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Readers of The List must have noticed all sorts of ploys to entice them to attend arts events. Arts marketing is a serious business. Going for an honesty-is-the-best- policy approach this issue is The Leda Trio. There are no gimmicks attached to their two March concerts. but most certainly assured are. firstly. a sound and intelligent rationale to their choice of programme , and. secondly. from past 1 experience. a performance of unusually high quality. A standard piano trio. the Leda is made up of violinist Peter Campbell- Kelly. cellist Kevin McCrae and pianist Kate Thompson and for these concerts the trio isjoined by Scottish soprano lrene Drummond. in typical understatement Campbell- Kelly explains. ‘We’ve planned a programme exploring some influences of song on chamber music. as well as hinting at Austro-Scottish links.’ But a very quick scratch under the surface of this statement reveals the exciting juxtaposition of two Schubert pieces to open their programme. ‘Schubert's Des Stingers Habe inspired him to write the great B Flat Trio and you can hear how a lot of the trio first movement material is derived from the song.’ After the two Schubert pieces they move on to settings of Burns songs by Robert Franz and some equally cnarming settings of Scottish verse by Haydn and Beethoven. Turning to more recent times. there‘s a duo for | violin and cello by Sally { Beamish and Variations On A Viennese Folk Song by Hans Gal. described by Campbell-Kelly as a ‘rollicking party-piece to finish off the evening with a bang.’ (Carol Main) The Leda Piano Trio play the RSAMD, Glasgow on Fri [8 and the Queen '5 Hall, Edinburgh on Sun 20.

‘You get into that road rhytlln, there’s definitely a physical side to the whole thing. But that )ust brings about the rejuvenative and restorative powers of rock ’n’ roll.’ Cris lilrkwood is fighting flt. lie should be: the 33-year-old native of Phoenix, Arizona, has been on the road since 1980. Today’s pit- stop is in Tallahassee, Florida. Bassist Cris, brother/vocalist Curt and drummer Derrick Bostrom - collectively, Meat Puppets - are on tour with Blind Melon. In the coming weeks they hit Europe as support to Soul Asylum and (Kurt’s coma notwithstanding) iiirvana. Over the course of fourteen years and eight albums Meat Puppets have blazed an erratically inspired career, veering

1 from rackety punk mayhem with their

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Meat Puppets

Meat’s beat manifesto

early releases for SST to the ‘psycho country’ of their two major label albums, 1991’s ‘Forbidden Places’ and now this month’s ‘Too High To liie’. But it’s only now, in the wake of glowing tributes of the ‘formative lnfluence’ ilk from the latter two bands’ frontman, that Meat Puppets are dangerously close to being bankable assets.

Fourteeen years on, the payback and paydirt. Is that the sound of swelling chests we hear over the transatlantic phone? iiope, it’s lust a bad line. ‘lt’s not a pride thing,’ says Cris of the feeling in the Puppets camp. ‘Prlde is a strange emotion. if you call yourself the Meat Puppets in the first place you’re already distancing yourself from yourself. You’re adding this extra element of wonder and inexplicabilify. And stupidity.’

Mostly the matey, sussed and profoundly laidback Cris considers the vocal approval of Messrs Cobain and Plrner and thinks, ‘Roy, I bet the record company likes that, they’re gonna have field day with that as a marketing tool.’ The rest of the time, he’s grooving on, keeping true to Meat Puppets’ ever-individual, ever-weird ethos. ‘When we started it was like having a scab. You just keep picking and picking . . .’ (Craig McLean)

Meat Puppets support Soul Asylum at Barrowland, Glasgow on Sat 19.

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in recent times, the string quartet has snatched the reins of popular classical interpretation from the hands of James Last and Hooked On Classics by forging an altogether more radical alliance with rock music.

Kronos Quartet were first off the blocks with their rendition of ‘Purple Raze’. The Brodsky Quartet’s collaboration with Elvis Costello on ‘The Juliet Letters’ was the most publicised pact, but arose more from Costello’s developing interest in classical music than vice versa. The most seamless example, however, came on side one of ‘Possessed’, The Balanescu Quartet’s first album, released on Mute Records (maverick independent rock label, you’ll note).

Plundering Kraftwerk’s back catalogue for five of their best-known tracks, including ‘The Model’ and ‘Autobahn’, the Quartet’s Clare Connors arranged the Teutonic electronic anthems into lyrical, acoustic pieces with astonishing accuracy, in the process revealing that Kraftwerk knew a top melody when they heard one.

‘I like very much the medium of quartet,’ says Alexander Baianescu, the ensemble’s founder. ‘Although it’s a very classical unit that hasn’t changed for 200 years or so, it can be incredibly flexible. It’s amazing how it can renew itself.’

Balanescu’s interest in new avenues for old Instruments began as a kick against the conventions of his training

Strings attached

Alexander Salariescu

at Juiliard in New York. Rather than stop at contemporary classical sounds, Balanescu aspires to occupy the middle ground between classical, rock, (an and folk.

The Quartet’s current album ‘luminitza’ is influenced by the Romanian folk music Balanescu grew up with and was composed following a visit to his homeland, post-revolution, in 1991 , for the first time since he left Romania with his parents in 1969.

‘It was to retie my roots somehow,’ he relates. ‘The older I get the more I realise how much I owe musically and culturally to that part of the world. I felt I had to reshape this background and also to deal with the feeling of, what is my position, what is my home? I quite like not really belonging to any home.’ (Fiona Shepherd)

The Balanescu Quartet play the BBC | Studios, Edinburgh on WCd 16.

Pulling covers from the well

Squeeze vocalist Glen Tilbrook likes Bjork, Crowded House and playing acoustic songs in

pubs. And why not? Craig S

McLean hears the pop

maestro go back to basics. .5

Tall stools, cardigans with leather elbow-patches. a pipe. this is what we want. Is this what we’ll get from Glenn Tilbrook‘s avowed intent ‘to emulate the halcyon days of such artists as Reg Varney. Val Doonican and Roger Whittaker"? Sadly not. although the great man promises ‘chat. songs. and whatever happens, happens. it’s not a conventional set. it‘ll be made up as it goes along. and will last for as long as i feel like it‘s working.‘

Squeeze frontman Glenn Tilbrook is heading out on a solo tour. offering. it sez here. ‘his own brand of that greatly maligned art form solo pub rock.‘ For someone who started his musical life with Chris Difford in the pubs of Depford in 1973. it's a sort of homecoming.

‘lt's grown naturally,‘ says one half of

28 The List l l—24 March 1994