Monday, November 27, 2006

Arts: Our Very Own: Lang Bassist Tours the Balkans



By Chelsea Werner & Photographed by Avi Tepfer

Bass player and Lang senior Benjy Fox-Rosen started his musical career in high school in Los Angeles, where he played traditional Jewish devotional music with friends. Years later Benjy’s passion for folk has reemerged in The Luminescent Orchestrii, a four-piece string folk band with Balkan influences and, occasionally, melancholic lyrics.
Q: How did you meet the band?
A: Three years after a party in Bushwick I heard Lumii was looking for a bassist from someone I met at that party. I have been in the band for about 9 months.
Q: What’s challenging about being in this group?
A: It’s the most physically demanding gig I’ve ever had. There’s no drummer so there’s a lot of slapping of the bass to get a percussive sound. As a new technique for me, it’s very tiring.
Q: What was your favorite gig?
A: In Leeds, England at The Common Place, an activist community center. I tapped into a punk energy for the first time and got people dancing.
Q: What is your song writing process?
A: Rima Fand (one of three violinists) and Sxip Shirey (guitarist) contribute the original music. After playing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Rima went to Macedonia and Sxip, Sarah (fiddler) and I went to Serbia. We traveled to the Balkans to hear the music and learn songs. We play traditional eastern European songs, but we don’t play them traditionally.
Q: Who are you billed with?
A: We generally split the bill with other bands from the Balkan scene. We’re playing with Romashka on Dec 10th at Union Pool in Williamsburg.

Look out for The Luminescent Orchestrii’s third album in February 2007.

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