I didn’t know who Cristina Pato was or what instrument she played. So when the show started (without visuals), I assumed she was the accordionist (because the show starts with some wild accordion music). But in fact, Pato is playing the bagpipe. Pato’s instrument is the gaita, a Galician bagpipe, and her roots lie in traditional Galician music — though she also boasts graduate degrees in classical piano, music theory and electronic composition.
I love the sound she band gets together with the funky staccato accordion notes and the wild racing pipes. They are very jazzy and very idiosyncratic. Her percussionist uses several different types of drums—the ubiquitous box drum and a hand held drum as well as various shakers and other sound makers.
They play three songs. It’s interesting how much of the first song is taken up without the bagpipes—there’s lenghy sections where the accordion has the floor and she is just happily dancing around. And the accordionist is amazing. he plays all kinds of different styles and gets an amazing range of sounds out of that one instrument. He wails! Of course I see now that the song is actually written by the accordionist: “Victor Prieto: ‘Mundos Celtas.'” So it’s no wonder that she is happy to sit back and let him shine. (Prieto , like Pato, is a native of the town of Orense in Galicia). While he is playing, she whoops and hollers to get everyone pumped. But once she gets her instruments going she is a nonstop blur of fingers and wild notes. I particularly like that she has a section where the note is slightly flat and she continues to slowly raise it until it gets in pitch. I also love–due to the nature of the bag pipes–that she can scream and whoops while still pressing air out of the bags. And at the end of the song, she is just wild with fast notes. It’s a very intense piece.
The second piece “Traditional/Cristina Pato: “Alalá Re-rooted” starts with her singing. She is unmiked so you can’t really hear her, but I don’t really enjoy her singing as much as her playing so it’s okay. I do love the interesting sounds the percussionist Shane Shanahan (Shanahan is American, but is also a longtime member (with Pato) of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble) is making. Overall, this is a fairly dissonant piece—with her sounding almost like a free jazz players (but on pipes rather than sax). I do love near the end where she almost seems to get a harmonic overtone on the pipe. It’s a great moment—but fairly weird how the song just sort of fades away before seguing into the final song.
Victor Prieto & Emilio Solla: “Muñeira For Cristina” this song seems to be all about percussion with lots of drumming and a very noisy tambourine that Pato plays. She gets the crowd clapping along and then when she and Prieto play the same awesome riff together,it sounds great. I love watching her shake the finger part while she’s playing it, to get a cool almost whammy bar sound out of it. The song totally rocks and the whole set with the unlikely combo of accordion and bagpipe is startlingly wonderful.
[READ: April 20, 2016] Comics Squad: Lunch!
I really enjoyed the first Comics Squad book and I was delighted that a second one came out. I just recently saw that a third one is coming out the summer–I love that it is called Detention and is coming out on Independence Day.
Like the first collection, this one is edited by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Babymouse/Squish) and Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Lunch Lady).
But the rest of the line up is quite different this time around, which is cool–allowing other artists to shine. This time there are stories from Cece Bell (El Deafo) ; Jason Shiga (a great indie artist who does some kid-friendly and some decidedly not kid friendly books) ; Cecil Castelucci & Sara Varon ; Jeffrey Brown and Nathan Hale (his own series of historical stories).
Like the previous book, the Holms and Krosoczka sprinkle the book with comments and interstitials from Babymouse and Lunch Lady. (more…)