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Anti-holiday holiday concert coming to Kirkland Performance Center
Christine Lavin and Uncle Bonsai have teamed up to bring some laughter and cheer to this holiday season, targeting a wide range of audiences. The group will be stopping in Kirkland during a 15-city tour of “Just One Angel,” the anti-holiday holiday concert. The folk-pop trio and Lavin, along with special featured guests from the album, will be performing several of their greatest hits as well as holiday-themed songs honoring all of winter’s holidays.
Lavin is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist living in Geneva, N.Y. With 20 albums to her name, Lavin continues to perform her contemporary-pop compilations worldwide. Lavin’s music and humorous performance personality match Uncle Bonsai’s original, contemporary folk style, according to a press release. Only an acoustic guitar joins the group, made up of Arni Adler, Patrice O’Neil, and Andrew Ratshin, with vocal harmonies and humor accompanying their wide range of tracks.
“Just One Angel,” the album that gives name to the tour, is a holiday compilation celebrating Hanukah, Christmas, Solstice and New Year’s through a range of humorous, light-hearted lyrics and soulful melodies. More than 20 singers and songwriters worked on the album that Ann Carrigan, the director at Poetry In Motion who is handling press for the artists, describes as “a skewed look at the holidays.” Lavin and Uncle Bonsai are known for their wide range of music. “(There are) intricate vocal harmonies that are very smart. It is cutting edge, contemporary folk pop,” Carrigan said.
Andrew Ratshin, a member of Uncle Bonsai for more than 30 years, describes the group’s sound as “contemporary three-point harmony, folk pop music.” While the tour is not exclusively a holiday concert, seasonal songs will be mixed in with each artist’s regular tracks. “The tour is something we put together a year-and-a-half ago. It is a holiday release that doesn’t sing the same songs over and over… it is alternative seasonal songs,” Ratshin said.
The idea to make a seasonal album began in 1987 and has developed over the years into the finished project “Doug’s Greatest Christmas Ever,” which was released last year. The group decided to go on tour last year, settling upon the idea of an alternative holiday concert after the success of the album.
“The idea is for a fun evening with special guests, mixing holiday and non-holiday songs for a relaxed, fun time,” Ratshin said.
“Just One Angel,” the most recently released album, is aimed at lighthearted, creative entertainment.
“It is not simply a spin on holiday songs. (The songs) are all original material… some funny, some serious. You are not going to just hear new arrangements of traditional stuff,” Ratshin said.
Both Lavin and Uncle Bonsai’s style appear on the album through hits such as Lavin’s “Good Thing He/ She Can’t Read My Mind,” “What Was I Thinking?” and Uncle Bonsai’s popular tracks “The Baby’s Head” an d “The Monster in the Closet.”
In addition to these enduring hits, the album contains holiday songs like “When You’re Single at Christmastime,” “Is It Hanukkah or Chanukkah?,” and “Doug’s Greatest Christmas Ever.”
“Because it is a shared show, we get to do a tight set and pick and chose our favorites,” Ratshin said.
The musicians will be performing at the Kirkland Performance Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Tickets are $32 and available online at www.kpcenter.org or by calling the box office at 425-893-9900. Special guests Larry Murante and Hilary Field will be joining the “Just One Angel” Kirkland event.
Val Gilmore is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.
Photo: Singer, songwriter and guitarist Christine Lavin will also perform with the group on Saturday. Contributed Photo