Here’s one of those times when my native tongue fails me, can’t find words to rightly describe the music of Karen Savõca and Pete Heitzman. I could say earthy, soulful—definitely, but much more. Need to borrow some words from a more expressive language or maybe I can make up a few.

Pete, me and Karen in the living room. All Photos by Rebecca Sylla

I had not heard of Karen and Pete (from New York, currently touring the west coast) and have my friend, Chris Alexander (singer, musician, songwriter, English teacher) to thank. He sent an invitation to a living room concert in San Anselmo. His email said, “don’t take my word for it, see for yourself”, so I followed the links to the videos below. Rob and I didn’t have to listen long before we knew we’d be going—no small thing to hear a world class duo in the intimacy of a living room-turned-concert hall. Now I don’t want to imagine my personal airwaves without their music.

You know how it goes—within seconds of a singer or musician letting go the first note you know if you’re in good hands or not. Well, last night we were in excellent hands for a good hour and a half, with one break and a double encore. Karen and Pete were sound tripping—and took all of us with them. Their parallel roads—her voice/his guitar—feel easy and gritty at the same time. She surprises you with lilts and ceaseless, quick-witted expression filled with compassion. And right along side is Pete on his “aura borealis”  guitar. Oooo baby! He bends, taps and shakes those strings for a singular sound.

Don’t know about you, but  I’m all about music I’ve never heard before—with a world FULL of music and technology giving access, I can’t settle for the same worn out songs ala mainstream radio. Give me a break. Karen sang all original songs last night; her lyrics have garden dirt under their fingernails and lay poetry over the thoughts and feelings many of us have about the chords and discords of life: self, other, love, being a woman, weakness, strength; about making a “there” to be in, and so much more.

That's Chris Alexander, the concert's producer, on the left in red hat.

In her song “Almost Fine” , Karen voices what any one of us is apt to feel deep down when we see folk who don’t look like me. I just had to say “humph-humph-humph” to the lines ~

don’t make me change
don’t make me change
i been here a long time
(doing almost fine)
don’t make me change**

And you know she’s after my heart—writing a song for Obama after the election:

well i woke up from dreaming to find the earth was FLAT
ruled by a bunch of gorillas in stetson hats
baby, baby, baby—oh it’s no lie
don’t you know there’s gonna be trouble
  ’til the day we die—uh-huh 
** © Karen Sovõva 2011 Alcove Music

So—only because this is writing (and words matter) I’ll call it acoustic soulful-spiritual-folk-blues from the Church of Savõca and Heitzman.

The Skinny ~ Hallelujah! I been born again! ….but don’t take my word for it…click and hear for yourself.
My final word ~ transelectrifyin’!
Audio files~songs from their recent CD:

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