Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our bellies were full of lamb saag and naan, mouths still tingling from the rogan josh's red Kashmiri chiles.  Monica and I made our way to New London's Unitarian church for music.  Geoff Kaufman sang alone on the stage, a smallish, compact man with a clipped white beard.  He wore olive-colored corduroys with suspenders and a yellow collarless shirt and played guitar to folksongs and shanties.  

Among his songs was a fishermen's chant from Ghana, Ao Yona Eh, that was one of the most perfect pieces of music I've ever heard.  As Monica put it, there is some music that is already in your soul and the singer just reaches in to touch it.

He led into a performance by the phenomenal Moira Smiley and Voco.

Ah, what music!

Moira Smiley, Jess Basta and Aurelia Shrenker (who was filling in for the cellist, laid low by the New England winter) really seized the audience.  Ranging from Appalachia to Ireland to the Balkans to the Caucasus -- they took these musics and loved them and showed them enough respect to seize them and change them and make them their own.  And they mixed their beautiful voices together as if that were the simplest and most natural thing in the world.

Have a taste -- here's a one they shared (sung in this version by the quartet as it is whole):