New Year’s Eve Concert at Hesperia Hall

Hall members welcomed in the New Year with another in a series of New Year’s Eve concerts organized by resident Bob Attiyeh and Yarlung Records.  This year’s offering swerved away from previous concerts when, following a short medley of songs played on the Renaissance pipes by Adam and Rotem Gilbert, the stage was turned over to jazz pianist Yuko Mabuchi.  She started off with a jazz arrangement  of three Japanese songs and then charmed us with Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are “and a pair of Duke Ellington numbers, “Take the A Train” and “Satin Doll.” Bassist Ilai Gilbert and keyboard player and Master of Ceremonies Billy Mitchell then joined Yuko with a rousing cover of “Route 66” with vocals by Billy and the audience. Dancing broke out, and from there the concert was in full swing. A base solo by Ilai in a Sonny Rawlins tune was followed Continue Reading →

Rachel Denny at Hesperia Hall – folk songs from the heart

In many ways, our modern folk ballads echo the long tradition of the medieval pastourelle. In this genre, the narrator, often a knight, stops in the woods. After all, woods are always erotic dream space where anything can happen. There the knight meets a shepherdess, often named Marion, who is longing for Robin, her absent shepherd lover. The tension between love, infidelity, rape, voyeurism, and the plays between high and low class and language have been rehearsed many times since the genre was first preserved in the twelfth century. Another classic feature of the pastourelle and its descendant ballads is the dorelot, or refrain. These refrains can mimic birdsong, quote other ballads, and can range between nonsense syllables to intelligible text. The word dorelot is just one variant of all the “tura luras,” “lully lullays,” “dilly dillies,” “diddle diddles,” “fa la las,” “tra la las,” and “Polly Wolly doodles” heard Continue Reading →