O'Connor forging new sounds
This new "New Age" music combines many different musical styles and traditions into a new allow. Since there are no set rules within this new arena, many different avenues of growth and exploration are possible. Some groups opt for the Tangerine Dream-Kitaro avenue and concentrate on electronic instruments. Others, such as Shadowfax and Andy Narell, choose a more traditional approach.
Mark O'Connor is taking the latter approach on his new album, "Meanings of." Playing a variety of acoustic stringed instruments, including violin, viola, six- and twelve-string guitars, mandolins and dulcimer, O'Connor combines folk, jazz and African music into a melodic and highly rhythmic sound.
An alumni of the Dave Grisman Quintet, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Dixie Dregs, O'Connor's music seems to draw from all these sources and more.
"A Bowl of Bula" is a syncopated song of intense energy and vision. O'Connor plays dulcimer and violin on this tune, with a beautifully layered chorus. And "The Emperor's Komponist" sounds like something Bach might have done where he alive today; it's accessible, but not simplistic.
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