I'd rather be burlesquing.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I spent much of last weekend being a Sigur Rós groupie.

Admittedly, I do not deserve the status of groupie; I do not own a t-shirt nor have I spent any amount of time discussing song lyrics in a chatroom. I am only in ownership of one of their albums, which has it's distinct time and place in my music vocabulary - somewhere delicately placed between rainy day and impending relationship break-up.

The main reason that I found myself driving 8 hours to Manchester and back in a car with three boys and a fully-loaded iPod, was because of Greg. His attendance at these two concerts was imperative, and drunk with a passion-infused panic, he had purchased 8 tickets for two back-to-back gigs. Not being one to turn down the chance to get the hell out of dodge - and always up for a gig - I went with.

Sigur Rós delivered, as to be expected, but rather than walk out of either show with a beautifully hand-printed Sigur Rós t-shirt (which are spectacular, I must say), I walked out with a cd - and surprisingly enough, not a Sigur Rós cd. What I took home was a copy of AnimaminA. There is so much more to this band then a just a cleverly delivered palindrome.

And everyone loves a palindrome.

This group, comprised of four very cute Icelandic girls, amazed me in spite of myself. When they first took to the stage, I have to admit to being slightly dissapointed by their classical mixes. Most of what they were playing sounded like a strange mash of incomprehensible sounds; a bit overwhelming at best. I was unimpressed, and slightly bored.

And then they broke out those heavenly enchanted wine glasses.

These girls spent the remainder of their short set on stage looping lovely string arrangments with the howl of a wet fingertip on a wine glass rim, the warble of a saw, the crackle of a fireplace. It was like watching a foursome of bewitched creatures, scurrying about on stage, weaving a spell. At times they seemed to be completely oblvious to the audience at all, laughing amongst themselves between songs. The performance was reminiscent of a time when my pal Rena and I performed a piano duet of Music Box Dancer for our grade 12 graduation. Our performance was so painful that we actually cut the song short after one chorus, laughing our way through each sour chord.

Unlike us, Amina could probably perform Music Box Dancer flawlessly, leaving you with the deep desire to have Frank Mills' babies, but they did have that same intimate feeling to their performance. They could have been playing their music in their grandmother's living room, surrounded by close friends and shag carpet.

I think we all have moments where we are able hear a pattern in the hum of life. The whistle of a kettle, the rattle of train tracks. A lid banging on it's pot while something bubbles away beneath it on the stove. Who has not been fascinated by the crackle of a fire? The beauty of Amina's music is that they are able to harness these sounds, to make them into actual music. Their music makes you notice things you hadn't noticed before, listen a bit more intently to the world around you. They make beautiful music out of otherwise complacent objects. And they appear to have a lot of fun doing it.

If you haven't yet heard their music, give it a go. You just might never look at a saw the same way again.

PS Check out Greg's Amina-tastic fansite for updates on the girls: aminamusic.com. He has a new passion, or so it would seem.


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