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The Bell House

Dark Dark Dark plus A Hawk And A Hacksaw

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 8:00 PM EDT
The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY
21 years and over

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Listeners everywhere are having a very emotional response to Dark Dark Dark's music.  Their sophomore album, titled Wild Go, is ambitious and layered, welcoming and familiar, and reminds us to seek out the wonder and magic that surround us all the time. Their sound sets Nona Marie Invie's soaring, haunted voice against an array of traditional instruments, balancing folk and high-art, creating music that is making people crazy. 

The 10-song collection is a marked evolution for the group, which began in 2006 as a collaboration between Minneapolis based musicians Nona Marie Invie and Marshall LaCount. These two songwriters bring together disparate influences including minimalism, New Orleans jazz, Americana, Eastern European folk, and pop. Using stark contrast in texture, tone and imagery, the band has expanded and redefined their sound for the new album.  

In the studio the band worked with producer Tom Herbers (a Minneapolis stalwart known for his credits with the Jayhawks, Low, and Soul Asylum), recording live to tape at three different Minneapolis locations, including a renovated church/studio and an old theater. Of all the influences on Wild Go, perhaps the greatest is their dedication to live performance and touring, where many of Dark Dark Dark's songs first come to life. Playing together, the band lifts Invie and LaCount's songs to another level. 

"We try to create a magical space with our performances," Invie says. "I'm always blown away by the number of people that come up to me afterward and say how much the music touched them. I love it when people can dance and have fun at our shows, but it's when people are quiet and I can tell that they are feeling it on a personal level that I feel like I'm really connecting." 

A broomstick and duct tape. That is what the curious Americans used for a mic stand. In a humble house with no running water deep in the Romanian hinterland, they were recording with Fanfare Ciocarlia, one of the world’s top brass bands. A Hawk and A Hacksaw have also found themselves playing with Roma on the streets of Amsterdam and out on the Jaffa road, performing to both Hassids and Palestinians; in a sculptor’s tree house outside of Budapest; and at a Jewish wedding in Pittsburgh where a young boy stared transfixed at the band, ignoring the party revelers, until—with no explanation—tears streamed down his face. 


When AHAAH plays big cities like New York, expect to see a cross-section of Central and Eastern Europe represented in the audience. The Turks will sing along to the classic song “Uskudar,” whose melody has traveled from country to country, so others will hum along too. “It turns up in Greece, inBosnia, and elsewhere. And as a Klezmer tune, it’s called ‘A Terk inAmerica,’” says Barnes. 

A Hawk and a Hacksaw have never been about ethnographic reenactment or folk purity. “We want people to explore further after they hear us,” Trost reflects. “We’re doing what we love, and we want people to like it on its own terms. People are hungry for things beyond Western pop and we are a part of that exploratory process.”


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