On Oct. 28, Talking Strings transported the Ask. Ponder. Educate. [X]. audience to far away places with nothing but their strings.
Peter “Pete” Jacobson, Grammy-nominated cellist, producer, singer-songwriter and Keenan Webster, multi-instrumentalist,and leader of Talking Wood, have been performing together for only six months. However, their chemistry on stage proves that time is just a number.
Before the performance began, A.P.E.X. Director Lynn Vartan explained that Jacobson and Webster were going to explore “the spirit of what music can do for us.”
Without missing a beat, the two musicians entranced their audience.
Webster began with two forms of Native American flutes while Jacobson played along with his cello. The musicians moved with fluidity into new sounds as Webster tied bells to his ankles and switched instruments to West African kora.
While the instrument is traditionally acoustic, Webster owns one of the 30 electric koras that have been produced.
The two stringed instruments, deriving from two different continents, united in a deeply melodic tune. Audience members found it almost impossible not to close their eyes and let the music wash over them, though no one fought their smiles as Jacobson and Webster let the music lead them through their performance.
Throughout their performance, they played a North India afternoon raga, a melodic framework for improvisation.
“A raga is that which colors the mind,” Jacobson explained. “It captures a certain feeling that is evoked from melodic pitches.”
Webster also treated the audience to the sound of his kamala ngoni, another West African string instrument related to the banjo.
The musicians certainly left the crowd wanting more as the performance came to a close all too soon, but that does not mean the end of Talking Strings for those who are looking for more as they are looking to release an album soon.
More information on events like the Talking Strings performance and other A.P.E.X. events can be found here.
Article and Photos by Audrey Gee