Mid-March OT playlist

  • by Roberto Friedman
  • Wednesday March 14, 2018
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Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens wrote a tribute to Tonya Harding.
Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens wrote a tribute to Tonya Harding.

We all thrilled to singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens crooning "Mystery of Love" from "Call Me By Your Name," nominated for Best Original Song, at the Academy Awards earlier this month. Less well-known is that Stevens has written the song "Tonya Harding," not for the film "I, Tonya," but in honor of the same public figure.

In his essay "Tonya Harding, My Star," Stevens wrote, "Tonya Harding's dramatic rise and fall was fiercely followed by the media, and she very quickly became the brunt of jokes, the subject of tabloid headlines and public outcry. She was a reality-TV star before such a thing even existed. But she was also simply un-categorical: America's sweetheart, with a dark twist." We'll say!

Twee Scottish pop group Belle and Sebastian is coming back to North America in June for a month-long run of tour dates in support of their EP trilogy, "How To Solve Our Human Problems." Judging from some of the song titles, it looks to be some classic B&S: "The Girl Doesn't Get It," "A Plague On All Other Boys." They'll play the Fox Theater in Oakland on June 25.

Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet will play a series of rare concerts this spring following their groundbreaking collaborative album "Ladilikan," hailed as World Music album of the year. The [UK] Guardian called it an "exquisite, spellbinding collaboration." You can see the music video for "God Shall Wipe All Tears Away," from the album, on YouTube. The Malian trio & Kronos will appear on April 27 at SFJAZZ's Miner Auditorium.

The Canadian Opera Company has announced its October 2018 premiere of "Hadrian," an opera by Canadian-American singer, songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright, with a libretto by Canadian actor, director and playwright Daniel MacIvor. American baritone Thomas Hampson will portray the title character, with Finnish soprano Karita Mattila portraying Plotina, wife of the emperor Trajan and a great supporter of the emperor Hadrian. "Hadrian" is Wainwright's second opera, following 2009's "Prima Donna."

The collaborative, conductorless chamber orchestra One Found Sound will be returning to Heron Arts in San Francisco for their annual Gala, this time a Quinquennial Birthday Bash on April 27. Founded in 2013 by five graduates of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, One Found Sound hosts performances in warehouse spaces, art galleries, local wineries, and live-work collaborative venues.

"Our concerts are more like events than standard classical music performances," said co-founder Sarah Bonomo. "They are a public space where our musicians and members of our community can share a creative and artistic experience. We remove standard classical music performance barriers: we perform standing up and without a stage, we encourage phone use or clapping or vocalizing if the music so moves you, and our audience sits or stands close to us."

OMG, it's OMD! Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark will be playing the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on March 27. The duo recently released "The Punishment of Luxury" on White Noise. Consequence of Sound called the album "an addicting jolt of bright 80s synth pop, replete with Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphrey's pristine harmonies." Sounds like old times.

Finally, the legendary folksinger Joan Baez has announced her final North American tour, to support her new album "Whistle Down the Wind." She plays the Nob Hill Masonic Center in SF on Nov. 15, 2018. Last chance to see a legend.