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Unplugged View – Everybody Loves Amelia


Unplugged View
By Aaron Rowan

Everybody Loves Amelia

I read recently that the Oxford Dictionary declared “youthquake” the word of 2017. I have no idea what this word means, but I do have a very good idea of two predictions I’d like to make about this New Year: 1. The word of the year on the Modesto music scene will be “StringQuake”; and 2. This stunning world-music trio will be the most innovative group you’ll hear at the Gallo Center all year.

It all starts with electric lever harpist Amelia Romano, one of the most fantastic players I’ve ever worked with, and who even inspired me to attend a harp course after seeing what she can do with the instrument. Her music follows a path all its own, but is influenced by folk, Latin, gypsy & jazz; and her firsthand experiences in South Africa and the cultural hotbed of San Francisco.

You’ll have two chances to fall under Amelia’s spell this month. Saturday night 1/20, her more jazzy trio All That Bad will be featured over at Moon & Sixpence Music And Art House. Also featuring Matt Ebisuzaki on trumpet and Tim Renner on upright bass, the ATB Trio forges each composition from multiple perspectives, passing melodies and improvisation from player to player. It’s spirited, creative music from collaborators who encourage each other to push their technical and expressive capabilities. 8 PM at 500 9th St. between E and F streets (in the courtyard between Smog Check and El Sol restaurant.) $20 cash at the door.

Then on Sunday 1/21, Amelia gives a matinee performance with StringQuake over at Gallo. It’s been two and a half years since this vibrant trio earned a double standing ovation when I hosted them at a small showcase. Now, the long-running Modesto Community Concert Association, which I’ve been working with lately, is proud to present them to the masses. StringQuake performs world music with an emphasis on improvisation and unusual time signatures. This trio features cello virtuoso Misha Khalikulov and the versatile percussive prowess of Josh Mellinger. Their wide-ranging repertoire runs the gamut from contemplative to vigorous, exploring far-flung sounds inspired by Greece, India, Africa, and the Americas. Concert starts at 3 PM and tickets run $15-$30. Get your tickets at www.modestocca.org or www.galloarts.org.

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