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Taarka, Giant People invade River City Saloon

Taarka was officially born on April 20, 2002 — an auspicious date for more than the obvious reasons according to their band astrologer, Mark McNutt — when they played a short set at the Seattle Rhythm Festival.

On Friday, that creation comes to town for its second show at the River City Saloon. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. and it will be a sell out.

That Seattle set just four months ago was all it took for them to know they wanted to build a beautiful galleon and sail to the farthest corners of music together. The seeds of Taarka were planted as early as fall of 2001, however. David Tiller and Enion Pelta were both playing in a bluegrass group in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.

The group, Brooklyn Browngrass, was doing well, but not satisfying either of their creative desires to the fullest. So they began taking vacations together in a large pumpkin, to a distant shore where the very air breathed and the lights flitted about like small moths. When they returned, they found they had quite a lot of music together and hatched a plot to move to the Northwest. In late 2001, David called up his old friend Jarrod Kaplan. They spoke of many worldly things before coming to the crux of the matter — Tiller and his fiddlin' friend Pelta were planning to move to the Northwest, had some material together, and wanted to play when they arrived. Kaplan, being his adventurous self, asked the two to send him a recording of their music. He did not receive anything until they had arrived in Portland and gone up to visit him in Seattle, where they burned him a disc of their latest creations while sitting on his living room floor.

From the first, the three loved playing together. But they needed a low end, someone to bridge the gap between rhythm and melody. Tiller had someone in mind already.

In the dark cave of a Seattle studio, a man danced with a large wooden box and put the finishing touches on his latest lurksome masterpiece, the Three-Legged Cat.

A knock interrupted his concentration, and in mild frustration, James Whiton went to the door, laboriously pulling it open in spite of the resistance of layers of sound-proofing and weather stripping. His efforts were rewarded when he saw a familiar face at the door — friend Dave from his New Mexico Days — smiling with a girl half his size in tow. Whiton invited them in to experience the Three-Legged caterwaul for a time, which they did, enjoying the way it reminded them of New York. When they finally left that evening, they slyly deposited another hastily burned disc of their concoctions into the hands of the bass man.

Some days or weeks later, all four of them met in Kaplan’s living room to play some of the music that had been cooked up in New York and some new music brought to the table by Jarrod and James. The April 20 gig was coming up and they needed to call themselves something. Words and ideas were about creating a maelstrom of no result. And then, Taarka stuck. Taarka — the quintessence of music. The super-string theory of the physical universe, much championed over the last few years, tells them that the universe is composed of infinitesimally small strings, which vibrate to create the reality with which they are familiar.

The strings' vibrations are called Taarka. they later discovered that Taarka means more than this — in Hungarian it means "colorful" and in Hindi it describes a process of roasting spices to create the base for any kind of curry. It means "not full" in Estonian, and is the name of the daughter of a demon in one of the books of Hindu mythology. To date, their mission has taken them over the length and breadth of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, and they hope someday that it will take them as close to outer space as the young man from 'N'Sync was able to go.

*****

Carlos Washington and the Giant People Ensemble come to town on Saturday for a 9:30 p.m. show at the River City Saloon.

Born in Harrisburg, Pa., Carlos Washington was first exposed to music through church and later through the public school classical music program in which he excelled. Upon graduating from high school with a music scholarship, Carlos decided to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. there he quickly earned rank and a position of lead trumpet in the Marine Corps Band.

Following his military stint he began his professional music career. Washington became a noticed and sought after musician and he the met Carlos Malcom, the father of SKA, and former Lenny Kravitz sideman, and current Blue Note artist Karl Denson. After touring with Karl D. for two years, he decide to embark on his own musical and business career. He has been compared to the great Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and Clifford Brown.

It has been quoted that he is easily the next Miles Davis. He leads his band on this journey with no hopes of glory other than to create high quality music and deliver high quality shows.

Washington is living, evolving, musical history. Come and check him and the amazing Giant People Ensemble out.

It has been quite a while since they were here at the River City so be sure not to miss this great weekend of music in downtown Hood River.

See you there- bring your wishbone for a discounted ticket.

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