Eugene Weekly : Music : 5.24.07

Give Peace a Chance

Eugene’s spiritual darling Snatam Kaur is a “world-renowned New Age sacred chant artist” who’s bringing part of the Celebrate Peace Tour here. The tour visits all parts of the world to promote the simple notion of peace, togetherness and love.

Snatam Kaur, whose name means universal, nucleus and friend to all, was raised in a strong Sikh tradition. At 2 years old, she was already meditating, chanting and contorting her body into yoga positions. By age 5, her musical journey began with the introduction to the violin.

In addition to her musical training and encouragement, a trip to India to meet her mother’s music teacher also changed her life and shaped the music she creates today. “Snatam’s uplifting vocals on all three recordings are tastefully enriched by cross-cultural instrumentation … Piano, sitar, santour, and flute melodies delightfully enhance the spirit of the recording,” says her website. For the concert, Kaur will be accompanied by Guru Ganesha on guitar, Manish Vyas on tabla rhythms and Ram Dass Khalsa on piano and clarinet. While Kaur will perform her chants, beautifully sung in both Gurumukhi and English, the group will also perform music from the various members’ albums as well.

“With music that combines traditions of India and the West, these performances have the power to uplift the spirit and bring one to a place of peace, hope, and joy,” states the concert’s press release. Sorry to get all John Lennon on you, but come on, give peace a … you know. Snatam Kaur performs at 7:30 pm Saturday, May 26, at Unity of the Valley Church (2912 Dillard). $15. — Amanda Burhop


Post-Rock Electronics

It took over two years to complete, but the Santa Fe-based post-rock/electronica trio D Numbers has finally released its debut album, Light Parade. Taking cues from legendary post-rockers Tortoise and nu-jazz ensemble Medeski Martin and Wood, Light Parade fuses arpeggiating keys with fluttering percussion, funky bass lines and crisp guitar tones — analog electronics meet traditional rock instrumentation. Taking all of that into consideration, the title for the new record is actually quite apt — the light parade theme bobs to the surface in nearly every track. Think Disneyland’s Main Street after dark but with a lot of young hipsters in the audience rather than young kids and maybe a mild dose of psychedelics flowing from the water fountains.

Tracks like “Xylem Up,” number two on the album, showcase the group’s ability to build climaxing breakdowns off very simple grooves. It’s a bit jammy, not far off from a glorified String Cheese Incident, but much livelier and more dynamic. The group has been compared to laptop folkers like Four Tet and Boards of Canada, but their use of electronics is simpler and more frugal, opting more for loops and keyboard riffs rather than programmed beats and glitchy sounds. This is best exemplified on “Collusification,” which barely grazes that electronica horizon, utilizing a few neat samples and synth sounds, all the while staying firmly affixed to an organic post-rock funk.

Light Parade is a bit short, coming in at just nine tracks, but the danceable girth surrounding each track more than makes up for the album’s terseness. They’ve been annihilating Santa Fe audiences for some time now, and this Monday’s show should not be missed. D Numbers plays with Great Northern at 9 pm Monday, May 28, at the Indigo District. — Steven Sawada


The Next Norah?

Remember how the entire world seemed to go batshit for Norah Jones? Though it wasn’t unjustified, it was somewhat surprising; of all the sweet-voiced singer-songwriters in the nation, why this one?

Were there any justice in the world, the next recipient of this sort of nationwide adoration would be 25-year-old Devon Sproule, whose recent album Keep Your Silver Shined has little in common with Jones other than a sort of universal appeal, a gentle earthiness that deepens her delicate, crystal-clear songs as they veer between folk, county, “Americana,” pop and something classic and timeless.

Sproule’s voice is a thing of sweet clarity, staking out its own space in ground explored by singers from Joni Mitchell to Gillian Welch to Jenny Lewis. Her lyrics paint gorgeous scenes, her backing band marches to an impeccable beat and something glowing underlines all her tunes. “Keep Your Silver Shined” is particularly irresistable, especially when Sproule lists the things she desires: “A claw foot tub and a shiny car / Piles of fruit and a fully stocked bar / Money for a flight out west / Cute shoes and a vintage dress.” Yeah? Me too, honey.

Some of Sproule’s songs are spare, throatily sung and emotional while others are cheery and lilting, but either way, there’s something that sets her apart: Where many singer-songwriters seem driven by an internal darkness, an indescribable sadness, Sproule seems bright, happy, gleeful without being horribly chipper. It’s a difficult thing to describe, this openheartedness that strings her songs together, but it’s not offputting even to the jaded cynics in the audience (who, me?). I can’t wait to see how this sunshine translates live.

Devon Sproule plays with Kids on the Couch at 9 pm Wednesday, May 30, at Sam Bond’s Garage. 21+ show. $5. — Molly Templeton


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