Saturday, January 01, 2005

's Nejjohr!

[That was your Alemannish word for the day.]

Happy New Year!

We decided to spend New Year's Eve in Northampton at their First Night. For the first time in my memory the low temperature was not in (or near) the single digits. It was still a dreary day, and the streets were crowded.

The lineup for First Night was better than in previous years. Klezamir was quite good, although they performed as an instrumental group (no explanation as to how they lost their singer, but it freed up time for raucous dance numbers). The Fawns, a splinter group from the now defunct Aloha Steamtrain, played a modernized version of fifties rock and country.

The best part of the evening were the Young at Heart Chorus and Vishnu Wood. Young at Heart Chorus are an interesting ensemble: a group seniors, all at least seventy years, who perform contemporary songs. There is a tragic irony in everything that they do, using the explicit longing and suffering in popular music to comment on age and death. There is always something odd about the audience reaction to them: how could you not laugh at them singing well we know where we're going, but we don't know where we've been, even if they are suggesting senility. They performed some songs as well with Drunk Stuntmen that were very emotional. Vishnu Wood was all about the Jazz--lots of hard bop with some standards, latin, and free jazz. Unfortunately, we walked in late for the second set, just as they were finishing Salt Peanuts.

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