Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jazzfest Leg 3 @ Fairgrounds 5/5/12

I loved Bombino of Niger at the Blues Stage.  I remember nothing about it but I put a star next to it on the schedule.
Omara "Bombino" Moctar, whose given name is Goumar Almoctar, was born on January 1st, 1980 in Tidene, Niger, an encampment of nomadic Tuaregs located about 80 kilometers to the northeast of Agadez. He is a member of the Ifoghas tribe, which belongs to the Kel Air Tuareg federation. His father is a car mechanic and his mother takes care of the home, as is the Tuareg tradition. Bombino was raised as a Muslim and taught to consider honor, dignity and generosity as principal tenets of life.

It looks like I'm not alone in giving it a star:

I saw a little more of Mariachi Jalisco (from Leg 2) in the Kids Tent.  I thought it was a good idea to have them there.

I saw a little of Steve Earl & the Dukes at the Fais Do-Do Stage.  It was quite crowded. Good music, though.

I finished the day with the phenomenal Guitar Masters at the Lagniappe Stage.  I got the feeling it was a replacement for Twangarama and I need to investigate (see below).
Guitar Masters feat. Jimmy
Robinson, John Rankin, Phil
DeGruy, and Cranston Clements
(Rock) Phil DeGruy, who plays the frankensteined “guitarp;” Jimmy Robinson, whose influences run from country to flamenca; John Rankin, master of “fingerstyle” playing; and bluesmaster Cranston Clements join forces to form the New Orleans Guitar Masters, a synthesis of stringed virtuosity.

Yes, it looks like the same guys as Twangorama, but they aren't just twanging.  It was awesome!

Twangorama has become well known throughout New Orleans over the past several years.  Its members, however, have not only been known, but respected and sought after for much longer.  Jimmy Robinson, leader of the progressive rock band Woodenhead, formed string-heavy Twangorama in the late 90s.  Robinson partnered with his friend Cranston Clements, and then teamed up with Phil deGruy.  Any one of these gentlemen is arguably the best guitarist in the city, but together, they are indisputably the best collection of string pickers in the South.  The band’s talent doesn’t end there, as it is rounded out with Robinson’s Woodenhead bandmates bassist Paul Clement and drummer Mark Whitaker.
    The band’s performances have been described in blogs as a “guitorgy,” which may be one of the more apt descriptions.   The collective virtuosos compose and arrange original work, but also take over classics from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin.  Even their “covers” are inventive and original.  Meticulously coordinated melodies and synchronized harmonies of the guitars will stun even the most particular of guitar aficionados.  Twangorama’s originality extends to their instruments as well.  Phil deGruy occasionally plays a 17-string guitar/harp hybrid.
    Don’t be surprised if a special guest or two shows up to join Twangorama’s set.  Guest artists are frequent at the band’s Thursday night Carrollton Station shows, including Dave Malone and Camille Badouin of the Radiators, Astral Project’s Tom Dagradi, and guitarist June Yamagishi.  Clement alone has performed with artists such as Dr. John, Boz Skaggs, George Porter, Jr. and Irma Thomas, to name a few.  In a nutshell, New Orleans born and bred Twangorama should be on every guitar lover’s must-see list for Jazz Fest.
–Rick Stedman

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