Acclaimed new-classic string quartet, ETHEL, and groundbreaking guitarist KAKI KING, today announced a multi-city national tour of their debut collaborative concert “…And Other Stories.” These prolific non-conformists celebrate their disparate sound worlds in an epic strings/guitar exchange filled with brilliant instrumental flair, rich sonic adventures and flights of fantastic storytelling.
With “…And Other Stories,” ETHEL, comprised of violist Ralph Farris, cellist Dorothy Lawson, and violinists Kip Jones and Tema Watstein, welcomes indie rock darling King to an inspired collaborative space, an exploration of shared histories and vibrant soundscapes. Together they’ve developed a unique sound that nimbly roams through jazz, blues, folk, post-rock and new-classical. According to Dorothy Lawson, co-founder and cellist of ETHEL, audiences can expect to hear an astonishingly honest and gutsy string vs. guitar battle. “It’s sometimes as if our instruments are having a conversation, or even an argument with each other. It’s a hybrid of strums, finger-tapping, spun melodic lines, percussive slaps, tender obligatos, and whatever else we have up our sleeves.”
Throughout the program – from slow-burning, sophisticated pieces to driving, dynamic new works, the artists play off of each other in textural opposition – a counterpoint of colors. The concert is anchored by a groundbreaking re-imagining of Bach’s masterful Brandenburg Concerto #6, and also includes works from ETHEL’s repertoire by Phil Kline and John Zorn. Original works by King and a rearrangement for ETHEL and King of Aleksandra Vrebalov’s Logbook (commissioned in 2013 by Dusan Tynek Dance Theatre) round out the program.
After an auspicious start as a six-stringed slinger and singer-songwriter, King is now devoting herself to the crystal-clear tone of the acoustic guitar and other string instruments as well as compositions that stem from masterful arpeggiations. Thanks in part to her work with ETHEL, she’s entering the world of classical music. “I have never touched [contemporary classical] as close as I have these days,” King says. “I think it will be a really great learning experience and a chance to go back and complete a lot of musical education that I never really felt.”
This collaboration was born back in 2012 when King turned to the omnivorous ETHEL to record on her sixth full-length album Glow. According to Paste Magazine, “King’s Glow proves that getting back to the basics can be a very good thing.” The quintet agreed to continue working together and subsequently created “…And Other Stories.”
This isn’t ETHEL’s first foray into the rock world. In 2012, the group toured with 1970’s icon Todd Rundgren and has spent the past 15+ years actively collaborating with luminaries like Joe Jackson, David Byrne, Tom Verlaine and Thomas Dolby. The Guardian wishes, “there were more rock bands that played like ETHEL.”
Described as “indefatigable and eclectic” (The New York Times) and “vital and brilliant” (The New Yorker), the string quartet ETHEL invigorates the contemporary music scene with exuberance, intensity, imaginative programming, and exceptional artistry.
At the heart of ETHEL is a collaborative ethos – a quest for a common creative expression that is forged in the celebration of community. As cultural and musical “pollinators,” the quartet brings its collaborative discoveries to audiences through multi-dimensional musical repertoire and community engagement.
ETHEL performs adventurous music by celebrated contemporary composers such as Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe, Phil Kline, Andy Akiho, David Lang, John King, Raz Mesinai, John Zorn, Steve Reich, Anna Clyne, Kenji Bunch, JacobTV, Don Byron, Marcelo Zarvos, Evan Ziporyn, Judd Greenstein, Terry Riley, Mary Ellen Childs and Son Lux.
ETHEL’s 2013-’14 season includes the world premiere of the multi-media project Documerica as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 2013 Next Wave Festival. Other season highlights include nationwide tours with guitar virtuoso Kaki King and Native American flutist Robert Mirabal. ETHEL currently serves as: Ensemble-in-Residence at the Grand Canyon Music Festival’s Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project; House Band of TEDxManhattan; and Resident Ensemble at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Balcony Bar.
Founded in 1998 and based in New York City, ETHEL comprises Ralph Farris (viola), Kip Jones (violin), Dorothy Lawson (cello), and Tema Watstein (violin).
About KAKI KING:
Hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself,” Kaki King is a true iconoclast, a musician/artist whose singular body of work stands tall amongst the easily formatted. The past decade has seen the Brooklyn-based guitarist/composer record six extraordinarily diverse and distinctive LPs (the most recent being 2012’s Glow), perform with such icons as Foo Fighters, Timbaland, and The Mountain Goats, contribute to a variety of film and TV soundtracks (spanning Golden Globe-nominated work on Sean Penn’s Into The Wild to scoring – and appearing in as guitar-playing hand double – the acclaimed 2007 drama, August Rush), and play to an increasingly fervent fan following on innumerable world tours
3.26 – Waterman Theatre – SUNY, Oswego, NY
3.27 – Schoenburg Hall – UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
3.29 – Peer’s Egyptian Theater – Ogden, UT
4.02 – Hall Auditorium – Miami Ohio University, Oxford, OH
4.04 – Pollak Theatre, Monmpouth University, West Long Branch, NJ
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