Round Mountain has a wide variety of performance adaptations, depending on the venue. Typically, original material is interspersed with traditional songs and instrumentals, ranging as widely in dynamic as in geographic scope.
Performing Arts Venues:
In concert halls and listening rooms, we have a chance to share our music as well as the stories of its inspiration and creation. With a listening audience we can go deeper into the backstory of the ways traditions from antiquity still form currents in our modern lives – even in the instruments we play.
Beginning with a bagpipe processional, we have two sets of about 50 minutes that we regularly perform. One is arranged as a Songline, which was inspired by an Aboriginal Australian concept that is common to many indigenous cultures worldwide. It is a journey, through song, to a real place, using music that we created in specific places along the way. Our most common journey takes us from New Mexico to the Pacific Northwest and back.
The songs range as widely in dynamic range as they do in geographical.
Our other, thematically contrasting set, centers around our lives in New Mexico, including traditional songs showing the union of cultures that has begun there, through many years of difficult work, as well as our own work in growing up and living there. We explore themes of family, of longing and belonging, and the wisdom that people have there that seems to come from really knowing one place, and knowing one’s place.
“You would have to search the purple mountains majesty and all the fruited plains to find a group to equal the truly unparalleled brothers-Rothschild who comprise this duo.”
– Glen Creason, from a show at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, CA.
“When I booked the group, I was going on their cd… Turns out we had a sold out crowd (150) with standing room only, several families with children and teens…. people were mesmerized by their unique and original music, beautiful lyrics, and wonderful instrumentation…. Turns out they are the favorite of the series, and I’ve had some terrific performers with name recognition…. I would urge every presenter with a small series or an intimate venue to consider booking them. You will not be disappointed! And they are wonderful and easy to work with.”
– Faye McCalmont, Artistic Director, Mimbres Region Arts Council, Silver City, NM.
For outdoor audiences, we have a number of tunes that include dance rhythms from West Africa, the Balkans and the Caribbean. Occasionally we’ll see people forming circles or groups to perform the traditional dances, while there is room for others to enjoy in their own way. Musical commonalities are traced between West African and Appalachian music, between Klezmer and Calypso, between Celtic, Balkan and Native American styles, and many others,with an inclusive spirit.
“One of the best groups to emerge from Santa Fe. Ever.” – Mike Koster, Founder, Thirsty Ear Festival, Santa Fe, NM.
Often playing with little or no amplification, we have really enjoyed the sense of intimacy this kind of environment provides. It can really allow the quiet songs to stretch the threshold of silence as they fade at the end. Also, people singing together sounds good in homes! Certain songs, original and traditional, lend themselves well to sing alongs, and audiences often enjoy joining in. We often have shared our concept of the Folk Process, and the deep comfort that we get from learning old songs, by sharing both the original Gospel Blues number called “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” and our adapted version, and then singing the two intertwined. It feels like bringing the present, with its wandering ways, into harmony with the past and future.
“We caught you at Ely West’s house a few months back and loved your show. My 9 year old thinks you are “freakishly, awesomely, awesome” and plans to do a report on you for school.”
– An ”equally freakishly awesome” family, Seattle, WA
We teach young audiences about the uses of music in different cultures, and invite them to join us in the chorus to a song from our album Windward, “Let Somebody Know You,” which featured 6th graders on the recording. They join us in unisons, call-and-response and round-style, and engage in clapping in rhythmic patterns influenced by West African music. In our assemblies, we introduce the instruments by cultural context and try to leave time for a question and answer component.
“The whole school loved your performance. I keep hearing about it from the teachers, how engaged their kids were.”
– Sharon Rogers, Music Teacher, Edison Elementary School, Eugene, OR.