Rhina Espaillat, John Tavano and I have added two other terrific musicians to our melopoeia ensemble, Roger Kimball and Kate Sullivan. We’re calling ourselves The Diminished Prophets. Our second performance as a group will be on Thursday, April 11, at the Charlestown Campus of Bunker Hill Community College. The program begins at 1 PM
John Tavano and I were thrilled to hear Parisian singer Anne Marie Codur and pianist Jill Borenstein perform our song, “La Girafe” at the Boston National Poetry Month Concert last night. It was a wonderful evening all around: Sufi poetry read to the accompaniment of the Turkish bowed tambour, Derek Walcott’s poetry paired with the mesmerizing sound of steel pans —even a Japanese pop song!
The Boston National Poetry Month Festival arrives every April like poetry’s Opening Day. I’ll be one of the Thirteen Keynote Poets reading in The Commonwealth Salon at 700 Boylston Street on Friday, April 7. And on Friday evening, as part of the Poetry, Music and Dance Concert, Anne-Marie Codur and Jill Borenstein will perform “La Girafe,” a song I wrote with guitarist John Tavano.
I’m both excited and a little daunted to be part of the Words and Music Symposium at Berklee College of Music coming up in April. John Tavano and I will talk about the songs we wrote for our CD, The Subtle Thread. The French vocalist Anne-Marie Codur will perform “La Girafe”!
I’m delighted to have the opportunity to read my poem “The Guitar Maker” at a special event to be held in Newburyport on Oct. 19. The Custom House Maritime Museum and WBUR are proud to sponsor this rare evening with Master Luthier Steve Klein, the man who built guitars for Joni Mitchell, Steve Miller, Sting, Stanley Clarke, and many others. Please join WBUR’s Jack Lepiarz for a reception, an exhibit of rare instruments, and a fascinating lecture on the art and science of modern lutherie. The beauty of these unique instruments will be brought to life with performances by Brendan Burns and John Tavano.
Tune in to “French Toast” on WMBR early on a Wednesday morning and you are likely to hear one of the chansons that John Tavano and I wrote for our recently released CD, The Subtle Thread. Huge thanks to Brian Thompson, professor of french emeritus at UMass Boston and one of the hosts of this long-running program. Listen live at 88.1 FM archived on wmbr.org
I’ve been talking about this project for so long that it became an embarrassment, but I’m proud to announce that The Subtle Thread, a CD of nine original songs written by classical/flamenco guitarist John Tavano and myself, is finally in production, and will be available in stores and online before Christmas! John and I began writing “La Girafe,” the first song on the album, way back in October, 2010! John writes melody like no one else can; sweet vocalist Ann Harter sings in two languages for us (four of the nine songs are written in French); and I sing with her on a couple of tracks. We gathered some of the finest musicians around to help us record the songs, including Chris Plante, formerly of The Brew, and Albert Lamar, a member of The Mississippi Symphony for 15 years, who has performed in orchestras for Ray Charles, The Chieftains and Doc Severinson. I cannot leave out Alex Sandman, whose bass work is a showpiece in itself. Chris Plante did the mixing; sonic genius Jeff Lipton of Peerless Mastering did the mastering; and my sister Elise Nicol, an artist of national renown, supplied the cover art. This thing has been a long time coming, but it’s quite a thing! Can you guess that I’m excited?
Please see my Music page for more details (and a sneak peek at the album cover).