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Rob Flax & Emma Back: Looping Voices and Violins
Friday, February 2nd, 2018
Multi-instrumentalist Rob Flax describes his music in a concise way: “I play things with strings, I hit stuff, and I sing.” Behind this simple tag line lies a rich depth of genre-bending, from classical and jazz violin to bluegrass fiddle, to blues and rock influences, and beyond. In his “One Man Band” shows, Rob uses a looper pedal and other effects to transform his violin into an entire symphony of sounds. Rob is a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory, where he received his master’s degree in Contemporary Improvisation, and he currently lives in Boston. “oh shekinah, oh shekinah…. Compassion is the best weapon we can wield” sings Emma Back. This is her cry for our “Little World,” calling all listeners to touch our longing for connection as we bear witness to collective suffering and journey towards personal healing and global transformation. In live performance, Back uses a loop pedal to create lush layers of strings and Balkan and African inspired percussion as the backdrop for melodic vocal lines that hint at Bjork and Tori Amos influences juxtaposed with the spacious urgency of Andrew Bird. Whether she is tapping her violin bow on the mic stand, beat boxing, stomping, whispering haunting melodic stories into the mic, or digging into a klezmer violin solo, Back’s dynamic and passionate performance invokes in listeners a deep sense of intimacy and care.