Tag Archives: True Life Trio

Enter the Labyrinth with the True Life Trio

True Life Trio
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While neuroscientists are busy trying to unravel the mysterious ties between music and memory, the women in True Life Trio are conducting their own investigation. A spin off of Kitka, TLT has expanded on that innovative all-women vocal ensemble’s powerfully evocative repertoire of traditional Eastern European and Balkan songs with finely crafted arrangements of Cajun, Appalachian and even Mexican standards. Singing gorgeous three-part harmonies, Leslie Bonnett (voice, fiddle, percussion), Briget Boyle (voice, guitar, percussion) and Juliana Graffagna (voice, bass, percussion) weave together disparate cultural currents to create an improvisation-laced sound that’s raucous, soulful and achingly beautiful.

The trio presents their most ambitious work yet, Like Never and Like Always: A Memory Project, Saturday and Nov. 15 at the Rose Labyrinth in Berkeley’s Grace North Church. A collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Gari Hegedus, Like Never and Like Always is a site-specific song cycle designed to unfold as a life lived backwards. In many ways the Labyrinth itself provided a jolt of inspiration for the project. Initially conceived as a seamless sonic journey, the piece took shape when the women encountered the rose-patterned floor design in a hall ideal for presenting unamplified string music. … Continue reading »

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John Schott explores polyglot music tendencies

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Berkeley guitarist John Schott doesn’t always write for large string ensembles, but when he does he’s aiming to capture the capabilities of a new generation of adventurous musicians.

An erudite composer with catholic taste who’s equally at home playing country blues, funk or free jazz, Schott premieres his latest project, the Creative String Orchestra, Friday, Mar. 29 at the Berkeley Arts Festival performance space, 2133 University Avenue. The startlingly talented ensemble includes violinist Rachel Durling, violist Tara Flandreau, cellist Theresa Wong, and bassist Kim Cass.

“These large ensemble projects are things that have appeared at several year cycles,” says Schott, who also performs with his trio at North Oakland’s Actual Café on April 7, a long-running monthly gig. “It has to happen at a moment when the scene is conducive to this, and I think there’s a lot happening in the string world vis-à-vis jazz and improvisation these days. There are these highly trained string players who are able to speak fluently in multiple musical languages.”  … Continue reading »

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It’s a Berkeley world after all as music hits streets, park

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Just as Berkeley starts settling into its pleasingly sleepy summer rhythm, the 9th Annual World Music Festival takes over Telegraph on Saturday, infusing the avenue with a jolt of energy. Running from noon to 9 pm, the free musical fest brings an international array of music to cafés and shops south of campus, with the action centering on the Amoeba-sponsored People’s Park stage from 1-6 pm.

While the music is global in scope, the artists are local, highlighting the wealth of talent, homegrown and adopted, that abides among us. Maria Muldaur headlines at People’s Park, kicking off the last set at 4:30 pm. While still best known for her 1974 pop hit “Midnight At the Oasis,” she’s an authoritative blues singer with a good feel for jazz who has honed a rootsy Gulf Coast sound with her Red Hot Bluesiana Band.

Other featured acts include the ferociously grooving Cuban dance music of Fito Reynoso y su Ritmo y Armonia (People’s Park 2:45 pm); the sensuous tangos of Trio Garufa (The Village 7 pm); the joyous Manouche swing of Duo Gadjo (Caffé Mediterraneum noon); the incantatory Shona percussion and thumb piano of Sadza Marimba & Mbira (Haste and Telegraph 1 pm); and the Moroccan trance rhythms of percussionist Bouchaib Abdelhadi with oud master Yassir Chadly (Rasputin Music 4 pm). … Continue reading »

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