Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Orpheum Bell
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Orpheum Bell

Kristi Kates - March 14th, 2011
Orpheum Bell rings anew in Northern Michigan
By Kristi Kates
Since 2009, when Express last checked in with Ann Arbor band Orpheum Bell, they were putting on a big CD release show at Freshwater Studios in Boyne City - and watching their music slowly but surely acquire more and more critical and fan acclaim.
Well, the gypsy-esque lineup of musicians has changed a bit, now reading Aaron Klein, Michael Billmire, the inimitable Serge van der Voo, and newest bandmates Henrik Karapetyan and Katie Lee (“With every member change, our music goes through a growing transformation process; Katie and Henrik have added tremendous intensity and inspiration to our group’s sound,” van der Voo says) but Orpheum Bell the band haven’t slowed down at all.

YEAR OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
“In the past year, we took part in several music festivals and concert series events, such as the Detroit Folk Festival; the Black Swamp Arts fest in Bowling Green, Ohio; the Ann Arbor Summer Arts Festival; Detroit’s annual ‘Soup City’ Benefit; and the Aten Place Summer Concert Series in Boyne Falls,” van der Voo explains.
In addition, several tracks from that aforementioned CD release event (Pearls, 2009) were selected for a prestigious film soundtrack, yet another coup for the group.
“The songs were chosen for an art documentary, The Life of Chris Roberts-Antieau,” van der Voo says, “the film was released in 2010, and was featured at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum.”
“Visionary” is a good word to apply to Orpheum Bell themselves. More multifaceted yet simultaneously more focused than many indie bands on the scene today, their self-professed “country and eastern” approach melds moody folk, gypsy, and retro jazz into a sound that’s uniquely their own, and has been made even more diverse by their newest bandmates and experimentation on new instruments all ‘round.
“Our new material is definitely more rhythmic with the recent addition of instruments such as xylophone and glockenspiel, and collaborating with a drummer/percussionist,” van der Voo says, “There are Cuban, Latin, even Mariachi influences to be heard in the new songs. It has been a lot of fun to explore new directions and experiment lyrically with these songs, and the vocals on this one are much more playful - there’s one in Russian as well.”

RHYTHMS AND RIBBONS
More of those songs are on the way soon from this ambitious group, which Orpheum Bell fans will be glad to hear. The band are currently writing and recording their third album, which they’re already titled The Old Sisters Home, (due out December of this year).
The drummer/percussionist that they’re collaborating with is none other than Red Sea Pedestrians’ Mike Shimmin (who also works with local favorites Seth and Daisy), and the approach they’re taking this time is along the same retro vein as before, but with a little added attention to changing around some of the technological details in the studio.
“We’ve been using older ribbon microphones and analog tape,” van der Voo explains, “which adds a certain warmth to the recordings.”

LIVE PLANS
As the weather itself is getting warmer, Orpheum Bell is spending even more time on the road, with plans to hit Chicago for a series of live shows in May. They’ll be making their first appearance at the Frederic Meijer Gardens Amphitheater in Grand Rapids in August (with Lac La Belle), and will be playing Ann Arbor’s Ark in September, to be followed by another Ann Arbor-based locale for their CD release around the holidays.
But first, another visit to Northern Michigan for a trio of events: one at Traverse City’s InsideOut Gallery, a return to Boyne City’s Freshwater Studio, and an appearance on WNMC-FM, all of which van der Voo says the band are really looking forward to, especially given their current revitalized membership.
“We’re excited to be returning with plenty of new sounds, and with our latest member, Henrik, who is just such an amazing violinist,” van der Voo enthuses, “we really do consider ourselves lucky with this latest lineup.”

Orpheum Bell will be appearing on WNMC 90.7 FM on Friday, March 18 at 2 p.m.; at the InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City on Friday, March 18 at 8 p.m.; and at Freshwater Studio in Boyne City on Saturday, March 19 at 8 p.m. For more information contact the individual venues, or visit the band’s website at http://orpheumbell.com.



 
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