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Mitch Esparza releases experimental phone-recorded EP under moniker ME

Photo by Chris Beat

Philadelphia-based experimental guitarist Mitch Esparza returned with a new EP this week. Released under his ME project, MEMO is the followup to previously released MEEP. Folkadelphia host Fred Knittel once described Esparza as a “scrapbooker,” reinforcing the statement by saying “a scrapbooker not only has style, but a strong, distinctive vision for his art, which totally describes Mitch.” While the quote is from early 2017, the descriptor still holds true today. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bedouine at Johnny Brenda’s, Mitch Esparza at Random Tea Room, Shilpa Ray at Kung Fu Necktie, and more

Bedouine | photo by Polly Antonia Barrowman | courtesy of the artist

Bedouine, the nomadic solo project of L.A.-via-Syria artist Azniv Korkejian, headlines Johnny Brenda’s tonight with support from Domino Kirke and the fresh-off-of-tour Rosali. Known for 60’s- and 70’s-inspired folk tunes, Bedouine released a debut self-titled album this past summer. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Mitch Esparza

Photo by Chris Beat

Maybe Mitch Esparza is a scrapbooker. I always called him a musical chameleon because in my mind what was so compelling and admirable about his performances and albums, from his ensemble The Love Club to his psych solo project (((taco))) (or is it M.E.?), to music under his own name, and even more than I can recall, was that he could adapt. Throw him in a new situation, change up the genre, give him a new instrument or toy to play with, or start a new band with brand new people, he would adapt and thrive, always able to present interesting sound, music, and art. I would like to take this opportunity to adjust my mental image of Mitch Esparza. Maybe Mitch Esparza is a scrapbooker, building a cosmic sonic dreamboard, rifling through a universe of waveforms and artforms, pilfering what he enjoys and putting aside the rest, weaving a “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” patchwork. I like this image more because a musical chameleon, while inventive, is perhaps without a unique style or vision. A scrapbooker not only has style, but a strong, distinctive vision for his art, which totally describes Mitch. Long may he dream and weave.
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Watch Mitch Esparza shred on Sleepless Sound Studio’s Red Room Sessions

Photo by Kate McCann
Photo by Kate McCann

Local singer songwriter and guitarist Mitch Esparza recently made his way to Germantown’s Sleepless Sound Studio where he took part in their Red Room Sessions.

The series features a new Philadelphia area artists each month who come in to record live studio cuts. Past performers include the likes of Mumblr, Former Belle and Loose Tooth.

Esparza’s beautiful session is broken up into three videos, which you can watch below, including the tracks “GiraSol / Guitarra Inerane,” “You Shouldn’t Do That / You Shouldn’t Find Me” and “Disappointing Muse.” Each song showcases Esparza’s amazing talent on guitar — at times soothing, but more often gripping. Whether it’s acoustic or electric, watch as he positively shreds. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia’s Year-End List of Discovery and Wonderment, Part I

Photo by Darragh Friedman
Photo by Darragh Friedman

For the last three radio episodes of 2014 (airing Wednesdays 10-11 PM ET on 12/3, 10, and 17), Folkadelphia will be recapping what we found extremely special, utterly entertaining, and downright mesmerizing from this year’s musical offering. Pulling together my thoughts and my music for the exercise, it got me thinking further…
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Fishtown art space Highwire Gallery announces plans to close; Fire Museum Presents series halted indefinitely

Arborea performs at Highwire Gallery in 2010 | Photo by Derek Moench via arboreamusic.blogspot.com

Philly exhibition hub Highwire Gallery, home to the experimental and wonderfully strange Fire Museum Presents concert series, has just announced that it will ease operations at its 2040 Frankford Ave location, citing a substantial rent increase. It has no immediate plans to relocate.

Highwire Gallery is the home of Highwire Artists, Inc., a non-profit initiative centered around hosting artists who are fully responsible for the vision and operation of their work, from curating to collaboration and exhibition. Operating in Philadelphia for more than 25 years, largely without a permanent gallery space, the Highwire cooperative has consistently sought new and unconventional spaces in order to connect art with community. Highwire Gallery has  resided on Frankford Ave. since 2005.

The Fire Museum Presents series has been presenting eclectic sounds and events at Highwire Gallery since 2009. The series has staged more than 170 events focusing on experimental, psychedelic, “avant / world noise” music, and has featured incredibly dynamic musicians in jazz, funk, world music and more. Steven Tobin, curator of Fire Museum Presents, wrote in a newsletter email that the series is on hold beyond its current lineup.

“My gratitude goes out to the members of the gallery for allowing us to use their space – and at a price that allowed us to give 100% of the money made at the door to those performing,” Tobin writes. “Currently we are mulling over various possibilities as to our next move. I used to always admire the folks that ran regular event series, while thinking they were somewhat crazy for doing so. Now I know I was right.”

The series will continue through November 17th, with multiple performances at Highwire Gallery before it is set to close. Next up is Little Howlin’ Wolf, Mitch Esparza and N Colyar P on Wednesday, November 6 at 7:30pm. The performances will fuse blues, folk, calypso, electronic and more, and promises to be quite literally indefinable. Tickets are $6-$8. For more information click here.

See a full list of Fire Museum upcoming events here.