September 23, 2017 7:30 p.m.End:
September 23, 2017Location: Pruis Hall
Alison Brown doesn't play the banjo. Alison Brown plays music on the banjo.
In the instrumental food chain, the five-string banjo is one of the more dominant beasts: loud, brash and very hard to tame. In 1945, Earl Scruggs made the biggest leap in harnessing its raw power, bringing a revolutionary precision of touch and depth of tone.
Thousands of three-finger style banjo players have since made their marks, but none has cut such a path or moved so far along it as has Alison Brown. She’s acclaimed as one of today’s finest progressive banjo players, but you rarely find her in a conventional bluegrass setting. Instead, she’s known for leading an ensemble that successfully marries a broad array of roots-influenced music: folk, jazz, Celtic and Latin.
With her new Compass project, The Song of the Banjo, the 2015 IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award and 2001 GRAMMY Award-winning musician/composer/producer/entrepreneur plants another flag in her ongoing journey of sonic exploration.
As one might expect from a Harvard-educated MBA and co-founder of Compass Records, for 20 years old one of the most respected bluegrass, folk, Celtic and Americana labels, the title of Alison’s first album since 2009 was carefully considered. It comes from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, but she says the reason she chose it was that, “It points to the lyrical side of the banjo, which is the side I’m drawn to.”
Although banjos typically play “tunes” or “breakdowns,” in Alison Brown’s hands, the banjo truly sings. Part of that is the result of the modifications she’s made to her signature model Prucha 5-string, muting the usual harsher overtones and extraneous noises, emphasizing the sweetness and melodicism. But mostly, it’s her unique musical vision. Brown never wastes a note, never launching into banjo tsunamis just because she can; stopping her precision three-finger roll to leave space for a lyric or other instrumental voice when appropriate. Don’t mistake it, there is plenty of jaw-dropping virtuosity on The Song of the Banjo, but it's always in service to the melody at hand. The great tenor saxophonist Lester Young had to know the lyrics before he played a song, even as an instrumental. Like him, Brown always plays the words as well as the melody.
Emens Presents At Pruis Hall
Pruis Hall is situated just off of Woodworth drive next to Bracken Library. This 640-seat venue provides an intimate setting for musical performances and is used to host a variety of special events throughout the school year. Emens Auditorium programs a series of talented musical artists at Pruis Hall in a series called "Emens Presents at Pruis." This event is featured in this series.
How to Purchase Tickets
Tickets go on sale August 7, 2017 at 10 a.m.
Tickets - General Admission:
Ways to Purchase
Emens Box Office
All Ticketmaster Outlets
For More Information
Learn more about coming to a show. (Directions, Accessibility, Parking, Camera Policy, etc.)
For more information contact the Emens box office at 765-285-1539.
Dates/times subject to change.