INSIDE THE BUMMER TENT Sept 6, 2002
One night before I went back to the hotel, I took one last stroll up the hill above the beautiful town of Port Vendres and happened upon a little plaza with a bandshell and a small beautiful fountain. I sat on a bench while the musicians gathered and waited for the music to begin. Well, as they began I realized that I was hearing a true sardana orchestra playing traditional dance tunes of Catalonia. I was happy! I knew this music from a recording I had and loved it as a unique musical wrinkle in the world's musical fabric.
As our world gets pushed and pulled together by television, the Internet, mega business and advertising so, too, can the arts become more homogenous. In music, this cultural melding can happen quickly. We can experience disco ragas, Bluegrass merengue and Celtic juju music, if we so desire. Music has always had this process but never at the speed of light and sound that exists today.
I do hope that there is enough cataloging of traditional world music in its "pure" state because one can see it diminishing around the world. If it is not embraced by the young players in each culture, it will pass away. And, that would be a shame.
Hack's Fest, a benefit concert for McGovern Children will be held on Sunday, September 8 in the parking lot behind Hack's (59 East Broad Street, Bethlehem.) This is a great opportunity to hear really great local music and eat some of the finest Soul Food you'll ever taste, compliments of Big Al & Boss Hog. The food line-up features fried catfish, collard greens (mmmmmm) potato salad and much more. The music line-up, which is just about as good as the food (just kidding guys!) include, Blues Power, Todd Wolfe, Eric Steckel, BC & The Blues Crew and Illinois Slim & The Maxwell Street Band - it doesn't get much better than this, people! Karen Kimber, a true Blues Aficionada, the owner of Hack's and Hack's Fest sponsor, will be on hand to emcee the day's event, direct traffic and probably do some dancing, as well. All the bands donate their talents in honor of the late, great Hack Kimber, the original owner of Hack's, Karen's soulmate, partner and husband, who died several years ago. And, we cannot forget Phil Forshelli of City Entertainment Systems, who generously donates his services and his PA system every year.
Maciek Albrecht, of MaGiK, an award winning Finnish animator, is teaming up with Bummer Tent to do the music for an original HBO production in remembrance of September 11. The short film is a touching piece of how life changed on the streets of New York, on a personal level, after September 11. The music will be a re-make of Charlie Chaplin composed tune "Smile" though your heart is breaking.
Hanging Out and About
After a wonderful concert by the McCoy Tyner Trio, we headed over to a new club - the Bluetone Café on Walnut Street in Easton. We knew this would be a happening venue for the local Blues scene and this night featured The Craig Thatcher Band, who rocked the crowd that was mixed in age, style and taste.
Stopped in at Lord Wellington's Gate, (formerly the Brass Rail at 12th and Hamilton St.) and had a long talk after dinner with manager, Tara about travel, music and the potential for live music a their pub.
And, did we tell you how much we love Cannon's - Allentown's own diamond in the rough. Great - food, beers, drinks, people - young, old, smart, thinking, wise - friends. You can walk in there any night of the week and you will know someone, a special someone that you haven't connected with in a while - someone you've been dying to talk to or someone you never met, but now have a significant connection to. Did we tell you how much we love Cannon's? Yeah, I guess we did.
Well, we're finally done with "A Lehigh Valley Christmas -2002" and have another amazing collection of Holiday tunes. Some of the highlights this year include: James Supra, Lucky 7, a great 9 piece R&B horn band, BC & Jake Kaligis, Zen For Primates doing "Mele Kalikimaka," The Vaughn 5's and Jackie Tice.
And, just a subtle reminder - 101 days to "A Lehigh Valley Christmas in Concert" at the Civic Theatre in Allentown (www.civictheatre.com) and don't forget to go there to see the best films - all year long.
A Little Review
McCoy Tyner is still impressive after all these years. His performance at the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College was short but mighty. His bombastic left-hand assaults were still fantastic, although not as sonically fulfilling in this space for some reason. In a smaller club environment, I've seen him lift the whole room to another realm.
Bassist, Avery Sharpe was afforded a lot of solo time. Although not as introspective as Tyner, his solos were always well structured and strongly rhythmic. Drummer Aaron Scott offered a particularly interesting extended solo in the second set in which the audience was truly drawn into his exploration of a long slowly building repetitive phrase. It really worked for me.
This trio has been together since the mid 80's and that comfort and ease of interaction is very apparent on stage. The trio came back out to encore applause, but simply bowed and left the stage again. McCoy Tyner had said what he wanted to say. No mas!
Check out the goings-on at First Fridays on the South Side of Bethlehem. It's a street fair type environment with music happening in a lot of the great shops that are popping up around 3rd Street. Cleo's of the C. Leslie Smith jewelry tradition and Home and Planet furnishings are good places to start. Also check out Marla Duran's original clothes and the Classic guitars and Harps at Silva Vocat.
Inside the Bummer Tent - check it out First Friday of every month or past articles on-line at www.bummertent.com.