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January 18, 1994 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-18

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 18, 1994 - 9

*Poor choli
"Huck and Puck" is a tough play.
This 50-minute installment in the
Performance Network's New Work
Series wasn't tough-minded or tough
! Huck and Puck
Performance Network
January 14, 1994
to watch, just tough to figure out. Try
to imagine a "A Midsummer's Night
Dream," "The Adventures of Huckle-
berry Finn" and a little "Wizard of
Oz" all wrapped up in a ball, with
Aristotle and Euclid thrown in for
good measure.
Sounds strange, doesn't it? But
writer/director Linda Kendall did
manage to synthesize these seemingly
disparate elements into some sem-
blance of a storyline. It seemed that

ces plague
Oberon, King of the Fairies, had lost
his queen, Titania, so he sent his ser-
vant, Puck, out to find her. Titania
had, in the meantime, switched bod-
ies with Dorothy (of Hannibal, Mis-
souri rather than Kansas; for those
who haven't studied much of Twain,
that was his hometown).
Throughout all this activity, Huck
Finn was sailing up the Nile to dine
with Alexander the Great, and yet
elsewhere, Aristotle, Euclid and
Appollonius the Artful were meeting
to exchange ideas. Puck appeared to
preside over all that happened, per-
forming whatever mischief he could
possibly get away with on the purely
functional set, apostmodernjunkyard
that included piles of cement blocks
and a platform supported by car tires.
Sounds like there should have been
some profound message here, right?
I'm not so sure; it looked as if Kendall
might have just wanted to give her
actors, Peter Knox and Jim Posante

(both of whom switched characters as
swiftly as they could doff their capes)
a chance to play.
That's not to say that's a poor
choice; "playing," after all, is a fun-
damental element of acting. The prob-
lem was that the performers did not
appear to be taking advantage of this
opportunity to have fun. While Knox
was technically proficient, able to call
up any number of distinctive voices
on demand, he looked tired, even
bored. Posante couldn't even make
the distinctions between characters.
Moreover, he could not give himself
over to the mischief and sheer gaiety
of Puck; instead, he seemed self-con-
scious and clumsy.
Granted, this was also the last
weekend of performances, and any-
one could be tired. I don't know what
rehearsals were like; there probably
wasalotofspiritandalotoffun. Ijust
wish those qualities had carried over
to this performance.

Pictured here in his 1990 Storm Front tour, Billy Joel has since grown a beard, but he's still really cute.
'River of Dreams' floods Palace

But Billy, what about "Blonde Over Blue"?
"I'm 44 and I still have this crazy-ass job," Billy Joel
told a sold out crowd at the Palace Friday night. Middle-
aged, bearded and six months into what he says will be his
last round on the touring circuit, Joel delivered a perfor-
mance to rival
those of his
Billy Joel younger days.
But Billy,
The Palace what about "All
January 14, 1994 About Soul"?
If the tour
was to promote
his new album, no one would have guessed it. After a
cursory nod to "River of Dreams" (opening with "No
Man's Land," soon followed by "Lullaby" and the title
track), Joel trekked back to the old days, barely touching
"Storm Front," "The Bridge" or even "Innocent Man." So
much for '80s nostalgia.
But Billy, what about "Keeping the Faith"?
Still, if "River of Dreams" is about middle age and
maturity (as Joel has said), he was mindful of that, if not
of the album itself. Gone were the blue jeans of concerts
past; in their place was a nice pair of black slacks. Gone
were the Risky Business sunglasses (at least for most of
the show). Here was an adult ("44 and still doin' this
crazy-ass job") having a great time as such.
But Billy, what about "Miami 2017"?
It's difficult to say anything negative about Billy Joel
in concert. He exudes charm. He plays to his crowd (but
does he really need to do "Old Time Rock and Roll" every

time he gets within 40 miles of Detroit?). He is energetic-
and mellow and charismatic and at ease. He remembers all:
the words. However, a few things were, well, missing
leaving a fan to wonder: Who's writing his set lists?
But Billy, what about "Angry Young Man"?
The River of Dreams Tour, while vintage Billy Joel -,
nil on flashy special effects and dance numbers, packed
with class and solid performance -- could more aptly
have been called The Songs the Radio Killed Tour. "We
Didn't Start the Fire," "Extremes," "It's Still Rock and
Roll to Me": get together every disc jockey west of Long
Island and these are the hits they'd come up with. So if we
can count on the DJs not to stray far from the generic path,
shouldn't we be able to count on the performer to do just
that live? Sure it's ajolly good time when everyone stands
up and sings "Only the Good Die Young" and "You May
Be Right" and "My Life," but what about the songs that
never get within 300 feet of a radio wave? Shouldn't Joel
do those in concert?
But Billy, what about "Captain Jack"?
Maybe Joel doesn't listen to the radio much. More
likely he realizes what most of the crowd can sing along
with, and plays accordingly. As he closed the show (in a
second encore) with "Piano Man" letting the fans sing the
final chorus without him, no one was complaining.
In the end, regardless of what he plays, he's Billy Joel,
and he's the best. While the last song on "River of
Dreams" remained unsung, the lyrics of "Famous Last
Words" floated above the stage like a storm front: "And
these are the last words I have to say. It's always hard to
say goodbye..." Is this the end of a career spanning three n
decades? Yeah, Billy, it'll be hard for us too.

The Tuvan throat singers, Huuh-Huur-Tutake, are producing some of the most intense music in existence.
roat singers strke a different o

decades? Yeah, Billy, it'll be hard for us too.

America is a strangely isolated
country. Despite our interweaving of
so many different people and the cul-
tural gradation down the Americas,
we know so little about each other and
the other 90 percent of this world's
inhabitants. Paradoxically, much of
the rest of the world is profoundly
affected by the cultural murmurs of
America - our popular culture often
Sas a more subtle but pervasive im-
act than American foreign policy.
Even the small republic of Tuva in
central Asia has become entranced by
American music. The Tuvan group
Huun-Huur-Tu responded to this in-
flux of Americana by resurrecting old
songs from decades past and time
immemorial. Sasha Bapa, vocalist,
igil (horsehead fiddle) player, and
percussionist of the group, relates,
There's a lot of bad music in Tuva
these days. Some musicians take an
American melody, put Tuvan words
to it and call it Tuvan music, or young
guys will go out and buy a synthe-
sizer, a drum set, and a couple of
electric guitars and bang away under-
neath some throat-singing. We didn't
want to do that."
Instead, Huun-Huur-Tu perform
one of the most intense and unusual
rms of singing on this planet. Called
khodmei, it is know in the West as
throat or overtone singing. Despite its
other-worldly sound, khdkmei is based
on natural acoustic harmonics. Com-
bining deep (sometimes extraordinar-
ily deep), rumbling singing with high-
pitched wispy overtones, throat-sing-
ers are able to produce two and three
distinct notes at once.
I The group's name reflects throat

singing's proximity to nature. Huun-
huur-tu means "shafts of light," refer-
ring to the light rays produced by the
rising and setting sun on the Tuva
grasslands. This natural beauty is also
analogous to throat singing's "sound
rays" or separate lines of sound, al-
Combining deep
extraordinarily deep),
rumbling singing with
high-pitched wispy
overtones (the Huun-
Huur-Tutake) throat-
singers are able to
produce two and three
distinct notes at once.
luding to the dialectic of ontology and
nature presented in this music.
Huun-Huur-Tu take tradition a bit
further by combining throat singing
(traditionally sung only to oneself)
with guitar, Tuvan percussion and
several stringed instruments. Making
these private ruminations public en-
tertainment began after 1944, when
the Tuvan republic (Tanna-Tuva) be-
came part of the USSR and their mu-
sic became part of Soviet official cul-
ture. As the Soviet Union dissolved
and music became privatized, the
members of Huun-Huur-Tu as-
sembled their talents and made some
innovations in tradition.
As a result, they sing many differ-
ent styles of khdimei, rhythmically
accented with percussion instruments
and augmented with bowed stings.

The igil, toshpuluur, and chanzy
strings are well suited to khodmei
accompaniment, since they also
project rich overtones, despite their
seemingly simple construction.
Huun-Huur-Tu's few US concerts
have been exalted by the lucky audi-
ence. Their new CD, "60 Horses in
my Herd" even includes a song dedi-
cated to the late Frank Zappa, who
loved their music.
Music is one way of entering into
other cultures and linking up with
different meaning systems. Huun-
Huur-Tu present an especially unique
opportunity, since we seldom get a
chance to hear the awe-inspiring
khddmei singing of Tuva. Even if you
saw the movie "Close to Eden," you'll
flog yourself for missing Huun-Huur-
HUUH-HUUR-TU will be perform-
ing tonight at the Ark. Throat
singing begins at 8p.m. Tickets are
$13.75 in advance. Call 645-6666.

Continued from page 8
typical Don Juan ("Bedside Manner").
They do have a slightly darker side,
however, evident in songs like "The
All things considered, folk music,
or even just folk-ish music, has a
relatively small share of today's mu-
sic sales. That's unfortunate for bands
like Barenaked Ladies. "Gordon"
proudly demonstrates that folk can
evolve, develop and proliferate like
any other kind of modern musical
- Josh Herrington
Revival Cast
Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat
As if we needed another recording
of "Joseph." This makes, what, six or

seven?Thisone is in honorof Michael
Damian, the daytime hunk of "Young
and Restless" fame. He began his
musical career with "Rock On," the
video of which "sucks" according to
Beavis and Butt-Head.
The current Broadway production
managed to survive mixed reviews,
and is doing on average 95 to 100
percent attendance weekly - and it's
not because of an exciting rendition
of the score. It's because Damian looks
so darn good in a loin cloth.
The recording is practically iden-
tical to the 1991 London revival re-
cording (of the same label, starring
British sex symbol Jason Donovan)
- souped up, jazzed up melodies,
peppered by synthesizer orchestra-
tions. It includes the Prologue, sung
by the narrator (here Kelli Rabke) and

the "Joseph Megamix," a 15-minute
rehash of all the songs, the final prod-
uct of which resembles a club mix.
Even the cover design is identical to
the London recording.
Damian is adequate as Joseph; he's
a little breathy and hollow, and tends
to do a lot of scooping. Rabke is a
fine, clear-voiced narrator, and Rob-
ert Torti does a nice Elvis imperson-
ation as the Pharoah.
This isn't a particularly offensive
recording, but it isn't anything new or
exciting. If you're looking for a good
recording of "Joseph," go for the
Original Broadway cast, starring
Laurie Beechman, which lacks all the
frills of more recent recordings. Of
course, this is the only recording with
pictures of Damian on the jacket.
-Melissa Rose Bernardo

I r~ ~'II

The Office of -Acacemic Multiculturacl
9nitiitives is now taking applications for
Student Ceader
positions for the Kin g/chavez/parks
College Day Spring Visitation Program
Appcation deadline is January 2, 1994
Student leaders accompany visiting middle school
students throughout the day serving as guides
and role models while providing information about
the college experience. Student leaders usually
work in teams of three. They should be fairly out-
going individuals and have a keen interest in and
committment to helping students underrepresented
iki LiaiorLo ,i7lua ipi lo4,71 ninntr ~flI~IlA~in myfn

The University of Michigan
School of Music
Thursday, January 20
Gala Opening Concert
49th Midwestern Conference on School Vocal and Instrumental Music
* All State Honors String Orchestra; Michael Morgan, conductor
" Tim Lautzenheiser, guest speaker, "Advocacy for the Arts in
Power Center, 8 p.m.

Attention Graduating Seniors!
Exciting Sales Opportunities available
with Detroit publishing company



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