Sunday, April 13, 2008

Melody musing

Another great night of music, this time courtesy of Anne Schaefer, Paul O'Brien, Alison Vardy and members of the quartet. Anne gave us a peek into her new upcoming CD, a "concept" album that revolves around an assortment of intriguing characters culled from her slightly quirky imagination: idiosyncratic, confessional characters, each with a markedly different feel for life. What makes this is a significant departure from Anne's last CD is the punchy, almost raucous rhythm of several of her new tunes and a kind of contrapuntal relationship between the music and lyric. Great song writer and a dry appealing sense of humour that the audience really tapped into.

Paul O'Brien hails from Birmingham, England. His parents, though, are Irish-born and bred, which as Paul explained last night has caused him some chagrin. Seems his claim of Irish roots has been met with scepticism on the part of a few Irishmen who refer to anyone of Irish descent who's not actually been born there as "a plastic". Paul described the humiliation he felt because of the term in a song of the same name (also the name of his new upcoming CD). If his new CD out next month is anything like his last it's a must buy.

I first heard Alison Vardy at the Victoria Folk Club several months ago. As the date for the annual Buddhist Centre Benefit Concert arrived I remembered the magical effect her harp work had on the audience and gave her a call. She agreed to play and from that moment on I knew we had a terrific line-up for April 12. Alison did not disappoint. Her deft and fluid fingering on the Celtic harp entranced us all.

Very gratified by the response to Nancy and I as we sang a few new tunes, in particular “Tender Mercies” by Eliza Gilkyson, a song that attempts to reconcile the feelings of hope and despair that permeate Western and Middle Eastern societies. A touching, spare piece of music that I fell in love with the moment I heard her sing it at the Edmonton Music Festival a few years back.

For more info and music by last night’s performers check out these websites:

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