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If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...

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George Papavgeris 03 Jun 06 - 04:26 AM
George Papavgeris 03 Jun 06 - 05:01 AM
Beer 03 Jun 06 - 07:47 AM
mack/misophist 03 Jun 06 - 10:34 AM
bobad 03 Jun 06 - 12:06 PM
Lepus Rex 03 Jun 06 - 11:37 PM
George Papavgeris 04 Jun 06 - 01:24 AM
George Papavgeris 05 Jun 06 - 04:56 AM
Lepus Rex 10 Jun 06 - 08:59 AM
Lepus Rex 10 Jun 06 - 09:14 AM
open mike 10 Jun 06 - 09:15 AM
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Subject: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 04:26 AM

...then read on. Otherwise the works of my new find might stretch your credulity a little at first. But he is worth persevering with!

His name is Rohan Kriwaczek; he is a master of the violin (especially Kletzmer and gypsy styles), clarinet, bagpipes (gaida), but also plays piano, guitar... He has written many pieces in classical style, and music for TV and theatre. None of which prepares you for his songs, which he has been quietly writing in his little room and is only now bringing them out.

I came across him on Myspace (http://www.myspace.com/therohantheatreband), and his four songs there stopped me in my tracks. I was intrigued enough to go to his website (http://www.rohan-k.co.uk/) to find out more about this talented 38-year old.

OK, he is not mainstream "folk" - but neither should he be lumped along with Sid Kipper and Les Barker for the humorous content of some of his material. He is somewhere between English chanson, theatrical music, world music, in a niche all of his own, and he dares to say some things that need to be said; that he does so in everyday, non-pompous language, is part of his worth. As for his vocal style (Tom Waits eat your hat!), you do eventually warm to it and it becomes integral to his delivery.

He is an acquired taste - one that some of you would rather not acquire. But he is not another run-of-the-mill songwriter. Rohan is significant.


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 05:01 AM

For the unbelievers (as to "is this folk?"): His records are on the Hobgoblin label, alongside Thingummyjig and Jambience...

My favourite track so far is "Please Remain Seated", but there are at least 10 others that I like very much too (we just did a CD swap).


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: Beer
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 07:47 AM

Thanks El, I thought I was listening to Tom Waits. This guy is very very good.
Beer


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: mack/misophist
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 10:34 AM

I haven't listened to the samples yet. This note is to thank you for the juxtaposition of Waits and Brecht. I never would have thought of it yet it's so obvious. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: bobad
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 12:06 PM

On a 1987 album that is a tribute to the composer Kurt Weill, Tom Waits performs the Bertolt Brecht song "What Keeps Mankind Alive?" from "The Threepenny Opera." Tom's voice and style are a natural fit with the Brecht-Weillian genre, one can easily picture him performing in one of their plays.

The album also features a diverse selection of musicians such as Sting, Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed, Aaron Neville, Van Dyke Parks and others performing numbers from the Brecht-Weill canon. Well worth a listen.


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 03 Jun 06 - 11:37 PM

Ehhhh. I dunno, El Greko. I listened, and I like the music. (And I really like the music he's got up on the Guild of Funerary Violinists MySpace page). But his singing... I mean, I love Tom Waits, so the style doesn't bother me. It's just that... he's basically doing an Tom Waits impression. It's off-putting, and I just can't get past it. Seriously, if I heard him on the radio, I'd think "Why is Tom Waits singing in a bad Ren Fest accent?"

But I do thank you for bringing him to my attention. Seems like an interesting guy. And I now really want a violinist at my funeral. :)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 04 Jun 06 - 01:24 AM

I understand, Lepus Rex; it was also my first (and second) impression. What saved the day for me is that I thought at least the Tom Waits style suits the works. I don't know his normal speaking voice - I hope to be speaking to him on the phone later today, so I may find out.


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 05 Jun 06 - 04:56 AM

I spoke with Rohan yesterday. His speaking voice is baritone like mine, but not like his singing one. I asked him about this, and his answer was that he developed this voice as a "mask" for performances, partly because he finds it hard to use his normal voice when singing in public, and partly because it fits the mood of the songs. The similarity with Tom Waits is coincidental (the subconscious may have helped there).


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 10 Jun 06 - 08:59 AM

Well, a Tom Waits mask, maybe. ;) Mentioning Waits three times in his profile doesn't help, either. But I really don't want to run the guy down. He's certainly doing some interesting stuff. It's people like him that make me love MySpace.

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 10 Jun 06 - 09:14 AM

Oh, and people like you, as well, El Greko, heh. (Just catching up on some of the MySpace-related threads I've missed here this year...) Very nice. :)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: If you like Tom Waits or Brecht...
From: open mike
Date: 10 Jun 06 - 09:15 AM

Speaking of Bertholdt Brecht, a friend mentioned a CD or tape of
Kurt Weill singing the songs of Bertholdt Brecht. http://www.kwf.org/


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