Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Haunted Windchimes || Up Close and Personal...

The Haunted Windchimes played at The Crepe Place in Santa Cruz last night. I have been planning to see them for about two weeks. The Crepe Place has quite a small performance and audience space and the environment was fairly intimate. As a baritone uukulele player, you know there aren't many chances you get to see a band member performing on bari-uke.

It turned out that THW where scheduled later in the evening than I expected but I had Robbie and Jenna hanging out with me to enjoy the first Bluegrass duo and they were quite talented with guitar, mandolin and banjo. They swapped instruments regularly and my honey voiced friend Robbie was thrilled with the quality of their harmonies.

I am not the greatest at categorizing music but I was thinking it was a combination of Roots, Folk, and Jug Band with great vocals and sweet harmonies from Desirae & Chela. Their website shares,
The Haunted Windchimes sound draws from traditional folk and American roots music. The songs have a vintage quality, as if they might have been written yesterday or 75 years ago. Grounded in honeyed harmonies and spirited pickin’, it lies in a nowhere land between distinct styles: It’s not quite bluegrass or blues or country. Still, there are elements of all those in songs that paint pictures of empty train stations and nights of passing a jug of moonshine around.
So I took a moment to give greetings to Desirae Garcia, who plays the bari in the band. Her bari is a beautiful 50's Vega baritone ukulele that was promoted by Arthur Godfrey on his TV show in the mid to late 1950's. About half way thru their song set her D-string broke. Someone was trying to find another bari D-string but it wasn't to be found.

I had my 1950's Favilla in my trunk just a block away so I got it and brought it over to Desirae to use. Unfortunately she was confused by my Worth Medium Brown strings since they were an all-nylon-unwound set. She got playing again after a couple of songs, perhaps getting a guitar string to place on her bari. Later she told me that she played DGBE and she explained her confusion about the unwound string set. I told her it WAS a DGBE set. (That's the first negative I've found with these strings, sorry Worth.)

This video below gives a bit of a close-up on the band members...

So after reclaiming my Favilla and purchasing THW's new CD called, "Out With the Crow," Sean, the upright bassist in the band came over to check out my baritone ukulele. (Sean is walking behind in Desirae in the video above.) He is a big ukulele fan & player and apparently the band luthier. (He actually responded to my comments to one of their YouTube performance videos saying that the band really liked the big uke.) He had to perform several repairs on Desirae's Vega bari-uke when it had an unfortunate spill. He had a soprano ukulele and soprano-banjo-ukulele at the back of the stage area but were not used in tonight's set.

I let Sean know that there will be a Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz meeting tonight at Bocci's Cellar. He wanted to know the specifics and I hope that he'll get the chance to attend. HU.

The Band
Inaiah Lujan (guitar) 
Chela Lujan (banjo)
Desirae Garcia (baritone ukulele)
Mike Clark (harmonica, guitar and mandolin) also fiddle and concertina!
Sean Fanning (stand-up bass, and ukulele lover!)

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