Last night at Your Inner Vagabond, the stage was graced by some dynamic and magnetic women. On tour from San Francisco, Uni and Tippy Canoe performed pass-the-baton style for an enthusiastic and attentive audience here in the 'burgh, with our very own Midge Crickett performing her tear-and-knee-jerk original tunes. I laughed, I cried, I danced. What more could a gal ask for on a Sunday evening?
Before the show, I was unaware that the uke was an instrument born from Portugal. What a country, this Portugal! How fitting to also have the lovely and evocative paintings of Portugese painter Joana Ricou lining the walls of YIV. And one step beyond that, the evening and the art resonated within this sense of feminine power: not in the attention-demanding, confusion-inducing, end-all-to-be-all way that masculine power has become in our current patriarchy. No, it was much more of a "we are beautiful, yes, and we have much control over our lives and our situations, sure. But we do what we do out of authority, as we understand ourselves and the ways of our world in the simplest way: by growing up female."
If that doesn't make sense (I'm still deciding if it does for me), perhaps it is also apt to describe this feminine energy as one that frees minds to dreams, hopes and possibilities, while grounding us in the reality that everything we do ultimately effects all of existence. It is an intelligent power, one with the grace and security of trees.
Opening the set on her Cello, Midge Crickett set the night on fire. She is full to the headstock of witty observations, clever connotations, and awkward hilarity. Song themes range from being state educated (and therefore never quite knowing what to call the country or the people of Prague) to pirate shanties about skin afflictions and STD's (a character piece of the highest order). A perfect pick for any cabaret event, your next house party, or opening for a famous stand-up comic: Midge Crickett is a songstress and performer ready to write songs and shed humor upon whatever wacky thing life throws at us.
Uni's ukulele jack got jacked (appropriately enough), so she was instead billed as Uni & Tippy's Ukulele. Having recently left her job at the awesome Amoeba Music in San Francisco to pursue her musical dream, her first step was booking a European tour! What awesome gonads, girl! A song which describes this reach for the stars held the line "What is most important can take a while." An insight of wisdom that more people should reference.
Atop her beautiful performing style, her grace on stage, and her fun, inspiring songs, what struck me most was her voice. With a delicate control which often reminded me of Joana Newsom, she embraced the full range of emotions, topping out at a wail akin to Alanis Morissette or Ryat of As Human. For those of you who know my taste in female vocalists, you know how much I appreciated Uni's dynamic stylings. And if you don't know my tastes, perhaps it is best said that I have no doubt in my mind that Uni and her delightful ukulele could ensnare an audience of any size, in any country, at any time in history.
While it would be unfair to judge dear Tippy Canoe's voice or performance, simply due to a killer case of the plague she picked up on tour, I still have much praise for her. She chose to still perform as well as her voice would let her, and she did it with a sense of humor and graceful wit, advising the audience to refer to her as Mr. Waits, and sipping off a small flask of "Canadian perfume" for healing purposes. Also a particularly friendly and open person, something this agent *never* takes for granted, I do hope she returns to Pittsburgh with her voice and her band, The Paddlemen.
Video of the YIV show: