In a sky build, high above the long standing historical sim, Caledon, is a musical cooperative. Sharing the space with their individual venues are Pol Arida, Norma Falta, Vincent Carpathea and Kinagree Smith.
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Pol, a dynamic, no-holds-bar Scottish musician whose songwriting talent is unmatchable. Recently, I learned about Norma and her partner Vincent, two other talented musicians, and they told me about Kinagree Smith.
Kinagree Smith is a band featuring three real life friends. They are: Jack Kinagree (Zorch Boomhauer) who studied guitar with folk legend John Renbourn. Jack is a bit of a character because of his sense of humor. Then there’s Lexie Smith, who studied under Aaron Copland and performed at the Wolf Trap Foundation of the performing arts with Aaron. Lexie sang and wrote for the Philadelphia Rock band 50/Fifty. Ira Norman Segall, who is considered a practitioner of Middle Eastern and Pan Asian percussion, is the third member of the band. He is the son of a professional symphony musician and the founder of the Audiophile recording label Unipheye Music.
In the Second Life venue, The Edge, beaming with vibrant colors and a gear-like floor, the band talked about their lives and their music.
Both Lexi and Ira are from Philly and Jack is from Ireland. I asked how they met and they told me it was through the miracle of Second Life.
“Jack and I both played our original music on Second Life. I came here while I was recuperating from surgery, not knowing there was live music performed. I’d been here many years before that, but the virtual world totally freaked me out.”
Lexie returned about three years later. Someone invited her to hear a musician who was referred to as the “the real deal.” She ended up going to a Zorch Boomhauer show. She loved his original music and that the audience knew the words to his songs. People were buying his records which meant they were paying attention.
“I totally wanted to do this, so I musically stalked him, and went to all his shows while learning a lot about his program,” Lexie confessed. “It’s not just picking up a guitar and playing. There’s so much to know, it’s ridiculous. You have the delay on the stream. It’s so incredibly silent for that one minute until you get use to it. Zorch offered me a spot on Wednesday, which had an incredible line up,” she recalled. “Nobody really knew me at that point. I played there and have been playing there ever since. Because the fact Jack and I perform original music, people started booking us together. It seemed no matter where we played, we followed each other.”
A couple of years later they decided they wanted to do something together. Jack came to Philadelphia for about a month and ended up moving there. He was living in South Carolina before that. Ira had been Lexi’s friend for nearly thirty years.
“I began a journey from playing traditional drums to some more exotic percussion and it just seemed to fit what they were doing,” said Ira, as his virtual parrot began eyeing his pipe.
Jack cut in laughing. “When we came over to Ira’s house we played for him one day. He didn’t seem too terribly interested when we were done and we said okay. He contacted Lexie and said that he needed to talk to her. We were playing in the Philadelphia House in Northeast Philadelphia. Lexie asked Ira if he had his drums and invited him to perform with them. Without any rehearsal, whatsoever, he came up and played the Philadelphia House for us. We informed him after the set that he was in the band.”
As an individual artist, Lexie said you can’t fit her into one genre. She writes about what happens in her life. Sometimes it feels like Pop and sometimes it’s something else.
Ira, Jack and Lexie admit to making up a style which expresses their music. They explain it as a mix of Celtic, Pan Asian-Middle Eastern percussion that Ira brings forward. Jack feels their music is so unusual, which makes it so appealing.
They all have different musical backgrounds. Ira, improvisational, electric Jazz. He grew up in a professional, classical musician’s council making his musical influences fairly diverse. Add to that a Middle Eastern and Indian mix. He enjoys listening to everything.
Jack is one of the most brilliant and prolific songwriters of our life time, says Lexie. He is known as a wordsmith and his lyrics can stand word to word to any of the great poet songwriters out there including the likes of Bob Dylan. Jack’s use of his many guitar tunings makes each song special and unique.
Look for group reminders about Lexie, Jack and Ira performing along with Noma and Vincent. They will be resurrecting The 2big4theinternet band (NOT DUAL STREAMING) (SRT)