February 18, 2007

Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte CD Release Concert, WAMC Linda Norris Auditorium, February 16

It's not often that all our senses are assailed at a concert, but the well-tuned performance machine of Pierre & Nicole has once again spun words, music, images, the aromas of a French kitchen & the pleasures of food into a fine tapestry (better yet, napkin, or tablecloth). Their CD release concert (two of them: "Routes not Roots" by Pierre Joris & "La Gabure Transcontinentale" by Nicole Peyrafitte) included performances by Munir Beken, oud, Michael Bisio, bass, Ben Chadabe, percussion & drums, and Mitch Elrod, guitar, as well as support by a variety of local musicians & technicians. And Nicole prepared her bi-continental chowder throughout the performance & served it at the end with wine & corn bread at the end.

For the record, this (as well as all my Blogs) is not meant as a review such as you might find in a newspaper or magazine; rather it is an appreciation, or commentary. I am not attempting to be "objective", being a very subjective poet. Nicole & Pierre are my friends & I have collaborated with them (see my Blog below on the Experimental Cabaret). So I will say I had a marvelous time Friday night among friends.

Pierre & Nicole presented selections from their CDs, with music & images of photos & Nicole's artwork projected on the screen with the help of intern Sarah Rogowski. The projection of the images of the interior of the kettle made the anticipation of the chowder that much more compelling & tantalizing. Nicole included only part of the narrative of the Bi-Continental Chowder in order to have time for other selections from her CD, but for those who want the whole story (& more chowder) she will present a full version at the Steamer 10 Theater in Albany on March 2, 3 & 4.

The audience did not quite fill the "Linda", with few poets from the open mic scene there (but Therese & Frank were right up front), and few "strangers". Most were friends & supporters from the arts, academic, and activist community, despite promotion by the NYS Writers Institute. On the one hand this shows the interconnections of the arts scene in the Albany area; on the other it may indicate the specialization of the audiences. WAMC provides a variety of programming at the "Linda", promoted on the air. So where are the folks who go to the classical performances at the folk music shows? Or either of them, so cultured & hip, at the spoken word performances? Perhaps that is not Albany's problem, but a perennial one for the arts. Although my favorite button says "Support Your Local Poet", I use that in the broadest, most ancient, sense of "maker" -- maker of art (or Art).

Check out www.tawilproductions.com to order the CDs. Oh yes, the chowder was magnifique!