Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Fiddle Preacher Is Also A Yoga Teacher: Bronwen Beecher

Five musical genres, at least.  Four languages, in an amazing array of lyrics.  Three musical instruments, if you include the box.  Two-plus decades of playing experience.

One concert, with the fiddle preacher.
The self-proclaimed Fiddle Preacher delivered a resounding sermon at the Vertical Diner in Salt Lake City on Saturday.  I'd been to a Bronwen event before, in my pre-blogging days, and I distinctly remember the fiddle, not to mention the peanut butter and jelly sandwich ex-Romeo ordered.

How exactly do you "stick to your knitting" when you can play Latin, bluegrass, Celtic, classical, and ... train?  As in choo choo.  Bronwen is one of the fiercest talents of any artist on the Utah music scene.  "It's a variety show," she explained, and nobody in the audience was complaining about hearing Vivaldi interspersed with acoustic guitar.  Never mind that she sings -- beautifully, with a wide range, effortlessly, and on key -- while she fiddles.  
Bronwen's musical breadth and depth is explicable.  Her musical muscle memory began to develop at age 7 when she first picked up a violin.  She immersed herself in the New Orleans music scene when she was a classical music student at Loyola University majoring in music therapy and violin performance.  During her "off hours," she played in a gothic band, jammed with Irish musicians, and was the only white singer in the Loyola U. gospel choir.

A young girl of 13 was invited onto the stage for an impromptu drum solo.  No drums to be found, a CD case was an apt substitute.  Apparently, it's standard operating procedure for Bronwen to invite young musicians to join her onstage for at least one number.
During the set, I moved vertically through the diner until I was eventually seated in the chair closest to the stage.  What's not to like about the front row?
Someone behind me whispered, "Susi, do you speak French," when Bronwen was fiddling a Latin number and singing French lyrics.  "Yes, but mainly when I'm in France and need to find the subway," I said.  (I also know all the shopping words and how to reverse a credit card charge.)  "What's she singing?" she asked.  "Something about love," I whispered.  Bronwen floated with equal ease to Spanish and the language of yoga, Sanskrit.  Her set included a song with a yoga chant superimposed on an inspirational chorus:

Om nama shivaya shivaya nama om

Inhale your treasure, exhale and spread your wings

"Get Out of This House" is Bronwen's answer to life's unfortunate situations.  She advised the audience to sing this stern song a couple times a day for three weeks and life would begin to turn around.  And she's right.  Sometimes you really do have to send those nasty situations packing.

Go jump in the lake, go ride up the hill
Get out of this house
It's a house of your making, it's a house of ill will
Get out of this house

Bronwen poked a little fun at the vegetarian fare of the Vertical Diner.  "Is it okay if we sing about chicken in here?" and she improved lyrics to "Reggae Fries" upon hearing from someone in the crowd that Vertical Diner's French Fries were proclaimed to best in the state of Utah.  Be advised that the Mashed Potatoes were exquisite. Everyone at the table had to put up with me saying over and again, "These mashed potatoes are sooooooooo good."  The Jalepeno (Boca) Burger was delish too, but I have heard enough people whine about Boca's that I'm not going to try to sell you on eating one.  That said, you may want to compare the nutritional content of the Boca versus beef sometime and maybe you will acquire a taste.

As I walked to my car, I realized I'd just spent a wonderful evening doing Plan C.  It is really true ... "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans."  {hmmmmmmmmmmm}

Disclosure: Cover for this event was FREE. I received NO compensation for this review.

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