Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the frog chorus tonight, and a musical experience

The frog chorus is intoxicating, deafening. Spring peepers are at their peak, wood frogs are still going at it, and I heard my first toads and tree frogs today. Add to that the occasional peent of a woodcock and the winnowing of snipe wings, and you have a virtual symphony.

Speaking of music, I watched a video tonight that actually had me breathless, in tears at some points. I have admired Bela Fleck as a musician since I first saw him and the Flecktones at Telluride fourteen years ago. I have had the privilege of interviewing him personally; he is at once warm and introspective. He has brought the banjo to places a banjo was forbidden to go before. And this video, "Live At The Quick", shows how his music just keeps evolving, getting better and better just when you thought there was no room for improvement.

Imagine banjo and bassoon trading licks in a musical conversation. Imagine a throat singer from Asia who can sing three notes at the same time, jamming with the Flecktones. Imagine steel drums, soprano saxophone, clarinet, and Synthaxe Drumitar all in rhythm. Imagine Copland's "Hoedown" played on banjo, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, steel drum, electric bass, and drumitar, and more full of life than ever. Imagine "Amazing Grace" played in harmonics on electric bass...

It's beyond imagination. You have to see it, experience it, to know that this is no ordinary musical show. It was a religious experience for me. Really.

4 comments:

Pam in Tucson said...

Our natural symphony is different from yours - the evening filled with the sounds of doves and owls. No sweet sounds of peepers for us. Our spadefoots will stay underground until the rains and then come out with a cacaphony that sounds more like lovesick ducks. I love Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. The video sounds amazing. I just put the DVD at the top of my Netflix queue. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

TroutGrrrl said...

Hey Deb! I watched a Bela Fleck concert on TV a while back; it was so amazing. It may have been related to the one you mention as they were playing a lot of the same tunes. Hoedown is a good example. His band is incredible, then they added the steel drums guy, a Tibetan throat singer, etc. I was smiling through the whole thing too. I was struck by how 'human' it all was. He's an amazing musician and he attracts greatness.

Deb said...

Pam- doves and owls would be beautiful music, and I would love to hear the spadefoots! Isn't Netflix great? You'll enjoy it.

Troutgrrrl- That sounds like the same concert. I hadn't heard a lot of the tunes, or maybe any of them, it's been a while since I've seen the Flecktones or bought a CD. Now that you mention it, "human" is a good way to describe the whole thing; not contrived, not show-offy, just a celebration of each musician's abilities and the synergy when they play together. A lot of the musical passages seemed like conversations. Yes, Bela does attract greatness.

I forgot to mention, Calvin was watching and he seemed mesmerized. I think he may end up being a blues or jazz musician some day!

bev said...

Deb - Thanks for the "review". I just put in a request for the tape through our library. Looking forward to watching it!