Local singer/songwriters Andrea Cefalo and David Kisor have teamed up for an interesting new project dubbed Ancient News. Together, the pair has a wealth of experience performing music in Greater Cincinnati. Cefalo has been in AltRock bands and other diverse projects; currently you can find her singing Jazz in clubs around town. Kisor has composed extensively for local musical productions, writing for Ensemble Theatre and Cincinnati Children’s Theatre. Kisor is also a big part of Growing Sound, an award-winning organization that creates albums of songs written specifically to help promote positive social and emotional development for kids.
That background information doesn’t give a huge hint as to what Ancient News actually sounds like on its debut album, I Come Into This World. Joined in the studio by top-notch local musicians like Paul Patterson and Don Aren of the Faux Frenchmen, Jazz guitar hero Brad Myers and ace drummer Jason Smart (among others), I Come Into This World is a surprising collection of melodic songs that largely hover in the Americana/Folk Pop realm, but also features elements of Middle Eastern music (“Take Us Down”) and Jazz (Cefalo’s Jazz background is evident on tracks like the swinging “God Laughing”). The natural combination of styles at any given moment gives the album a refreshing diversity.
Even when the material does stay in a folksier mood, the songwriters aren’t afraid to explore. The title track is tastefully augmented with horns (which appear throughout the album), creating a compelling counterpoint to the twangy, acoustic backdrop, while “Love’s Tavern” adds Honky Tonk elements (rollicking piano rolls and sublime pedal-steel guitar) and “Curly Love” has a slinky R&B/Soul vibe. Elsewhere, I Come Into This World includes gems like “What You Are to Me,” which features eloquent strings and beautifully layered vocal harmonies, and “Hothouse Flower,” a warm, hopeful Folk ballad. Another cool wrinkle to the album is the lyrical approach. Many of the words are based on the work of influential ancient Sufi poets Hafiz and Rumi, whose words were uplifting, wise, spiritual and philosophical. It’s another example of one of the musicians bringing something special to the project from their own experiences; Cefalo co-wrote a production based on Hafiz’s poems for the Playhouse in the Park’s AlterActive Series and has done other projects based on Sufi works.
I Come Into This World is a beautiful example of the magic that can happen when two artists from different backgrounds forget about any potential preconceived notions and forge a creative partnership that organically combines the things they’ve each learned throughout their musical lives, ultimately transcends them to make something unexpected and distinct.
Kisor and Cefalo will perform all 10 songs from I Come Into This World at a special concert this Monday at Urban Artifact (1660 Blue Rock St., Northside, artifactbeer.com). Musicians who recorded on the album are scheduled to join the duo for event. Showtime is 7 p.m. and there is no cover charge. For more information about Ancient News, visit ancientnewsmusic.com.Getting It Down Live
In 2014, sizzling Funk/Soul/Rock crew The Almighty Get Down won the Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Live Act, then preceded to commandeer the stage for a fiery, wildly impressive set that showed any doubters exactly why they won the award. For the Get Down’s forthcoming EP, the group is once again playing to its in-concert strengths. The band will be recording its performance Saturday night at Woodward Theater (1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, woodwardtheater.com), with plans to release an EP of the material in the future.
The Almighty Get Down’s set will also be filmed for an episode of Audiotree (audiotree.tv
), a popular web series that has featured artists like The Delta Saints, K. Flay, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, Over the Rhine and many others over the years. Saturday’s show — which also includes performances by Nashville, Tenn. artists Alanna Royale and Kansas Bible Company — begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door.
Learn more about the Get Down at thealmightygetdown.com.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]