Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kupferberg Benefit

I mentioned the benefit concert for Tuli Kuperferberg a while back.

Here is the full-of-excellent-adjectives skinny from Ben Ratliff:
Mr. Reed, playing electric guitar, was the evening’s first musician onstage, joined by Laurie Anderson on violin, John Zorn on saxophone and Sarth Calhoun on live electronics.

It was a great, aggressive, brain-wiping opener: five minutes of dirty and focused free improvising, scrabbling and then finding tonal centers and scrabbling again. [Peter] Stampfel pointed in the other direction, light and cheery and acoustic.


Philip Glass played an almost boogie-woogie-like solo piano piece, while one of Harry Smith’s colorful abstract movies played on a screen.


Sonic Youth, minus the guitarist Lee Ranaldo, played two of its own songs, “Antenna” and “Massage the History,” without comment — a little cyclone of professionalism in the middle of a street protest.


You can’t hope for coherence in a three-and-a-half-hour benefit concert — by the way, three and a half hours is too long for almost anything — but this concert needed more direction to demonstrate Mr. Kupferberg’s continuing relevance. A succinct black-comedy routine on health care, for instance. A suitably aggressive version of his song “Kill for Peace.” Or the steadying presence of Mr. Kupferberg himself, who didn’t feel up to attending the event.

He did tape a 10-second video message thanking the audience, though, which was played on a screen. “Now go out there and have some fun,” he said, with a strange smile. “It may be later than you think.”

New Patty Griffin Gospel CD

There's a story in today's New York Times about Patty Griffin's brand new disc, Downtown Church, which apparently takes a fair amount of inspiration from The Staples Singers.

Of the first family of gospel music, Griffin says,
“In my life it goes like this: The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers. The Staples are that big for me.”
And Buddy Miller, who produced the CD, added,
“Pop Staples is at the top of the list as far as who guitar players should be tipping their hat to. He is an unsung hero of the guitar.”
You'll get no disagreement from me on either of these points, although it sometimes seems like people think that Pop Staples is the only gospel star worth bringing forth for the mass audience -- what about the music of Brother Joe May or the Reverend James Cleveland or Dorothy Love Coates? Mavis Staples, after all, is still out there, carrying on her father's music and is quite clearly recognized as one of the gospel greats.

I also can't help but take the opportunity to plug one of my favorite albums: Marty Stuart's Souls' Chapel. Marty Stuart knew Pop Staples and learned a lot about music from him, and on Souls' Chapel, he and his Fabulous Superlatives nail the Staples Singers' sound. And they nail it live, too.

I look forward to seeing how Patty Griffin handles the material, and I'm pleased to see Pop Staples' name being put out there.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I've been having so much fun in 2010 that I've failed to post anything about my last musical moments of 2009. Here they are...finally!

So I finished off 2009 with a bang, partying it up with Matt, Sandro and They Might Be Giants in Northampton, Mass. (If you're looking for a setlist, talk to Matt, who actually documented most of it!) The festive spirit started a couple days prior, though, when I flew to Hartford and drove into New York with my mom to brave the hordes of holiday tourists to see the musical Fela! As talked about in Matt's earlier blog posting, it has been getting rave reviews in the New York Times and the like. Being a fan of political activist and Afrobeat king Fela Kuti and Brooklyn-based band Antibalas, I was pretty stoked to see this show.

I was amazed to see how they had transformed the Eugene O'Neill Theatre to look like a night club. It felt like one, too, with Afrobeat orchestra Antibalas already on stage, playing tunes while some audience members were even dancing in the aisles, drinks in hand. Slowly members of the cast started to creep on stage, sometimes talking to the band members like you might do at a place where there was a regular house band that you knew from the neighborhood. And that was exactly the setting of this show--a popular local club in Lagos, Nigeria called the Shrine.

Fela and his band were regulars at the Shrine, and this musical takes place during their final concert there. It starts with Fela (played that night by Kevin Mambo) addressing the audience as if we were his concert audience, welcoming us and introducing the music. The whole show radiates from this one setting, with him talking conversationally in between songs about his early musical background, his interest in jazz and his disgust with a James Brown imitator that was making a name for himself in Nigeria at the time. He also broke down the elements of Afrobeat music, even teaching the audience how to move and shake to the music. This early segment was both entertaining and educational, especially for an audience that was not all well versed in Afrobeat music. And that was the beauty of this show--the many ways that the music related to the audience.

The dancing, lighting and staging was so electrifying and compelling, making you feel, not just hear, the power of the music and the emotion behind it. The dancing was almost as essential to the show as the music, which makes sense given that Tony Award winning Bill T. Jones was not just the choreographer but the conceiver, director and book writer for the show. From the celebratory Saturday night sounds of the show's early numbers to the more somber scenes as Fela reflects on his mother's violent death and his quest for peace, the show quite literally illustrates a life full of passion, pain and political fervor. Juxtaposing newspaper headlines and real video and photo footage of Fela with the live actor singing and speaking made this iconic and controversial figure come alive in new ways. With barely a moment to breathe, the actor playing Fela had to sing, talk, dance and blow sax, playing the ever-changing roles of artist, lover, son, presidential candidate, prisoner and survivor. Perhaps that is why there were two main actors who played Fela--Zimbabwean/Canadian actor Kevin Mambo (who won 2 Emmys for his work on the soap "Guiding Light") and Sierra Leonean Sahr Ngaujah (who is art director fo the hip-hop act Baja + The Dry Eye Crew)--in addition to the understudy Adesola Osakalumi.

Although I really enjoyed the music, performance and production of this uniquely conceived show, I did think that the scene where he goes to seek the advice of his mother and his ancestors dragged on and took me out of the story a bit. But I loved the voice of the woman playing his mother so much that I could almost forgive it. Supposedly Tony Award winning actress Lillias White can hold a note longer than Carmen McRea, and I believe it. If anyone talked or sang to me in that voice, I'd follow its every command. And Fela indeed does.

After the army surrounds Fela's compound, tortures and arrests his "Queens" and executes his mother, Fela struggles with the decision to stay in Nigeria. But, following the advice of his dead mother, he decides to stay. The show ends with him staging a funeral parade with the whole ensemble, based on a real event that occurred in 1979 when Fela and a crowd silently delivered a mock coffin to Nigerian leader Obasanjo as a reminder of the deaths he was responsible for. Fela's song "Coffin for Head of State" accompanied this final scene.

Needless to say, virtually all the music was Fela's with some English lyrics written by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones. Although I would have been interested in a cast recording, I was delighted to find that they were actually selling Fela's original music (some best of collection) and Antibalas' most recent album Security. I hope and believe this show will get more folks interested in both the original Afrobeat music and this next generation of Afrobeat, happening close to home.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Songs for Haiti

Paste Magazine has launched Songs for Haiti, a campaign to raise money for earthquake relief in Haiti. 100% of the donations goes directly to charities, being split evenly between Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Over 250 artists have supported the cause by donating songs that you can download for free as a thank-you when you donate here. Musicians supporting the cause include Sounds of Blackbirds favorites Josh Ritter, Emmylou Harris, Andrew Bird, Meg Hutchinson, She & Him, The Avett Brothers and even my own Mother Banjo self!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hot Swing in a Cold City

I settled in at 7 pm for the early show at Minneapolis' Dakota Jazz Club to see Mark O'Connor's Hot Swing, finishing off the Dakota's 4-day celebration of Django Reinhardt's 100th birthday. The band featured Mark on violin, Gary Mazzaroppi on upright bass and Matt Munisteri and Frank Vignola both on guitar. After two very swingin' numbers they played a heartbreakingly beautiful waltz.

Mark then invited Wailin' Jenny Heather Masse to sing "Honeysuckle Rose," "Misty," "Fascinating Rhythm," and the most incredible rendition of "Stars Fell on Alabama." From there, the quartet went into a roaring gypsy number followed by a couple soulful bluesier numbers. Since it was the first of two shows, the set wasn't terribly long, but they did do a nice encore version of "Time After Time" (the jazz standard, not the Cyndi Lauper hit), featuring Heather's amazing vocals. The music along with a nice glass of Malbec and a zesty carpaccio made for one tasty Wednesday night.

To top the evening off, I met two lovely Womenfolk listeners and ran into my old Oberlin pal Sam Bergman, violist for the Minnesota Orchestra and the man responsible for giving my first radio show. He has his own blog called Inside the Classics.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Playlist: Womenfolk (January 17, 2010)

Today we debuted several new releases (Eliza Blue, Grada and Anais Mitchell's brilliant folk opera) and enjoyed a live in-studio performance from Jennifer Markey and her band the Tennessee Snowpants. We talked about Jennifer's new album We're All Going to Hell! which will be celebrated with a show on December 23rd at the Turf Club. If you missed it, you can listen to the archived show here.


WOMENFOLK (January 17, 2010)
Hosted by Ellen Stanley
Fresh Air Community Radio, KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis/106.7 FM St. Paul
Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
*New Releases
**Womenfolk Theme Song

**Kris Delmhorst / Everything Is Music / Strange Conversation / Signature Sounds

Erica Wheeler / January Wind / Three Wishes / Signature Sounds
*Shawn Colvin / Diamond in the Rough / Live / Nonesuch

Salamander Crossing / Shotgun Down the Avalanche / Salamander Crossing / Signature Sounds
Lucy Kaplansky / Small Dark Movie / Going Driftless: An Artist’s Tribute to Greg Brown / Red House
Pieta Brown / Bad News / Flight Time / Self

Mary Cutrufello / Panhandle Wind / 35 / Self

[Womenfolk Find - Featured Artist of the Month]
*The Sweetback Sisters / They Say Virginia Is For Lovers / Chicken Ain’t Chicken / Signature Sounds
*Nanci Griffith / The Loving Kind / The Loving Kind / Rounder

Lucy Kaplansky / Texas Blues / The Tide (2005) / Red House

*BettySoo / Never Knew No Love / Heat Sin Water Skin / Self
Toshi Reagon / O.M.G. / Until We’re Done / Self
Mavis Staples / 99 and 1/2 / We’ll Never Turn Back / Anti

Bernice Johnson Reagon / This May Be the Last Time / Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Songs of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement / Folk Era

[Behind Twin Cities Women’s Calendar]
*Grada / Dotsy’s / Natural Angle / Compass
*Grada / Louis Collins / Natural Angle / Compass

*Heather Masse / High Heeled Woman / Bird Song / Red House
Erin McKeown / Sing You Sinners / Sing You Sinners / Nettwerk

[Live in the Studio: Jennifer Markey & the Tennessee Snowpants]
Jennifer Markey & The Tennessee Snowpants / Calico Girl
Jennifer Markey & The Tennessee Snowpants / I'm So Tire of Fooling Around With You
Jennifer Markey & The Tennessee Snowpants / Drunkard's Lullaby

*Eliza Blue / Ask Me to Dance / The Road Home / Self
Rose Cousins / Dance If You Want To / If You Were For Me / Old Farm Pony Records

*Anais Mitchell (featuring The Haden Triplets) / When the Chips Are Down / Hadestown / Righteous Babe
Cosy Sheridan / Demeter’s Lost Daughter / The Pomegranate Seed / Wind River

*The Harbor Collective / California / The Monday EP / Super Solar Sounds

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Playlist: Womenfolk (January 10, 2010)

As we begin the new year on Womenfolk, we enjoyed songs of life changes--break-up songs and new beginnings. We also enjoyed the eclectic music of local duo The Chord and the Fawn, who gave us a preview of their December 15th show at the Ginkgo. If you missed it, listen to the archived show.


WOMENFOLK (January 10, 2010)
Hosted by Ellen Stanley
Fresh Air Community Radio, KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis/106.7 FM St. Paul
Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
*New Releases
**Womenfolk Theme Song

**Kris Delmhorst / Everything Is Music / Strange Conversation / Signature Sounds

Tori Amos / Winter / Little Earthquakes / Atlantic
Lynn Miles / Last Night / On a Winter’s Night / Philo
*Meg Hutchinson / Being Happy / The Living Side / Red House

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson / One More Year / Rattlin’ Bones / Sugar Hill
*Rita Hosking / Let ‘Em Run / Come Sunrise / Self

[Womenfolk Find - Featured Artist of the Month]
*The Sweetback Sisters / You Done Me Wrong / Chicken Ain’t Chicken / Signature Sounds
*Eilen Jewell / Sea of Tears / Sea of Tears / Signature Sounds

Cry Cry Cry / I Know What Kind of Love This Is / Cry Cry Cry / Razor & Tie
Nerissa & Katryna Nields / Ticket to My House / Love and China / Zoe

Dar Williams / It’s Alright / Promised Land / Razor & Tie

Patty Griffin / Time Will Do the Talking / Living With Ghosts / A&M
*Keri Noble / Born Again / Keri Noble / Telarc

*Shawn Colvin / Crazy / Live / Nonesuch
Patsy Cline / Crazy / Greatest Hits / Decca

[Behind Twin Cities Women’s Calendar]
Kristin Scott Benson / Greencastle Hornpipe / Second Season / Pinecastle

*Bearfoot / Single Girl / Doors and Windows / Compass

[Live in the Studio: The Chord and the Fawn]
The Chord and the Fawn / Ahlou
The Chord and the Fawn / Lady Idaho

Joni Mitchell / The Circle Game / Hits / Reprise
Rachel Unthank & The Winterset / Blackbird / The Bairns / Real World

*Dayna Kurtz and Mamie Minch / Scars From an Old Love / For the Love of Hazel / Kismet Records
*Jennifer Markey / Knoxville / We’re All Going to Hell! / Self

The Waifs / Crazy Train / A Brief History...Live / Compass

Bruce Molsky and Darol Anger at the Branford Folk Music Society

I had the great pleasure of seeing two masterful musicians ply their craft together at the Branford Folk Music Society two Fridays ago.

Bruce Molsky is simply one of the finest musicians that I have ever seen. From the first time I ever saw him play solo -- at an Irish bar in Tribeca on the last night ever of their Irish series -- to his room-quieting performance at the formerly-annual Sheriff Sessions bluegrass and old-time festival at New York City's now-defunct Baggot Inn, I have never gotten through a Bruce Molsky performance without experiencing a jaw-dropping moment and without saying, "Yeah!" at least a dozen times.

I've had the pleasure of seeing him with fine musicians like cellist Natalie Haas (at that first gig) or her sister, Crooked Still violinst Brittany Haas, at the Old Song Festival. Add another one to the list with Darol Anger, a boundary-bending fiddler who has worked with David Grisman, Tony Trischka, Psychograss, the Turtle Island String Quartet and the Republic of Strings.

Molsky and Anger together are part of Fiddlers 4 (along with Michael Doucet and Rushad Eggleston), and so one of the opening jokes of the evening was, "Hi, we're Fiddlers 2!"

Bruce switched between fiddle, guitar and banjo over the course of the night (with his time allotted in that order). Darol spent most of his time playing his "chin cello" -- a five-string violin with double-thick strings and some necessary amplification. It ends up having a range approximately an octave lower than a regular violin, and he gets the most wonderfully groovalicious sounds out of it, laying down great bass lines with jazzy fills and funky chops. And then he played some regular fiddle as well.

The setlist looked something like this:
  • Opening fiddle set - great counterpoint between the two fiddles and great groove to kick off the show

  • "Rove Riley Rove" - Molsky on banjo

  • "Evening Prayer Blues" - a DeFord Bailey tune that Bill Monroe recorded and then David Grier learned it and then Darol Anger took it from him - Molsky played guitar, and Anger made it jazzalicious

  • "Green Grow the Laurel" - twin fiddles with great "chin cello" accompaniment

  • "Married Woman Blues" - Molksy on guitar

  • "Blackberry Blossom" - twin fiddles

  • Swedish and Norwegian fiddle tunes - twin fiddles

  • "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" - Duke Ellington tune with Molsky on guitar

  • "Greek Melody/Polly Put the Kettle On" - twin fiddles

  • Set Break

  • O'Carolan tune into "Brothers and Sisters" - Molsky on guitar

  • Minstrel tunes - twin fiddles - "These tunes prove that Darol and I went to different schools together."

  • "Rolling Mills" - Molsky on banjo

  • A tune that Darol learned from a friend who had learned it from Bruce - twin fiddles

  • "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" - Molsky on guitar

  • Some twin fiddle tunes to close the set

  • First Encore

  • "Cotton-Eyed Joe" - "This is a tune you may never have heard but have always enjoyed."

  • Second Encore

  • "Peg and Awl

"Peg and Awl" is one of my favorites, so it was a great closer to the show.

And then afterward, there was a Branford Folk Music Society jam session in which Bruce and Darol participated!

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Brian Frizzell draws our attention to this promotional video released by Nonesuch for the Carolina Chocolate Drops new CD, Genuine Negro Jig. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are a young African-American stringband that have been playing together since 2005, inspired in part by the great Joe Thompson. As the Nonesuch record deal suggests, they have been doing quite well.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mothers Banjos

Some MoJo ancestors!

(HT: Jayne Chu.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

For All the Banjo Geeks

You can thank Red House Records president Eric Peltoniemi for this one...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, A Little More Nothing

Norman Savitt posted the following on the New York Bluegrass and Old-Time e-mail list:
Beat poet and original member of the Fugs ... Tuli [Kupferberg], who has recently turned 86, has had two strokes over the last year, which have left him blind, and the tickets for this benefit concert will help pay for his medical expenses.

Produced by Hal Willner; Lou Reed, Philip Glass, John Zorn, Sonic Youth, Gary Lucas, and others will play at a special benefit for Tuli to be held at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn on Jan. 22. Among the other performers are Ed Sanders, Tuli's fellow Fug, Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders (who also played on early Fugs albums), and others who will be announced.

Tickets are $75 to $125 and are available at or (718) 254-8779
Sounds like quite an event for a one-of-a-kind character.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Wailin' Jennys Conquer a New World

Thought y'all might enjoy this Wailin' Jennys video of "Beautiful Dawn"...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alex Battles and Jack Hardy to Share Jalopy Stage

Alex Battles just sent around an announcement for this year's Johnny Cash Birthday Bash. (I missed last year's show but I put up a rave review of the 2008 edition.) The show sells out every year, and so advanced ticket purchases are recommended.

There in the middle of the e-mail, something else caught my eye -- indeed I was so excited that I thought it was the description of the Cash Bash, only to then have to apologize to Battles for telling him that he had gotten the date wrong in the e-mail --
Thursday, January 28
Jalopy Theater
Alex Battles & The Whisky Rebellion
with Jack Grace Band and Jack Hardy
315 Columbia St., Brooklyn, NY
You can understand my shock and enthusiasm surely.

Jack Hardy? The Jack Hardy? Our Jack Hardy?

So I went over to Jack's website, and it is indeed true.

Alas, I'll be down in Washington, D.C., for a conference on the 28th. But Jalopy is a terrific venue, and those are three solid acts, so I encourage people to get out there and see the show!

Allman Brothers Heading Up to Washington Heights

After 20 years of playing the Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side, the Allman Brothers will be doing their annual multi-night stand in New York City at the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights this year, according to the New York Times.
“Cirque du Soleil came and bought it out from under us,” Gregg Allman, the band’s singer and keyboard player, said in a telephone interview.

“It’s a drag,” Mr. Allman added. “But one monkey don’t stop no show.”


The band is also looking into other ways that it could make the Washington Heights neighborhood more familiar to its itinerant followers, who might not have spent much time there. Mr. Allman said he and his colleagues might rent a bar there during the residency that would offer “a safe, safe place to get loaded or talk to the pretty women — do the things that us guys do.”

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Womenfolk's Top CD's of 2009

So I have been most remiss in posting my playlists here, but I did want to make sure to post today's best of 2009 show. Should you be curious as to what other things I've been playing the last month or two, you can check out all past playlists here.

Today's show featured the Top CD's of 2009 as determined by listeners, artists, DJ's and writers. As always, there were more albums than I had time to get to, but I included all the top vote getters, including our #1 release of the year--Pieta Brown's Red House debut Shimmer. If you missed today's show, you can hear the archived version here.

Thanks to all of you who helped make 2009 such a great year for Womenfolk by listening, spreading the word to your friends and pledging your support to KFAI Community's to another great year of music!


WOMENFOLK: Top CD's of 2009 (January 3, 2010)
Hosted by Ellen Stanley
Fresh Air Community Radio, KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis/106.7 FM St. Paul
Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
*New Releases
**Womenfolk Theme Song

**Kris Delmhorst / Everything Is Music / Strange Conversation / Signature Sounds

*Heather Masse / Mornings Breaking the Rules / Bird Song / Red House
*Duvekot, Heaton, Hutchinson, Zukerman / Of the Magi / Winterbloom: Traditions Rearranged / Self
*Caroline Herring / True Colors / Golden Apples of the Sun / Signature Sounds

*Mindy Smith / What Went Wrong / Stupid Love /Vanguard
*Madison Violet / Baby in the Black and White / No Fool For Trying / Self
*Crooked Still / Wading Deep Waters / Live / Self

[Womenfolk Find - Featured Artist of the Month]
*The Sweetback Sisters / Feeling Bad / Chicken Ain’t Chicken / Signature Sounds

*Alela Diane / Every Path / To Be Still / Rough Trade
*Neko Case / People Got a Lotta Nerve / Middle Cyclone / Anti

*Sarah Jarosz / Come On Up To The House / Song Up In Her Head / Sugar Hill
*Patty Loveless / Working on a Building / Mountain Soul II / Saguard Records
*Monroe Crossing / Purple Rain / Heart Ache & Stone / Self

[Behind Twin Cities Women’s Calendar]
*String Sisters / The Champaign Jig Goes to Columbia/Pat & Al's Jig / Live / Compass

*The Roe Family Singers / Woe Is Me / The Earth and All That Is In It / Self

*Catie Curtis / 100 Miles / Hello Stranger / Compass
*Sara Watkins / Lord Won’t You Help Me / Sara Watkins / Nonesuch
*The Wailin’ Jennys / Driving / Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House / Red House

*Indigo Girls / Digging For Your Dream / Poseidon and the Bitter Bug / Vanguard
*Rosanne Cash / Take These Chains From My Heart / The List / Manhattan Records

*Amanda Shires / Days in Blankets / West Coast Timbers / Self
*Jo Serrapere / Gotham Hotel / Love Going South / Self

*Aby Wolf / Thanks 4 Listening / Sweet Prudence / Self
*Antje Duvekot / Dublin Boys / The Near Demise of the Highwire Dancer / Black Wolf

[#1 Album of 2009]
*Pieta Brown / Lovin’ You Still / Shimmer / Red House

When Playing in Connecticut, Conform!

What is up with the lede to Tammy La Gorce's article in today's New York Times about Carrie Rodriguez:
The fiddle-playing singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez knows audiences in Connecticut are used to performers belting out the familiar songs of well-loved artists rather than their own original material. So when she plays two dates here this month, she plans a when-in-Rome approach.
I had no idea that Connecticut audiences had such a bad reputation. This is the first I've heard of it.

I've only seen Carrie Rodriguez once -- when she and Chip Taylor were part of a 2006 River-to-River Festival bill with Andy Statman and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. It was an excellent evening of music.

Incessant Gamelan Music

In today's Sunday Times (of London), Ariel Leve laments the ubiquitous gamelan music at restaurants across Bali.
I’ve been to some beautiful Balinese ceremonies. My father, who has lived in Southeast Asia for fifty years, loves the traditional Balinese Gamelan orchestra. He’s told me all about how sacred it is and how it’s believed to have supernatural power. Although not supernatural enough to get rid of a headache.

I don’t mind Gamelan when it’s performed in a temple or at a theatrical function – even a hotel lobby is fine. But does it have to be at every restaurant too?
First, it reminds me of breakfasts in Yogyakarta this past spring, where Ibu Heru at Homestay Heru would put on the same gamelan recording every morning. I rather enjoyed it -- I'm a creature of habit and a fan of daily rituals and this particular gamelan music was much more on the soothing minimalist side than the clanging gong side -- but I know that the sentiment was not universally shared among the other guests.

Later on in the column, Leve says
Then the other night, I discovered the only thing worse than eating out with a Balinese Gamelan orchestra playing is eating out with a Balinese Salsa band.

“I forgot,” my father said as we entered the restaurant I like, “Tuesday is Salsa night.”
And, OK, I get what she's driving at -- a salsa band in a restaurant is going to be LOUD without a doubt and that is probably not going to make for the nicest dining experience.

But she leaves the most important question unanswered -- exactly how good was the Balinese salsa band?!

Getting Lawyorchestral

I never played an orchestral instrument (and therefore never played in an orchestra). But I've watched various friends with childhood and college orchestra experience try to cobble together some semblance of that in their adulthood -- getting the neighborhood string quartet together or whatever.

The lawyers of Los Angeles, however, have put together a whole orchestra! The Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sounds like they're having fun -- almost as much fun as whoever wrote the AP story...

New Led Zeppelin Biography

Mick Wall -- who in my mind is most famous for having gotten called out in the Guns 'n' Roses song "Get in the Ring" -- has written a new 500-page biography of Led Zeppelin.

Novelist Rick Moody wrote a nice review of it for last Sunday's New York Times.