Friday, March 19, 2010

Real Vocal String Quartet

Salons at the Rex
Wednesday, March 17 6:30pm
Hotel Rex

Real Vocal String Quartet
Irene Sazer, violin and voice
Alisa Rose, violin and voice
Dina Maccabee, viola and voice
Jessica Ivry, cello and voice

The Real Vocal String Quartet consists of a classically trained string quartet whose members have acquired the neat trick of vocalizing while they play. Their set consisted of about 10 songs drawing on different styles, such as bluegrass, jazz, African & Brazilian. Many of the numbers were written by members of the group, & there were 2 improvised pieces in which one player began with a short motif & the others joined in. These were short & not particularly adventurous, but it is still something of a novelty to hear string players improvise.

For the most part, their vocalizing was something added onto their string playing to enhance the harmony. Violinist Irene Sazer seemed most comfortable with the singing aspect & was the loosest performer. In the dance numbers, she moved in a way that suggests she plays the violin with her hips. I thought their most effective number was an actual song. In Darling, Irene & Dina traded verses of a sweet love song, & there was a nice balance between singing & playing.

Their act got a warm reception from the audience. In the Q&A immediately after the performance, the group talked about the challenges of training their brains to do 2 separate things at once. They also discussed adjusting to using microphones at most of the venues they perform in, though in the Rex Salon they were unamplified.

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