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Ethan James - Hurdy-Gurdy


Are there any true originals anymore? When you speak of Ethan James and his hurdy-gurdy, you are speaking of something rare indeed. Throughout history this 1000 year old instrument has fascinated royalty and street people alike with its rich otherworldly resonance.

"The hurdy-gurdy is a droning vibrating magical instrument that sounds like bagpipes with an ancient feeling that transports me to another place" says James. "it's not the barrel organ associated with the monkey."

A specialist in blending ancient and modern influences and instruments, James has released four CDs of his original music in the US and Europe. The first two, "Erin Kenney And Ethan James," and "Tapestries Of Smoke" were with singer Erin Kenney. His following two solo releases with James providing his own vocals were "Shaking Hands With Kafka," and "What Rough Beast," both on MOLL Records in Germany. He also has recordings released in the US of more traditional instrumental music entitled "The Ancient Music Of Christmas" on the Hannibal/Rykodisc label and "A Garden Of Hurdy-Gurdy Delights" on Taqsim Records. He has also composed scores for feature films and television.

His instrumental work blends arrangements using single and multiple hurdy-gurdys with complementary instruments such as the saz, portative organ, harmonium, guitar, dulcimer, bazouki, nyckelharpa, and Arabic and other percussion.

Ethan James first played at the Croatian American Cultural Center with Hungarian musician, Ference Tobak in 1998. It was a mixed tamburitza and hurdy-gurdy piece reflecting the music of the Serbian population in southern Hungary.

James has played Hurdy-Gurdy with the San Francisco Mozart Festival orchestra (yes, Mozart wrote for the instrument). His early music and modern classical credits include "Renaissance en Provence" with The Terra Nova Consort, and "The Prayer cycle" with Jonathan Elias.


Location: San Francisco, California

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