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eTown Live Radio Show Taping w/ Väsen & Sam Amidon

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eTown Hall

1535 Spruce Street

Boulder, CO 80302

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Väsen

Väsen - eTown

Three musicians with a singular sound, a playful yet accomplished interplay that seems to defy the laws of physics, an intensity with a great sense of humor, and modernity rooted in tradition. Väsen, a Swedish acoustic trio, now in its 27th year of touring together.

The parts: a five-string viola of sophisticated symphonic taste, an adventurous 12-string guitar, and a nyckelharpa (a “keyed fiddle”) deeply rooted in the traditions of Swedish folk music. All three are instrumental virtuosos in their own right, and together they form a unique supernatural being. To experience Väsen is to witness ensemble playing at its finest.

The band's origins are deeply rooted in the forests and rich earth of the Swedish countryside, in the centuries-old tradition of the folk music of Uppland. It's a tradition spiced with consummate playing skills. But this is more than just a traditional sound.

There's a playfulness to their music, a joyousness, and a delight in making exciting new arrangements of centuries-old tunes, and new originals inspired by the tradition. Rock, jazz, traditional, and classical influences weave together, making a music that's beautiful but never cloying. You always hear the inspiration and improvisation of the moment. And we can promise that you’ll never know what will happen next.



Sam Amidon

Sam Amidon - eTown

Sam Amidon’s third album for Nonesuch, The Following Mountain, is ostensibly his first of self-penned songs. But in his decade-long career as a recording artist, the singer and multi-instrumentalist has always managed to create work that’s utterly original, even when, on previous discs, he was digging through the sounds and stories of traditional American music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Though he cultivates the appearance of a folk singer with his shaggy hair, flannel shirts and jeans, Amidon operates more like a freewheeling jazz improviser. He uses traditional material as a point of departure for his own melodic explorations; he reassembles time-worn lyrics into evocative new cut-and-pasted texts. On The Following Mountain, his affinity for the more experimental side of jazz, which he has admired as a fan since he was a teenager, explicitly informs these new pieces, several of which have their roots in an epic jam that Amidon and his long-time collaborator, the multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily, organized at a Brooklyn recording studio last spring.

Accepting invitations to that session, much to Amidon’s delight, were the legendary percussionist Milford Graves, acclaimed for his work in the 1960’s with free jazz greats Albert Ayler, Sonny Sharrock and Paul Bley, among others; fellow percussionist Juma Sultan, perhaps best known for accompanying Jimi Hendrix in the studio and on stage at the Woodstock Festival; and the young saxophonist Sam Gendel of the Los Angeles-based meditative jazz collective Inga. A distillation of that jam, sculpted into 12 intense minutes, serves as the culmination of The Following Mountain. Called “April,” the track represents the cacophonous start of the creative journey Amidon began in 2016 -- a “wander through the imagination,” as he calls it –while also serving as the dramatic final statement on this innovatively assembled album.


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1535 Spruce Street

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