Vicki Kristina Barcelona to Perform in the Parlour at Fox & Crow
Band Returns for a Swinging Night of Tom Waits & Original Tunes
By Sally Deering
Girl groups are a rare breed of women doing their own thing in the male-dominated music world; they create their own unique sound and groove just as cool as the boys.
Vicki Kristina Barcelona fits those stilettos perfectly â€“ a girl group with its own style, doing music their way. The three singer/songwriter/musicians â€“ Amanda Homi (percussion), Rachelle Garniez (accordion/guitar) and Terry Radigan (guitar) â€“ sing original tunes they wrote and a Tom Waitsâ€™ repertoire. They perform throughout the Metropolitan area and are returning to the back parlour at Fox & Crow on Thursday, June 22 at 8 oâ€™clock for another show.
And we lucky to have them back in Jersey City.
Along with the Brooklyn-based bandâ€™s original tunes, VKB will devote most of the evening to Tom Waitsâ€™ songs the band has deconstructed and reinvented in their own style. For instance, their rendition of â€œTemptationâ€ is a sexy, hip-swiveling snake dance of seduction. Waits would be proud.
They are terrific musicians, too. Radigan is an intense, high voltage guitarist and Garniez strums a ukulele-banjo, blows a kazoo and a deftly handles a big-ass accordion so beautifully, she could make a dove cry. Homi, the dark-haired percussionist and a highly-trained vocalist plays lots of interesting percussive instruments throughout the show including a Washboard Tie.
On a recent Monday, Homi took a moment from a rehearsal where she was learning a new instrument â€“ the Gnibri â€“ to talk about how the band hooked-up and what their future plans are.
RVO: How did you get the name VKB? Are you all fans of Woody Allenâ€™s movie?
AH: I have to admit; it was my idea originally. I was tossing around a lot of names. For an eclectic female trio, you think of so many names. It seemed to fit.
RVO: There seems to be a true camaraderie on stage. Are you friends offstage?
AH: Yes. We get along great. Our last excursion upstate, we were even laughing in the grocery store. Terry and Rachelle are both fantastic women â€“ talented, funny and smart.
RVO: You are a terrific percussionist. I bet you can make beats out of anything. Whatâ€™s the weirdest instrument youâ€™ve ever played?
AH: Weirdest instrument? Iâ€™m learning a new one as we speak. It has three strings and itâ€™s a fretless instrument. I wish I knew the correct name for this. (The Gnibri). I bought it in Morocco, which has some wonderful instruments. I do study percussion and instruments all over the world. I like to be authentic as much as possible.
RVO: How do you collaborate? Do you rehearse often?
AH: We meet up as often as we can. Everyone travels and has different agendas. Weâ€™ll meet more often if we have an upcoming gig. I think collectively, itâ€™s such a huge repertoire, weâ€™ve kind of honed ones we really like to do the most. When a song is not getting there, weâ€™ll try to make it work. A lot of arrangements get changed. Some of the songs, we really like it. We do Chicago, but it never felt right, and recently we hit on the right groove and feel. I think at this point, the ones that we stick with, and keep in the set are the ones we constantly want to do.
RVO: Will you be putting out a CD soon?
AH: We have yet to officially put out a CD. This configuration with Terry and Rachelle, weâ€™re only together for over a year. Weâ€™re recording very soon.
RVO: Can you talk about how you mesh your originals with Mr. Waitsâ€™ tunes?
AH: At this point, it depends on the length of the show. Weâ€™ll do two originals each, but focus on the Tom Waits material.
RVO: Do you prefer intimate venues like Fox & Crow?
AH: We feel very comfortable in an intimate setting. Part of performing in a theater setting is to make the audience feel as if itâ€™s intimate.
RVO: You have a great singing voice; are you professionally trained?
AH: Actually, I am a professional singer. The percussion thing, I donâ€™t consider myself a professional percussionist.
RVO: How would you describe the VKB sound?
AH: I would say weâ€™re eclectic. I think thereâ€™s a looseness which I really like: always keep a groove and an arrangement. That looseness; itâ€™s like falling off a cliff and catching yourself. You want to be confined to your arrangements and you carefully worked them out, but when you perform it, you want to be able to veer a little way off that. Iâ€™m a fan of gypsy music. Thereâ€™s a very high skill-level musically, but at the same time you have passion and a danger-be-damned, devil-may-care feeling. Collectively, when we tap into that, I think weâ€™re at our best.
If you go
Thurs, June 22, 8-10 pm
Vicki Kristina Barcelona band
Fox & Crow/In the Parlour
594 Palisade Ave, JC
For info on the VKB band: