The Rap (Rhythm and Poetry) on Ben

It was Sunday afternoon, deep underground in the sub-basement studio of community radio WVVY, and they were having what one of the flustered on-air staff called “real extreme technical difficulties.”

The monitor outside the studio, an ancient Aiwa radio cassette, was not picking up any signal. Hurried phone calls were made and the suspicion was confirmed: the station was not broadcasting the program, although it was apparently going out okay to a small number of online listeners.

Sunday in the Pub With Jazz: Offshore Music Lovers Are Nuts for the Improv

When jazz crooner Jerri Wells is finally coaxed up to the front of Oak Bluffs’ Offshore Ale by Eddie (Pepé Caron) Larkosh for a rendition of Do You Know What It Is to Miss New Orleans? she does not stick to the script for long. She delivers a few bars of the prescribed number then, like some sort of thief sidling past a security guard, hums her own improvised segue and ducks into the second verse of A ll Of Me, the Billie Holiday version, leaving the band to scramble after her.

Jemima James Goes from Pop to Fiction

The lines sprang into Jemima James’ head, complete with melody, sometime in the 1970s: “Raised in a home, his back got no bone.” The rest of the song, Billy Baloo, soon followed.

“I just liked the way it sounded,” she said, sitting in the wind outside the Scottish Bakehouse in Vineyard Haven this week. Though the story didn’t pair with reality, she found that changing the words messed with the tune. And she trusts the songs that arrive this way.

Island Boys Become L.A. Billionaires With Pop Release Really Real Forever

Tim Laursen, who writes the majority of the lyrics for The Billionaires, looks through his screen porch out at the woodland behind his family’s Vineyard Haven home, and tries to explain his song-writing method.

“Okay, popping into my head right now, wood,” he says, humming a tune and then seamlessly cranking out a lyric: “Must be romantic cutting wood by hand/Put down the power tools and give me back the land.”

Under the Sea With No Paddle but a Pencilina

The pencilina is like an instrument from Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book. It’s got bass and treble necks with movable bridges and open strings which can be plucked, played with a bow and manipulated with drumsticks. It is mounted with four bells: a fire bell, a doorbell, and two brass telephone ringers.

New Releases Sing of Vineyard Sound

The folk trio of Cindy Kallet, Ellen Epstein and Michael Cicone have emerged after a 15-year recording hiatus to release Heartwalk, a collection of original songs and folk favorites. While the three may have spent the past decade and a half on other projects, the warmth and sincerity on Heartwalk demonstrates they’ve lost none of the chemistry that earned them accolades on the New England folk circuit for their previous albums Angels in Daring (1988) and Only Human (1993).

Despite Bug in His Ear, Singer Rallies to Perform With Group

First it was Owen Bennion’s two front teeth vs. a steel basketball pole. Then it was Matt Ungaro’s left ear vs. a moth of undetermined species.

Kids Do the Flips for SteveSongs Now

Among many funny things about Steve Roslonek, this may be the funniest: After everything that’s happened in the past 10 years, he still thinks his voice — and even his personality — is best suited to singing backup. Think about that when, in all likelihood, he and his band fill the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs with thousands of parents and children for a free concert on Sunday afternoon and get them clapping, stomping and singing along to tunes such as Elephant Hide and Seek, The Veggie Song and Opposite Day.

Opera Hits High Notes With Good Gags

Susanna, a Neopolitan countess of the early 1800s, has a segreto, a secret: she smokes. Her husband, Count Gil, an obsessively jealous man — but a perfectly nice fellow in every other way — sniffs tobacco in the palace and draws a logical but preposterous conclusion: Susanna is having an affair with a man who smokes. The pair is at loggerheads, and more than willing to sing about it, courtesy of the great Enrico Wolf-Ferrari. Thus unravels the 15-minute intermezzo comic opera, Il Segretto di Susanna, to the merriment of all.

With Songs on Their Lips, Island Musicians Bid an Affectionate Farewell to 2007

Island musicians were the dominant revelers at the Vineyard Haven observance at the close of 2007.

The event could have begun at any time for members in the audience at the Katharine Cornell Theatre on Monday afternoon.

For some it began with a belly dancer revue. For many it was Johnny Hoy of the Bluefish singing a song dedicated to time slipping away.

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