Unplugged View – The Haldane Effect


Unplugged View
By Aaron Rowan

The Haldane Effect

Loud Indian dance music and acoustic groups don’t mesh very well. I learned this the hard way on an April afternoon a few years ago, when I hosted a segment of MUMfest on a coffeehouse patio. Little did we know that an Indian cultural group had rented the park across the street for a big party. The music started blaring at us through speakers right around the time we were supposed to start. One of the more interesting days of my curating career…and also the last time I put together an outdoor showcase. Intimate listening rooms are better anyway. But that little snafu did get me wondering whether Indian and Celtic/Appalachian styles could be fused together.

My friend Liesel Roy Haldane has her own answer to the question. She’s visited the area twice in the past few weeks, to share her unique twist on traditional folk music. Liesel breathes fresh life into the Irish classic ‘She Moves Through The Fair,’ adding an Eastern twang with her customized Indian sitar. It’s one of the most beautiful-looking instruments I’ve ever seen. You might also hear a banjo rendition of Nirvana, or a sitar cover of a gorgeous Joni Mitchell song.

Liesel will return to town this month as the featured artist for something new Modesto Unplugged is trying out. It’s a world music jam session at the Barkin’ Dog Grill. We’re looking for percussionists, players of exotic instruments and vocalists who sing in various pretty languages for this open invitation. If you have a friend who fits any of those bills, please let them know what’s happening. We’re hoping to get a great assortment of ethnic music styles to mix and meld together in new ways. Wednesday July 11 from 7-9pm.

Meanwhile, longtime area presenter John Griswold and his Red Tie Arts group have a hot ticket coming to Lucca Winery up in Ripon as part of their summer series. Saturday July 7 at 8pm, get groovy with Native Vibe, a duo brought together by a series of unusual coincidences and a love of African and jazz music. It’s high-energy, eclectic instrumental music that blends Latin, African, Caribbean, funk, rock and jazz styles. Get more of the scoop on this evening at www.red-tie.org.

Finally, with all the fun going on at our county fair this month, Modesto Unplugged’s top music pick is Trace Adkins on Monday the 16th, on the mainstage starting at 8:30. Our own Patty Castillo Davis and her band also have two Fair performances that evening. Both these acts offer songwriting with substance and a fun live set. Have a great time enjoying the sweet summer music!

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