Monday, May 21, 2007

Tim Barsky - Ashkenazi Storyteller and Beatbox Flute

Tim Barsky and the Bright River Writing about Adrianne Greenburg yesterday reminded of another interesting Jewish flutist, Tim Barsky. I first heard about Barsky and his show 'Bright River' through an interview he did with Nextbook.Org. Here's how Barsky describes himself (from his website):
"Tim Barsky is a traditional Ashkenazi storyteller and oral historian who has been getting increasing attention for his unique performance style, which blends hip-hop, street theatre, and Jewish folklore. He’s also the world’s first battle flutist. Using just a flute and a microphone, Tim can beatbox, “scratch”, manipulate beats, drop classics, and play up to 8 lines at the same time, without loops or sampling. Taking the aesthetic of the battle DJ and integrating it into the flute, Tim is pioneering the art form of woodwind percussion."

Barsky has a number of projects including Bright River and the Everyday Theater. I haven't seen either so have to rely on Barsky's descriptions:
"The Bright River is a hip-hop retelling of Dante’s Inferno by a traditional storyteller, Tim Barsky, with a live soundtrack performed by some of the best hip-hop and klezmer musicians in the Bay Area. A dizzying theatrical journey through a world spinning helplessly out of control, the show sends audiences in a mass-transit tour of the Afterlife. Guided by a fixer named Quick, and moving through an urban landscape that is at once both intensely real and fantastic,
the show is a deep-rooted love story, a profound meditation on mass transit, and a passionate indictment of the current war in Iraq.

You can hear Barsky tracks and purchase a recording of Bright River at Barsky's download page and through the Bright River website. Here's a YouTube video to give you an idea about his sound...

Tim Barsky Flute Beatbox Jan. 2001

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