Blues and Poetry
blues singer Bonham team up
two will perform, read at Village Lights
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(November 2012) For Indianapolis Bluesman
Gordon Bonham, his collaboration with former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert
Krapf is a natural outgrowth of his own art.
I write several of my own songs. Theyre basically poems
I put music to, Bonham says.
Bonham (left) and Norbert
Krapf will perform together Nov. 3
at Village Lights Bookstore
in Madison, Ind.
The two artists first came together in collaboration as
part of the the famed Hoosier Dylan series of shows that took place
from 2008-2010. These concerts brought together a variety of Indiana
artists to celebrate the music and poetry of Bob Dylan.
While many people are familiar with the idea of lyrics as poetry, Bonham
and Krapf fuse their works together in a different way that allows each
to draw inspiration from the other.
Bonham explains that when working with the poet, Ill often
tell him to read a little bit. Ill get the rhythm of the words
and kind out pick it out as we go. Sometimes a song will grow
out of a poem and sometimes a poem will lead into a song.
Bonham explains that when they began performing together it felt
really good, it was fun. He reflects that while there is a long
tradition of jazz performers playing alongside poets, to do blues,
it was something a little different.
Bonham reflects on the success of their work saying, I think that
the biggest thing is we both love Blues so much. Were both big
lovers of Bob Dylan. Krapf has also been taking guitar lessons
with Bonham, who sees the language of blues creeping into the poets
work. I predict in the future hes going to be a Blues writer,
Bonham said, laughing.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, the Village Lights Bookstore, 110
E. Main St. in Madison, Ind., will play host to a special double feature
event presenting Krapf and Bonham. From 1-3 p.m. Krapf will be on hand
for a poetry reading and book signing. In August, the poet released
his ninth book of poetry, Songs in Sepia and Black and White,
a collection of 101 poems and illustrated by Richard Fields photos.
During the November event, work by Fields will be available for viewing
in the stores Twain Room Gallery. Then at 7:30 p.m., Krapf and
Bonham will join for an evening of poetry and music with Poetry
and Song in the Key of Blue. Bonham will provide backing for Krapfs
poetry recitations with a variety of instruments including an acoustic
Martin, 1930 National Steel Guitar, mandolin, and harmonica and will
also perform his own original songs from his latest CD. Bonham is one
of Indianas most noted blues players and has worked with Bo Diddley
as band leader and opened for B.B. King.
Village Lights co-owner Nathan Montoya describes Bonhams style
as gritty, real blues. Reservations are recommended for
the evening event, and there is $15 suggested donation. Refreshments
will be provided by Paradise Cove Catering.
Songs in the Key of Blue will be the fifth installment in
the stores Salon Concert Series and is sponsored by the Cultural
Continuum of Madison and Riverrun Theatre Co.
We consider ourselves more than just a bookstore, Montoya
said. My wife and I both come out of the performing arts.
The couple spent several years as professional dancers in Europe and
New York and have strong personal and family ties to music. So it is
only natural that the Village Lights has gained a reputation not only
for bringing in nationally acclaimed writers of fiction and poetry for
author events but also for setting the work of these writers alongside
music and art.
Krapf served as Indiana Poet Laureate from 2008-2010 and
has a strong passion for exploring connections between poetry and music.
His most recent collection includes a section of 26 poems called Practically
with the Band, which pay tribute to Dylan and John Lennon as well
as Madison musicians Greg Ziesemer and Kriss Luckett. His work continues
to be influenced by music, particularly blues, not only in the fact
that he writes about musicians, but also collaborates with them and
performs alongside them onstage.
For 2011-2012, Krapf received a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the
Arts Council of Indianapolis for his work combining poetry and music.
With this fellowship, he has traveled the Mississippi Blues Trail and
visited Memphis, Tenn., to work and perform with blues players. Krapfs
work is also heavily influenced by his childhood in Indiana and time
living, studying, and teaching in New York, Germany and England.
Bonham encourages blues and poetry fans to check out the event, but
also invites anyone who might be curious about what were
doing to attend. Montoya agrees and also believes that people
who want to see Madison continue to grow as a venue for major performers
should make a special effort to come out and welcome these artists.
How our community can develop as an arts community.
Montoya says it is especially important for people to take advantage
of the opportunity to hear artists performing in person stressing that
the best way to appreciate art is to experience it directly.
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