Ingrid Karklins

Performance Review

The Middle East (Upstairs), Cambridge MA

There's a lot of undercurrents in the work of Ingrid Karklins. a curious composite of singer/songwriter and earth mother/performance artist. Her art seems to involve a search for ritual that will remain valid in modern usage’s, and she has opened up several avenues of investigation. One is by invoking eternal verities in her allusive tunes-- notions like mother love, the urge to merge, and the untamable creative impulse. Another is through movement: she occasionally dances around her keyboard in determined; leggy strides. It sounds cornball, but in context, it's not-- and the drummer (also female) was real good.

The other big ingredient is her research into her ancestral Latvian culture. Some of her songs are written around folk melodies, and/or in the Latvian language, and while her main instrument was the keyboard sampler (on which her merry-go-round patterns kinda resembled Laurie Anderson), she also played a couple tunes on a charming little Latvian folk zither called a kokle.

Now I've never heard any Latvian music that makes me think it's the next great world music discovery. Despite Riga's reputation as "the Paris of the Baltic," it's a fairly tragic country, and intensely Calvinist to boot, so the prevalent culture is actually pretty dour and conservative. (Karklins later admitted that the hot dumbeg rhythms she'd set her songs to weren't authentic.) But they tell me there is a lingering strain of ancient animist spirituality and that's what Karklins is after. That, and the odd Richard Thompson cover--"Time to Ring Some Changes.”
---Michael Bloom (Boston Rock) Return To Artist Page copyright (C) 1995 Harmony Ridge Music, San Carlos, CA, USA
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