Maya Beiser

Caught by the Sky with Wire

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This talented multi-instrumentalist duo play originally commissioned works influenced by several world music styles. Gada Vina African is a charming and melodious piece for marimba, shaker, a plucked string, and a violin. Nick Didkovsky's suite, Caught by the Sky with Wire, opens with The Dance, featuring angular rhythms and an emotive violin solo with sighs and shakes. Hugging Himself for Days and Never Getting An Answer is a mournful, low string solo played rubato. Those With the Longest Shadows is a brief interlude for a gamelan instrument. Tied Together With This is a rhythmic treat, with scratchy bowed string, quiro, and bass drum. Again, the Little Girl and Her Bird is a brief interlude with a touching violin melody. His Heart, Exploded with Wire is a high-spirited dance for marimba, violin, and drum set. In a Year, When She Can Speak Again occurs in slow thoughtful tones for gamelan instrument and violin harmonics. Chinary Ung's Grand Alap (A Window in the Sky) is like the slow introductory section of a raga but with sudden stabs and exclamations in the Cambodian Khmer language. A drone underscores extensive passages for marimba, vibraphone, violin, and voices. Northstar Boogaloo, by George Lewis, opens with a basketball referee's whistle, and percussion improvisations underlie voices: "The rhythm takes me back to when I was black and proud ... talking 'bout yo mama ... pick up the dance of five brothers skateboarding the court ... now jump forward through history's dice game .. poets were a-dribble, a drummer's paradiddle." Crowds cheer. Franghis Ali-Zade's Habil-Sajahy ("in the style of Habil") employs the cello and percussion to imitate Azerbaijani instruments, like the kemanche (a kind of violin), and two kinds of lute. The music is meditative, with a touch of sorrow and prayerfulness.

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