with Saul Conrad
Thu November 14th, 2013
Minimum Age: 18+
Doors Open: 6:00PM
Show Time: 7:00PM
Event Ticket: $13
Day of Show: $15
free for members
TABLE SEATING POLICY
Table seating for all seated shows is reserved exclusively for ticket holders who purchase “Table Seating” tickets. By purchasing a “Table Seating” ticket you agree to also purchase a minimum of two food and/or beverage items per person. Table seating is first come, first seated. Please arrive early for the best choice of available seats. Seating begins when doors open. Tables are communal so you may be seated with other patrons. We do not take table reservations.
A standing room area is available by the bar for all guests who purchase “Standing Room” tickets. Food and beverage can be purchased at the bar but there is no minimum purchase required in this area.
All tickets sales are final. No refund or credits.
For 25-year-old Malaysian singer/songwriter Zee Avi, “Swell Window” is the gorgeous track that started the journey and also the opening track of her second album, ghostbird. “It’s a song about seizing the moment,” she says, “and for me, a new direction and a new voice came and stayed.”
In the two years since her self-titled debut was joint-released on Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records and Ian Montone’s Monotone Label, Avi’s very free spirit has wandered from major music festivals (SXSW, Outside Lands, Bonnaroo) to huge tours (Lilith Fair) back to her homeland of Sarawak, Borneo Island, where she recently picked up an International Youth Icon Award. For a little perspective, just four years ago, Avi was a former art student in Kuala Lumpur who posted a song on YouTube to catch up with a friend and was quite surprised to find herself the toast of the Internet when thousands of strangers discovered her effortlessly stunning voice. Literal overnight success can easily poison young minds, but Avi is no ordinary mind — while critics were comparing her chilled-out, jazzy, ukulele-based songs to Billie Holiday and Cat Power she was continuing to make visual art and remaining her buoyant, whimsical self. “I’m 25 going on 12 and a half on a good day,” she laughs, flipping through a notebook filled with colorful drawings and lengthy notes.
Avi started writing ghostbird in her Brooklyn kitchen last summer, but followed the wind to the balmy waters of the Florida Everglades where she found endless musings, “with absolute silence and calmness.” In March, she took her fresh batch of tunes to Johnson’s Solar Powered Plastic Plant studios and got down to business with producer Mario Caldato, Jr., best known for his work with the Beastie Boys and beloved Brazilian artists like Bebel Gilberto. It only took two weeks for them to lay down the 11 tracks on Ghostbird (it means “Burung Hantu” which means owl in Avi’s native language), including the closing number on the album, “Stay In The Clouds,” a new addition that was written on the last day of recording.
This album lead Avi to new ideas. “Siboh Kitak Nangis” which translates to “Don’t You Cry,” is the first song in Avi’s dialect on an international album and the poppy groove of “The Book of Morris Johnson” is the first time she has written new music to accompany someone else’s words. “Morris Johnson” was inspired by a Floridian folk artist whose paintings of animals and accompanying text about their instinctual lives “capture naiveté and innocence and enthusiasm,” Avi says. After buying a few of his pieces at an art show, Avi called him up and said, “Morris, I’m ready to be your disciple, I’m ready to turn your words into a song.” (Morris was thrilled — his daughter’s a huge fan.)
The track “Anchor” is one of the handful of songs that made the album from Avi’s New York writing sessions and also what Zee refers to as a “premonition track,” and another NYC track, “Concrete Wall,” is a striking a cappella that features contributions from beloved turntable god Cut Chemist. And yes, she is well aware June has 30 days rather than 31 (the song “31 Days” was inspired by a couch-surfing friend who lamented, ” ‘I was homeless for 31 days in June.’ “) Every song has a different mood, every song is a different voice, every song is a different story,” Avi explains. But the idea of the ghostbird unites the album, and Avi has tucked an owl call into a few tracks on the disc, “So it’s a little scavenger hunt when you listen to it.”
After the album arrives on August 30th, 2011 Avi is itching to get back on tour and show off her live skills. “I want people to feel like they’re being hugged,” she says of the soothingly beautiful ghostbird. “I think this is my swell window right now.”
Photo credit: Hilary Walsh
In Saul Conrad’s family, music has been a central passion for three generations. In 1940, Saul’s great uncle Claude Frank, a 15-year-old Jew fleeing Germany, played for the Brazilian ambassador in Madrid –a performance that earned him and his mother exit visas. Two decades later, Frank settled with his wife Lilian Kallir on the Upper West Side, where the two established careers as professional pianists, practicing duets on nested pianos.
Two generations later, Saul’s father took the three-year-old Saul to the Longy School of Music, where he and several other curly-haired music lovers danced madly to Grieg waltzes and Tchaikovsky themes. Vera Klepikov taught Saul for the next seventeen years –taking him from “The Skater” and “Volga Boatman” to Beethoven sonatas. In 2006, at his high school’s spring concert, Saul performed Mozart’s double piano concerto with his great uncle Claude. Long, intense rehearsals with Claude exposed Saul to a level of rhythmic and interpretive rigor that he had not previously encountered.
Saul studied literature at Boston University. Sophomore year, in a class on the history of opera, Saul watched his passionate professor stand shaking and sweating, pirouetting her cane through the Tristan und Isolde Liebestod. Afterward, she exclaimed, “It makes you weak in the knees!” Her fervor made a deep impression on Saul, as did Wagner’s operas –with their trance-like, dissociative, dark, opiated, removed-from-this-world beauty.
During college Saul met a young novelist, Matthew Coppa, who could recite full episodes of Finnegans Wake by heart. Inspired, Saul became determined to use music to give emotional meaning to abstract language. Through his friendship with Coppa, Saul discovered a side of the mind in which the forgotten reappears; voices of the subconscious speak out and converse in evolving rhythmic patterns; and thoughts of mortality are temporarily relieved. Saul hopes devotion to art can turn pain, isolation and chaos into something new –into something tender that reveals hidden connections and mysterious space.