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The Hum by Bob Doran

April 8, 2004


photo of ThaMuseMeant

I TUNED IN KHUM ONE DAY LAST WEEK TO FIND AN afternoon devoted to an in-studio set by self-described "Gypsy hypno-jazz" band Taarka. Somewhere along the way talk turned to the resurrection of ThaMuseMeant after three years' absence, a band that includes half of Taarka. Turns out Taarka was just ending a tour with a couple of shows at Muddy Waters. Next Monday, April 12, Portland-based ThaMuseMeant [photo above] begins one at the same place.

"Yes, we're back together again -- reformed," said TMM guitarist/lyricist Nathan Moore. "Back in the day we were more of a rockin' jamband band. Now we're a string quartet, which is a new flavor for us. It's still a pretty new sound for us; we all have folky roots, but at the same time less experience performing acoustic. You know I've always considered myself a folksinger, but I've never been in a string band."

Nathan and mandolinist David Tiller started ThaMuseMeant years ago. "Dave and his bride-to-be Enion [Pelta] are half of Taarka," Nathan explained. "In fact this tour ends in Virginia where they will be married. We're basically on our way to the wedding."

How are the two bands different? "Well, my main thing in life is words -- I'm a word man -- and they don't have any vocals. The other [TMM] member, Amy, is the voice. With ThaMuseMeant we bring in the words and voice element. That's what we bring, voice and words."

Moore says he writes a song every day, and lately the subject matter has turned toward the political, but with the message delivered in a poetic manner. The most recent? "One called `Amelia Singing,' which is about a fight that breaks out in an alleyway. This woman, Amelia, is up in her room singing; she doesn't even know there's a fight going on, but her voice floats down to the alley and breaks up the fight. For me a lot of it is figuring out how to sweeten the medicine with some sugar."

The audience? "The people who love ThaMuseMeant are people who love songs, who love great pickin; and people who love poetry -- some of the old world talents. There seems to be less of that in the world lately -- I don't know, maybe we're old world revolutionaries."

This Thursday and Friday at Muddy Waters: Groove 101 featuring Ruben Diaz on guitar, Bobby Vega, bass, former Arcatan Mike Emerson on keys and Jimmy Sanchez from Roy Rogers' band, etc., on drums. Aspiring groove masters might want to attend the Bobby Vega/Ruben Diaz guitar/bass clinic on Friday afternoon at CR. (See Calendar for details.)

I don't know that they were introduced, but the band who played at last Friday's poetry/prose read-athon, "In a Town This Size," at CR was Oregon Dogs, a "grange rock" quartet featuring singer/songwriter Eileen Hemphill-Haley. Catch them playing a full set Thursday, April 8, at the Westhaven Center for the Arts.

And speaking of poetry, Native poets from area tribes read their work and play music Saturday evening at Arcata Veterans Memorial Building, an event called The Best of the Best Poetry and Music to raise funds for the Ink People and Julian Lange's Institute for Native Knowledge. (Julian will be among the readers/musicians.)

Local MC Pete Collins, aka Manifest, premiered his latest video, "Life of Grindin," at the Culturama Music Video Festival earlier this week, but the official DVD release party is Friday night at Mazzotti's. "The DVD includes the new vid, plus outtakes and live concert footage from Reggae," he explained. The show? "It'll be me and a couple of guest rappers. DJ Thanksgiving [Brown, who put Culturama together] will be spinning." Pete sends out "big props to TG Brown for all his help." Manifest will also be part of Mr. Brown's "MC Battle" coming to Humboldt Brews Thursday, April 15, sharing the mike with Z-Man.

SoHum rockers N*P*K play their multi-faceted music at Six Rivers Old Town Friday night. Meanwhile at Blue Lake Casino, the Clint Warner Band plays the blues.

Spring is sprung and that means the Arcata Farmers' Market is back in session, this Saturday morning. The Bayou Swamis start things off with a touch of Cajun music.

Blue Lake groove rockers Kulica are back from Hawaii, and about to head out on the road again. Catch their last local gig Saturday night at Dell'Arte's Carlo Theatre or see them at the Playroom Friday night.

Looking for something different? Sunday, April 11, at Muddy Waters Phillip Greenlief performs his unique hybrid of jazz and 20th-century classical music on solo saxophone and clarinet, including compositions written for him by new-music pioneer Pauline Oliveros, French bass virtuoso Joelle Leandre, AACM founder Roscoe Mitchell and Frank Gratkowski. Greenlief says the solo performance allows space for him to pursue his "Deconstruction Meditations" -- his approach to improvising on the music of Igor Stravinsky, Thelonious Monk and Luciano Berio. Greenlief will be followed by the Tom Djll and Tim Perkis Duo mixing jazz, new music, hip hop and improvisation. Perkis creates a variety of loops, grooves and textures on his laptop while Tom Djll interacts with what is easily one of the most original voices on his trumpet.

Heaviness is on its way, Monday, April 12, with two Estus Records bands at The Alibi: The Dt's (not the local band) plus the Midnight Evils.

Late breaking news: the Hipstop Record Shop is celebrating its re-opening Friday, April 9, with live hip hop by Caveman, Jah Theory and Reason, DJ Aera One, DJ Brooklyn Science and DJ Rek. Plus free sushi! That's 7 to 9 p.m. in the Sunny Brae Center. For details, call Hipstop at 825-1012.

Bob Doran



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