ROCK Natalie Merchant Glasgow: Old Fruitmarket, Sun 1 Nov.
Far from slipping into obscurity after leaving 10,000 Maniacs, Natalie Merchant has, as they say in the trade, ’done a Kristin Hersh', releasing a solo album in 1995, TigerIi/y, which sold twice as many copies as her old group’s biggest seller. She still admits to being ‘shocked' that Tiger/fly sold the four million that it did.
'It was such a quiet album, a very simple album,’ she says. ’I'd never produced a record before, so that was kind of an intimidating experience, and then I pretty much refused to do any interviews because I didn't want there to be any possibility of that album being hyped. So for the first year that the album was out - and it had actually gone double platinum - people had this notion that it had been a failure because I hadn't really done much press.’
Album number two, Ophelia, came out at the end of May this year, when Merchant was out on the road co-headlining the all-female package tour, Lilith Fair. Additionally, Merchant made a short film to accompany the title track in which she played seven characters, each based in a different decade of this century and hailing from a different country. This ambitious conceit was pulled off by having her script translated and hiring actresses to speak the parts
so she could mimic their pronunciation. Not that she’s turning into David Byrne or anything, because the experience was so taxing that she’s been put off dabbling in lengthy film or video shoots again.
’I'd like to spend more time doing visual art, but I don’t seem to find the time for it. I actually had to enroll myself in a local University taking life-drawing classes so that for three days a week I knew I would have a live
Taika To Tabla
Glasgow: Royal Concert Hall, Fri 23 00.
From its gerieszs three years ago in the Royal Festival Hall, the ail-pei(ussion Show put together by Peter Lockett and Joii Hirota has been refined and expanded (they now bring a third drummer), and wrth over 40 drums on
Lockett and Hirota: banging the drum for tunes
!' I. I»
stage, riot i’1lllt‘l‘if3'i" tin- t}: xetis )l pertussrort riistturii-a'ts, 1'. Is ultimate rhythm trzt: r urn: Iii-:- -.‘.orlt‘ (,1 skins, heaters and srtaltis
lot'kett a'lmtts that tile iiiﬂte to lt't things started late ‘.' r‘iiteteen before I played anything But then I really wanted to Sometimes it's better to start when you are older, you put everything into it,' totisiders Lockett '!t
Natalie Merchant: quietly booming
model and a teacher and I would just draw. There’s an art school in central Mexico that a friend of mine just came back from and she said it’s amazing — you study Spanish and painting and it's an amazing environment and just a very inspiring thing, so after I finish a round of releasing the record and doing the publicity and touring, I need to do something like that to separate one style of living from another.’ (Alastair Mabbott)
was a Western drum kit to start with, but then I got into Indian muSic. First the tabla then the South lndian
mridangarri, it's a double-ended drum '
that has an interesting method of tirrr-nr; Vot; s‘ap on a taladge of dough Well, 1 now use bluetack, it's cleaner. Then got into African, and Arabic and Latin
All these styles and instruments are i
put together With Joii's instruments and big Japanese taiko drums in a performance that's dynamically shaped. Lockett feels that Hirota brings a special influence.
'Joii is, I would say, a spiritual person,’ says Lockett ’He's performed with Kodo, and he plays the myiadaiko drum, the big religious drum used at the door of a temple to purify the air, but the llllllLﬂliilll thing is his tonal etletts :>n (origas and bongos He tunes them so he can play melodically'
More (f‘il‘.\'("llil()lltil melody tomes front llir‘ota's use of the shakuhachi flute, and they employ the Widest range of dynamics It's not all about large HOISCS. They create soundscapes from whispering bells to the full-on unison thunder of the big Japanese drums (Norman Chalmers)
preview MUSIC JAZZ Scot Free Edinburgh: Queen's Hall, Sat 24 Oct;
Glasgow: Cottier Theatre, Thu 29 Oct; Edinburgh: Queen’s Hall, 30 Oct
Creative new Scottish jazz projects aren’t yet commonplace enough to make the occurence of two in one week simply a matter of course. John Kenny and Mike Travis will reveal contrasting musical directions with the launch of Scot Free and Uncharted Territory respectively, but both projects should reflect the diversity of music being made in these parts, and a willingness to experiment with cross- genre and cross-media developments.
John Kenny is first up with Scot Free, a new ensemble combining notated music with free-flowing improvisation and visual arts. The band features the trombonist alongside composer, saxophonist and painter Etienne Rolin. The pair have worked together extensively in France since meeting in Paris back in 1982, but this is the first time Kenny has been able to get the Frenchman back to Scotland in a performance context, courtesy of ECAT.
They are Joined by Chick Lyall, Mike Dunning, Tom Bancroft, sound projectionist John Whiting, and the Carnyx, an ancient Celtic war horn topped with a boar's head, which will be heard in a jazz context for the first time. Kenny's assiduous promotion of the horn now extends to the launch of Carnyx & Co to pursue projects on various fronts, and three diverse CDs featuring the instrument, with more in the pipeline (call 0131 447 3707 for more details).
Mike Travrs is a familiar figure on the Scottish Jazz scene, both as leader of his own bands — notably Contos and EH15 — and as a member of key ensembles like the Cauld Blast Orchestra and Clan Alba. His new nine- piece outfit promises to extend his musical explorations even further, utilising both the full group and smaller units from Within the personnel. The percussionist's own wide-ranging musical background will be augmented by mUSICIanS able to draw on JaZZ, folk, ethnic, classical and rock exprience, and it promises to be a colourful journey into that uncharted territory. (Kenny Mathieson)
John Kenny and friend
22 Oct—S Nov l998 THE LIST 49