing him throw down for a Friday-night crowd once a month has been really inspiring, and I'm definitely privileged to watch and learn from the best how to rock a crowd till they bounce... Ron's a respository for all things funky and 'fro-oriented, and he's a great foil for the serious & imposing beauty Sonia H. brings to the mix each month. They make quite a team, and I'm starting to really need the monthly fix of dub & plantains & dark refined love I receive each month at Africa Hi-Fi... If y'all aren't doing anything on Friday, May 20th, and are looking for a good place to get down, come check out Africa Hi-Fi's "Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa" evening, which features the sounds from the Afro Counter Culture of the 1970's...

Related Links:
www.prescriptionworld.org
www.lionmusic.com
www.sonotheque.net

Chöying Drolma & Steve Tibbetts @ Preston Bradley Hall...

I had the pleasure of spending a little over an hour tonight listening to the renowned Tibetan Buddhist nun Chöying Drolma as she sang mantras and northern Indian melodies over a cinematic landscape of electronica provided by Steve Tibbetts on guitar and percussionist Marc Anderson. The glow emanating from her shaved head and the overpowering clarity of her focused chants took me back to Nepal…I closed my eyes and was transported to the Himalayan foothills I traversed in my adolescence, vistas of such serene beauty and magnitude that they dwarf human pretensions and put all the feeble posturing of our species into perspective. What I heard tonight was the sound of higher ground, the songs of a lineage of teachers descending from the spiritual plateaus of Tibet to illuminate the right path to grace for anyone caught up in the shadowy karmic limbo of materialistic concerns. Set against the backdrop of Steve Tibbett’s carefully orchestrated washes of volume and tone, and framed by the muted polyrhythms of Marc Anderson’s restrained percussive wanderings, Chöying’s voice opened a window to a tangible state of exaltation, the blissfully detached view available to those who have labored hard to arrive at the top of a mountain, who look down with affection at the stepping stones of the prolonged circuitous journey that led them to the vantage point at which they stand...

The crowd was middle-aged, mostly, but with a few gloriously blissed out 2-5 year olds running around the stage while gazing up at the performers with all the wide-eyed wonder of unadulterated innocence. The spectacle itself was as unique as the sound – Marc Anderson’s drum rig alone was an incredible combination of wood, steel, and skin, as doumbeks, tablas, and assorted shakers and chimes were all arrayed beneath a framed set of thick, tuned metallic plates that he played upon with soft mallets. Chöying Drolma sat elevated in the middle back of the stage, while Steve Tibbetts sat at the right side with a complex set of foot pedals linked together at his feet. During a break in the show, as the sound folks attempted to correct a monitor problem, Chöying briefly described her motivations in “traveling around and performing in blues bars with two men,” and how such a lifestyle fit into the greater scheme of her life. The performance proceeds she receives from touring and the sale of the “Selwa” record go towards funding a school for female Buddhist nuns in Nepal, where she is part of a respected lineage of teachers devoted to educating women devoted to the path of spiritual enlightenment. She also briefly touched on the idea of ego-less music, which is such a different approach to the process of making art from most Western methodologies. Most music is so rooted in the idea of SELF and personal identity that it is incapable of being divorced from the human delivering it. These musicians, however, were on a much different tip, seeking to build a repertoire of music that is tapped into a separate realm of awareness. You could hear the transparency she was talking about in her vocals, a channeling of sorts whereby she accessed a much older energy by becoming a vessel and living incarnation of the vibrations of the men and women who have sung these mantras in earlier generations. There is a certain kind of necromancy involved in repeating mantras, those who have previously invested their energy into the words arrive each time they are repeated anew, and their undeniable presence colors the experience of the sound. I don’t know much about the theoretical underpinnings of Buddhist music, but after soaking in music as rich as this, I look forward to learning more. For anyone interested in some clear focused sounds to accompany Yoga or meditation, I highly recommend Chöying Drolma & Steve Tibbetts latest album, “Selwa”, which can be found along with more about the artists at the Six Degrees Records website. Check out their work for an auditory glimpse of the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayan plateaus…

Related Links:
http://www.sixdegreesrecords.com/artists.php?artist=Ch%F6ying_Drolma_%5Bamp%5D_Steve_Tibbetts

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Cyro Baptista & Beat the Donkey @ Hot House

Scored two free tickets to Hot House via a Flavorpill contest! Ya gotta love anyone who will give you free tix just for knowing random music trivia...
Anyhow, my friends Hillary & Geoff wanted to check this show out as well, since they were already familiar with the ridiculous phenomenon known as "Beat the Donkey," so we headed down to Hot House together for what would prove to be a truly great show. We missed Chicago Samba, the opening band, because we arrived late, but Cyro Baptista and his rather large group of cohorts were busy setting up their incredibly elaborate stage rig. Here's some of the toys this group put to use over the course of the show:
A Day-Glow PVC Pipe device straight out of a Blue Man Group performance
A plugged in melodica
A samurai sword
A tap dancer
A set of timpanis
A set of Djembes
A full Drum Kit
A set of rigged-up original drums operated by levers and pedals
A grand piano
An organ
And more assorted insanity that I can't remember.

With vocals in Portuguese (Cyro Baptista was born and raised in Brazil before he became a New Yorker), Japanese, & English, and a formidable drum-core like rhythmic assault, this group was a lot of fun to watch and listen to. They came out all waving wind wands and then stretched out piece by piece into a stretched set of jams that spotlighted various members of the group, from the curly-haired pianist to the jumpy drummer to the tap dancing, samurai-sword wielding percussionist, to the smiling dreadlocked Djembe player from Rio. Equal parts performance art and jam session, I was really happy to have had the chance to experience the hysterical glee that characterized "Beat the Donkey." With a deeply Brazilian approach to combining rhythmic elements, this ensemble still managed to incorporate some free jazz, some deep funk, some raw blues, and some absolutely nutty polyrhythms into what was a most enjoyable concert. As Hot House was the designated venue for the afterparty to Widespread Panic's earlier performance this evening, the crowd was full of happy hippy types doing that disctintly phish-like dancing. It's hard to argue with a bunch of dreadlocked types determined to have fun, and I'm happy to know that I'm no so damn old as to try... Cyro & Beat the Donkey took us where they wanted to go, and I'm glad I got the chance to admire the view...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bill Laswell's Worldbeat Soundsystem/Musical Freezone @ WTTW

I won't even attempt to try and summarize this concert in words. Bill Laswell was asked to do a TV taping for Public Television's Soundstage program, and so he rounded up a ridiculous crew of his friends and partners in crime and then descended on Chicago's WTTW TV studio with the intention of recording a show for posterity documenting the pervasive overlap found between progressive worldbeat artists. I was one of 200 or so lucky folks to score a free ticket to this show, and it was simply overwhelming. Here's a list of all the artists that shared that stage over the course of 3 unbelievable hours:
Zakir Hussain
Pharoah Sanders
Pete Cosey
Hamid Drake
Nils Petter Molvaer
Buckethead
Brain
Toshinori Kondo
Bootsy Collins
Karsh Kale
DJ Disk
Grandmixer DXT
Ustad Sultan Khan
Selim Merchant
Foday Musa Suso
Aiyb Dieng
& Bill Laswell

My personal highlight was when Bootsy Collins made a loud theatrical entrance towards the end of the show, alongside his brother Catfish who was dressed in a clown suit & a big rubber prosthetic nose, and then they proceeded to wander the through the crowd getting folks riled up and echoing the refrain: "Keep That Funk Alive!" In fact, when Bootsy first climbed off the stage, he stood on my chair, put is hand on my head, shook his ass in my face, and started chanting: "Ain't No Kinda Party Like a Laswell Party Cause a Laswell Party Don't STOP..."
While I'm sure Bootsy has probably done that plenty of times to plenty of people, the proximity of it to me made me go home and immediately throw down some basslines in the vain hopes that perhaps the infinite funk the Collins brothers carry might be contagious by touch... Regardless, though, that TV taping was INSANE. Look out for the PBS screening of "Bill Laswell's Musical Freezone" whenever it comes out. It was the nuttiest gathering of legends I've ever seen on the same stage, and it's going to take me a long time to digest all the music that went down...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Tabla Beat Science @ House of Blues, Chicago

The seekers begin to gather in the shadows of the Marina Towers, converging from all directions to the north bank of the Chicago river. The crowd arrives in twos and threes, with the occasional loner strolling up amidst the multitude of cabs and cars ascending the spiral incline that marks the entrance to the House of Blues. There is a certain excited expectancy in the step of those who have come on foot, their approach is marked with body language that speaks volumes about how the promise of rhythm manifests in those who find their meanings in music. The crowd is an interesting cocktail - brown skins and white dreads, turbaned professionals, middle aged first generation immigrants, DJs and musicians of all creeds and colors, blissed out bourgeois fashionistas, respectable bespectacled minds, and a veritable horde of fine desi women who I'd like to take home to meet my mother. All kinds of folks have turned up. Walking the main floor of the concert hall, you sense the generations of listeners around you - the depth of their appreciation is tangible. Next to you is a refined connoisseur who was introduced to Zakir Hussain's recordings via Shakti in the 1970’s, and in front of you is a bobbing 19 year-old college student enraptured by the communion unfolding in front of her eyes. It's a good mix of people, with a collective awareness that reaches far beyond the limits of any single culture. The crowd is a vivid tapestry of overlapping languages and schools of thought, all of us anticipating an experience that will reconfigure our notions of musical identity.
DJ Warp and Radiohiro ease into the evening with reggae cuts and the occasional throbbing Asian underground classic. Long a fixture on the Chicago music scene, they're old hands at the task of warming up a crowd, both DJs equally adept at throwing down furious drum n’bass sets or seducing a fickle Chicago audience with lush international soundscapes. Their selection of sounds this evening is down tempo and deliberately restrained, but ripe with the prospect of the legends soon to grace the stage. The crowd is anxious, as friends seek out their companions and try to locate the optimal viewing spots from around the concert hall. The room begins to feel full.
At 9:45 the curtains draw back to reveal a stage filled with Abyssinia Infinite, a motley ensemble of veteran musicians whose 2003 release “Zion Roots” infuses traditional Ethiopian songs with African gospel stylings and impeccable production techniques. Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw holds court in the center of the stage, smiles out a benediction at the audience, and then begins to sing over a lush atmospheric bed of horns, keys, and congas. There is a gravity to Gigi's vocals that is ethereal yet earthy, she sings of Abyssinia in its own ancient tongues, the languages of Amharic and Agewna, with the occasional English lyric woven into the mix. Gigi’s vocal inflections are rooted in the traditional music of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and when framed against this ensemble’s organic percussion and electronic washes of noise, she sounds like a genuine Nubian priestess equipped with a vision for the digital era. After a few minutes of spacious, patient exposition by Gigi and her cohorts, Bill Laswell turns up on stage to drop the bass into the mix. He straps his instrument on, paces a quick circuit, then promptly starts to riff with the incomparable Hamid Drake, who's holding down the core beat on a drum kit. The two kick out a heavy-handed groove, which evolves from song to song into an entire set of intense, penetrating afro-funk. The crowd soaks up the refined blend of Abyssinia Infinite, as the bass embraces the main floor from the bottom up and the band begins to stretch out and trade solos. The spectacle is almost as dizzying as the sound.
A few tracks into the set a guest artist appears on the right side of the stage, wielding a white Gibson Les Paul guitar and with a freakish Mike Myers mask concealing his entire face. This is the notorious Buckethead, a sought-after session musician and a revered underground performer, and he makes several quick cameos over the course of the evening to provide an array of tightly compressed guitar solos. Buckethead leaves a deep visual and auditory impression, but he is hardly the only memorable face in this cast of characters. My gaze is drawn towards the tenor saxophonist, an inscrutably intense elder black man with ancient eyes, a high forehead framed by wisps of frizzy white hair, and an aura of severity and grace about him. Gigi introduces him a few songs later, after a handful of incredible solos, and it turns out this horn player is the jazz patriarch Pharaoh Sanders. He wasn't even listed on the bill, but apparently Bill Laswell, with the most enviable rolodex of any producer on the planet, and can summon forth quite a cast to sit in with his band at the touch of a dial. The rest of Abyssinia Infinite’s set goes by in a blur of solos and heavy bass textures, and they depart the stage to resounding applause from an enthralled crowd. People are still arriving.
When the curtains part again the members of Tabla Beat Science are spread out across the stage in staggered layers and small risers. The band weaves together its inimitable layers of rhythm and tone, slowly at first, and then picking up pace as each instrument introduces itself into the conversation. Ustad Sultan Khan is an immediate stage presence, his nuanced vocal flights handily paired with intricately bowed sarangi phrases that escalate into frenzied stabbing climaxes. Karsh Kale beats out a deft and elaborate rhythmic skeleton, which Zakir Hussain and DJ disk explore while trading fills and extended phrases. Selim Merchant colors the space with lush washes of texture from his keyboards, while Bill Laswell toys with his pedals and projects a tangible wall of bass into the room that you can feel filling the very pores of your skin. Hours after the show I can still feel the bass in me, a residual energy that refuses to let my body surrender easily to the folds of sleep. Some sounds leave traces of themselves embedded so deep that your reaction to their vitality is delayed, and only becomes apparent after the music has ceased. So it is with Laswell’s bass: he dishes it out in wave after wave of noise that you initially perceive from the bottom up, but which your mind must process later, after the immediacy wears off…
The concert is filled with highlights, conversational exchanges, calls and responses, dynamic shifts and solos that cumulatively comprise an incredible convergence of musical paths. When you have masters of this capacity trading techniques and skills with each other, the alchemy is fluid, inevitable, and undeniable. Over the course of the evening the mood in the room shifts, as everyone is swept up and savoring the caliber of the skills bouncing around the room. The band is having fun as well, obviously relishing the chance to play with old friends they rarely perform with. Gigi and Zakir trade 8 bars of bol-scatting in between giggles. Dj Disc, Karsh, & Zakir barter blistering breakbeats. Ustad Sultan Khan and Gigi vocalize careful overlapping harmonies. Laswell and Buckethead push the thresholds of tone and volume. By the time the group begins the first phrases of "Satellite (Show me the worth of the world)", most of the crowd is riveted. The worth of the world seems to be unfolding before our eyes, in the shapes of these masterful musicians refuting the limitations of their human differences in favor of pushing the boundaries of community beyond the constraints of language and culture. In a world thick with the fragmented static of warring ideas and confused civilizations, it is revitalizing to experience the simple clarity that comes from people united in rhythm, regardless of their races, their creeds, or their origins. Tabla Beat Science represents a musical culmination that dispenses with centuries of cultural distrust and misunderstanding in favor of pursuing a solidarity born from the evolved awareness that we all ultimately emerged from the same primordial rhythms.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Jorane & Azita @ Hot House

Spent early Saturday evening at Hot House, doing some merchandising for Six Degrees Records at a show featuring Jorane, an incredible French-Canadian singer songwriter who rocks a cello like no one I've ever come across. I've been listening to her new album "The You and the Now" a lot over the course of the last month, it's a moody masterpiece filled with beautiful vocals and evocative textures, and I was looking forward to seeing her perform tonight. Unfortunately I got stuck in the second room away from the stage because I was selling her album, so all I could really see was a spotlighted profile through an occasionally obstructed door. Still, I saw enough, and caught enough of the audio to discern a little about how her live show differs from her studio efforts. She threw down an impressive set, clearly outperforming Azita, the headliner, who came on after her and spent most of the rest of the evening commenting on the nuances of performing while sloshed... I dunno, man... Anyone can croon a song while drunk, it takes something else to be sober and still deliver for a crowd of unconvinced strangers. Jorane definitely left the audience with something to think about, turning out a collection of well-arranged, spacious songs both solo and alongside her guitarist Simon. Although it was a rather small crowd for Hot House, Jorane still sold a bunch of albums, which is always a good sign that people do in fact like what they hear, even if there aren't that many of them...
Since I was working a table on behalf of her management, I had the opportunity later in the night to meet Jorane and her road manager Brendon & guitarist Simon. A very cool crew of artists, I picked up some tips on albums to buy (while trading notes about playing pedal steel guitar, Brendon suggested I get a copy of Robert Randolph's album "Sacred Steel") and got a chance to give Jorane some lyrics I wrote while listening to her music. I've been wanting to work with a cellist for years, and her aesthetic is so unique that I really can't think of anyone more appropriate. She also informed me that "Fu" in French means "crazy", which fits more than I care to admit. It was nice to meet the personality behind the music, she was smaller in stature than I thought she'd be but virtually glowing with vitality and the infinite potential of a youthful beauty-seeker. Quite the looker, too, it's hard not to be enchanted with a talented avante-gard artist who can riff like a fiend and sing like an angel. I hope to run into Jorane and her crew again in the near future, as she begins her conquest of all those lands south of the Canadian border...

Related Links:
www.jorane.com