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Weirdness, New and Old

In July of 1968, Vashti Bunyan and Robert Lewis set out on a journey. They travelled in an old Gypsy van pulled by a horse named Bess, their ultimate destination a proposed artist colony on three remote Scottish islands newly purchased by their friend Donovan, the Scottish singer of “Mellow Yellow” fame.

SHARON VAN ETTEN: Serendipity and Survival in Brooklyn

Sharon Van Etten’s New York story is serendipitous (a word she brought up multiple times to describe her trajectory) and could make a person jealous if it weren’t for her earnest and generous nature. When I caught up with her via phone she was running an errand somewhere in New Jersey in preparation for touring

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs at the Knitting Factory

Warning: this could happen to you. You are in a quiet bar or coffee shop talking with friends. During a bit of thoughtful discussion, you are caught unaware. Bearded white men have unexpectedly blocked your egress. They pick up guitars and begin awkwardly strumming a blues song.

Quince Vocal Ensemble and Parias Ensemble

Avant-garde music continues to be a source of delight, especially when performed by talented new voices. In the Contagious Sound Series, curated by Vicky Chow and presented by Neke Carson at the Gershwin Hotel, a recent program of vocal music by Quince Vocal Ensemble


So I am sitting here listening to one of my new favorite CDs, from a band called Commitment. The music, originally recorded between 1980–83, includes a reissue from vinyl and selections from an unreleased live concert in Germany. The band consists of Jason Kao Hwang on violin, viola, and bird calls


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2011

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