Siorazzzzzzz…..

The weather was spectacular. The crowd came prepared to have a good time. It appeared as if the City Park Bandshell Concert for Friday, August 4 would be memorable. It was, I suppose, but for the wrong reasons. The band, such as it was, came billed as an example of “World Music.” That was the first mistake. I anticipated an energetic performance mixing the sounds of traditional and contemporary music from around the world. What I received was a band that played Latin American music and a singer who sang in a few languages.Rather than limit their salability to aficionados of Latin smooth jazz, someone evidently figured an appellation that evoked global and multicultural significance would bring more and more various gigs their way. Too bad. This band named, Siora, predominantly presents Latin Jazz in several traditionally imperialist tongues – that’s it. Singing a song in another language is not what world music is about. So this set was a disappointment from the start. Someone needs to tell this to the band’s publicist.The lead singer was a swinging-to-the-music long-loose-red-dress dark-haired woman. She was an adequate lounge singer with a lackluster presentation of self. Even though she possessed a decent range, semi-operatic vibrato, and a vocal sound that a few fans may have found evocative, she had no idea how to engage an audience..Actually , that was the big problem last night. More than half of the first set consisted of musicians trying to find some interesting notes to attach to songs in which tempo was completely absent. These aurally pointless exercises in noodling around were probably attempts at improvisation. Their aesthetic value depreciated to zero before they arrived at the ears of the audience.How do I know this? It was clear simply by the fact that the crowd displayed a constant din of chatter, milling around, reading newspapers, and paying attention to anything besides what was occurring on stage. This was appallingly evident, especially during the soft slow parts of the set. There were so many soft and slow parts that it was sometimes hard to recall previous notes in players’ solos. The flute guy actually played one note a dozen times in a row, trying out different inflections – sort of like one does in a music lesson. The singer sat around fidgeting with her hair while the band tried to find their way back to the melody after these seemingly endless vapid interludes.A lady right in front of me spent the entire set showing her friend her vacation pictures. They had a grand time gabbing between themselves. And since I completely understood why, I could not hold it against them. It was entirely the band’s fault. When I arrived, the band was warming up. You know – the sort of dabbling around in solo and ensemble notes, tuning instruments, playing snippets of familiar songs. But for the fact that the ostensible start of the show was heralded by an introduction, I would not have been able to distinguish the warm up from the set itself.Oh well, as I mentioned, the weather was wonderful and the crowd was in a good mood. It was a lovely summer evening. It was so lovely that I left at intermission along with many dozens of other music lovers. We took off to have a better time than this by just sitting around at home listening to our iPods.

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