I’ve been fortunate enough to make a lot of amazing friends through out my short 25 years. I met my good friend Artemis in biochemistry class at UC Davis. She is, hands down, one of the most amazing people I know. Not only is she a rock start student (genius), she is also a gifted musician, singer, song writer, yogi and amazing friend. Check out her website.
Artemis is the one with red hair
Now lets play six degree’s of separations….only this is a lot less degree’s….more like two. When we were at Davis, Artemis told me about a friend of hers who is also Russian, but she never got to introduce us. Then, two summers ago, I went to burning man and just happened to stay in the camp of this very same lady and her talented musician husband. They live in Oakland and have this amazing performance space called the Orange Room.
Artemis put together a wonderful live music event at the Orange Room the other night, that involved three solo performers. I like the way the website describes it best “Orange Room and RTFM Records present: an intimate evening concert with Steve Lawson, Daniel Berkman and Tom Lattanand. Join us for an evening of looped and unlooped, acoustic and electric strings—guitar, kora, and bass—with three great musicians: renowned looped fretless bass player Steve Lawson, multi-instrumentalist and avant-garde looped kora player Daniel Berkman, and solo guitarist Tom Lattanand.”
This was truly a unique musical experience. While I by no means consider myself to be an expert, having played piano, guitar and taking a serious interest in musicians while in high school 😉 I like to think I’m not completely tone deaf.
Tom was amazing on the guitar, making me think of a mixture of Joe Satriani, Al Di Meola and Steve Vai. The music told a story, it was up lifting and intricate, the small space created a very warm and familial feel. It provided the opportunity to really interact with the musician and the music.
Steve and Daniel played together and solo. One of the amazing things for me about their performance together was that they had just met yesterday.
First of all, I didn’t know what kora was, so just in case, a kora is a West African stringed instrument, with 21 strings. The mighty inter-webs taught me that this instrument most closely resembles the sound of a harp. The musician uses the thumb and index finger of both hands to play and the other fingers rest on posts secured on either side of the strings. The sound is magical, to me it sounded like a harp one moment, a guitar the next and even a flute at times. Daniel played the kora and did a myriad of other magical things with equipment I can’t name, you can learn more about him here. By the way, RTFM is Artemis’s Label (as in her partner and her own it), how cool is that!
Steve is a looped fretless bass player. Again, my understanding of what this entails is pretty limited, but I can tell you it was very very cool. Together, Steve and Daniel created a very fluid, relaxed sound, that kind of makes you feel like you are floating in a calm ocean surrounded by perfectly clear blue sky. Very zen and calming.
Daniel is the guy facing you in this picture. Scroll back up to the picture of Artemis for a better angel of Steve
The night was amazing, you can check out a recording of it here. Let me know what you think.