Banjo wizard Tony Trischka has called the Bee Eaters "bodaciously brilliant," and internationally renowned bassist Edgar Meyer says it's "a joy to hear both the exploration of this music.. and the emphasis on the simple beauty of the acoustic instruments."
The Bee Eaters trace their roots back to musical traditions as diverse as bluegrass, Celtic, jazz and old-time. While today's new breed often produces an amalgamation of sounds and styles based on a distant view, the Bee Eaters were raised embedded in these traditions raised to mold, meld, shape them and carry them forward, leaving their own indelible marks in the process.
Brother-sister duo Tristan and Tashina Clarridge, long known and lauded by those steeped in the American fiddle tradition are joined by hammer dulcimer virtuoso Simon Chrisman and masterful mandolinist Dominick Leslie.
Tashina, the 2005 Grand National Fiddle Champion, has toured with Mark O'Connor, Tony Trischka and Laurie Lewis and has performed at Carnegie Hall as a part of MacArthur Fellow/Grammy-winning bassist Edgar Meyer's Young Artists program. Multi-instrumentalist brother Tristan is an innovative cellist and 5-time Grand National Fiddle Champion. His talents have been sought by Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Bruce Molsky and Cape Breton fiddle phenomenon Natalie MacMaster. In addition to performing with the Bee Eaters, he tours internationally with Crooked Still.
Hammer dulcimer virtuoso Simon Chrisman brings an unusual style to (what has heretofore been thought of as) an instrument of limited range and technique. His inventive virtuosic touch and sophisticated rhythmic sensibilities are redefining the instrument and earning the attention of musicians from all over the world. He has performed with Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, opened for Bill Frisell and, at the tender age of 16, was a scholarship guest artist at the prestigious Augusta Heritage Festival.
Though only 21 years old, mandolinist Dominick Leslie has spent every one of those years immersed in bluegrass and acoustic music, and his innovative style and musical curiosity are informed by these deep roots. He has studied with mandolin masters David Grisman, Mike Marshall and Chris Thile, won numerous mandolin championships, and performed in France as a member of Mike Marshall's Young American Mandolin Ensemble. He has toured with Missy Raines, and currently performs with The Deadly Gentlemen and the Grant Gordy Quartet.
Since their formation in 2008 (with original member Wesley Corbett), the Bee Eaters have been on a trajectory of growth, personal and musical. Their ensemble work has taken on mature, textured and nuanced tones, as their compositions have become more thoughtful and intricate. With Tashina's delicate fiddle and Tristan's grounding cello wrapped around Simon's intricate and ethereal dulcimer and Dominick's driving mandolin, they have created a never-before-heard sound in American music. No tricks. No pyrotechnics. Four instrumental voices, united in their musical exploration.
Listening to the Bee Eaters is like eavesdropping on a spirited, private conversation. As wonderful as their recorded music is, watching the Bee Eaters in live performance is an exercise in safe danger. They parry and thrust, challenging each other at every moment. Their focus on their music and on each other is tight and complete. Their melodic lines and rhythmic phrases dance (and sometimes roil) over, under and around each other. There is sometimes dissonance but always an ultimate harmony.
With a new CD set for release in spring 2011, the Bee Eaters continue to travel the country performing in clubs, concert halls and festivals, evangelists for their new American acoustic sound.
Perhaps Tony Trischka said it best: "Their impressive ensemble work leaves me breathless. Their music excites, heals and enriches. Listen often."
Yes, listen often. ==================== Scott Law The Bee Eaters SAT, MAY 28 @ Fremont Abbey Arts Center $12 ADV, $15 DOOR, $10 STUDENT W/ ID 8PM SHOW 7PM DOORS
Fremont Abbey Arts Center
4272 Fremont Ave North
Seattle, WA 98103