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January 28, 1993 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-01-28

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Page 8--The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - January 28, 1993

New folk revival

r

playing
FOLK
Continued from page 1
cratic Robin Holcomb and Debrah Kahn,
to the straight ahead Griffith and Shawn
Colvin, and to the commercial Indigo
Girls and Suzanne Vega, women folk
singers have in some cases attracted
more attention than their male counter-
parts.
Though Griffith may seem to some
to be a young, emerging performer, she
is only six years younger than James
Taylor and Steve Winwood and the
same age as Elvis Costello. Her records
sound like they were made by a time-
weathered veteran of the music busi-
ness, yet she projects the image of a
woman in her early '20s, trying to break
out with equal amounts of talent and
energy. The differences between then
and now is that she no longer needs to
drive herself around to her own shows;
herrecords are gradually becoming more
successful than the last. Eight years ago,
she was a featured semi-unknown per-
former at the Folk Festival, and this
year, she is the main attraction.
Though she considers herself to be
folk, her Texas roots have led her to
often be sold as a country singer. An
interesting development in folk music
is that there are so many more genres
than there were thirty years ago. As a
result, many performers who should be
considered folk, male or female, suc-
ceed if they can fit into some other
trend. Folk as its own category becomes
diluted since its biggest stars are dis-
persed throughout pop music's entire
spectrum. Billy Bragg, Michael Penn,
and Vega rose through the progressive
music scene of the eighties, while

at Hi?
Griffith and Lyle Lovett, last year's
headliner, have had enormous success
on the country charts. Even John Gorka,
who has a very Northeastern sound, is
currently being marketed as a country
act, simply because he has just become
too popular for the coffeehouse circuit.
This seems very discouraging to
those like Griffith who anticipate or
wish for another folk revival. How can
folk music and its artists succeed if it is
not generally recognized by the music
business as a viable, profitable genre? If
it were not for labels like Flying Fish or
Rounder, there would be few outlets for
developing performers to record for a
company that provides national distri-
bution. Even when offered contracts by
largerorganizations, many artists choose
to remain with the small companies,
How can folk music and
its artists succeed if it
is not generally
recognized by the
music business as a
viable, profitable genre?
where they feel they are treated with
more respect by the company heads
who are actually fans of the music.
There is also little attention paid to
contemporary folk on commercial ra-
dio. National Public Radio affiliates
like WDET and college stations have
usually been supportive of developing
folksingers. Two nationally syndicated
public radio programs, (conspicuously
unavailable in this area) "Mountain
Stage" and "World Caf6," have worked
very hard to present to listeners both
new and veteran performers. Commer-
cially speaking, only WAMX (107.1) in
this area took chances by including
Maura O'Connell, John Gorka and
Shawn Colvin in its regular rotation of
new releases. Unfortunately for every-
one around Ann Arbor, those records
will no longer be heard at that point on
the dial, for the station has recently
mutated into an oldies graveyard.
On television, VH-1 once experi-
mented with adult-alternative videos,
and its outstanding "New Visions Folk"
program, a weekly show featuring live
performances and videos by many of
folk's top acts. When that was axed
along with the other "New Visions"
shows, and the programming changed
to classic rock and Michael Bolton,
there was little TV exposure available
to acts too folky for Carson, Letterman
or MTV.
Of course there has always been

Phillippe Entremont and the Wiener Chamber Orchestra. Yes, Wiener, and no Oscar Meier jokes please. This is serious chamber music stuff, you know.
Filling the chamber music vid

by Jordan Stancil
There aren't too many world-renowned concert
pianists who become conductors and tour with a
leading chamber orchestra. Most musicians of inter-
national stature seem to have something against
extensive touring. Even worse, many conductors
shy away from the chamber repertoire, preferring
instead the tired symphonic warhorses.
But Philippe Entremont, who will play at Hill
Auditorium tonight with the Vienna Chamber Or-
chestra, sees touring as a great way to share his art
with the widest possible audience. The French pia-
nist-conductor, who is the lifetime music director of
the Vienna group, says he doesn't mind the travel.
Lucky for him; he'll be doing even more tours with
the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, of which he
was recently appointed principal guest conductor.
Entremont's work is a great relief for undernour-
ished chamber music fans. As he pointed out in a
recent telephone interview, there is a huge repertoire
for a chamber orchestra and much of it is under-
played, or completely unplayed. Through his work

with his two top-notch chamber orchestras,
Entremont is making a concerted effort to fill the
"chamber music void."
Thursday's program includes "Ancient Airs and
Dances" by Ottorini Respighi, Mozart's Piano Con-
certo in Amajor, K. 414 and "Souvenir de Florence"
by Tchaikovsky. Entremontnotes that the program is
marked more by its variety than by any similarity
between the pieces. He described the first piece as
sunny and pleasant. It is marked by clarity of form-
a trait quite common to the 20th century neoclassi-
cist Respighi.
The Mozart concerto, in which Entremont will
doubleassoloistand conductor, iswritten forastring
orchestra with winds ad libitum, meaning the piece
can be played with or without winds. Thursday's
concert will be strings only. Although many of
Mozart's earlier works often have a certain affinity
with more mature works in the same key (e.g. the
Symphonies in G minor, K. 183 and K. 550),
Entremont finds no such connection between K. 414
and its A major counterpart, K. 488; according to

him, K. 414 is much lighter in mood, just as it is in
orchestration.
Although the title of the Tchaikovsky seems to
indicate another of the composer's imitations of
various national styles (as in the Spanish, Arab,
Chinese and Russian dances in "The Nutcracker"),
Entremont finds the piece to be "very Russian." The
piece was originally written as a string sextet but will
be played with the full string orchestra. He notes it
for its difficulty and its beautiful second movement,
which is written in a flowing, cantabile style.
Entremont has recording projects planned with
the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra on the Sony
Classical label. These will add to his already-consid-
erable catalog of recordings with the Vienna Cham-
ber Orchestra and with other groups.

THE VIENNA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA will
perform at Hill Auditorium tonight at 8. Rush
tickets are available today at the Union Ticket
Office. After the performance, Entremont will be
on hand at L & S Music to sign recordings. For
information, call 764-2538.

"Austin City Limits," but many people
see that as a country show. The Nash-
ville Network features a few live perfor-
mances and programs that have show-
cased many of folk's biggest stars. Due
to the understandable "Garthophobia"
which has overcome many of us who
hate popular country music, non-coun-
try fans will rarely see these perfor-
mances by singers like Griffith, Gorka
and James MacMurtry.
In light of these conditions, how can
anew folk revival happen? There has to
be one charismatic performer who takes
everyone by storm and bring his or her
buddies along for the ride. Folk music
was so popular in the sixties mainly
because of Dylan - subsequently be-
ginning the search for the "new Bob
Dylan."Whoin 1993 can have thatkind
of an impact? Probably not Griffith, for
she has noted that she may not want to
tour anymore. Nor could it be Lyle
Lovett, because he is too institutional-
ized as a country singer. Maybe it could
be Maura O'Connell or Shawn Colvin.
It could even be some guy who is play-
ing before twenty people tonight on
some Northeastern college campus.
Some people even place their chips on

*I

Flor de Cafna sure look happy to be playing at this year's sixteenth annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival.

Havens

Write for Arts
For info about music, books, fine arts and
theater staffs, call 763-0379

the very same guy who spearheaded the
grunge revolution - Neil Young -
and his stellar new record, "Harvest
Moon."
As long as the lack of a true revival

doesn't get any performer down, and
true fans keep buying records, taking
their friends to events like the Ann Ar-
bor Folk Festival, and frequenting
America's coffeehouses and places like

the Ark, folk music will continue for the
sake of its strong, core audience. The
music would probably be better that
way; how is an anti-music biz folkie
supposed to like something if it's trendy?

More Rock and Rol Hall of Famers

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GUIDE
Continued from page 3
died, which are subpar.
ETTA JAMES
Etta James has been singing blues
since her big break in 1955.
BEST: James' career has been
through several phases; her best 1950s
work is on "Etta James Sings", her best
1960s work is on "Her Greatest Sides"
and her live act is well represented on
"Etta James Rocks the House" (1964).
WORST: James' career runs in

cycles; after a string of successful al-
bums she has put out increasingly poor
albums and then rebounded with suc-
cess again. Her poor recordings are
generally out of print.
FRANKIE LYMON AND THE
TEENAGERS
Frankie Lymon and his group were
literally teenagers (all were in junior
high school) when they made their fa-
mous doo-wop hits such as "Why Do
Fools Fall in Love?" in 1957-58.
BEST: All the important recordings
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from their very short career are in-
cluded in "Best of Frankie Lymon and
the Teenagers."
WORST: There are plenty of collec-
tions like "Live, Rare and Unreleased"
that scrape the bottom of the barrel for
fanatics of this band; they only recorded
for eighteen months and there isn't
enough material to make good albums.
VAN MORRISON
Van Morrison is an Irish blues/pop
singer who started with Them in the
early sixties and pursued a solo career in
1967.
BEST: The familiar singles of Van
Morrison are all on "Best of Van
Morrison," but that only tells part of the
story. His greatest albums, such as
"Moondance" (1970) and "Astral

Weeks"(1968) are unified works that
must be heard whole.
WORST: No particularly bad albums.
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE
Sly and the Family Stone were an
integrated San Francisco band who vir-
tually invented funk. Their career ran
from 1967 to 1974.
BEST: Sly and the Family Stone
were most famous for their singles,
which are collected on "Greatest Hits"
(1970) and "Anthology" (1981), both
of which include "Thank You"and "Hot
Fun in the Summertime" which are not
on any other albums. Some of their
other albums, particularly "Stand"
(1969) and "There's a Riot Goin' On"
(1971), are albums that contain excel-
lent music throughout.
WORST: After 1971, bassist Larry
Graham quit and the rhythm section
became more mellow. In addition, drug
problems were creating havoc with Sly
Stone's songwriting.

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