Saturday, January 20, 2007

Spontaneous fun

Yesterday morning S suggested we go to a concert. Why not, we said, it'll be fun and we need to practice spontaneity!

So last night we went and had tapas at one of our favorite local restaurant, Viva Madrid, in Claremont. Then we walked across the street to the Folk Music Center.

This is a great music store. They sell a wide variety of string instruments including not just your normal guitars, but harps, violins, violas, mandolins, banjos, ukelalis, and I couldn't tell you what else (they do have a wide selection of didgeridoos though).

The place was opened by Ben Harper's grandparents many years ago, and Ben owns it now. S has met Ben's mom and thinks she's great and that the store has great service and inventory. They regularly host concerts in the space and we've been to a show there once before, the Diddy Bops (whom I'd strongly recommend for some fun bluegrass style music!). It's a fun place to go for a concert. They basically just bring folding chairs into the shop and set the stage up in the back. I'd guess that the crowd capacity is about 75 people and our experience is that the people who come love music.

So anyway... we went over to the show, Piers Faccini and Ritmo y Canto.

Now I've shared with you that this was a spontaneous decision... musical performance, close by, let's go, type of decision. The show was fantastic!

Ritmo y Canto plays traditional cuban music. You should take a listen. Very upbeat... very fun. I was just astonished at the skills of these musicians. It was a group of 11 very talented musicians playing a range of instruments. Much of it seemed very free form to me, but the orchestration was just dazzling... they clearly were in tune with each other and had some system, unclear to me, that allowed them to switch, turn, and dazzle. Very impressive.

Piers on the other hand plays a whole different type of music. Again, take a listen.

One website I saw describes him as having "a love for West African rhythms and mournfully elegant ballads." I think that, in retrospect, this is a good description. Great voice, very talented musician, and a great performance. He did his first few songs solo with acoustic guitar and then was joined by members of Ritmo y Canto for back up for the rest of the show. Wow... I was amazed at this group of musicians.

The great news... you can catch a show too. Piers is playing in Newport Beach tonight and then in Long Beach. After that he moves onto Utah, Colorado and then states further east. I don't know if Ritmo y Canto is traveling with him or not, but either way, it would be worth the watch, I assure you. Ritmo y Canto is also touring and you can see their dates on their pages too.

You want to know one other amazing thing, there was a couple in their late twenties/early thirties who sat next to us with a baby who must have been only a few months old. That baby was amazing. Just sat, and slept, and gurgled through the whole concert. Mom and Dad must be doing something right with that child!

1 comment:

Carol said...

I love an intimate concert. We used to go to a music store here called the Musician's Exchange Cafe. They hosted outdoor concerts-a small outside space out back or inside barside on a tiny stage. We used to be just a few feet away from folks such as Dizzy Gillespie, Jaco Pastorius and the Ocean Sound Band. There is so much talent out there and it's a gift to be able to catch any one of them that we can!