26 May 2010

Na zdrave (to your health)!

What does it mean to 'play in a band'? I truly think 'play' is the important word here. In my last post you saw OBI very proper and quite serious. Um...these pictures are not very serious, unless you consider our intent to start the party after our last show at Minnesota's Renaisance Festival last year.

The weather was cold and dreary last October but that didn't stop us from having a good time. Natalie started the day of fun for us in full character with an Eastern European accent and sentence structure which proved so authentic that it compelled people to talk very simply, slowly and with sign language to her so she would understand they wanted to buy a CD. OBI (minus Colleen who had another gig and plus Sarah who fleeced the crowd for tips) created such a stir in the little open pub during performances that none of us had to spend our own money for drinks the rest of the day....and Natalie kept up her character's performance until we were all locked in the van and driving out of the parking lot. Na zdrave (to your health)!

24 May 2010

Orkestar Bez Ime

One might ask themselves, who is this 'band' she's talking about?

An excellent question.

Yes, even though I'm totally accordion-centric and encouraged to be so, I spend most of my musical life working with musicians that don't play the accordion. This is Orkestar Bez Ime, which means 'Orchestra without a name' in Bulgarian. The group has it's beginnings within Ethnic Dance Theatre's The EDT Folk Orchestra. EDT is a fine dance company in Minneapolis/St.Paul whose mission is to foster understanding and awareness of world cultures through the re-creation and presentation of traditional ethnic dance and music. http://www.ethnicdancetheatre.com.

Members of OBI work with EDT whenever possible from a small ensemble of dancers and lone musician (me) for Young Audience shows in Minnesota elementary schools, to larger productions in the Spring with the full company of 24 dancers and 9 musicians.

However, year round the six inhabitants of Rogaria (OBI's home country) perform together at festivals and dances throughout the Midwest. The members are L to R seated, Colleen Bertsch (violin), Katrina Mundinger (clarinet), Natalie Nowytski (vocals and percussion), Scott Keever (guitar, mandolin), L to R standing, Dee Langley (accordion), Matt Miller (bass).