LEMUR (?) are coming to the Centenary Stage Company’s Lackland Center! The Theremin, Claviola, stylophone, Zylo-bot and “Sonic Banana” will all take to the stage this month in Hackettstown, when Brooklyn auteur Michael Hearst joins with the League of Musical Urban Robots (LEMUR) to present “Songs for Unusual Creatures” on Saturday, Apr 30 at 8 PM in the David and Carol Lackland Center.
“When I saw this group at the Presenter’s Conference in New York a year ago, I was blown away by what they were doing, musically, intellectually, comically,” marveled Centenary Stage Company General Manager Catherine Rust . “I knew we had to bring them out to our audiences to experience.”
Known for his singular Brooklyn band One Ring Zero and his latest “Songs For Ice Cream Trucks” project (featured on NBC last summer), Hearst is also the brains behind the critically acclaimed album “As Smart as They Are,” with lyrics written for the band by such literati as Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Ames [HBO’s Bored to Death], Paul Auster, Dave Eggers and Rick Moody. About Hearst’s band, The Washington Post claimed, “Your coolness quotient shoots up a few points if you’re in the know about One Ring Zero.”
Hearst’s ensemble has a unique ‘klezmer-esque”, otherworldly sound created from a bevy of unusual instruments with unorthodox techniques . “There’s no doubt in my mind that this ensemble of musically gifted, intelligent and astronomically creative music makers are in the zone of a movement in music that others might only have dreamed about,” says Rust, “ and they do it all with a twinkle in their eye.”
“Guitar-bot”, “Zylo-bot” and the “Sonic Banana” are just some of the creations of theinventive mind ofL.E.M.U.R. director Eric Singer. Singeris a Brooklyn-based musician, artist, engineer and programmer . With a BS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, a Diploma in Music Synthesis from Berklee College of Music and an MS in Computer Science from NYU, Singer approaches music with his robotic orchestra like no one else. Singer also designed and built the PhotoTheremin, a MIDI controller with eight photosensors, which sense hand distance by detecting how much light is blocked by the player’s hands.
A member of the “house band” for McSweeney’s Publishing House, Hearst has toured with The Magnetic Fields, and performed with The Kronos Quartet at Carnegie Hall. He has appeared on such shows as NPR’s Fresh Air and This American Life”, A& E’s Breakfast With The Arts, and NBC’s The Today Show. Singer’s LEMUR-bots have just finished a major tour with jazz artist Pat Metheney.
The confluence of creativity will join to present the “Songs for Unusual Creatures” program on April 30th , celebrating some of the lesser-known creatures that roam the planet , from the Australian Bilby, to the deep-sea Magnopinna Squid, to the Chinese Giant Salamander. The concert coincides with the Day-long Earth Day celebrations on the campus of Centenary College, which include a morning nature walk, educational displays and a lecture series, children’s activities, a science fair, and a variety of food vendors.
Tickets for Hearst’s “Songs for Unusual Creatures” performance are $22.50 in advance, and $25 the day of performance. Seniors and students are $20 in advance and $22.50 the day of performance. Tickets may be purchased through the CSC Box Office at 908-979-0900, online at www.centenarystageco.org, or in person at the David and Carol Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown on the campus of Centenary College (box office hours 1-5 Monday through Friday, and 2 hours prior to each performance) .
Performances at the Centenary Stage Company, the not-for-profit, professional theatre in residence at the Centenary College, are made possible in part through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts and the following local businesses: Heath Village Retirement Community (the CSC 2011 Platinum sponsor), Panther Valley Pharmacy, Skylands Community Bank, and Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, as well as individual CSC members and sponsors.