Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Church Ashland, OR
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The Bee Eaters in Ashland
Fans of acoustic music might know 6-time Grand National fiddle champions Tristan and Tashina Clarridge and their group The Bee Eaters as hosts of the Summer String Summit, which brings dozens of world-renowned performers together from all genres for a marathon string music extravaganza at College of the Siskiyous each summer. On February 18th, The Bee Eaters return to Ashland to perform a program of new acoustic music featuring fiddle, cello and hammer dulcimer.
"(The Bee Eaters) combine chamber music's finely calibrated arrangements with Bluegrass's playful virtuosity and pop music's melodic resourcefulness." The Boston Globe
"The Bee Eaters are the instrumental cream of the brand new string nation." Darol Anger
"The Bee Eaters' extraordinary instrumentation immediately sets them apart from the rest of the progressive string band world. But this band is no novelty. The textures are rich, the tunes are engaging, and the playing is masterful." Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers)
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. 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.
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, they have created a never-before-heard sound in American music. No tricks. No pyrotechnics. Three 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 released last fall, 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.
Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (View)
87 4th St
Ashland, OR 97520