And He Made a Fiddle Peg out of her Finger Bone: A Live Performance of American Murder Ballads by Ilan Moss and Alex Kramer
Date: Monday, June 27th
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215
American folk music is littered with corpses. Bloated bodies floating down mountain streams, murdered brides stabbed in dark forests, cheating playboy husbands slumped over a bar with a shotgun blast in their head from a spurned lover, the spirits of young maidens haunting the lakes and rivers where they were drowned, etc. Known as murder ballads, these songs are a creepy, grim and yet an essential part of American traditional music. Murder ballads were brought to America by English and Scottish settlers. Ancient melodies often remained practically unchanged over the centuries. Sometimes only the lyrics were updated: swords became guns, getaway horses became automobiles, knights became cowboys, etc.
Multi-instrumentalists Alex Kramer and Ilan Moss will perform an evening of their favorite murder ballads. They are coming back to the Museum after appearing at a March reading of "The Good Death: An exploration of Dying in America" with Ann Neumann. For this special night, Alex and Ilan will perform into some well-known ballads but also explore some obscure and crooked murder numbers.
Alex and Ilan are both native New Yorkers, with strong roots in the citys folk music scene. Alex plays fiddle, banjo, guitar and sings. His music is highly influenced by the musical traditions of the Appalachian Mountains, Central Asia (Tuva), the 1960s, and raucous campfire circles around the country and world. He has lived in Ohio, Massachusetts, Oregon, and currently resides in New York.
Ilan lived for the past decade in Paris. His work in neglected tropical diseases takes him to all corners of the world, where he finds time to collect weird traditional music. Back in Paris Ilan played in a string band with cartoonist Robert Crumb, was a member of a Russian Gypsy Cabaret in Belleville and played old time fiddle music for bemused Parisians. Ilan plays banjo and accordion.
Morbid Anatomy Muesum (View)
424 A Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215