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Sunday, May 16, 2004

LISTENING POST

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Farmers Market


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One of the more delightful consequences of our shrinking globe is the way music from one place takes root in another -- like the way Cuban son took West Africa by storm in the '60s and '70s, or how rai infiltrated flamenco.

Farmers Market, a quintet from Trondheim, Norway, were all students of jazz when they met in 1991, but they eventually gravitated to Bulgarian folk music, mainly because the form's odd meters and Oriental scales made it open to the kind of improvisations they liked to indulge in. Leader Stian Carstensen played accordion as a child but switched to guitar when he discovered that girls thought accordions were uncool. Though he became an expert jazz player, his mates in Farmers Market made him switch back to accordion. The other members play the usual complement of drums-bass-guitar but double on various reeds, and one guy plays the euphonium.

Because the group isn't so interested in purity and just likes playing music (plus none of them can sing), they tend to play everything. So between the jazz and the Bulgarian folk you get metal and boogie and punk and blues. The only consistency is the tempos, which invariably start out very fast and then accelerate. Speed accordion! The girls love it.

Farmers Market: May 22 at 7:30 p.m. and May 23 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Shibuya Eggman, Tokyo. Tickets are 6,500 yen in advance. For more information, call Office Ohsawa at (03) 3728-5690.


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