Tunes and Beer

23 07 2007



Brian McNamara, Tim Collins* and Michael Rooney 

Yep, the craic was good and the tunes were flying this week at the annual Irish Arts Week in East Durham New York. We were only able to manage a last gap weekend visit, but seeing friends and playing in some nice sessions made the trip worthwhile.

We arrived late on Friday, and immediately popped around to all the interesting looking sessions.  Crowded…difficult.  We eventually linked up with Don Meade, and enjoyed some tunes and beer with him at McGrath’s until about 4:00 am, by which time it seemed that my head couldn’t have hit the pillow fast enough!

Up late on Saturday and headed over to the fairgrounds for the big concert.  A great afternoon of festival madness. Although the pavillion sets were heavily attended and clearly the primary draw, I much preferred being at the smaller sets in the tent.  It was nice to see some familiar and many entirely new faces on the smaller stage doing their thing, but the highlight for me (seeing as how I’m a tenor player) was hearing Angelina Carberry and Martin Quinn perform:


Angelina’s a wonderful banjoist whose playing I greatly admire, and I was glad to hear her in person.  Her and Martin’s set just flew by.

Later that evening, we went to John and Suzanne’s house party for some tunes and “hospitality” (beer and hot dogs).  I was one among many who had a great time; I even came away with a couple of really nice tunes from John, a great flute player from Carmel, NY.  Later, we went to Furlongs for some tunes and beer, and then, all the way over to Stack’s where Mike Rafferty was holding court for a small but appreciative crowd of luminaries (Tim, Brian, Gearoid, Ben, Sean, etc) and sundry.  He was brilliant, as were the tunes and the beer.

We didn’t tuck in until after 4:00am, but it’s not like I had planned to be anywhere on time this morning anyway.  If not for tunes and beer, isn’t that what Sundays are about?

* BTW, Tim (concertina) and Brian (uilleann pipes) have a spectacular new album out called Reed Only.  This is what it sounds like.  Great stuff!


Never Talking, Just Keeps Walking

20 07 2007

Spreading his magic…

What with the imminent release of the newest and last Harry Potter book, this morning’s Marketplace ran a little feature on Wizard Rock. Well, this piqued our interest here at the ARChive because we maintain a database of genres, and Wizard Rock wasn’t in it.

Until today.

So what is it, you ask? Well, according to, the self-described “premier” wizard rock site (eat it, Real Wizard Rock!), it is:

…a genre of music inspired by the works of J.K. Rowling, author of the popular Harry Potter book series. [...] Many, like Harry and the Potters, are named for a specific character and sing songs from their point of view. Many also dress up like the character for performances.

If you think that just about covers it, you’re sorely mistaken. By the way, don’t mistake Wizard Rock for filk (science fiction or fantasy based folk music) or for the kind of D&D/LotR thing that Led Zeppelin did, or emo, for God’s sake. Wizard Rock is its its own damn thing. MTV even said so.

Compliments of my sister-in-law Eileen, we have a set of Wizard Rock lyrics she made up:

Oh Dumbledore, oh Dumbledore / Now its time to settle the score / Perry, Ron and Hermione too / Will vanquish the evil, you know who.

Oh Dumbledore, oh Dumbledore / Now its time to settle the score / Perry of the fame / Will vanquish he who must not be named.

Pretty sweet, right? So when all the wizard rockers are dead, where will we bury them, in Harry Potter’s Field?

Ugh, no! In the Deathly Hollows, next to the Shreiking Shack, obviously!

Spoiler alert! In the new book Harry undergoes a sex change operation, and we managed to find this as yet unreleased image of her new look. All hail Henrietta!


My wife (who reads the Harry Potter books) had a set of lyrics on Friday, but we were out of computer contact through this morning, so it’s taken me until today (Sunday the 22nd) to post them. Here they are:

Keep your eye on the snitch and one hand on the broom.
But keep your head on straight ’cause the bludgers will always loom
Let ‘em fly baby fly
Let ‘em fly baby fly let ‘em fly
To win the cup.

Now that Malfoy’s rich and his daddy buys him every toy
But in the end he’ll always be nuthin’ but a momma’s boy
Let ‘em fly baby fly
Let ‘em fly baby fly
Let ‘em fly
To win the cup
Now the pitch was green and the sky was almost clear
But be if it starts to get cold you’ll know a dementor’s near

I have no idea what they mean, but they sure do sound convincing!

Kioku / Happy Fun Smile

19 07 2007

My friend Wynn Yamami leads a great experimental music group called “Kioku” (Japanese for “memory”), and they’re going on a west coast tour this summer. You can go to their myspace page to hear what they sound like, but if you’d rather see them in action (and who wouldn’t?) look no further. Here they are playing a piece called “Binalig”:

The group’s a trio and includes another friend, Christopher Ariza (live electronics, also a fine composer) as well as Ali Sakkal (saxophones, percussion). You can learn more about the group (and learn about their tour dates) by clicking over to the Kioku homepage. If you’re a fan of experimental music and live in California, you have to go check them out.

Lest we think that Wynn is all about being serious at the expense of fun, he’s also the leader of a group called “Happy Fun Smile” that “performs an eclectic mix of Okinawan pop, electric folk songs (ultraminyo), supersweet ballads (enka), festival rhythms and obon beats.” I’d be remiss if I didn’t say he’s joined in this endeavor by several friends, including Ryan Dorin, Billtron and MBQ who help make the group great. They’re something to hear – really, really fun – so you must check them out as well. Here’s a taste:

HFS also has a homepage. Go there NOW.


ALSO: Don’t forget about our “Greatest Contest Ever.” It’s still in full swing and will remain open until we give away BOTH cases of Moxie!

Paris Hilton has nothing to do with Hawaiian Shirt Day

18 07 2007

This is a watershed Wednesday. Everybody came be-decked in their ersatz Polynesian finery. It’s getting embarrassing. Maybe next week we’ll bring in our ukuleles. Hang loose, wahinis.


Dashboard Confessional at the Knitting Factory Part II!

18 07 2007

As promised, here is a picture of the line for Dashboard Confessional’s free show at the Knitting Factory.


A few comments about the photo: I love how happy the guy in the front in the hat looks. And he deserves to be-he’s at the front of the line! Why, for that moment he was the hippest guy in New York City! But I have to wonder where the groovy guy in the green shirt from the first photo went. (Off being sullen somewhere?) I didn’t see him and I hope he got in – now, I’ll probably never know. As we move back in the line from the front, we see a couple of sullen girls. Then, a sassy girl in a blue shirt and a green bag looking very In Touch. Then, we have a sullen guy, being talked at by that red-haired girl. Then more mostly sullen people. What’s the deal with Dashboard Confessional, anyway? Oh yeah…the show was about promoting a book called Everybody Hurts, a veritable A-to-Z on everything emo. The emo playbook, if you will. I “Shudder to Think” what it might be like. (Ba-dum-dum. Thank you, thank you, ladies and germs, I will be here all week.

I hung out a little before hand…talked a bit with my friend Pat, a little with Diana from the ihearasymphony blog (who will doubtlessly groan out loud at the totally awesome joke I just made) and then left.

I left WELL before they let people in, but the place was already a madhouse. People jockeying for a place in line, important folks coming and getting people in because they could, the door folks having fun with the people in line. It was beautiful.

So, if you were there last night I hope the show made you less sullen.  I heard it was great!


Dashboard Confessional Secret Show! To-nite!

17 07 2007

So, b.ARC comes in today and says “hey, you got your camera? There’s a line of people outside of the Knit. Go over and figure out what’s going on.” The Knitting Factory is one of our neighbors, so I waltzed right over and was back in a flash. Here is what the scene looked like at 10:17AM this morning:


This is 10: 17 in the AM! Who gets up that early to go to go wait in line on Leonard Street on a hot July morning? Maybe I could find my answer on the Knit’s site. Unfortunately, the way listed the show was somewhat unhelpful: “MySpace Books presents: a celebration of the release of Trevor Kelley and Leslie Simon’s book about all things emo, ‘Everybody Hurts’ – with a solo performance by a very special guest.”

I could find anything, but I suppose that’s what “secret shows” mean. So, I asked the guy in green t-shirt and ballcap (first in line, lounging) who told me that Dashboard Confessional would be there playing a free show tonight. Just as the phrase “who cares” went through my head, the woman in the blue chair (two heads back, in front of the second pillar with her arm behind her head) exclaimed “if you come back in a couple hours the line would be SO much longer.”

I was intrigued. Dashboard Confessional? Playing a secret gig? Tonight at the Knitting Factory? A much longer line? OMGWTFAwesome?!

I reported back to ARChive where B, Jon and our intern Tom were waiting in rapt anticipation for news. When I told them what was going on, Tom said: “A free show? So THAT’S how they get people to come see them.”

Anyway, following Blue Chair Girl’s advice, I went back at around 1:00 and everyone was gone. The guy at the Knit’s door told me that they had to tell everyone to go away. (Maybe because the cops said something? Maybe wanted to be kind to their neighbors? I don’t know.) It looked like everyone did, but when I turned onto Church from Leonard, I nearly tripped over a couple of teenage girls sitting on the corner, wearing all black (right down to the Chuck Taylors), just out of sight of the doorguy. This was at one o’clock…if they were going to be there all day, those girls would have a long wait!

However…the doorguy at the Knitting Factory said that the throngs would be allowed to return at 6:00 in the PM for the free secret concerts. THAT’S 6:00 PM Dashboard Confessional fans! I get out of work at 6:00, so I will go back and take a picture (or two!) and post when I get home so everyone who can’t make the show can see how many people were there. I’m not going to hang out, though, so if you’re a Dashboard Confessional fan, please be punctual as I would like a good picture!


Stay tuned for an update!




“Some are dead and some are living…”

17 07 2007



Silence of the lambs…

Yes it was lug nuts in the carcasses last weekend at the more-or-less annual Lamb Roast and Bulgarian Folk Music & Dance Party upstate at Breezy Hill Orchard near Poughkeepsie NY.


Tell me Clarice, how noisy are those lambs?

Providing the uptempo line-dance frenzy was the Kabile Bitov Wedding Band, along with some impromptu jams by Balkan stalwarts Zlatne Uste (Golden Lips).


Kabile has been together for about 20 years, this particular formation a sort of a reunion, as some band members had emigrated to the US.  They take their name from their hometown, a small village located just north of the city of Yambol in Thrace.  The players/ instruments are Ivan Handzhiev (vocals, accordions), Nikolay Doctorov (kaval – wooden shepherd’s flute), Dzhenko Andreev (gajda – bagpipe), Nikolai Kolev (gadulka – pear shaped bowed lute), and Donka Koleva (vocals).  It was elder Hippie heaven – wonderful playing with a varied enough repertoire to keep you interested till that lamb was fully digested.



Rubinoos / Avril update

17 07 2007

Part three, kids, hang in there. In case anyone was curious, the musicologist the Lavigne camp hired is Anthony Ricigliano. He was the expert – on the losing side – when the Isley Brothers sued Michael Bolton. In 1994, a jury found that Michael Bolton’s 1991 pop hit, “Love Is a Wonderful Thing,” infringed on the copyright of a 1964 Isley Brothers’ song of the same name.


(This isn’t the record the song is on, but how great is that cover?)

Update update: in case you’re coming into this late, the case was settled out of court.  Typically, the terms were secret, but apparently Avril paid the Rubes an undisclosed amount of cash and in return the Rubinoos released a statement absolving Avy of any charges of plagiarism.  Your usual legal b.s.  I have hopes to one day get the skinny on how much dough changed hands, but don’t hold your breath for that one.


16 07 2007

Notes The Clown

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” Sure, anyone can quote a clown. But for your consideration, “Notes” the Clown. Musical, whimsical, his life scattered across a flea market table in Connecticut, rumored to be retired somewhere in FLA. Notes, give us a call. Fill us in. We need to know.


Picture this:

16 07 2007

Nifty update this morning on NPR of ongoing progress on a visual scanning technology for reading records that the Library of Congress is funding. A no-toucha-my-vinyl routine which will preserve a whole lotta music without damaging the original artifact. Basically this machine takes a photo of the groove and strings it out in a line – wouldn’t it be great if you had a photo an inch wide and several yards long of each groove in your collection. Busted record? Big girls don’t cry, Fergie. One sweet feature is you can scan your cracked or broken records and the computer will clean it up for you. Now if anyone has seen the other half of this one we’re in business.



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