By Larry Murray
If you have been following the ever-changing and expanding progressive-indie genre, you may be familiar with the quirky, innovative musician Gabriel Kahane. With one foot in pop and the other in classical, this unique voice will be given the stage at Mass MoCA on Saturday, July 20, at 8pm. Kahane will be joined by Rob Moose of Bon Iver in Mass MoCA’s multi-colored Pavilion, an outdoor sculpture of overlapping canopies located at the center of the museum’s renovated 19th-century factory campus, for a set of airy pop that hints at his classical roots.
Yes, it seems that music under the stars is becoming a regular North Adams tradition, doesn’t it?
Kahane’s compositions, recordings and performances reflect a different sort of esthetic deeply enmeshed in New York’s downtown new-music scene. In 2006, he found a personal ad on Craigslist that read: “Neurotic and Lonely: slightly hunched, occasionally employed anthropologist, chain-smoking Jew, currently living with parents.” Inspired by the words of this lonely and self-aware stranger, Kahane wrote the first of a cycle of songs called “Craigslistlieder,” delicately balancing humor with sadness. These poppy, classical, ironic and humorous pieces soon became a model for other artists. “Craigslistlieder” is played everywhere from seedy dive bars to the prolific Carnegie Hall. Singer-actress Audra McDonald opened her recent show at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield with two of Kahane’s “Craigslistlieder” songs, one of which begins, “You looked sexy even though you were having a seizure (in Walgreens).”