My friend was invited to a backyard campfire this evening and I decided to tag along since they were hosting a blues singer. As we approached the house I heard a lazy swinging trumpet and a gravelly melodic voice floating through the fence and I immediately knew I was going to be hearing something good. When we went into our lovely hosts’ backyard, it was a magical setting – a fire pit, an intimate group of really cool people sitting around the fire, a guy with his guitar, and some kids playing along.
Lipbone Redding is a musician based in New York City, who has played on the streets and subway platforms, originally from North Carolina I believe, but sounds like he is straight out of New Orleans. I wondered where the trumpet was hiding, but I soon was mesmerized by his slow swinging folk-jazz-blues and his amazing voice. I especially drawn in by his lyrics; true troubadour-style storytelling about street life, love and loss, and social issues of the day. Then I heard the sounds that gave me goosebumps, first throat singing (see below for more on that) and then the sounds of the trumpet coming from this man’s voice! I haven’t seen that kind of vocal styling in a long time and it simply blew me away. His MySpace site includes a pretty cool very short documentary about his journey so be sure to check that out at http://www.myspace.com/lipboneredding. This guy is a true musical talent – pure musical poetry.
Here he is in NYC doing a song about an “Old Flame”. The voice trumpet is at about four minutes in:
Like I mentioned, Lipbone also threw in some throat singing, which was pretty remarkable. Throat singing is one of the oldest forms of music and can be found in some variety in traditional cultures all over the world but is most commonly associated with Mongolia, Tibet, and the Tuvan people of Siberia. Smithsonian Folkways has an amazing description of different types of throat singing here: http://www.folkways.si.edu/explore_folkways/throat_singing.aspx.
Here is a video of Kongar-ol Ondar of Tuva on David Letterman. It’s quite awesome:
That reminds me of the documentary, Genghis Blues, which documents San Francisco blues musician and composer, Paul Pena, and his journey to Tuva to explore throat singing after becoming entranced by it and teaching himself the style as well as the language. Here is a rare out take from that movie of Paul playing with Kongar-ol Ondar in a song which combines the blues with Tuva throat singing:
That’s it for this short post – just had to share these gems!