Yesterday Culture Days unfolded in St. John's with an over-flowing cup of gallery openings, poetry readings, concerts, and craft events. As one amped-up mom was overheard, "There's just too much culture in St. John's!" I take her comment to mean more than one person with children in tow can possibly fit in. You are always left feeling you missed something really good, which is a great problem to have if you ask me.
My peak experience for the weekend had to be the launch of Ouroboros' self-titled CD. The individual snaky sax talents of Greg Bruce (alto), Susan Evoy (alto), Chris Harnett (tenor), Nicole Hand (bari) and the Scruncheon alumni Andrew McCarthy (drums) have been known to me for a while. As Ouroboros they have staked their claim on the main stage as the high-energy dance band to beat. Move over Hey Rosetta! Like the mythic snake with the tail in its mouth that the band takes its name from, the relentless rhythms of Ouroboros will keep you moving long after your usual bedtime, or support your house cleaning efforts, or for whatever else you need high-octane music.
Check out their site: http://www.yourouroboros.com/
The music of Ouroboros is heavily seasoned with world beat, Klezmer and jazz. My favourite term that I have heard them use is Balkan funk. It has the lack of pretension I associate with ethnic and folk traditions. It is what I think of as medicine music, with the sing your blues away urgency. At the free afternoon concert at Fred's Records (I do not want to think of a world without Fred's) all of us did exactly that during the sing along portions of Yaida. For the sake of marketing perhaps, iTunes identifies the CD as being in the jazz genre.
The CD runs about 46 minutes and features ten tracks. Most are attributed to bandleader Greg Bruce –he with the fluffy Mohawk– although the band's sound is so cohesive, both on-stage and in studio production, that it feels unfair to single out one talent. Just the way, the band bounces and cooks together on stage, so does that collective personality come across in each of the ten tunes. Indeed, although Frances Advances is composed by Susan Evoy and is inspired by her mum and Kiniwe is the creation of Andrew McCarthy and is inspired by his time in Ghana they are all original, trademark Ouroboros tunes.
Ouroboros has pulled no punches on this CD, which is also available in vinyl with a download. Those of us who went to either of the two launches were also treated to pins and stickers. And yes, there are t-shirts too. Thank you Ouroboros for playing "until you felt (y)our faces would fall-off".