Louis Chamber Chorus could sell a concert entitled The Ancients Speak: Greek. However, in more than a quarter-century of programming and directing the regions finest a cappella choir, Barnes has given audiences plenty of reasons to trust his ideas and music-making. Sunday afternoon at the ensembles 2013-14 season opener at the Ethical Society, he added one more. Most of the program was dedicated to settings, in a wide variety of styles, of texts by Homer, Euripides, Sappho and others, with a few modern interpolations by the likes of Lord Byron and Rita Mae Brown; most of it was sung in English translation. An exception to that was Clare Macleans Os Anthos Chortou, a setting of a poem by Sappho (c. 630 B.C.-570 B.C.) in the original Attic Greek, using what scholarship tells us were the musical modes of the poets own time. An SLCC commission from 2004, its an arresting and worthwhile piece. The concert opened with The Isles of Greece, by Granville Bantock (1868-1946), a setting of a text by Byron, beautifully sung and an effective number for establishing the tone of the afternoon. Five Greek Folksongs, arrangements of authentic folk tunes from relatively modern times, set by Arnold Bax (1883-1953), was an equally effective official close to the concert. A lovely early work by Ned Rorem (b. 1923), Four Madrigals of Sappho, helped to make his reputation as a composer for the voice, and received a fine performance. It contrasted with a late Rorem work, an SLCC commission, Ode to Man, a more complex and angular piece altogether.
With the boulder bearing the image of an eagle in flight lording over it, the annual Eagle Rock Music Festival celebrates 15 years on Saturday by taking over the neighborhood’s business district. Featuring multiple stages, the day-long party will echo through the hills of Northeast Los Angeles with experimental electronic and ambient music, Americana, rock, global bass, jazz, blues and punk, as well as food and family-centered action. It’s an impressive and adventurous roster, featuring artists Bosnian Rainbows, Poolside, Boardwalk, Nguzunguzu, Dub Club and a few dozen others, and presents evidence of the vibrant music community that has blossomed in the area. Over the span of the festival’s life, Eagle Rock and its sister neighborhoods Highland Park and Atwater Village have become independent music havens, home to labels including Friends of Friends, Innovative Leisure, Stones Throw, Now-Again, Alpha Pup, Brainfeeder and others. Studios and indie biz offices dot corners, and no fewer than four fantastic record stores sell choice, expertly curated music. RELATED: The 10 Commandments of smartphone use during concerts Perhaps most important for the area’s long-term prospects, the proceeds from the festival will help fund the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, a nonprofit space near the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado that programs art camps, after-school classes, workshops — one on the xylophone begins on Oct. 14 (!) — and concerts. Its mission is to ensure that the area remains an arts hub for generations to come. The space has long been utilized by taste-making promoters FYF for innovative gigs and represents the area’s dominant population with evenings of Latin American-focused music. Friday night, for example, the center will host the monthly “Noches de Trova,” which features Mexican and Latin American singer-songwriters drawing on bolero, ranchera, country, jazz, folk and blues music. Saturday’s music festival roster is all over the place. Those looking for heavy rhythm should note Nguzunguzu, whose tracks are typified by tribal, polyglot beats and psychedelic washes of synthetics. The smoother-grooved duo Poolside celebrates the more casual aspects of dance music, a team “inspired by California, mezcal, dancing, good food and friends.” The beguiling duo Boardwalk, which has an excellent new album out on Stones Throw, promises to be a highlight. INTERACTIVE: A festival for every fan SoCal’s yearly sonic lineup The biggest influx of fans will no doubt arrive for Bosnian Rainbows, though. The group was formed by At the Drive In and Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and his devoted followers are legion. Born as Rodriguez-Lopez went on hiatus from the Mars Volta, the Rainbows features the shockingly charismatic lead singer Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes. A children’s stage will host, among others, the uniquely Angleno work of the Bob Baker Marionettes. An experimental stage will be headlined by the modern dance troupe/music ensemble String Theory.
Eagle Rock Music Fest celebrates 15 years with culture-clash lineup
The tepid response to religious music albums has stemmed the enthusiasm of those involved in the music business. Music retailers, reeling under a crisis due to online availability of songs and piracy for sometime now, usually depend on religious festivals to push the sale of audio and video CDs. However, the easy availability of even religious music on internet and sharing through pen drives, coupled with the lack of any worthwhile release in the market has led to a downward spiral in the business of the music vendors. “I have been in this business for almost 15 years now but never before did I see such a negative demand among consumers. The market is already down by almost 50% this season as compared to previous years,” rued Sanjay Ghosh , owner of an old music store in the city. Ghosh said the music companies are not releasing any new album and simply recycling the old ones in the market. He said, “Till last year, music companies used to launch new songs every year but this year no new songs have come in the market. The companies have just changed the packets and re-launched old CDs.” Besides, the online availability of songs has badly affected business. Ranjit Kumar , a music store owner, said, “Earlier, new songs used to be available only in the markets in the form of CDs and DVDs, but nowadays piracy has increased so much that people are able to download everything for free from the internet. This has brought down the sale of CDs considerably.” With days to go for the Puja, he hopes that the market picks up pace in the coming days. The poor response is also refraining upcoming singers from launching new albums. Bulu Ghosh, a music composer, who helps newcomers in launching music CDs said, “Till last year, many local singers would launch their albums during this period to establish their name in the music industry. But this year, only two to three persons have come up with new albums as nowadays people do not buy CDs of local singers. They’d rather prefer downloading the Bhajans from internet.”