The Grand Spiegeltent is this ancient traveling European venue. From the outside she looks like the type of circus tent that never existed in our day. When it is set up and ready she is majestic, beautiful and untouched by time.
Iron and stained glass hold up the inner pillars to give her a 1920s “flapper-esque” dance floor that is centered by a multi-leveled stage. This type of transportable marquee is practically unheard of now. The Grand Spiegeltent was from a day when forged steel was the foundation and stained woodwork added an unseen element of class, this type of decadence is sadly forgotten.
To me that is what is like to fall in love with DeVotchKa.. It is not amazing that DeVotchKa is from Colorado, it is amazing that they are from planet Earth and that we are living in the same decade. At first sample one can describe their eclectic style as “circus music” – their music is a combination of Bolero, Greek, Romani, Mariachi, and Slavic. Nick Urata sings in English, French and Spanish.
On Nov. 15, Nick Urata and Tom Hagerman were in KCSU Studio.
Azrael: “Guys, thanks so much for stopping by, we’ll have to give props out to your other two members Jeani Schroder and Shawn King.”
Tom: “They wanted to make it but couldn’t.”
Azrael: “What will you be performing first?”
Nick: “We would like to play Enemy Guns, off of ‘How It Ends.'”
Azrael: “I know ‘How It Ends’ is a concept album but what is the story behind that poor love-sick farm boy?”
Nick: “It’s a story about a Mexican ranchero who had to go to war for a cause he is against. And when he returns from war the woman he loves and was promised to has married a rich man. That part is the song ‘We’re Leaving.'”
Azrael: “What’s going on with some of the rivalry between the music departments CSU and CU, Tom?” I ask in a fun yet demanding tone.
Tom laughs a bit more then responds, “Well it’s big bloody battles that occurred.”
Tom: “They meet half way in between, there were bows and violins.”
Nick: “Tom is issuing an open challenge to all string players, he wants to duel.”
Tom: “Oh I don’t know there is no there is no rivalry as far as I know.”
Nick: “He wants to duel with his bow; Tom went to CU Music School.”
Azrael: “Ah, that’s the rivalry, we have a Buff on our turf.”
Nick: “Enough talk. Alright well, we are going to play one off of Una Volta, which you mentioned you liked.”
I recognize this as the song “The Oblivion” in about an eighth of an octave.
Nick and Tom begin to play. For me this is the first time to hear this song so stripped down. I am doing my best to deal with the pressure of so much going on, seeing that nothing spikes over the air.
Nick: “Well that was the accordion, a showcase of the great squeeze box.”
Azrael: “The great Detroit variety Tommy accordion.”
Nick: “The great Detroit Tom Hagerman.” Tom laughs a bit.
Azrael: “Do you mind if I play ‘You love me’ off ‘How It Ends’?”
Nick: “No feel free, I’m fond of that track.”
Azrael: “One last thing, congrats with all the success the EP ‘Curse Your Little Heart’ is having, and of course anyone who has seen ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ has gotten a huge dose of both albums – that film features so much of your music. And not to forget the trailer for ‘Everything Is Illuminated’ played used most of ‘How it Ends.’ Thank you for stopping by today gentlemen, I appreciate it. You guys are.well, demigods”
Nick: “Thanks for having us, we really appreciate it.”
At the end carrying Tom’s accordion, the striped metal handle makes it easy to know that accordions are not light pieces of equipment, walking Nick and Tom out to their van, spending my last few moments chatting the most I could.
KCSU Local Music Director Matthew Azrael Martin can be reached at email@example.com. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.