Fresh Stream, Went There

Went There: LEYA @ Deep Thoughts May 15th


violinist, vocalist Adam Markiewicz (left) and harpist, vocalist Marilu Donovan (right). Image courtesy of NNA Tapes

It was 9:30 and there was no sight of them yet. I thought the thunderstorm that had taken out most of the trees near my parent’s house (and had rendered their neighborhood completely powerless) might have prevented LEYA from coming. Bong Wish started setting up, I started sweating. But then, gleefully, I stepped upstairs and saw the Big Harp sitting in the middle of the aisle. Transfixed by its hugeness and the potential of its untold resonances, I looked down and away from the thing and from its owner who, I think, sensed my hesitation. She says “Do you want to pass?” Oh, yes, right.

They take the stage – the violin player wears all black, the harpist mostly white. But the bow is a rainbow. The first sound Adam offers is a puzzling musical question, an ambiguous sustained pitch. The listener hangs on it, the storm of its possibilities collecting and growing more brooding. Marilu provides the answer: a gloomy bed of harmony, of rumbling polyphony. It continues like this, one offers and the other provides. In a delicate language between a crooning violin and a massaged harpsichord, one is the question, the other the answer.

This is luminous music, liminal. It’s as if the two are actors in some weird ecosystem or an intense, complicated network. They drift alone. Inevitably they drift into and through each other, too. While this music may be confusing, stormy, it is also supremely uplifting. It is the story of a duo exploring their own errantness, of operations inside a confined freedom, a series of fated collisions that are both pleasant and difficult for us to reckon with.

The new album “The Fool”, is out now on NNA Tapes

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