Sunday, October 21, 2012

Follow Your Heart, Follow Your Head...That is Success

Concordian Dawn - Christopher Preston Thompson, Brian Mummert, & Nicholas Tamagna
(photograph by Joshua South)
I remember how I felt when I heard Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane's album for the first time. At a bar with friends, I had to sit back and let the tracks wash over me. I went to the jukebox and programmed it to play the entire album. Twice. To this day, that album is one of my favorites and my foundation of what I call experiential music.

I recently spoke with Christopher Preston Thompson, co-founder of Concordian Dawn, an ensemble of three musicians who present Medieval and early Renaissance music. These men perform acoustically and each is a singer and instrumentalist. Before you think that early music is not your cup of tea, in Christopher's words, this power trio is "a Medieval boy band." Take that, One Direction. Christopher describes the early music they sing as "raw, purely and innately human, nothing fabricated." 

Earlier this year, Christopher, a tenor and gothic harpist, joined Nicholas Tamagna (countertenor and percussion) and Brian Mummert (baritone and portative organ) to establish Concordian Dawn. The trio's premiere concert was on October 5, 2012 at NYC's Church of the Transfiguration. It was called Here: Then and Now. And that captured perfectly why this is the time for Concordian Dawn. Christopher said, "We, as human beings, haven't changed [since the Medieval era]. Things around us - technology, the way we say things - are different but in large part we're singing about the same things as people did then."

The men believe "very simply that early music has a place in the contemporary scene." How can this be, I wondered, centuries later. The music is "Relevant. Philosophically, Socially, Spiritually, Tonally," Christopher shared. With passion in his voice he went on, "And there are similarities and differences between the music of then and now. We highlight those because the perspective is evocative for today's listener." 

One way Nicholas, Christopher, and Brian evoke perspectives is through mixing Medieval and contemporary songs. While highlighting similarities and differences, mash-ups of Albertet de Sestaro, Gace Brulé and Alanis Morissette and Peire Vidal and Bjôrk bring to life intensity, joy, anger, hope, and so much more. Upcoming mash-ups include Lady Gaga and the Dixie Chicks. 

When an a cappella singer, I dabbled in Renaissance music and I never understood why the technique needed to be specific. Christopher explained, "Concordian Dawn applies historical performance practice and that opens up a whole new soundscape." Soundscape is ideas, culture, and music in a variety of combinations. The performance precision makes for truer messages.

As I'm committed to being yourself to make our world better, I asked Christopher why Concordian Dawn is a trio and not a solo act. The group is "good friends and good colleagues who work well and sing well. And [they] trust each other." Add true musical talent to those and their connection and commitment are clear to the audience. Check out this terrific combination of classic and new. You can hear some of their work here

Like always, support up and coming musicians and artists. Today's talents can be tomorrow's spotlit Grammy winners with our encouragement and love.


Maurice Cobb said...

Very cool true to yourself.

Kate said...

Thanks, Mo. Being true to who you are. Speak truth to power!

Richard Byrne said...

I heard their debut concert - these boys are great!
A multi-generational audience responded thrillingly to their performance, their repertoire, and their entire concert! IT was great!

Kate said...

Richard, I was there too. A killer night. The room was both a spiritual sanctuary & a musical one.