I’ll be performing some RiverProject music including It Happens Like This and I am really a simple person with wonderful Mark Stewart and the excellent Dither folks on 4 March at this very cool place. It’s a benefit for Dither, and it’s gonna be awesome. Guitar aficionados will especially enjoy it: check it out!
Even though we just finished up one series of concerts, there are more upcoming projects here in New York that continue the flow…
On 17 February, the Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble with Vicky Chow on piano and Ana Milosavljevic on violin will be performing a show we’re calling Songs from the River and Elsewhere on the Avant Music Festival, which is going to be a wonderful series of concerts, highly recommended.
We’ve already begun rehearsing the repertoire for the 17 February concert, and it’s really fascinating to be embedding RiverProject songs in and among songs from A Book of Days. While the journey down the river definitely changed me and my work, there are some themes that thread their way through all the pieces, and hearing them performed by these excellent musicians is really great.
Also upcoming (on 2 March) is a performance of The Sirens, or Pleasure, my Cagean (Cageish?) collaboration with Yvan Greenberg, by the duo Two Sides Sounding. come check out the bicycle roulette wheel doing its thing, you never know which crackerjack prizes it’ll choose!
Along with these performances, I’m starting work on Pump Music, a big new piece for violin, trombone quartet, and location recordings of hand pumps found in campsites along the Mississippi River, a Meet the Composer commission that will premiere later in the spring on the Tribeca New Music Festival. Stay tuned for news about date and venue, which should be firmed up very soon!
What a fun way to start the year! a series of RiverProject concerts at Abrons Arts Center, each one so different from the next, with an array of wonderful musicians, from Loadbang and the Guidonian Hand the first night, to Newspeak and Will Lang the next, and then the last night with Taylor Levine, Malcolm J. Merriweather, and special guest Ron Blessinger, who paddled all the way from Portland, OR to get here… and of course Mary Rowell with me every night, that’s a central part of the whole experience! I feel so lucky to work with all these wonderful musicians, who also happen to be excellent humans, which really makes it great!
Here are a few links to interviews and press about the festival; over the next few days and weeks we’ll be posting some live recordings and more fun stuff.
Amanda McBlane’s interview in Time Out
Olivia Giovetti’s RiverProject radio show on Q2
Kurt Gottschalk’s radio show/interview on WFMU
Stacey Anderson’s NYTimes pop/rock listing
Steve Smith’s NYTimes classical listing
We’re hard at work getting ready for three concerts of River Project music at Abrons Arts Center in late January: wrangling rehearsal schedules for more than 25 people, making special arrangements and generating parts for River Project music for three different rosters of players, organizing tech riders, instrument movers, press releases, all that endless stuff that goes into doing shows, even before a single sound gets made. In a way I feel very far away from the river, and from the urges and pleasures that got me out there two years ago. but then I realize it’s all about the river, and the anxiety recedes and I can just keep paddling.
BRIM has released the first of what will be a series of recordings of River Project music, a limited edition of 250 signed CDs. It’s a four-song EP which you can get only while supplies last.
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01. I am really a very simple person
02. I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long
03. Wayfaring Stranger (live recording)
04. The Flood
Eve Beglarian vocals, electronics, electric guitar, bass
Mary Rowell violin, electric violin, acoustic guitar
This one is really thoughtful, thanks so much, Brett!
The night before heading out on our little mini-tour back to the Mississippi, I took Mary out for a sunset paddle on the Hudson River. I figured since we won’t be kayaking or biking on tour, we could at least start out with a paddle just to get off on the right foot or something.
Here are a few pictures from the paddle, which was just great. If you’re in NYC and are into paddling at all, this is an excellent little excursion, highly recommended!
I’ve been away for a while being sick with what felt like an endless case of bronchitis, and I am better now, for which I am totally totally grateful, but the good part is I pretty much stayed home and played around in music-land the whole month of January, which was a very fun thing to do.
So here’s a little taste: a piece I’ve made out of a recording of the sirens in Plaquemine, LA. I had heard the monthly warning siren test when I was there with Mac in December 2009, but I only caught the last bit on my recorder, so I got Bill Kelley, a fine engineer and musician based in Baton Rouge, to record it for me in December 2010, and it’s inspiring lots of siren pieces.
Some of them will be part of the Archives of Exile project with Richard Steadman-Jones that’ll be going happening in Sheffield in July, but of course they are part of the River Project as well, so I hope you enjoy this taste of The Sirens of Plaquemine.?
(I think you might want to listen to it softly: these particular sirens aren’t warning you, exactly…)
(The siren bowl pictured above is at the University of Mississippi, how cool is that?!?)
I found this poem by Zachary Schomburg in my inbox today, and fell in love. I’m going to perform it in some version at the BRIM debut show on 19 October at Roulette.
“The mystery in how little we know of other people is no greater than the mystery of how much,” wrote Eudora in The Optimist’s Daughter. Perhaps the implication is that the same mystery applies to places as well as people.
My visits to Rodney with Chris and Mary in the last six months are as far distant from Eudora’s visits to Rodney in the 30s and 40s as hers are from the Civil War.
I’ve just gone through and added some excerpts from the Welty story At the Landing to a small set of selected images.
To explore more photos of Rodney and the surrounding river country, please go here.