More Northside Grill!
posted in performance on september 22nd, 2008
Three shows at The Northside Grill and still no tainted produce thrown! Woohoo!
This could mean we’re doing something right – or maybe just that the increasing cost of organic projectiles is working in our favor. Whatever the case, I’m chalking up round three of Zamani Flamenco at the NSG as a success from the stage-end of things. And for that matter, the audience-end is looking better, too. This month was our best turn-out yet. It wasn’t exactly standing-room only, but attendance is definitely moving in the right direction (i.e. up).
For those of you who have been following along, you know that we like to shift our sets and arrangements around in order to keep things interesting (i.e. not play exactly the same songs) from month to month and that we like to bring in guest performers whenever possible. For this show, we not only had Stephanie Hughes back on cante (and singing more numbers than during her fist NSG performance with us in July), but we also had Marta Sivertsen out to dance and help with palmas and jaleo.
I know that from a logistical standpoint said "shifting" must sound like a train wreck just waiting to happen: it’s much easier to "nail" a set or a particular piece if you play it the same way every time. (And believe me – train wrecks concern me in a very non-trivial way.) The persistent flux of songs and sets, though, I think brings us closer to the kind of fluidity that draws me (and, I suspect, Dani and Zánbaka) to flamenco to begin with.
Granted, I’m still very much at the low end of this particular learning curve (hence the persistent anxiety about airborne vegetables), but it’s fortifying all the same to know that we’re all working toward some eventual gestalt (if I may be nerdy for a moment) that moves beyond mere memorization of our (or someone else’s) songs. Bringing in new artists and arrangements on short notice – or on the fly – can be stressful, no doubt, but it also means that of all the potential offenses against musical aesthetics we’re capable of committing, "staleness" is not going to be one of them.
And speaking of offenses: our next show at The Northside is on the 16th of October. Zánbaka is going to be cooling her heels on a beach in Malaysia (poor thing!), so Dani, Stephanie, Marta and I are working out a whole new diabolical plan for your Thursday night acculturation. Unless you’ll also be indulging in what is bound to be an unruly mix of sea turtles, monkeys, and Tiger beer, we’ll hope to see you there.
Now go play!