Mammifères, Rakish, and Wendy Eisenberg
New York City-based mammifères recomposes ancient music from across the world into postmodern folk by disarranging structure and finding inspiration in ethnic chaos. At times both irreverent and deeply respectful of tradition, this band tangles roots music with contemporary musical languages.
Violinist Maura Shawn Scanlin and guitarist Conor Hearn unite to form “Rakish.” The pair gets their namesake from the traditional Irish tune Rakish Paddy, an origin that aptly suits the duo and their shared background in traditional Irish and Scottish music.
Yet “rakish” itself also suggests something strikingly unconventional in its appearance, and Maura and Conor knowingly embrace this wealth of connotation in their music, drawing on the music they grew up with and performing it with their own slant. In a performance that is something more akin to concert music, Rakish explores tunes and songs from Irish and American folk traditions in a way that reflects their shared interest in and love for chamber music and jazz. Maura Shawn, a two-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion and a winner of the Glenfiddich Fiddle Competition, wields the technical range of an accomplished classical violinist and the deep sensitivity of a traditional musician. Conor, a native to the Irish music communities of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, makes his home in Boston playing guitar for a number of traditional music acts and bands. As a duo they have performed on Front Row Boston, Brian O’Donovan’s Burren Backroom Series, and they can be heard on broadcasts of WGBH’s “A Celtic Sojourn.”
Wendy Eisenberg is an improvising guitarist, banjo-player, vocalist and poet. Using the languages of free jazz, new music, extreme metal and art song, her music sets to pose and expose the questions surrounding the human body in the world and the representational and technical demands placed on it in artistic practice.
She has written and performed in numerous projects, including the critically acclaimed experimental band, Birthing Hips, described by NPR as “brainy, noisy punk based in sonic adventure, technical mastery, and rejection of the status quo.” Her work as an improviser has led to collaborations with Ted Reichman, Joe Morris, Damon Smith, John Zorn, Travis LaPlante and Zach Rowden, among many others. Eisenberg has premiered work by John Zorn, Maria Schneider, and Bill Holman, as well as the work of her many peers.
In addition to her work as a collaborative artist, she has two solo careers: improviser/composer, and songwriter. Wendy’s debut record as an improviser will come out on the esteemed label VDSQ in 2018. Her “songs” album, Time Machine, released on HEC Tapes in April 2017, will be re-released on Feeding Tube records in the spring, and she is slated to release a new song cycle summer 2018.