Social Buttons

Saturday, September 13, 2014

In Context: Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon and Olivia Chaney

Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon, and Olivia Chaney come to BAM on September 20. Context is everything, so get even closer to the artists with this curated selection of articles, and videos related to the show. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Program Notes

Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon, and Olivia Chaney (PDF)

Watch & Listen

The Nonesuch/BAM Connection (BAM)
BAM and Nonesuch go way back. Bob Hurwitz and David Bither of Nonesuch elaborate.

"Walkin' Boss," Sam Amidon (YouTube)
Amidon pairs clawhammer banjo with a New Orleans street beat on his latest track.

"There's Not A Swain," Olivia Chaney (NPR)
Chaney performs a sinewy song by Henry Purcell.

A Conversation with Natalie Merchant (YouTube)
Merchant discusses the making of her new, self-titled album

"Lulu," Natalie Merchant (YouTube)
Merchant pays homage to silent film star Louise Brooks in this new video.

Interview with Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons (YouTube)
Giddens and Carolina Chocolate Drops member Flemons talk old-time music.

Artist Profile: Kronos Quartet (Vimeo)
It was Beethoven, George Crumb, and...Lawrence Welk...that got Kronos violinist David Harrington hooked on the violin.


Interview with Sam Amidon (
Amidon learned to appreciate old-time music through free jazz.

Nonesuch Records Signs Olivia Chaney (
The English songstress's debut album is coming out soon.

"Country Girl: An Interview with Rhiannon Giddens" (
Giddens talks about resurrecting forgotten folk music, kids, and more. 

Now your turn . . .

So how did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below.


  1. Hey, the program notes right now link to a PDF about performances on the 23rd and 24th, not the Kronost Quartet, etc. performance on the 20th.

  2. I was really disappointed. The show was fine, I suppose, but I had the impression that this was a Natalie Merchant concert, with Kronos as her band. To have her -- the most prolific and prominent of the featured singers -- to have only 2 songs was a big let down.

  3. Every song except the last was depressing. Natalie Merchant sang for three minutes and spent twice as long bowing.

  4. Olivia, Sam were truly great, Rhiannon's last song powerful nd Natalie mediocre, rightly feeling she did not belong there. (Maybe yhat was why she bowed so much.)

  5. The Kronos String Quartet has never played together with greater precision or depth of mutual self-responsiveness. It was simply great to be present to them playing. Sam Amadon was as good as he's ever been; and his 'Mary Weeping' truly was moving. Rhianon Ghiddens was beautiful and articulate; and her singing (and re-writes) right down to her final wedding song, literally rocked the house. Natalie Merchant sang with such purity---and conducted the band as all moved and played and sang together. Olivia Chaney, sliding around the stage in gorgeous shoeless feet, sang deeply from her heart as if in a musical spell----hers were the grandest moments for us of an utterly momentous show. Maybe the greatest of any kind that my wife and I have attended. Thank you Nonesuch. Thank you for the hour and a half of musical transcendence. Will be tough ever to do any better. One more thing---all the singers and players matched each other like hands in glove. Each gradually grew in his/her performance off the precision and passion for the music of each other..... Until we were dizzy with poetic depths and rhythms and strange harmonies and subtly moved emotions. What a wonderful gift for all of us. Thank you again; again; again.

    Sincerely, Dr. Ann and Frank Braio

  6. I loved the concert. All four singers were superb, their musical choices moving, and Kronos' accompaniments absolutely thrilling.

  7. Amazing concert! When it ended I wanted to hear it all over again. Was it by any chance recorded?

  8. As others said, I was quite disappointed, although my companions loved it.
    I, too, thought that Kronos was an understated backup band when I was looking forward to their usually wonderfully modern and inventive performances. And why couldn't all the vocalists, on stage to bow, perform even one short song together?

  9. I was extremely disappointed because I was under the impression that this was one of the tour dates featuring Natalie Merchant and her new album. When the program started, I thought I made a mistake and was in the wrong theater! The usher assured me I was actually in the right place...I double checked both websites (Natalie Merchant's and BAM's) and both appear to advertise this as a Natalie Merchant performance. I went to see Natalie Merchant at the Keswick Theater in Jenkintown and it was one of the best performances I have ever attended. I purchased these tickets and invited a dear friend of mine to attend because she is a huge Natalie Merchant fan. As you can imagine, this was not only disappointing but also very embarrassing.

    Had I not been so excited to hear Natalie Merchant, perhaps I would have enjoyed the concert. Under these circumstances I found it terrible.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.