Notes from the other desk…
There is something I love in every band on the lineup this spring. I can’t wait to see what Keller and those McCoury boys dream up for us on Thursday, I love the memories of Miami from Locos Pour Juana, I’m excited to disappear into Hindugrass, but here are the ones I’m most excited about watching you guys discover and love, if you haven’t already…
One of the agents I love working with called a few weeks before the festival last October to say that the Ben Miller Band was really close by and they’d love to play the festival. I said that I’d love to have them, but we were full. He pushed a little more, I watched some videos, and couldn’t help but make the effort to make some room for these guys on Sunday afternoon. It was raining and cold, and a little quiet at the Cabaret Tent, many folks had gone home because of the weather and the rest were spread out waiting on the closing show. I showed up to at least show a little support for a band I knew nobody knew about. What happened was exactly what you want to happen when you take a chance on a band you believe in.
They started playing – pulled out the washtub bass, some swampy guitar, and…a trombone – and they ROCKED it! People started flocking. By twos, fours, then tens, the crowds came. They came because they could hear it. And they could feel it. Their feet drew them, maybe even more than their ears. And there we all were, four or five songs in, in a packed and dancing Cabaret Tent that felt a more like Saturday night than Sunday afternoon. At once we felt like we were at church – albeit a strange, Southern, snake-handling type one – and in a juke joint on a sweaty bayou. There was a washboard, some spoons, I think they even played Billy Idol. So, this spring…we brought ‘em back, for the folks that heard it then, and those that will hear it now. Move your feet, hoop ‘n holler! Enjoy!
When someone like Pierce Freelon messages you from Panama to say that he’s met someone that he thinks should play the festival, you have to pay attention. So, over an Indian dinner cooked by a mutual friend, we watched a video of Yomira John of which Pierce and members of The Beast had been a part. In a studio that had lost power because a local festival had tapped the city of its electricity, the musicians and engineers did their best to capture what was obviously a once in a lifetime musical experience.
By candlelight – accompanied by the band – she sang from her heart in a language I did not understand, but I knew that Pierce was right, that the folks at Shakori Hills needed to know this woman, hear her voice and catch some of her laughter and spirit. She’s old enough to be the mother of any of the musicians around her, but she flirts like a teenager in French and in Spanish, quite the charmer. If we were in Panama, we’d be lucky to see her, as she’s quite the celebrity. Which means we are doubly lucky that she will be joining us at Shakori Hills – aren’t we always!?
Yomira will be a guest with The Beast on in the Meadow on both Friday night at 12:30am and Sunday at 2:45pm.
Check out Pierce’s project Beat Making Lab at www.youtube.com/beatmakinglab
Somehow these two, from the cold north of Boston, are able to capture a warm afternoon in a dusty but very comfortable village in Mexico. Their songs – catchy, dancey, and fun – and will draw you in at first listen as something both familiar and something you’ve never heard. They play a jaw bone, for goodness sake! These guys are the epitome of folk, from our country and from our neighbors to the south, but they also bring to the genre something modern and fresh. It’s beautiful and engaging, it’s a journey while standing in one place, it’s exploring a foreign land with some exciting tour guides, it’s a museum! Catch them on Friday at 5 in the Meadow and Sunday at 6 in the Grove.
I am also very exited about seeing Kym and Will of Loamlands, their newest musical invention. These guys are local treasures, even at such a young age, and they capture so much of what is local here in our lil’ music haven, they are also longtime festival veterans at this point, so I’m sure it will feel just like home. Check out the full band set on Friday at 5:30 in the Grove, but make sure to wake up on Saturday morning and come see just the duo in the Meadow at 10:15am!
And I don’t even know what to say about Oliver, except that you have to see him! If you’ve ever questioned “World Music” or wondered why we should be listening to songs from somewhere across the world, all of your questions will be answered at his set. Open your hearts and be ready to fall in love! In the Meadow on Saturday at 8:30 pm and Sunday at 6:30pm.
Can’t wait to see you at the festival!
Love & Peace,