Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Take a musical vacation with Sam Lardner

Lardner and Barcelona to play at nexStage Theatre

Express Staff Writer

Courtesy photo Sam Lardner, left, and Barcelona will bring their unique style to Ketchum on Friday.

Dreaming of life on the Mediterranean, but can't get there?

Bringing the cross-cultural experience of flamenco fusion music to Ketchum, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts will present a concert with Sam Lardner and Barcelona on Friday, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum. Individual tickets for Sam Lardner and Barcelona are $20 for Sun Valley Center for the Arts members and $30 for non-members. Sam Lardner and Barcelona will be the first concert in the Sun Valley Center for the Arts' 2010--11 Performing Arts Series.

Lardner and Barcelona will play and sing original music heavily influenced by Lardner's life while living in Barcelona, Spain. A former language teacher and a longtime resident of that city, Lardner has regularly performed at folk and world music festivals. For this tour and performance, Lardner will perform with Spanish Top-40 recording artist Pedro Hermosilla, Spanish keyboard and synthesizer virtuoso Marcel Botella and American world music artist Annie Wenz.

A seasoned performer in the American folk and acoustic tradition, Lardner has performed throughout the United States as a solo act and for the past seven years has performed with his band across Europe. One reviewer of "Barcelona," Lardner's fifth CD, called it a musical celebration of life and love in the Mediterranean.

Lardner and his band have been headliner performers for the well-known Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas as well as International Spotlight Artist performances at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in upstate New York.

Music lovers of all ages will enjoy the concert, and The Center's Junior Patrons Circle will extend a special invitation to younger adults to attend. In addition to the evening concert, Lardner will visit local schools as part of his "Oceans Are Talking" project, a musical call to action to get kids excited about saving the seas.

Before beginning his music career, Lardner was a teacher of Russian and Spanish at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. After teaching, Lardner spent a year in Moscow, from 1992 to 1993, during Russia's transition to the current free-market system.

He worked on a small team for the World Bank's International Finance Committee that conducted the first large-scale auctions of state-run companies in Volgograd, Nizhniy Novgorod and Moscow. During that year, Lardner honed his skills as an intercultural communicator and intermediary and was named head of capital markets of all Russian provinces before deciding that he had a calling to play music.

Lardner returned to the U.S. in 1993 and immediately produced his first CD, "Go Long." He began touring on the New England folk circuit as an opening act and, soon, as a headliner. He composed and produced two more CDs, "Still Planet Earth" and "Honest Sam," in the U.S. before moving to Barcelona with his wife, Katherine, in 1997.

In 2002, Lardner released "The Sutton Club" to commemorate his tour through Europe's finest honky-tonks and festivals. In 2006, Lardner paid homage to Barcelona's rich musical heritage as well as to some of its most prominent musical personalities. He released "Barcelona" that year and has been riding the wave of enthusiastic acceptance of his very personal brand of flamenco fusion ever since.

All of these experiences have come together with the "Oceans Are Talking" project in 2010, which was inspired by friend Ann Luskey. Luskey is a veteran activist for ocean-related issues in Washington, D.C. She and Lardner produced a 14-song CD dedicated to saving the world's ocean environments and the creatures that live there.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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