Music, Shakespeare, Books, Art & Nature at Festivall This Weekend!

West Virginians have an exciting weekend of arts-related events this weekend thanks to Charleston’s Festivall. We at Muruch will happily attend the following:

Friday, 7pm: Hamlet by The American Shakespeare Co.
The Scottish Rites Center, Capitol Street
Tickets: $20 adults, $15 seniors, $10 students.
Buy tickets in advance at Taylor Books or at the door

Friday & Saturday, 7:30pm: Romeo & Juliet by The Charleston Ballet
The Civic Center Little Theater
Tickets: Adults $20 in advance, $25 at door; students $15 in advance, $20 at door.Group rates also available.
Buy tickets online, Civic Ctr box office or at the door

Saturday, 8am-5pm: Library Used Book Sale
The Civic Center Little Theater
Free Admittance, books 50ยข-$2

Sunday, 1-4pm: Nature Walk w/ Live Music & Art
Sunrise Carriage Trail
Free!

Sunday, 7pm: Kate Miller-Heidke, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Janiva Magness & Storyman at Mountain Stage
Culture Center Theater
Tickets: $15 advance, $20 at the door
Buy tickets online, at Taylor Books or at door


The Young Scamels: Full Fathom Five (Thy Father Lies) Mp3

You know I really love a song when I post it as a solo mp3. I couldn’t resist a band who originally formed for a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The Young Scamels are Christian Frederickson, Greg King, and Jason Noble of the band Rachel’s. Their debut album Tempest – to be released in September – collects music that was recorded live during forty-one performances of The Tempest at Actors Theatre in Louisville. This song features vocalist Amber Estes of Liberation Prophecy and Kyle Crabtree of Shannon Wright’s backing band. The sound is an unusual, hypnotic mix of classical instrumentation and sparse electronics.

The Young Scamels – Full Fathom Five (Thy Father Lies) (mp3)*

*mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of band’s PR rep

Buy @ Amazon (not yet available)

The Young Scamels MySpace

Hem: Twelfth Night

Hem’s new album Twelfth Night was just released today. I was excited to hear the new material since their previous album Funnel Cloud was #2 on my 2006 Top Albums List. But Hem fans expecting another pretty, folk-country song collection may be surprised by the band’s new original score for The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night. The band livens up the genteel Medieval folk sound of The Bard’s era with a unique blend of Celtic, folk, and soft pop. Actress Anne Hathaway and singer Audra McDonald are among the album’s guest vocalists.

The more spirited reels, such as the traditional “Black Thorn Stick” and “The Rose in the Heather,” spin elements of Irish and Scottish music. And “The Funeral,” written by Hem’s own Dan Messe, is pure Celtic dirge.

Anne Hathaway’s dulcet voice breathes through “Take, O Take Those Lips Away,” and she duets with singer Audra McDonald on the beautiful ballad “Full Phathom Five.” The latter features lyrics culled from The Tempest.

Dave Pittu sings the part of an Elizabethan minstrel in “O Mistress Mine,” and joins Hathaway and Raul Esparza for “Come Away Death.” Elsewhere, a lilting flute carries the instrumental “To the Gates of Tartar.”

My only complaints about the album are the lack of vocals by Hem singer Sally Ellyson and the brevity of the songs due to the nature of the theatrical production.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below.

Buy @ Amazon

Hem Official Site

Lin Enger: Undiscovered Country

Lin Enger’s debut novel Undiscovered Country is a modernized retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet set in small town Minnesota. It’s a shame that the other Minnesota set Hamlet reiteration (the mind-numbingly boring, long winded, and canine obsessed The Story of Edgar Sawtelle) is receiving so much more attention and praise. Undiscovered Country is superior in that it successfully captures the melancholy and dramatic atmosphere of Hamlet, yet the plot is fast paced with characters that are both interesting and human. The novel is so well written that it would be just as compelling even with no allusions to the Bard’s tale.

Undiscovered Country is told in hindsight as the protagonist Jesse records the events surrounding the death of his father during a hunting trip a decade after it happened. While waiting for the coroner to rule on whether the shooting was a suicide or an accident, we are introduced to Jesse’s vamp of a mother Genevieve and his covetous uncle Clay. Like Hamlet, Jesse believes he sees the ghost of his father while we the readers are left to wonder if it is merely a symptom of his own grief stricken madness. The vision plants a suspicion in Jesse’s mind that soon evolves into obsession, and Jesse is driven to seek the truth as well as vengeance from his uncle.

There’s a side plot involving an Ophelia inspired romantic interest, but it’s Jesse’s inner turmoil as well as his interactions with his vixenish mother and possibly villainous uncle that are most riveting. This is the rare novel that contains two climactic scenes – the first and most of tense being the claustrophobic confrontation in Clay’s ice fishing lodge. Whether you’re a Shakespeare fan or not, I recommend Undiscovered Country if you want to read a strong and suspenseful drama.

Buy @ Amazon