Milo Silva's name may not yet be familiar in most Island music circles, but that will change. Milo Silva, 17, is the son of Island blues musician Maynard Silva, and this week they will share a stage.
Maynard has performed for years as a top blues musician. Maynard is a hard beat, foot stomping performer with a raspy voice. He has put out several CDs and has a strong Island and off-Island following.
Milo's music is of another world - from Central Asia.
It is deeply rooted in Eastern thinking and the music is of the Central Asian region. His song, his rhythm is foreign, unfamiliar to the usual Circuit avenue melodies. It is easy to sing along with Maynard. It is a lot more work trying to whistle with Milo.
The two will be performing together on Thursday evening at the Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Together, they are calling their performance Khöömei-Boogie. Admission is $5. Milo will open for his father. And as unlikely it might seem, the two have planned to do songs together.
By his own right, the younger Mr. Silva is an accomplished musician.
For reasons that are hard to explain, he is as much an expert on music from halfway around the world as his father is an accomplished expert in the blues music tradition of the American South. The apple didn't fall from the tree, when it comes to affection for music.
"We both love string instruments," Milo says.
Milo plays an igil, a string instrument resembling a large soup ladle with a skin-covered head. He also plays the doshpuluur, a sort of three-stringed banjo, and a qobyz, which is described as a Kazakhstan fiddle.
Milo has earned most attention for his throat singing, a form of singing that isn't done anywhere on this continent except in very small circles. There is not another human sound to match this form of singing; it is a guttural sound that can fill any hall. The music comes from the Siberian Republic, called Tuva. Some of it comes from Mongolia and Kazakhstan.
His music is entirely unfamiliar here, music from an exotic place that Milo has seen only in picture books. Despite the distance, Milo said, he is drawn there, as some people from distant places are drawn to the Vineyard.
Don't expect to to learn a tune at Featherstone this Thursday that you'll come away whistling.
What is most interesting to Milo's father is that the young man's talent and skill has reached out far beyond the Vineyard. "I'll tell you what is amazing is hearing Milo taking voice lessons from his teacher, Paul Pena in San Francisco, in a two-hour long distance phone call," said Maynard.
Milo's talent is getting heard. He was recently featured in a segment on WCAI and WNAN radio station. He has twice performed at the Katharine Cornell Theatre and at the Vineyard Playhouse and once at Featherstone.
Milo said he is drawn to Buddhism, like his father. "I was raised with Korean-style Buddhism. I've had an interest in Buddhist kingdoms." Someday he will journey to Central Asia to learn more.
For the moment, Milo is committed to graduating from high school next year and he might continue to bring this music into independent school projects at the charter school. He said of his music: "It is a journey, it's a little walk."
"I long to leave the Island," Milo said, and this music gets him there.
Though there isn't much of a similarity between the music of father and son, there is a parallel. For his own part, when Maynard was growing up on the Island as a young man, he took a serious interest in music from the South. He loved the music of Bucca White. And that music took him off the Island.
Maynard and Milo's journeys are similar, though the destinations aren't quite the same.
"Well, you know," Maynard Silva said, "music is an expression of culture."