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September 13, 2019 @ 1:30 pm
A pillar of Guelph’s musical community for many years, Ben Grossman is a composer-improviser who works as a multi-instrumentalist in a range of styles from Early Music to electroacoustic sound installation. His primary instrument, however, is the hurdy-gurdy (vielle-à-roue), a mechanical, crank-turned violin associated with various European popular music traditions during the Renaissance. While in those contexts the hurdy-gurdy is not a classically expressive instrument, in Grossman’s hands, through a range of technical extensions, it is transformed into a captivatingly mysterious sound generator, a rich palette of uncommon sounds that he shapes and moulds with remarkable artistry.
Ben Grossman’s solo set is part of a triple-bill of extraordinary soloists playing instruments from folk, vernacular, and popular music in compelling new ways.
chik white (NS)
All the way from West Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia, chik white plays solo jaw harp with astoundingly visceral intensity, an energetic echo of his background as a member of East Coast punk, doom metal, and noise rock bands. Upon moving to the rural Nova Scotia coast in 2009, White acquired a collection of handmade jaw harps and began a regular ritual improvising on them in natural settings. Over time, this harp project morphed into experimental territory and has come to incorporate preparations, techniques, and performative elements that tease uncomfortable vocalisations from his mouth, throat, and lungs. Utterly unbelievable sounds.
chik white’s solo set is part of a triple-bill of extraordinary soloists playing instruments from folk, vernacular, and popular music in compelling new ways.
Photo by Heather Rappard
Susan Alcorn (USA)
One of the world’s premiere exponents of her instrument, Susan Alcorn has taken the pedal steel guitar far beyond its traditional role in country music. Having first paid her dues in Texas country & western bands, she began to expand the vocabulary of her instrument through her study of jazz, 20th C. Classical, and world musics. She has been awarded, in 2016, “Best Other Instrument” at the International Critics Poll; in 2017, the Baker Artist Award; and in 2018, the Instant Award in Improvised Music. The Guardian writes, “As an improvisor and composer, Alcorn has proven to be visionary. Her pieces reveal the complexity of her instrument and her musical experience while never straying from a very direct, intense, and personal musical expression.”
Susan Alcorn’s solo set is part of a triple-bill of extraordinary soloists playing instruments from folk, vernacular, and popular musics in compelling new ways.
Photo by David Lobato