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(via Anonymous 4 comes to Rockport on farewell tour - Music - The Boston Globe)

“…As Anonymous 4 prepares to wind down its career at the end of this year – the farewell tour comes to the Rockport Chamber Music Festival on Thursday – it will be remembered for its sheer spirit of adventure, whether the music was old or new, simple or intricate.

“We just loved the way something like 13th-century polyphony fit our voices,” Hellauer says, speaking by phone from her home in Nyack, N.Y. “We loved working without a conductor. We loved being democratic. We loved making our own transcriptions. And we loved making discoveries.”

There were a lot of them to be made, because the entire performance context of early vocal music looked and sounded very different when Hellauer and a few colleagues got together almost 30 years ago to read through some chant and polyphony. At that time, especially in America, “if you thought medieval music, you thought men, monks.” This despite the fact that much of the polyphony of the time was meant not for monasteries, but for secular clerics at big cathedrals….

From the start the group tried not to be pigeonholed, avoiding in its early years what Hellauer calls “woman-associated music” – Hildegard von Bingen or music for the Spanish convent Las Huelgas. And in 2004 the quartet branched out into folk and gospel songs with “American Angels,” a widely praised album that, Hellauer proudly mentions, went to No. 1 on the Billboard Classical chart “and stayed there for a long time.”

The album, in fact, was meant to be the group’s swan song, and Anonymous 4 announced that year that its members were interested in other projects. (Hellauer now says that they weren’t sure whether that hiatus would be permanent or not.) But with the success of “American Angels,” their label, Harmonia Mundi, beseeched them to continue. So after a brief couple of years off, they returned with a second album of Americana, “Gloryland,” and went back on the road…

Their final recording completes their American trilogy – “1865,” a collection of Civil War songs made with veteran multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky…”

Why would you ever stay home and watch TV - the view from the driver’s seat beats the old boob tube every damn time.  Get a map out - draw a two hour driving circumference around where you live… now, every time you watch a movie just realize you could have driven to one of those amazing places instead and watched the sunset.


My good friend Linnea Bullion drove 20,000 miles around the US last summer, and photographed a beautiful collection of small and oft-overlooked textures and people and moments along the way. They’re collected in her book, American, which paints a unique portrait of raw Americana that is at once personal and universal. The book is on sale right now for $45. Follow her on Tumblr and Instagram for more.