Republic of Strings

cover of Republic of Strings

released 2012

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The Darol Anger Fiddle Ensemble recruits a new generation of brilliant players, along with acknowledged masters, for a survey of the international string scene. In Republic of Strings, Anger’s unique vision comes into full play with densely orchestrated arrangements of music from around the world, and new originals. On Compass Records.

$18 price includes shipping & handling.

What is the Republic Of Strings? It’s a nation of string musicians and music listeners, tied together by mutual respect and love of music.

Our shared Republic Of Strings’ imaginary borders extend through all geographical or other imaginary borders, and we accept no unsightly cultural boundaries. We revel in variety and seek to deeply understand.

Our band, The Republic Of Strings, chooses string band music and other music that we love, from anywhere in the world, and figures out a way to play it.

Our musical material ranges from Scandinavia down to Africa and Brazil, with stops anywhere from the Appalachian mountains to the far-off isle of Manhattan, Ireland, Chicago, suggestions from our fellow citizens, and our garage.

This is the band in which Yours Truly went from being a Youngish Turk, or possibly a regular turkey, and became a Proto-Geezer, or possibly a standard Geezer. The various ages in this group ran from 50 to 16 at the making of this recording. This is as exciting to me as anything else: that there is a new generation of kids who are going to be better than us at making this kind of music. Maybe they are already, but we Geezers are still sneakier. Anyway, I love being around them and making music with them.

The current story goes that we have in this outfit a Prodigy, a Phenom (maybe a couple), a Master & a Legendary Weirdo. You decide who’s who.

A disc of magnificent presence and accomplishment. Perhaps the standout characteristic of this astounding music is the diversity of material Anger has managed to round up and “break” (as one might a wild bronc) within its purview: everything from Irish traditional (“Lost in the Loop”) to Detroit soul (“Higher Ground”) to Kentucky bluegrass (“Old Dangerfield”) to LA folk-rock (“Help Me”, featuring the earthy vocals of Laurie Lewis) to Villa-Lobos-like Brazilian-classical (“Andre de Sabato Nuovo”) to smart swing (“Sneezin”) to Arabic (“Ouditras Rez”) to gospel/blues (“Evening Prayer Blues”) to African (“Dzinomwa Muna Save”) to Scandinavian fiddle music (“Sand”).

Surrounding himself with up-and-coming musicians of the absolute top rank (wildly creative fiddle player Brittany Haas; hugely underregarded flat-picking guitarist Scott Nygard; monster cellist Rushad Eggleston), Anger has upped the ante of string-band music almost off the charts, with us, the listeners, being the beneficiaries.

Rhapsodic gloriousness of the first order: Plus, a hidden mysterioso track that contextualizes the proceedings with gravitas beyond the call of duty. - Jan P. Dennis

updated: 4 years ago