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An evening of folk inaugurates Music for a Small Space

Peter or Marie: How should the first sentence of this story be formatted? I'm not too clear on what the commands for arts stories are. -- nsd


Featuring various performers, including Orrin Starr and Friends.

Monday night, Lobdell.


MUSIC FOR A SMALL SPACE, brainchild of graduate student Kevin Gurney, had its premiere this Monday night, featuring a variety of performers, including MIT students, staff, and local stars. Monday night's music was mostly in the folk vein, ranging from bluegrass to folk/rock to Irish folk. The performers were generally good, but there were a couple of problems.

For one, the music was very quiet for Lobdell, discouraging people from talking or moving around during the sets, so there was the feeling that it was a formal concert, which is what the event was trying to stray from. And, although the music varied between different kinds of folk, it was all folk, and it seemed that its appeal, judging from the turnout, is narrow. Gurney says he was cautious for the first night to make sure everything would go smoothly, but will deal with some of the problems for future nights, and feature more music outside of the "folk" label.

Music began with an open mike section. Rachel Pearl, an administrative assistant, played some bluesy folk guitar and sang with her very sweet voice. Paul Resnick G and Jonathan Amsterdam G played guitar and fiddle. They played some English tunes as well as some country. They were good musicians, but it seemed, except for a few hot moments, that they could have let more rosin fly.

John Hanekamp G was next, playing guitar, joined by Gurney for a couple of songs. Hanekamp was confident, and he had some strong songs. Last in the open mike section was Eric Kupferberg, also a student, who played strongly rock-influenced folk (on guitar again), and also had some good material.

The headliner of the evening was local bluegrass flatpicking celebrity Orrin Starr and Friends. Starr played guitar mostly, except for a beautiful mandolin duet. The mandolinist, who is also in the group Northern Lights, was thoroughly hot. They played some bluegrass, some country, and some folk. Occasionally they were a little slow, but it was made up for by the breathtaking bluegrass vocal harmonies they did on a few songs.

Overall, although the performers were adequate, it was mostly the concert-like atmosphere that dulled the evening. This will hopefully change in the future, as Music For a Small Space becomes better known around campus, and more eclectic performers play. Music is a great idea, considering that concerts played at MIT have generally excluded a large genre of music, which Music will hopefully offer an informal opportunity to hear.