Tiny Desk Concert

February 10, 2010

Edmar Castaneda.

Go there, watch that video. This page will still be here when you get back.

I talked a while ago about the fact that writing about good things, getting excited about them, DOING good, is just tough. I said I’d try to write more about good things in the coming week, but amid traveling and frantic coursework I couldn’t muster the desire to write about DM Stith and Sufjan Stevens’ BQE. (But seriously, I may get to them sometime. In the meantime, go listen. Good stuff.)

Last night I was putzing around on the internet and decided to listen to a backlog of podcasts. I got around to my NPR Live Concerts podcast, and there was one waiting for me. These are videos, but usually I just put them on and run them in the background while I’m doing other things. “Hmm… Edmar Castaneda. Never heard of him.” Click, play, back with my life.

Then, as I was clicking around the music stopped me. The song sounded like it resented coming out of my computer. It just wanted to get out and run around my room, yelping in joy. I’ve not heard music so brimming with life in a long, long time. And it grooved. It dug in and swung hard. I loved it. So I clicked over to watch the musician go at it, expecting a virtuoso guitarist.

Edmar was playing a harp.

Every once in a while a musician forces listeners to reconceptualize an instrument. Zoe Keating does it with a cello, looping her hooks and creating sounds I didn’t know were possible. Edmar just redefined the harp for me. I simply did not know a harp could sound like that. As he plays he walks the bass line like a pro. When was the last time anyone said a harp piece had a great bass line? The rhythms are unpredictable, syncopated, lively. They practically dance. And the chords. Oh, the chords. If you like jazz, this will take you to another planet. There’s so much invention, spontaneity in the music I can scarcely believe that only one man is making the music. In fact, for the first song I searched for the unseen bass player I was sure was lurking in the shadows.

It is now my mission in life to see Edmar Castaneda live. I will do this before I die, and I will die a fulfilled man.

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One Response to “Tiny Desk Concert”

  1. Love Zoe Keating – just brilliant – massive influence

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