ELEVATED | Nakai Trio, Spicy Montrose, Mountain Photos
by Leslie Vreeland
Jul 24, 2013 | 2119 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print

In Telluride: R. Carlos Nakai Trio in Concert

Hear the word Nakai, particularly if you’ve spent any time at all in the Southwest, and you immediately think of the haunting, ethereal strains of Native musician R. Carlos Nakai’s cedar flute. Nakai made his name as a solo flutist on evocatively titled albums such as the gold records Canyon Trilogy and Earth Spirit. But he’s also an avid collaborator, routinely teaming up with musicians as disparate as a Tibetan flutist and chanter, a Hawaiian slack key guitarist and singer, and a Philadelphia Orchestra cellist.

One of his most fruitful collaborations is the Nakai Trio, in which he makes makes serene, thoughtful music, mostly improvised, in the company of guitarist William Eaton and percussionist Will Clipman. The group’s “delicate, considered playing” on their 2010 CD, Dancing Into Silence, critic William Ruhlmann said, was “music much more for contemplation than movement,” a “calm, cooperative outing” of subtlety and detail.

The Nakai Trio tours, but not too often, particularly on the Western Slope, which is what makes this Saturday night special, when the Trio will play a benefit for the Wilkinson Library’s programming department at the Palm Theatre. They were booked by programming chief Scott Dozier.  “I’ve spent some time and listened to them quite a bit,” Dozier said. “I find Nakai’s music has a very healing quality, and I’ve seen audiences react physically to it. You watch them going in, and then they sort of let their cares go during the concert. When they come out, they look transformed.” Dozier is a percussionist, and appreciates a good one. “I’ve been a fan of Will Clip for a long time,” he added. “And I’m very excited to see Eaton.” Guitarist William Eaton is not only a superb player, he is also famous for making his own instruments which are prized around the world.

Like the Nakai Trio’s “thoughtful” music, Dozier, too, was mindful about selecting this specific group to perform at this particular benefit Saturday night. The Wilkinson has been the target of much criticism lately for its decision to close on Sundays, as well as other budgetary cutbacks. Given “all the emotion surrounding the Library lately,” Dozier thought the Nakai Trio’s music might be a good thing on a practical level – it is World Music, spanning cultures and generations, “and we don’t get a lot of that in Telluride” – and on an emotional level, too. Perhaps he was hoping a bit of the Nakai Trio’s “calm, cooperative” spirit might rub off somehow on the Library and the community. As he put it, “I wanted to put a little healing vibration out there.”

The concert is 8 p.m. at the Palm. Tickets, which support the Library’s programs, are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.  

Historic Walks in Montrose

If you’ve ever thought of Montrose as a staid, small town, think again. Every community has its roguish side, and Sally Johnson, Tour Coordinator for the Montrose Historical Museum, is here to help you see the light. The Red Light, that is, as in Red Light District – which, if you were wondering, was where the Train Depot is today. There was also “a brothel and a speakeasy across the street.”

Johnson leads historic walks in downtown Montrose every Friday night through the end of August. She titles them “Historic Legends and True Tales.” They mostly take place in the alleys, “because alleys are quieter, and there’s more character there,” she points out matter-of-factly. “Anyone can stroll down Main Street and read a plaque.”

Each walk is different, depending on which owners of the buildings are around and in a sharing mood. “We see a lot of basements,” Johnson said. The basement below the Great Harvest bakery, for example, “used to be a speakeasy, and the town’s first public restroom was located outside.” (Until the toilet was built, people used the alleys.)

They’re not exactly “fun” facts, but they sure do spice up a stroll, and they definitely make the past come alive. “I throw in the quirks,” Johnson says. She’s a fanatic about museum tours, having taken hundreds abroad as well as in this country, and she knows what she likes, and what she really likes are walks that have a little mystery to them. Johnson offers a Haunted Montrose walk closer to Halloween, and would love to conduct a cemetery walk – “there are some great cemeteries around here,” she said a little wistfully – but graveyards in this region are small, and Johnson’s tours can be large, and there is the delicate matter of keeping what she calls “a respectful distance” from the gravestones. This tour guide, who has taken a group of Girl Scouts on a Harry Potter locale-spotting tour in London, and whose favorite TV show is “Mysteries of the Museum” on the Travel Chanel, is quick to list her favorite graveyard strolls, though: “In Virginia and Edinburgh, Scotland.” She paused. “And Victoria, Canada has a very nice cemetery walk.”

Montrose Historic Walks take place Friday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. For more info., visit Montrosehistory.org.

John Fielder Photography in Ouray

The nationally known photographer John Fielder, whose specialty is Colorado landscapes and whose books and calendars you’ve no doubt seen in numerous bookstores and shops in this region, is offering an Autumn Photography Workshop in Ouray County for which space is limited. The two-day workshop moves through the San Juan mountains – the Cimarron Range, Owl Creek Pass and Red Mountain Pass. Photo shoots take place late in the day, to capture the alpenglow, at dawn and in between. The foliage should be its peak the weekend of September 28, when the workshop will be held. The event is aimed at beginning and intermediate photographers, who will receive ample personal instruction from Fielder. What does Fielder get out of this? The satisfaction of knowing all the proceeds will go to the Ouray County Historical Society’s historical archives, including a new photo archive. He insisted on it.

For more on the John Fielder photography workshop, call 970/325-4576.

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