The first of hopefully a series of rambling reviews of DNK-events, in which I will not try hard to stick to rules of good journalism, so there might be run-on sentences and you might stumble upon completely unrelated or irrelevant observations. Not to mention the spelling mistakes. Served here FYI.
The first time I heard Seamus Cater’s songs from his Anecdotal Music project he played solo, singing and playing the Fender Rhodes. That was earlier this year at OT301. I liked it a lot, which came as a mild surprise as I am not a big fan of singer songwriter stuff. I do like songs as a literary genre though (it’s more the whole pop-thing and the oh-hear-me-and-my-small-world-personal-troubles that turns me off). Seamus takes the song as a literary genre, and objectivates the form for instance by using the first person which is not ‘Seamus Cater’ but a third person (another artist, for instance Bas Jan Ader). Also he’s rather reaching back to ballads and folk music than to pop. (On the other hand: the singer behind the piano is immediately ‘pop’. Probably I can only take that from Seamus Cater.)
For the opening concert of DNK Seamus Cater focussed on songs about whaling and performed in trio with Viljam Nybacka on drums (yes, not on bass guitar) and Fritz Welch from the New York outfit Peeeeseye on percussion. Actually one could say it was a quartet as twice over a record player was turned on to play a whaling song from an old record.
I forget now which record it was, but it had Peggy (?) Seeger playing the banjo, and also that made my heart beat faster as it was very nice banjo playing, and I like banjo playing even more since I’ve started to play a four string tenor banjo in Irish tuning.
Seamus Cater has been researching whaling songs and other whaling material â€“ including Moby Dick of course â€“ and that lead to new songs. It is again a way of working with material from elsewhere. ‘Anecdotal music’ is as much a program about songs, reflecting on them, as a concert at which songs are played. I like that tension.
At DNK it was a concentrated concert, with an audience (of about 80) listening attentively to the songs. There was some fine ukulele playing by Viljam, ongoing percussive additions by Fritz Welch, and quite a bit harmonica playing by Seamus. I assume that in form and format it refers just as much to all the younger and weirder singer songwriter that I something read about (but hardly ever listen to â€“ I’m sticking to the ‘real hardcore banjo-players’ from the 1930s now). It ended with a song from the record player about whaling in the waters of Greenland.
Together with the lecture-performance of artist Yolande Harris â€“ she presented, a bit nervous, her current research into bio-acoustics and under-water-hearing, showing some bits from her work in progress, referring of course to Alvin Lucier.
It was a non-ordinary and pleasant way to start the DNK-season. Who starts the season of a concert series with a lecture-performance? But what would you have expected? In two weeks it’ll be MOHA!