A relatively new addition to my many performing personas is “Fricknadorable” a duo with my wife Audra. Back in 2010 Audra picked up a ukulele in a music store and learned a few chords on the spot. Since then, she has amassed an impressive selection of songs using her already well-trained voice (her main artistic passion is theatre). Long-time friend Mickey Maguire – who just also happens to be the publisher of Ukulele Player Magazine – helped us select a uke to get her started, and it has been amazing to me to see just how quickly Audra has picked things up.
Our cumulative musical tastes cover a lot of ground. My folk/blues background merges with Audra’s love of quirky songs and ballads. We have a complete set of traditional and Irish songs. We both have a fondness for the 80s songs we grew up listening to, before music was too self-conscious and over-marketed. We also cover the occasional hit from the 90s and the new millennium. Having someone else to sing with opens up possibilities for performance, supporting another artist as a guitarist helps with my own growth as a performer. I’ve even been able to work in some of my electro stuff here and there.
Through Local Music Collective jams and open mic appearances, we’ve worked out a very entertaining set of standards, pop and novelty setlist that is now beginning to turn into its own (adorable) animal. Look for us at a venue or private party near you.
Our name comes from the general response that the uke receives, and that we get as a couple. Though, if you know our sense of humor and witness our stage banter, you soon realize this is no Yoko Ono situation. And who knows how “adorable” things will remain once we work out some new tunes on the electric uke!
“Listening to you and Audra was truly one of the high points of our week; thanks so much for the invite. To say the two of you are fricknadorable is such an understatement!” Al and Laura (after seeing us at Brews N’ Bytes)
February 2, 2011 – Eight years on, and this experience is still one of my fondest musical adventures. After taking down the original trip journal at MINDSPEAK.COM when my web site was redesigned, I really wanted to bring back the highlights of this journey. There’s also a possibility of a reunion of sorts later in 2011, so if/when that happens, it would be good for visitors to my site to know how it all started.
This trip has been an endless source of inspiration. While I have performed with many other people since then, I can’t say that anything has approached the energy and excitement generated by this trio. My life was made so much richer (culturally if not monetarily) as a result of this experience.
What follows is a pictorial journal with samples of the 600 images that I took on the trip, converted to Flickr from the previous HTML journal. Photo comments are on the way, and will be necessary to really appreciate some of the more bizarre selections.
Tour photos (multiple pages)
Photoshoot with Marlin Wagner:
Negodniki – Michael Hickey (guitar), Mehmet Safa Saracoglu (percussion), John Huckans (piano) & Jeremy dePrisco (bass). Below, the Negodniki quartet plays an impromptu version of Greensleeves into You Hold the Key, an Michael Hickey tune in which, after the “head” is finished, the soloist calls out the key for the band to play (which changes at the soloist’s whim). (Video by Audra dePrisco at the Treefest 2010 performance at Caldwell Consistory in Bloomsburg, PA)
Milt Jackson’s classic blues Bag’s Groove, also from the Bloomsburg Treefest on 27 November 2010.
Anthony Avenue Ensemble
Anthony Avenue Ensemble is a live performance project with Michael Hickey (guitar/bass/vocals), Mehmet Safa Saracoglu (percussion) and Dave Eisenhower (drums). I play bass, guitar and vocals and both Mike and I contribute original and cover songs in the blues/jazz style. Some rock too. Still under development, really just for fun or as we find venues suitable. Here’s something from 2009:
Moonlight Masala – was an offshoot of the Bloomsburg to Bangladesh duo, with the addition of humorist and multi-instrumentalist Tom Dennehy (from Danville). I first met Tom in the early 90s while attending BU part-time, playing with the orchestra and working the open mic scene. Over the years we’ve become good friends, and it is always a pleasure to perform with and learn from Tom.
Highlights of our set included humor, Hindustani instrumentals (drawing from Tom’s time in India learning khyal singing), off-the-wall covers and originals, raag and taal explorations, tarana and folk songs collected from Tom’s many travels abroad (India, Morocco, Japan, Spain). At times I played flute, bass, guitar and percussion while Tom played tamboura, guitar, harmonium, Saxophone & Uke.
Moonlight Masala performed in the Bloomsburg/Danville area through 2003-2004 whenever Tom was available, and also added flutist Maiko Ferro from Berwick for a couple shows. The trio recorded for Homegrown Music in 2004 to support the Bloomsburg to Bangladesh album project between Jeremy and Bulu.
Those who know him understand that Tom doesn’t stay in one place for very long, so this was lots of fun, but short-lived. A sudden flash of something special that will never be the same again. Great while it lasted!