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Schedule 2015

 

As you may already know, 'Panamerican Shanty' is my 2010 original radio show, and a great way to celebrate the centennial of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Little-known sea shanties, milongas, polkas, and original pieces are woven into a story set in San Diego and around the Pacific rim, following a legendary piece of whale-tooth scrimshaw as it changed hands from 1880 to 1970.

The sea shanty (or 'chantey'), might be considered one of the first examples of global fusion music. On merchant ships, West African work songs blended with English-language verses and melodies, forming a rich tradition which gradually died out, as steam power and electricty reduced the need for coordinated group muscle.

Jeff Pekarek has performed extensively with local guitarists Peter Pupping, Fred Benedetti, and the late Brian Baynes, as well as legendary bluegrass fiddler Richard Greene. He arranges music for Yale Strom and Caprice Strings, besides performing with these groups.

 


 

 

 

   
   
CD coverWe are currently preparing a live performance of the music from our 2010 CD, Panamerican Shanty. To listen to music samples from the album (and, if you like, order the CD or singles), follow this link to CD Baby Panamerican Shanty uses traditional sea shanties and film noire-inspired originals to tell the story of the Nakai Nakai, a fabled whale-tooth scrimshaw piece. Poetry and narration, partly in Spanish, give the perspectives of a tango dancer, a late-night disc jockey, a private eye, and various mariners, while the singing of a chorus of rum-lit sailors
provides an abstract commentary.

The instrumental palette is also unique: string bass is the main color in this opus,
joined by bouzouki, drums, and trumpets. Piano and guitar are used sparingly, while antique bongos and Irish whistle add some culturally specific hues. Sounds of marine animals (mainly humpback whales, seagulls, and sea lions) are integrated into some of the pieces.

As music, this album is a unique combination of sea shanties and original fifties-style jazz. The sea shanty, a type of folk music which flourished in the nineteenth century, is itself a hybrid. On merchant ships, West African work songs blended with British and Irish melodies and verses, forming a rich tradition which gradually died out, as steam power and electricity reduced the need for coordinated group muscle. The album's nine sea shanties are arranged in a style reminiscent of British folk rock bands of the late 70's, such as Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention. These pieces are connected by original music which recalls the abstract, sparse tension of film noire scores and 'exotica' LPs.

   
septet 2 The Electrocarpathians in Studio West, San Diego, California, after recording their latest album, Cafe Bego. Pictured left to right (back row): Jeff Pekarek, Juan Moro, Marco Emtesali, Mark Danisovszky; (front row): Beatriz Basile, Francesca Savage, Melissa Mejia.
Bea The Electrocarpathians formed in 1988 to further the fusion of East European styles such as Klezmer, Polka, and Czardas with classic Rock and Latin music. They appeared regularly at the Better Worlde Galeria until that venue closed in 1995. Their first album, 'Umpires of Straw', released in 2001 by Global Village Music (New York), was subtitled 'Slavic Music Collected in the Midwest performed by California Surfer Gypsy Punk Rockers'. Their second release, 'Fighting for Harmony' (2005), also on Global Village, was fueled by a continuing search for Byzantine roots in dance music originating in South California and Tijuana.
Their newest album, 'Cafe Bego', is a collection of well-known East European folk music standards, recorded live at San Diego's Studio West in 2012. Klezmer, Gypsy, Rumanian, Ukrainian, and Slovak favorites performed on bouzouki, accordion, trumpet, clarinet, violin, acoustic bass, flamenco guitar and cajon. 'Cafe Bego' is available in both physical CD and digital download format at CDBaby.com
Bego 5 It is a well-known fact that Dick Dale, the great progenitor of Surf Rock, drew on Middle Eastern sources for many of his compositions. It is lesser known that, decades earlier, other musicians from California's Lebanese, Armenian, Ukrainian, and Sephardic communities likewise contributed to the evolution of what can be considered a 'West Coast' dance band style. While most bands working California venues in the 20's and 30's were never recorded, examinations of their libraries (parts/partitura) sometimes reveal that besides the principal elements of popular music from the United States and Mexico, there are pieces which reflect the influence of the state's 'Byzantine' ethnic groups. The album cover of 'Cafe Bego', designed by Eric Townsend, is based on a photo of The Charles Davis Band, performing at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, about 1926.
fighting cover We originally used the photo of the Charles Davis Band as the cover for our second album, 'Fighting for Harmony'.
Charled Davis and Bass Here's a another photo of Charles Davis, probably around 1919, showing off what seems to be a shiny new contrabass in front of the Riverside Conservatory of Music (California).
 

Blackthorne's Maritime Band performed at San Diego's 2014 Sea Chantey Festival on Aug 3rd, 2014. This interesting event is held on the Star of India, the gem of the Maritime Museum's collection of ships. We featured guest percussionist Jean Stewart (of Raggle Taggle). In addition, extraordinary young vocalist Emily Hanes joined us for a special tribute to Sandy Denny.

 

Check out our new album on CD Baby! It’s a digital-only release featuring many of the songs we’ll be playing at the Sea Chantey Fest. At CDBaby.com, you can sample songs, and download the whole album or just individual songs! Here's a link directly to our page: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/blackthornesmaritimeband