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September 20, 2012 - Bill Ackerbauer
Yesterday, after work, I took my 10-year-old son to the Linda Norris Auditorium in Albany, where we were part of a small audience treated to a short set of music by David Wax and Suz Slezak of the Boston-based folk band David Wax Museum. The performance was arranged by radio station WEXT 97.7, which recorded it for a later broadcast.
I had heard and liked some of the tracks from David Wax Museum's 2011 album "Everything is Saved," so I was excited to have the opportunity to see them live in such an intimate setting (the radio station only invited a few listeners, at random, so the audience was only about 30 strong).
Wax writes songs that incorporate catchy Mexican folk rhythms, and it seems to me his lyrics must be inspired at least in part by the "magical realism" literature of Latin American writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Last night, they played several songs from their new album, "Knock, Knock, Get Up," including a pleasantly irreverent tune called "Chuchumbe," his English translation/re-imagination of a song banned by the Catholic Church in Mexico back in the 18th century. One would assume from the context that "Chuchumbe" refers to a part of the anatomy that's caused a good deal of trouble for the Catholic Church, though the trouble stirred up in his lighthearted rendering is the all-in-good-fun sort.
The New York Times published a piece about Wax earlier this month. You can read it here: "Finding a Path to Mexico in Appalachia."
For your viewing and listening pleasure, I'll post the video from the "hit" song from that 2011 album, "Born with a Broken Heart." I especially love the scene featuring Wax and Slezak busking for change on a Boston street corner. I guess Wax must be aware that the word "busker" — aka street performer — is supposed to have come from the Spanish word "buscar," which means "to search" or "to seek." I hope these guys find more than loose change on their musical quest, because their little concert in Albany was a gem.
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David Wax and Suz Slezak chat with the audience on stage at the Linda last night. (Pic by Bill Ackerbauer)