Ecstasy and Offspring

A sampling of musical hybrids from Dirtwire to Choros Das 3

The UO Chamber Choir won second place at the Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition in May
The UO Chamber Choir won second place at the Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition in May

Purists may shudder, but musical miscegenation has always been the rule.

“Enjoy hybrid music, because that’s all there is,” Oregon-born composer Lou Harrison often said. Regarded as the godfather of what became the world music movement, Harrison typically expressed this sentiment before demonstrating how just about every form of music emerges from encounters with the sounds of other cultures and times.

Technology (from records to MP3s) and the growing ease of global travel have only brought various music forms together, where they’ve rubbed up against each other with predictable results: first ecstasy, then offspring. A handful of such musical hybrids hit town this weekend.

The electro-acoustic duo Dirtwire, which brings its pulsating mix of musical influences to HiFi Music Hall 9 pm Thursday, June 4, is actually a hybrid of hybrids. David Satori (violin, guitar, banjo, piano, percussion) hails from the Bay Area’s Beats Antique, which concocted a Middle Eastern-tinged fusion of glitched-out electronica, dubstep-laden world beat and pop sounds.

Satori actually met Dirtwire’s other half, Evan Fraser, when both were studying world music composition at Cal Arts. Fraser (piano, percussion, guitar, harmonica) went on to join both Hamsa Lilla (which fused hippie spaciness, funk and world music, particularly Moroccan and Caribbean trance grooves) and Stellamara.

With all those influences — and instruments — you’d think Dirtwire would have enough musical ammunition but they’ve also added some rootsy-bluesy Americana elements. Somehow the mashup works, much of the time, even if it’s neither possible nor desirable to pigeonhole.

Born of African, Caribbean and European musical influences, jazz is an old-school musical hybrid. Saxophonist Tom Bergeron has long been one of the area’s top jazzers, but in the past decade or so he’s focused on the music of Brazil, itself a culture that mixes African, American and European ancestry, as does much of its music.

At 8 pm Friday, June 5, at The Jazz Station (and on Thursday, June 4, at Salem’s Christo’s restaurant), Bergeron leads his bubbly Brasil Band through their bountiful blend of various Brazilian styles, including samba, bossa nova, frevo, jazz and choro, the century old Brazilian mélange of African rhythms, European harmonies and South American styles that is the Brazilian analog of North American jazz.

The shows also include São Paulo’s Choro Das 3, a family band making its third U.S. tour with an instrumental palette that includes flute, piccolo, mandolin, banjo, pandeiro tambourine and more. After separate sets, the two bands will play together — another multi-musical mashup. Like the man said, that’s all there is.

Speaking of musical miscellany, if you head over to the University of Oregon this weekend, you can catch a variety of musical styles in concert. At 7:30 pm Thursday, June 4, at Beall Concert Hall, the Navy Band Northwest Chamber Winds play wind serenades by Mozart and Beethoven. Student chamber ensembles perform Debussy, Beethoven and works by the wild Stanford composer Mark Applebaum noon Friday, June 5, in a free show at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

In another free show, the UO Green and Yellow Garter Bands (familiar from their appearances at Ducks games) play jazz and pop at 7 pm Saturday, June 6, at WOW Hall. Also on Saturday at 7:30 pm at Beall, you can hear the UO Repertoire Singers, University Singers and Chamber Choir, which just placed second in the Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition, a major European choral music festival. Congrats!

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