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April 19, 1993 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-04-19

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The Michigan Daily -Monday, April19, 1993-Page 13

Fun, fast-pac
by Karen Lee
In her director'snotes, Mary Locker
declared that she wanted her production
of "Tbe Gondoliers" to, as the song
goes, leave the audience "with feelings
ofpleasure."It was very clear thatLocker
and her cast aimed to please, and even
though I personally have trouble with
The Goiidoiiers
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
April 15, 1993
operetta in general, I appre- .
ciated the effort that so obviously went
into such a venture.
The plot was typically convoluted
Gilbert and Sullivan. Two gondolier
brothers, both Republicans, are told that
one of them is the long lost infant prince
ofBarataria, hidden away some 20years
ago in Venice. Now, the Grand Inquisi-
tor needed to bring the heir back to
Barataria to rale; the problem is, he
doesn't know which of the brothers is
the royalty. Suffice it to say that every-
thing worked out in the end, although,
by this time, everyone knew how it
would turn out because the plot twist
had been all but revealed in the middle
of Act I.
Performed on scenery that, like the
operetta itself, was sunny, bright and
* elaborate, the show moved along at a
fairly quick rate, and the space was used
extremely well. Everything on the set
served some function and was not sim-
ply used as decoration.
The actors as well all served a pur-
pose.In too many shows, chorus mem-
bers are placed on the stage, where they
just sit and make the rest of the scene
look good. Here, however, the Gondo-
liers and their Contadine were an inte-
gral part of the show, carrying off their

ed operetta
helped by Diana Hunt's admirable cho-
reography, made all the more meritori-
ausbecause she had so many people to
work with.
The leading actors are to be com-
Zinn, as the brothers Marco and
Giuseppe Palmieri, made agreat come-
dic team, with beautiful voices that
complemented each other well. Tricia
Klapthor, playing the romantic lead
Criselda, had a clear, soaring soprano
that reflected what she was feeling at all
times. Additionally, she was an able
comedienne, and she performed well
Julie Jacobs, as the gondolier wives
Tessa and Gianetta, did a nice job as
well, although Jacobs' soprano had a
little too much vibrato. Wirtz had a
bigger problem, however, in that she
did not have a strong lower register;
there were times that, from where I was
sitting in the balcony, I could not hear
what she was singing, or even ifshe was
The comic showpieces, however,
were Kevin Casey asDonAlhambradel
Bolero (the Grand Inquisitor), and
Beverley Pooley and Linda Nadeau as
the Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro.
Casey was the epitome of self-impor-
tance in his part as political manipula-
tor, Pooley and Nadeau reveled in the
wealth that would soon come of their
daughter's maniage and tried desper-
ately to cover up their marital problems
in front of her, although not so much
that the audience could not delight in
Director Locker, in her first active
work with the Gilbert and Sullivan so-
ciety after an absence of five years, put
together a show that was worthy of her
return. Fast-paced and fun, "'The Gon-
doliers" satisfied any lover of operetta

Midnight Oil
Earth and Sun and Moon
Sony Music
Before he answered even the first
question, Midnight Oil's Peter Ganrett
wanted to set one thing straight: Mid-
night Oil isnot apolitical band. It's just
coincidence that all their best songs are
political and that they play at least a
dozen benefit concerts a year. It must
also just be coincidence that their latest
album, which deals with mostly eco-
logical issues, is titled "Earth and Sun
poweredstudio. But then again, maybe
Peter may have a point, though.
Midnight Oil doesn't sound like a po-
litical band. It sounds like a rock band.
When I first put the new disc on, I
thought I was listening to the Doors;
then theguitars kicked in, andI was sure
itwastheWho,whenactually,it was the
Oils. The sound is still distinctive, but
this time around, it's as familiar as it is
fresh. "It's going to come out eventu-
ally," remarked the lanky singer. "We
tried to ignore it for a while, but those
were our influences."
"Earth and Sun and Moon"is a bit
of a departure for the band, and a long-
awaited one at that. When asked what
took three years, Peter said, "'Twelve
good songs."Once again, he was wrong.
There are only 11 songs on the album,
and 10 of them aren't just good, they're
grr-e-a-t (thanks Tony).
The first track, "Feeding Frenzy,"
sets the tone for the album. The instru-
mentation is simple (nothing electronic
at all), yet lays a serious groove. The
next track, "My Country," is even bet-
ter. It is as infectious as "Beds Are
Burning,"butmuch more uptempo.Like
so many songs on the disc, "My Coun-
try" hasone of thoserefrains that stay in

your head all day, but just this once you
may not want to leave.
Some of the songs, such as
"Truganini," sound like classic "Die-
sel"-eraoils, whileotherslike "Renais-
sance Man," and "Tell Me the Truth,"
are memories of "Red Sails ..." in fu-
ture tense, complete with melodies that
don't quite work, but keep you singing
along anyway.
"Earth and Sun and Moon" prob-
ably isn't the Best Oils album ever, but
it is as musical and energetic as any-
thing that has been released in the past
year.Theharmoniesareperfect, and the
beat unstoppable (though a bit funkier
than expected).Every Oils fan will want
to rush out and buy it as soon as pos-
sible,and anyone else who's looking for
a solid pop-rock album may want to go
along with them. And, of course, all of
you should go see them when they tour
this summer. They're as intense as
Metallica, as talented as Rush, and as
fun as the B-52's.
-Jason Vigna
Coverdale /Page
Coverdale /Page
Geffen Records
Without question, "Coverdale /
Page"contains Jimmy Page's best play-
ing since Led Zeppelin's 1979 album,
"In Through the Out Door." Consider-
ing his most memorable efforts in the
last decade were two solos on Robert
Plant's "Now and Zen" album and the
retro-groupthe Honeydrippers, it didn't
take much to top his last decade of
recording. So there's no denying that
there is a certain thill in hearing the
descending acoustic blues riff of the
opening cut, "ShakeMy Tree." It sounds
just like Led Zeppelin, full of pompous
majesty. Yet when the song moves into

the verse section, the chords are sim-
plistic, formulaic,andpredictable.Page
still knows how to structure a song, yet
his riffs are frequently empty emula-
tionsofhisolderwork. Whenhechooses
to solo he proves to still be a master of
phrasing and tone, whether it is the
smooth legato blues of "Don't Leave
Me This Way" or the manic rockabilly
of "Feeling Hot."
Unfortunately, under half of the
tracks have guitar solos, forcing the
weak, unmemorable riffs to support the
songs along with the lackluster vocals
of David Coverdale, perhaps the most
boring singer in hard-rock. Although
Coverdale manages to avoid a full-
blown Robert Plant imitation (mainly
by never singing in a high register), his
melodies, lyrics and voice are numb-
ingly conventional, making Page's au-
ral experimentation sound ordinary.
"Coverdale/Page"manages to produce
some guilty pleasures (the frenzied
"Absolution Blues," "Shake My Tree"
andthefirstsingle, "PrideandJoy"), yet
often slips into pedestrian hard-rock,
exemplified by such radio-ready bal-
lads as the dreary "Take A Look At
- Tom Erlewine
Boukman Eksperyans
Kalfou Danjere
Inthe BoukmanEksperyans' home-
land of Haiti, this exquisite album was
banned by military authorities as some-
how being "too violent."This statement
boggles my mind. The soothing rhyth-
mic pulses and soulful harmonies
throughout Kalfou Danjere parallel the
work of African musical artists Fela
Anikulapo Kuti and Ladysmith Black
Mambazo as healing forces, not the

polemical bombshells of American
rabble-rousers Public Enemy and Ice
Cube. Perhaps this musiccould be clas-
sified as "counter-violent" in the con-
"threatening" with its steady founda-
tion in the spiritual uprising of the Hai-
tian people.
The nine-piece band Boukmnan
Eksperyans stays "true to the game" in
the midst of sociopolitical chaos in their
home, Haiti, but the range of theirmusic
stretches far beyond those borders.
Boukman touches on so many interna-
tional bases of the African diaspora that
anyone with a drop of African blood in
their veins (everyone?) should dig this.
Aspects of Haitian voudo, WestAfrican
pop, Caribbean, Rara and rock swirl
about in the mix, all glued together with
the band's mesmerizing vocals and dis-
ciplined "grooves."
Among my favorite tracks, "Nanm
Nan Boutey" tells a timeless story of
culturalresistance withahypnoticblend
of sweet guitar licks and percussion.
The song's intricate blends of melody
and rhythm not only bely the seething
discontent voiced in the lyrics, butbring
it to a transcendantal peak.The upbeat
"Jou Nou Revolte" blends complex
polyrhythms of bass, guitar andpercus-
sions while the band's irresistible vo-
cals creep into the jam with pleasing
results. More distinctly South African-
sounding, the charming "Kouman Sa
TaYe" gels through acomplex interplay
of Boulanan's male and female voices
and sweet guitar lines.
"Too violent,"the authorities called
this record. Unbelievable. If this warm
collection of songs can be banned as
harmful by the powers that be in Haiti,
I'll take it over the sounds of machine
guns and grenades anyday.
-Forrest Green III

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