There’s an Angklung in my backseat.
And it’s been back there for about a week. Yes, I put it there. But we’ll come back to that.
Cat’s Cradle. Early & late … all at the same time.
4/17/12. Mickey Hart at Cat’s Cradle was an all-encompassing visceral experience. There was so much “bottom” in that room that my bar stool was vibrating. Sexy as all hell and back. I was having lascivious thoughts about that stool, and I think my friend Liz was too. Permanent vibrations. To be sure, I’m not a Deadhead, but Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum is just one of my favorite percussion albums. So I was in it for the boom-boom pow. There were Deadheads out in force. Whirling dervishes in tie-dyed tees spinning out in worship … gigantic blow up “planets” swaying gently from the ceiling … and the punctuation mark … an old friend next to me who leans over to yell in my ear that he wishes he’d waited an hour to drop that blotter acid since the band didn’t start until nearly 9 instead of 8. It was that kind of night.
Listen to Not Fade Away (Mickey Hart & Band)
Come to think of it, I think the Angklung belongs with Mickey Hart.
4/19/12. Megafaun & Drive By Truckers. I’m a Megafaun fan from way back. Well, at least since 2009, about a year after they got together. Banjo and harmonies done thoughtfully and right. Wikipedia describes them as an American psyche-folk band from Durham, NC. Pssst … I liked them better than DBT, if truth be told, because the Truckers were so loud I had to go buy ear plugs. That’s something I never thought I’d see myself type.
Listen to The Longest Day (Megafaun.)
4/23/12. William Elliott Whitmore & Trampled By Turtles. Trampled by Turtles, an indie-bluegrass-folk band, from Duluth blew in and took the Cradle with it all night long, including 2 salutes to Levon Helm with “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “The Weight.” What struck me was how many of the mostly-younger-than-me audience knew every lyric to those two classics. They are as tight a band as I’ve ever seen and I loved every note. Those boys can pick a tune every which-a-way and back. Don’t miss TBT tonight on David Letterman.
Listen to Alone (Trampled by Turtles). Get past that commercial. It’s worth every second.
The Angklung is at least behaving itself in the back seat. No clanging aloud.
Catch/Wilmington,NC Thursday, 4/5/12
Keith Rhodes was a cheftestant on the most recent Top Chef Texas series on Bravo. I followed and cheered him on proudly like the good Tar Heel I am. Gathering in Wrightsville Beach, NC for a family beach wedding, I jumped at the chance to visit Catch with my sisters and brother (and their families).
Wow, wow, wow. We’re a foodie family and we don’t impress all that easily. The menu is simple with fresh, local ingredients, when available. I started with a grilled asparagus salad followed by the Pan Roasted “Oriental, NC” Back Fin & Lump Crab Cakes with a White Truffle Mash + Mixed Farm Greens + Lobster Cognac Bisque. Lord, help me. It was eye-rolling. In fact, everyone at the table spent the first full minute in a stunned silence as they took bites of whatever they ordered. Well, maybe there were a couple of orgasmic groans that I’m forgetting to mention. Keith came by the table to meet and check on us. His beautiful wife, Angela, is the front-of-house magician to whatever he’s conjuring in the kitchen. From the minute you meet her you imagine that you’re suddenly best friends, sipping sweet tea on a porch rocker somewhere. She had to show me their hydroponic herb garden growing behind the bar, and pulled out a basil plant that had roots so long they just kept coming and coming. I’ll go back and you should too.
Ok, the Angklung. I was at the Chapel Hill Historical Society and someone said “I just wish someone would get that clangy thing out of the back.” Now, being a fan of clangy things, I said “I’ll probably be happy to take it.” So I did without even knowing what it was … though, from the look of it, it was definitely some kind of percussion instrument. Which I’m also a fan of. (Did I really just end that in a preposition? “Of which I am also a fan” just sounds so … so … like I was trying too hard. I’m allowed a little poetic license, right?)
I imagined it had Asian origins. And it does. Indonesian, to be exact, played throughout Southeast Asia, mostly in Sudan. Bamboo tubes, carved and tuned to octaves, attach to a bamboo frame. Hold the base of the frame in one hand while the other hand strikes the instrument. There are actually angkalung ensembles where each player strikes just one note or more, that when played altogether produces complete melodies.
I have no idea what I’m going to do with this clangy thing, but don’t hold your breath waiting for a personal performance.
Listen to Bohemian Rhapsody performed by the amazing maestro Daeng Udjo with his students from Saung Angklung, Indonesia performing at the Washington Monument Grounds – July 9th 2011
If this doesn’t make you laugh out loud, then you ain’t right, I say … not right.
What a strange instrument. I listened, and watched, the “We Are THe Champions” rendition that was followed closely by ‘2001’ ??? intro. I couldn’t – I can’t – figure out how the sound is produced. Thanks for sharing. M