Lal Meri: Dreamy, Seductive, Electronic and Sufi
A Seattle based band named Recess Monkey, a pun for rhesus monkey, which consists of a trio of teachers turned musicians and songwriters have caused quite a stir across America in just a few short years, with their offbeat brand of children’s music. Jack Forman, Daron Henry and Drew Holloway who met while teaching at the University Child Development School, experienced what Forman describes as their Beatles’ moment when they performed for the Dalia Lama at Quest Field in Seattle, during the Seeds of Compassion event, playing before an estimated 50,000 people.
recalling the event and saying, “We were the opening act for the Dalai Lama.”
Forman laughs, recalling the event and saying, “We were the opening act for the Dalai Lama.”
The trio began
touring in 2008, after the release of their first album
Tabby Road. “We played maybe 15 or 20
shows in two and one half weeks driving around the country.
We were just trying to get an idea of what it would be like to be on
tour. We also made stops at places
where there were people who are pretty influential in the kids music scene,”
The trio began touring in 2008, after the release of their first album Tabby Road. “We played maybe 15 or 20 shows in two and one half weeks driving around the country. We were just trying to get an idea of what it would be like to be on tour. We also made stops at places where there were people who are pretty influential in the kids music scene,” says Forman.
The kids music scene is burgeoning says Forman, “There are lots of big kids bands now that have a national footprint, but in lots of cities there are artists who are doing things together and they are doing that in Seattle. As an independent band you can bounce between cities in that way and you can tap into existing audiences. You can reciprocate when another band is coming through your city. It is really neat that the community aspect is growing quite a bit.”
“This band began as a genuine friendship between the three of us, who were colleagues, as teachers. Just the fact that we get to play music around Seattle and in other cities, we think that we are the luckiest band in the world. It is such an exciting adventure that we are on and any time that we get a new fan or that we get to play a new show, it just feels like, how can we be this lucky. As far as Read more
8mm Is Stunning
Like their Trip Hop / Downbeat song, “Stunning,” from their album, Songs To Live And Die By, the trio 8mm (as in the film), are simply stunning as multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Sean Beavan, singer Juliette Beavan and drummer Jon Nicholson are quickly becoming one of the hottest acts on what some might refer to as the noir music scene. In fact, however in the view of this magazine and in 8mm’s own opinion they are simply writing and performing songs that are couched in reality.
Juliette explains, “I think that what is true for Sean and I, is we are not interested in being unnecessarily melodramatic, because what’s real is dramatic enough. Your experience and moments in life are drama and divinity in and of themselves. We aren’t willing to wallow in it. I think there is enough there that we don’t need to be embellishing it. For me, having you say that it is realistic, is a real compliment.”
Sean adds, “I am definitely more interested in delving into moments, and all of the moments that we fit into a couple of minutes may be painful, but the end result when you listen to it is cathartic. I think that while listening to some songs may be painful or may be hard to talk about, just knowing that someone else is going through this, makes you feel uplifted. That is kind of how I feel about our songs, that there is joy in them. I want every song to make a person cry. I don’t cry because music makes me sad, I cry because it is beautiful.”
Juliette adds, “For us it is about those acute moments and the little turns in life.”
“There are songwriters out there who are fantastic at just making you feel elated, and all the power to them. That is really a strong emotion, and I love that. I think that one of the best at that right now is Benjamin Flowers from The Chillers, who makes you want to throw your arms up in the air. He is like the Paul McCartney of our generation. He is really great at it, but it’s not our songs,” says Sean. Read more
Serena Jost Lives in a Vertical World
“It was a wonderful night and we really filled the place out. All kinds of people, both whom I knew and whom I didn’t know, came out. People who were on the record and a smattering of other people who have been playing with me recently, were all on stage, at different intervals. The setting (of Joe’s Pub) is so great, because you can put on a real show. I enjoy playing smaller venues, but Joe’s Pub is the perfect size. We caught a wave and you don’t always know if you are going to,” says Jost, in recalling the night of her CD release.
Although it is still early, some songs are emerging as early fan favorites. “A lot of people like the intro to “Jump,” when I use a made up language. People relate (well) to the cello and the voice combination (in “Jump”). “Awake In My Dream,” comes out for a lot of people, and I don’t know why exactly. People also like the Iris Dement cover (“Our Town”). The original version of “Our Town,” is longer, but I edited it down a lot. Our version is totally different, but people enjoy the way that we have done it. A lot of people enjoy “Halfway There,” because it is catchy, and it is a real pop song. “Stowaway,” seems to be something that people relate to on an emotional level,” says Jost.
Serena Jost is a very accomplished storyteller whose lyrics do not leave
the listener grappling with vague metaphors or symbolism, but instead
are easy to follow, and more importantly easy to relate to. However,
Jost’s music is not totally dependent on her skills
Serena Jost is a very accomplished storyteller whose lyrics do not leave the listener grappling with vague metaphors or symbolism, but instead are easy to follow, and more importantly easy to relate to. However, Jost’s music is not totally dependent on her skillsRead more
Lal Meri: Dreamy, Seductive, Electronic and Sufi
Think jazz music, some pop influences, a full serving of electronica, Indian percussion, Persian strings and trip-hop beats and you have the makings for a great music festival, however all of what we have just described, you can experience within the context of one ensemble known as Lal Meri. The group’s core members consist of vocalist Nancy Kaye, who performed under the jazz pseudonym of Rosey and also had a pop music career, keyboardist Carmen Rizzo, whose skills as a composer, arranger and producer, with artists like Azam Ali and the group NIYAZ have been critically acclaimed, and the third member, Ireesh Lal, a superb songwriter, who has also played trumpet, alongside some of the America’s best jazz artists. Lal Meri has been attracting a lot of attention with their debut, self titled CD that is not due to just novel curiosity on the part of listeners, but because songs such as, “Dreams Of 18,” are beautifully orchestrated, showcase Nancy Kaye’s dreamy, seductive vocals, and demonstrate Ireesh Lal and Carmen Rizzo’s creativity, as they weave lavish tapestries, that incorporate Satnman Ramgorta’s tabla and Dimitri Mahlis’ musicianship with Persian instruments such as the oud, saz, jumbush and the Greek bouzouki.
As Lal Meri continues to revolutionize music as we know it, the question was posed to Ireesh Lal Carmen Rizzo and Nancy Kaye as to whether a group like theirs which fuses together all these different musical elements could have existed, and been accepted, as recently as ten years ago.
“I think there were plenty of bands like our
band, mixing instrumentation and styles. It is just that it wasn’t
getting noticed. With technology, you can reproduce these instruments in
a way that you don’t really know if it is real or not. Because it is so
easy (now), it is more common,” says Rizzo.Read more
“I think there were plenty of bands like our band, mixing instrumentation and styles. It is just that it wasn’t getting noticed. With technology, you can reproduce these instruments in a way that you don’t really know if it is real or not. Because it is so easy (now), it is more common,” says Rizzo.Read more
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