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Old Time music at Skye Theatre
REGION -- New England Celtic Arts will present Canadian Old Time Troubadours "Sheesham & Lotus" at St Lawrence Arts in Portland on Tuesday and at Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center in So Carthage on Wednesday, May 8.
Curtain is 7 p.m. and a jam session will start one hour before curtain at Skye Theatre.
An important moment of reckoning between Lotus Wight and Sheesham Crow was when they realized that they had the common experience as children brushing their teeth to the fiddle tune “Turkey in the Straw,” using the shape of their mouths to manipulate the melody of the tune. It was this kind of idle, yet innate musicality which followed them as youngsters.
Sheesham and Lotus came together in 1998 as Teilhard Frost and Sam Allison, playing as the rhythm section in a fiddle band called Flapjack. Together for the next seven years they were on the road throughout Canada and the United states playing dances-camps, concerts and workshops. It was during this time that both Frost and Allison took a keen interest in the folk traditions of North America, particularly the American south. Both became enthusiastic historians of old-time fiddle and banjo music, learning from the old masters across the regions south of the Mason-Dixon line. Through personal instruction, perseverance and osmosis they learned harmonica, jaw-harp, flatfoot and song.
Crow and Wight play fiddle and banjo respectively, with an additional array of home-made curiosities of noise-makery. Sheesham is a maker of gourd banjos and fiddles, and Lotus plays an invention called the contra-bass harmoniphoneum, which is a self-contained bass-harmonica and euphonium horn which can be used while plucking a banjo. Indeed it is a well documented fact that Sheesham and Lotus use horns for singing, harmonicas, jaw-harps and more.
The music of Sheesham and Lotus could be described as American roots music. They love to play fiddle tunes, hokum blues songs and ragtime string music. “The sounds of the south are near and dear to our hearts,” says Lotus, “from the old fiddlers on the Lomax collections to the Memphis jug-bands and the Mississippi Sheiks and Narmour and Smith...there is so much to hear and learn.”
Skye Theater is located three miles West of East Dixfield village at 2 Highland Dr. off Winter Hill Road and Rt. 2 in South Carthage.
St. Lawrence Arts is at 76 Congress St., Portland. For reservations call Skye Theatre at 562-4445 or for St. Lawrence Arts, tickets are available through Bullmoose and Brown Paper Tickets, or 775-5568 or http://www.stlawrencearts.org/. Ticket price is $15 at the door. Reservations are strongly suggested at both venues.