Music resonates from the young Amundsen kinfolks as if Traditional America had them genetically programmed from her most exquisite saps. What a brew!
The beautiful, oft-barefooted Gailanne—a snatching from a Renaissance painting—, and Roger—whose devoted countenance recalls that of a Pre-Arthurian barb—take on the frontline for the refreshed retrospection that springs from their voices and instruments. In the background, fledging baby brother Jeffrey stands no less nimble in his role as the newly appointed upright bass.
The sum total of their ages hardly amounts to the moment when most mortals can assert full mastery of a trade, yet the performance of these Floridian musicians from Longwood strikes as a revelation of Jubal’s ancient ingenuity. The biblical artificer of music (Genesis 4:21) picks his heralds and, in this case, he has hurriedly inspirited the Amundsens in claiming that nothing universalizes more than turning to your own turf of origin.
A definition of American roots music incites a skittery affair, but aside from likening it with whatever imparts a differential pitch to the Land, one can hardly gainsay that innovation here tiptoes within rigid time-honored paradigms. The many offshoots of the genre, at once far-flung and yet deep down territorial, join to snap a richly textured tile onto the world’s mosaic of musical identities, many of the same from which America has built its very own.
Even the most adept listeners still find themselves delightfully challenged as the sonic sphere tightens and unsuspected elements emerge, such as those, for instance, shared perhaps by the often forgotten émigrés from the Spanish Canary Islands.
These Islanders settled around the Louisiana area and beyond as early as the eighteen century and although their isolation from mainstream culture served as preservation stronghold for their traditions, a close, comparative listening may discern at times in roots a distant contact with the diasporic melancholy of their chants.
Newness within the Old
Jubal’s Kin attains a matchless appeal as they stir and settle their new-millennium seasoning to this growing gumbo of influxes. Guitar, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, fiddle, mountain dulcimer, banjo-uke and autoharp alternate in a repertoire where the hop of bluegrass meets the tug and spell of soul and gospel.
Their stage presence and delivery renders anew that innate feeling to America’s foundational jams, from groove rockin’ old time and blues, to a growing swarm of other “Jubalite” combinations.
A great many Central Floridians already revere them as their golden exponents of roots, born to quicken the heritage, that which in their hands promises to remain crisply genuine, barefoot cozy and ever so more universal.
[June 24, 2010]
Top image: Mural from the Temple of Longing by Paul Klee, 1922
Photo: Promotional stock