Home » Reviews » Cirkestra and Over a Cardboard Sea – I "saw" the band

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Last night my boyfriend and I went on a date to Club Passim in Cambridge.  This was my first time there, and hopefully not my last.  I was drawn in by a description of the event that said Over a Cardboard Sea, with Cirkestra and the Portland Musical Saw Orchestra perform Vaudeville, klezmer, circus tunes and more.

How could I pass up the opportunity to see a Klezmer Saw band?!?! I couldn’t.

We got one of the last table seats in the house as Cirkestra began their set. We were lucky we did, because a table allows you to order food from the Veggie Planet menu. The pizza was delicious and seemed healthy and wholesome. It is sort of paradoxical to have a pizza that is healthy, but the ingredients were really fresh and many are locally sourced. We also shared a small Caesar salad. I thought the waitress must have made a mistake and given us a large salad, as the portions are extremely generous. I liked that the salad had pieces of crunchy cooked tofu instead of the typical bread-based crouton.

The first band, Cirkestra, is an adorable mix of klezmer, circus music, comedy and good clean fun. I will seek out their music to hear it again. They seemed like the kind of band that you’d want to hang out with and become friends with. Their music and personality shone on stage. The music made you want to get up and dance. This says a lot coming from a girl with no rhythm and two left feet.

Over a Cardboard Sea was up next – the 11 members of the band overflowed the stage. I kept noticing more musicians throughout the set – hanging from the windowsill, sitting at the front of the stage, crouched behind someone else. The performance was entertaining, but it was more performance than music. They used the largest variety of instruments I could imagine, and then some (kazoo, saw, hand farting, big stick with string…).

I can now say that I’ve seen Auld Lang Syne played entirely by saw. I feel like I can cross it off the “things to do before you die list.” I’m doing pretty well so far with that theoretical list – I’ve camped on the Great Wall and floated in the Dead Sea, I’ve run a marathon, and now I’ve seen a Saw Band ring in the new year. All I have left to do is visit Antarctica and swim with dolphins and then I’ll have made a substantial dent in the list. What is on your list?

10 Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    Do you know that in NYC there is an annual musical saw festival? Last year 55 saw players participated and they got into the Guinness Book of Records 🙂 If you don’t know about it: http://www.musicalsawfestival.org (there’s a ‘videos’ page).

  2. Peter says:

    Cirkestra is playing in Harvard Sq. again! This Saturday March 20, 8pm. The Brattle Theater. This time, the circus band is doing a live sound track for a circus movie: “The Unknown” Starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford. It’s a classic 1927 silent film set in a circus.
    http://www.brattlefilm.org/brattlefilm/movie_detail/100320.html

  3. Peter says:

    this is where you can sign up for cirkestra mailings:
    http://cirkestra.com/?page_id=65

  4. Peter says:

    Cirkestra has been nominated for the Phoenix Best Music Poll!
    http://thephoenix.com/bmp/Boston/vote/WorldMusic/

  5. peter says:

    we’re playing at the middle east on monday

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