Thursday, October 04, 2007

"The Office" (Workstation series) 50 (Janissary Stomp edition)

Blogging pretty light for the next couple of days: we've got these desperate gentlemen coming to town and a pretty full slate of stuff laid on.

But there was time for this takedown, to some guy on the WFMU blog--usually a pretty cool and very informed source--who can't distinguish between yoga and Hare Krishna, but just "knows" that neither is as cool as 20-years-out-of-date hardcore punk:

"but if you go too far the next thing you know you’ll be handing out pamphlets in an airport or jumping up and down in a field while wearing a white saffron robe"

Or maybe you'll just turn into Mohatma Gandhi, who weighed less than 120 pounds and defeated the British Empire.

Or maybe you'll just grow the fuck up and realize that real revolution requires stamina at least as much as rage, and that you can Fight the Power longer--like, for decades, instead of 2:00 minutes--if you take care of your body, mind, and spirit.

Or maybe you'll realize that straight-edge--being clean and clear--was an old, old concept; that hardcore punks didn't invent it, and that 4000 years of Hindu culture might have figured out a few things that hardcore hadn't yet.

Or maybe you'll just say uninformed things about stuff you nothing about.

Ya think?

In addition to being two of the coolest musicians (and people) I know, Missa Landes and Reverend Thompson also got what may be the coolest cross-cultural album/idiom title ever. I still remember the first year I was teaching here, and was writing liner notes for the local symphony (a relationship that ended badly, after five years, as a result of the bizarre behavior of a certain Arts Administrator). As a perk--the only perk--for writing notes, I got free tickets to concerts. And these two boyos were in town for a visit, and I suggested "why don't y'all come to the post-concert reception for donors at the top of the regional bank conglomerate's corporate tower?" So they came along (I think Dharmonia was out of town), cowboy boots, long-haired, impressively bearded and earringed, concho jewelry. I couldn't help be gratified at the mystification of the Citizens.

You can tune in and hear 'em webcast Friday evening at 9pm CST (Greenwich + 6:00) at

Anyway, here's the slate:

Vernacular Music Center Concert Series Oct 6 8pm; HRH: The Janissary Stomp (world music) FREE ADMISSION

On Saturday, October 6 at 8pm in Hemmle Recital Hall on the TTU campus, bouzouki virtuosos Roger Landes and Chipper Thompson present The Janissary Stomp, a duet program of ancient and modern, original and traditional musics of the Mediterranean and Near East. The event is co-sponsored by the TTU Vernacular Music Center, the School of Music, and the Caprock Celtic Association. Admission is FREE

Landes and Thompson will also appear with Lubbock traditional Irish band Last Night's Fun Thursday, Oct 4, at Sugar Brown's (4818 50th St); on public radio station KOHM (89.1 and Friday 9am and again 9pm; presenting to SOM classes; and at Last Night's Fun's regular Friday pub session (6:30-8:30pm) at O Reilly's Irish Pub, 17th & Boston in the Depot District.

About the music:

The origin of the term janissary is as a label for the elite shock troops of the Ottoman Empire, who were responsible for introducing everything from coffee to croissants to cymbals to the Western world. The CD The Janissary Stomp is Roger Landes and Chipper Thompson’s exploration of the expressive possibilities of the bouzouki, a double-strung instrument originating in the East but now played in a wide variety of world musical traditions. Combining medieval, Near Eastern, Balkan, Mediterranean, and original musics, the Stomp is a unique and engrossing musical experience, suitable for all ages and audiences.

About the musicians:

Roger Landes was introduced to the bouzouki through his interest in Celtic music in 1981, and has been exploring the frontiers of the instrument ever since. He played in the popular Kansas City-based Celtic group Scartaglen, recording several CDs with the band and contributing a cut to the best-selling Narada compilation Celtic Odyssey. He has continued to perform on the bouzouki, in a duo with fellow Scartaglen alumnus Connie Dover, and since recently moving to Taos, New Mexico, has continued to expand the possibilities of his chosen instrument, particularly adding a taste of the desert Southwest to his playing since discovering jarocho music from Veracruz.

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chipper Thompson has been stirring an intoxicating brew of roots-based music for several years from his home in Taos, New Mexico. A relative latecomer to the bouzouki, Chipper took up the instrument after hearing its use in Irish music, and after meeting Roger through Taos-based bouzouki builder Stephen Owsley Smith. He has quickly developed one of the most original voices on the instrument, incorporating Appalachian, Blues, Celtic, Rockabilly and Middle Eastern influences into a seamless and articulate personal expression.

Roger Landes and Chipper Thompson “are exploring uncharted territory with their original compositions for two bouzoukis. Drawing on a wealth of musical influences, they are creating a new style for the instrument in which innovation flourishes while remaining true to the spirit of the Middle-Eastern and Celtic cultures which molded the bouzouki. Arabic taqsims meet Mississippi Delta Blues; a Greek rembetika meets a New Mexican Hispanic waltz; while African, Celtic, Spanish and Balkan strains compete for the ear’s attention.

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