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From Bhutan To Bloomsday

June 16, 2015

cross-posted from

Tuesday, 6/16, Bloomsday: @The Teahouse: TASHI DORJI / DUNUMS / JORDAN PERRY  doors at 8:30, $7

It is Bloomsday again, the day on which James Joyce’s Ulysses is set. The public library is sponsoring a celebration at Tin Whistle Irish Pub, which is sweet and maybe a good opportunity to grab a draft pint of Guinness, but misses the mark festively, artistically, historically, cosmically, comically, phenomenologically, and phantasmagorically. In short, categorically. A better bet would be to go to tonight’s show at the Teahouse.

Tashi Dorji is another one of those intense explorers of the guitar who come through town, rather more often than you would expect, to mesmerize small but appreciative audiences.He is an improviser, something like a less puritanical Derek Bailey, more willing to give familiar pleasures and repetitions in the course of his avant errancy. Because the avant garde of Bailey’s time, so fun while it lasted, is finished now (some would say it was finished then), that squadron having gone so far ahead they came back again, and discovered the world was round. Which, come to think of it, is what Joyce did in Ulysses, nearly a century ago. A great discovery to make! One now well enough made and known to call off the brave marching of the troops. Though it remains always true that in everyone’s experience there are frontiers, and the crossing of those. But not together as comrades-in-arms; maybe as friends.

Tashi Dorji is from Bhutan, land of Gross National Happiness, archery, poorly played soccer, and an abundance of Buddhist phallic symbols. He now lives in Asheville, the Bhutan of North Carolina, where he is probably nice enough to humor the locals when they call their charming hills “mountains”. Which matters for his music only to the extent that, being universal, it has to come from somewhere. Like Ulysses and Dublin.

You can read more about Dorji in Dave Cantor’s write-up for The Daily Progress. And check out his Bandcamp page, or spend some time with the Youtube playlist; this is music to linger in and absorb.

I was well impressed listening to Dunums, the work of Palestinian-American North Carolinian Sijal Nasrallah. His music has something in common with Dorji’s, but with lush atmospherics and a lean into fractured pop, so that without the juxtaposition one would not make the connection  And with vocals, including such lyrics as, in Arabic and from the song “Eater Syria”: A human without a memory is the memory of a human / Fatigue without motion is goat shit. Not sure how Dunums will sound live, but it should be well worth your attention.

Jordan Perry is the singer/guitarist with New Boss. I have no idea what his solo work is like, not having seen it before or listened online, maintaining an ignorance to allow for that pleasure of discovery you get from hearing a musician you know from doing one thing, do another thing. I look forward to it.

Don’t bother with the Irish pubs (though Boylan Heights is an option, as it shares its name with the character Blazes Boylan, and of course Daedalus Bookshop is a perfect place to stop in at) . The best way to celebrate Bloomsday in Charlottesville, at least until they re-open the brothels, is with something like this show, where you can experience the reconfiguration of the world in imagination, right in front of you.

“So they turned on to chatting about music, a form of art for which Bloom, as a pure amateur, possessed the greatest love…”

Note: This show is also recommended to non-celebrants of Bloomsday (Orangemen? Jehovah’s Witnesses?).

From → Bloomsday

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