Exciting, Edgy Music with Darol Anger & the Republic of Strings

Veteran violinist, fiddler, composer, producer, and educator Darol Anger pays a return visit to the Harrisburg area, this time accompanied by the Republic of Strings. The Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert will be on Sunday, October 31, at 7:30 p.m., at Camp Hill United Methodist Church, 417 S. 22nd Street, Camp Hill. The concert will be preceded by a 6 p.m. potluck dinner. Special guests will be members of the Wednesday Club who will accompany Anger on one of his original compositions.

 Anger is known to be at home in a number of musical genres, including several that he helped to invent. With the jazz-oriented Turtle Island String Quartet he developed and popularized new techniques for playing contemporary music styles on string instruments. Also, the virtuostic “Chambergrass” groups Psychograss and Newgrange and the plugged-in Anger-Marshall Band feature his compositions and arrangements.

 One of his current projects is the Republic of Strings in which Anger joins with cellist Mike Block, five-string violinist Lauren Rioux, and guitarist Scott Law to create a visionary musical landscape of the Republic as shown in their two recordings—“Republic of Strings” and “Generation Nation,” both on Compass Records.

Drawing from an array of sources including bluegrass, Celtic and Appalachian music, Ornette Coleman, Scandinavian string bands, Aretha Franklin, and the quartet’s members, “Generation Nation” documents a unique intergenerational exchange. Compelling musical textures, elegant solos, and vocals all emanate from a diverse group of guests. “There’s a lot of respect and love going on among the players,” Anger has said. “I think it comes out in the music.”

Anger holds the String Chair of the International Association of Jazz Educators. Recipient of a 1995 California Arts Council Composer Fellowship, he also is a MacDowell Fellow and held a composing residency at the Virginia Center for the Arts. He has been a featured soloist on a number of motion picture soundtracks and wrote and performed the score for the Sundance Award-winning film “Best Offer.” He won Frets Magazine’s Readers’ Poll for Best Jazz Violinist for four straight years.

Cellist Mike Block plays in many genres and groups, including his own band, for which he sings and writes. He is the cellist with Mark O’Connor’s Appalachia Waltz Trio and often performs with Yo-Yo Ma in The Silk Road Ensemble. A graduate of the Juilliard School and the Cleveland Institute of Music, he teaches at several summer string programs. Lauren Rioux is recognized as a rising star in the national fiddle scene. She discovered traditional music at the 2001 National American String Teachers Association convention. She is an excellent role model and source of useful information for classical players who want to cross-over into vernacular styles. Her powerful sound, vibrant rhythmic sense, fluency in old-time, Celtic, and Scandinavian fiddle styles, and her tremendous personal charm add depth and interest to any ensemble. Scott Law began as a brilliant and versatile electric guitarist and has perfected an acoustic style that bears his unique stamp and freely ranges over the entire history of rock, jazz, and bluegrass guitar. He has performed with many masters of American music. Law also is a dedicated music educator.

The concert will be preceded by a 6 p.m. potluck dinner. Bring a covered dish to share. Drinks and place settings will be provided. Concert tickets are $22 General Admission, $18 for SFMS members and $10 for students. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at www.brownpapertickets.com or toll-free (800) 838-3006. This event is made possible with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society web site at http://www.sfmsfolk.org

 Written by John Hope and published in Central Pennsylvania Traditions, the newsletter of the Susquehanna Folk Music Society


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