Monday, June 20, 2016

What They're Saying About the Chamber Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists Performances in the Midwest

Chamber Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists
2016 Midwest Tour
Minneapolis MN, Madison WI, Chicago IL

Audience Feedback

Re Madison, from a friend

Hello league pals - just a quick note to say, WOW. The concert you put on in Madison completely exceeded my and my local friends’ expectations. The use of the guitars in that room, the exciting improv, the sound of the instruments approaching & leaving the space re-defined for me what a concert experience can be. Playing parts of pieces bunched together then fanning out - incredible. The 30-D soundscape you all created was unique and marvelous, and brought me to tears several times. Thank you so much for that gift - the sounds and sonics you made in that space will remain unforgettable in my music mind. Bravo, and hope the rest of the shows are awesome for you. Safe travels, and thanks again! It was great seeing you all.
Email from Westwood Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Dev – 
Thank you for the kind note. Of all of the ensembles we have hosted recently at Westwood, none has been more thoughtful and considerate of our space than yours. We are grateful! And I am so glad to hear the concert went well. I heard amazing reviews from some of the Westwood folks who were there. 
If the recording made last night become public, please do let me know as I would enjoy listening. 
All my best,
Email, re Minneapolis
Wow, I really loved the show last night in St. Louis Park, MN! I got to wondering if it was the audience that controlled the lengths of the songs and wondered if we should not clap until the guitarists removed their hands from the necks of their guitars. Very memorable performance!
Email to Curt Golden, re Chicago
hi, Curt - I wanted to send a note of thanks for the performance last night by you and the rest of the Chamber Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists (and if you could pass it along - you’re the only one who’s email I have!)   It was incredibly powerful and a testament to artistic commitment and excellence,, joy, and a truly generous offering to all of us in the audience.  I was pretty much moved to tears during the opener and the sense of amazement didn’t cease the entire time.  I know a program like that takes time and effort and I appreciate all that went into it. 
I actually took a New Standard Tuning weekend course you taught in 2005 in Atlanta. I loved it and it made me realize the kind of dedication the guitar needs and I’d probably have to give up my other instrument to do it. So, I put more effort into harmonica, my 1st axe (we also exchanged emails a couple of years ago because I’d heard & liked your blues band featuring your harmonica work). I also wanted to mention that I showed up to that course in 2005 very dissonant and ignorant, not just about guitar but other things. I see it now that I’m studying to be a Zen Buddhist teacher. People show up to beginning courses that I assist with sometimes with that same twitchiness. They don’t know better but we’re taught to harmonize with them without judgement and you did the same for me during the course, which I didn’t realize til now but really appreciate.
Overheard at the Merch Table:
“You guys should go to the White House to play.”
Email from First Unitarian Society, Madison
Hi Dev, 
I hope you travels are going well. I just wanted to thank you for choosing FUS as your Madison venue. I was really impressed and fascinated by the organization of all your members and your ease of communication. I caught part of the concert – so refreshing, and interesting – a real audio experience. 
FUS Facility Coordinator
Email to Curt from a (skype) student (OST) in the Chicago vicinity:
re. Robert Fripp & The Chamber Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists - you were right. My mind is blown. Bravo to you and all your cohorts! 
One interesting thing - after the multi-lingual introduction/announcement and before the start of the concert the whole room became quite still. I felt like the stillness was an actual physical thing and then two guys sitting behind me started commenting on the silence and somehow broke it. I felt a disappointment at that point. 
With respect to the performance: 
Pretty amazing. I didn’t expect it to be more than music but it was movement (is that stuff choreographed?) and the space itself. It occurred to me that the only way to experience the performance was to be there, in the middle of it. No recording, even video, could do it justice. Still, I did procure a copy of the DVD on sale at the merch table (but haven’t watched it yet). 
Where does that music come from? I mean, I know where Red comes from, but all the other stuff? Is it improvised? I guess the classical piece that you played up in the balcony is written out. 
Also, I noticed that you all appear to “pass” a note from one to another with a gesture to the “recipient” but sometimes there was just the gesture and no note - what’s that about? 
All in all, a great show from my point of view. I really appreciated the opportunity to be there.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Robert Fripp and the Chamber Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists, Westwood Lutheran Church. It was a surreal combo of performance art and sonic immersion. The 30 guitarists made sounds similar to piano, harpsichord, whales and bees.
Facebook Comments

  • “Thank you for blessing us with your music this week! It was wonderful to have some behind the scenes rehearsal performances :)” – Westwood Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
  • “The performance was so full of joy -- thank you for bringing your wonderful music to Minneapolis!”
  • “Incredible web of mystery bliss” – Madison
  • “What an amazing concert this was! I am still thinking about it and can hear the incredible sounds. Thank you for coming to Madison!” – Madison
  • “My favorite shows are always the ones that might me want to go right out and play music.

    Tonight’s show was something else entirely though. Changed the way I see approaching performances, the use of the space and interplay of all the performers was just mind blowing. I think it’s going to take a few days for this one to sink in. Thanks to all the crafty guitarists tonight for a truly incredible show and feeding me a ton of inspiration.” – Chicago
  • “Thank you for the memorable show! It was amazing!!” – Minneapolis
  • “Still trying to recover from last night's experience. I experienced synesthesia for the first time and I wasn't even looking for it. Add to that the fact that Robert Fripp played his guitar on my ear. And when I mean on my ear, I mean I could rest my head on the guitar. Jaanus had to pinch me afterwards just to assure me it actually happened.

    Music coming from everywhere, communicating from one end of the venue to the other. Players upstairs and downstairs. Conversations in music triggered by non verbal language, plus a couple of classics thrown our way. Painting the room with musical colors.

    I can go on, but I think you get the point that I can't really put the experience into words.”
  • “Midway into the show, seven crafty guitarists appeared in those seven arches and stayed there for a good 10 or 15 minutes in a musical volley with the group across on the other balcony by the organ. The whole evening was visually stunning, but that was the moment I would've most like to document with a quick picture.” – Chicago

Chicago show review from Facebook
Robert Fripp and his Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists were absolutely incredible, one of the most unique and interesting performances I can recall in many years: Twenty nine acoustic guitar players, I believe, including their fearless leader, all dressed in black and completely unplugged (more shiny black Ovation acoustics with a cutaway than I've ever seen in one place, and some very nice Taylor's and otherwise, too), fully mobile, moving in circles through the chapel in groups and subgroups, suddenly appearing in balconies for extended hymnal jaunts, or six inches behind your head with a tiny chromatic lick just for you before moving on down the row. There was literally no barrier between the band and the audience, it was all one space throughout. They traded riffs across the room and ran rhythms and chords around the building in bidirectional circular waves. It sounded at times like a gigantic modular harp which could divide and subdivide itself on a whim. It was the quietest and most observant audience situation you could possibly imagine. King Crimson popped up a couple few times to great effect among extended segments of angelic twinkling, mathical headbanging, and lots of other moving musical motifs and blends for which I have no proper terms. R. Fripp himself was far from the spotlight for most of the night, entering and exiting the group quietly throughout the performance, and slowly taking more direct control as they neared the encore, which he conducted in real time after mostly observing large portions of the set from a close vantage in the shadows. The humor, humanity and openly joyful nature of the production only complemented the stupendously disciplined musicianship and perfectly executed group dynamics on display for the entire 100 or so minutes.