b>Who, what ...
The Performing Arts Society will present Zum at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium at Kenai Central High School.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students. Advance tickets are available at Northcountry Fair, River City Books and Sweeney's in Soldotna, at Already Read Books, Veronica's, Charlotte's and Old Town Music in Kenai and at the door.
Zum. The very word evokes movement and excitement and so does their music.
The group, which is the latest guest artist the Performing Arts Society will bring to the Kenai Peninsula, produces music described as a fusion of jazz, tango and gypsy music.
"Zum (pronounced zoom) first stormed the UK in 2001 with its stunning fusion combining the fire and brilliance of Eastern European gypsy fiddle music with the hot-blooded passion of Argentinian Tango," their Web site says. "Since then, the band has enjoyed sell-out tours and performances at major music festivals throughout the UK and Europe, as well as being five-time sell-outs at the South Bank in London."
The Performing Arts Society has made it their mission to bring classical and jazz concerts to the central peninsula. Board member and co-founder of the PAS, Jean Brockel said Zum's concert Sunday fits that mission, while at the same time offering a the audience a different flavor.
"On their Web site they have sound bites for various songs maybe four or five of the pieces that they play. We put our heads together and said, 'Oh wow, these guys are really hot! So let's do something different,'" Brockel said. "We're trying something a little bit different. So I guess we're like Zum, we're a fusion.
"It sounds like it is just a hang on to your seats, kind of a performance. And when you listen to the sound bites, you get that same kind of feeling, that it's just a lot of fun, and it's exciting. It's amazing when you read over the critics words, how often the word 'passion' occurs," she said.
She encourages the public to visit the site at www.zum.uk.org to look and listen for themselves. Visitors to the site can view video of Zum's performance, as well as listen to clips.
Zum has five members, each with a diverse background. Adam Summerhayes is the group's violinist who lives in the UK and serves as the director for chamber orchestra London Concertante. He also recently worked with teams from York Museum to recover an Opthalmosaur, and filmed whales and dolphins in the Sea of Cortez.
David Gordon is Zum's pianist. He holds degrees in mathematics and logic and has toured Australia, South America and Europe as a concert harpsichordist.
Chris Grist plays cello, while running his own orchestra and associated chamber groups. Grist also dabbles in graphic design and photography, climbs mountains and teaches people to ski.
Zum's accordion player, has played on film scores including "Lord of the Rings," "Chocolat," "Shrek" and "Captain Corelli's Mandolin," in which he also makes a screen appearance.
The latest addition to Zum is bassist Jani Pensola, also known as the "Funky Finn." Pensola is equally at home in the fields of classical, jazz and tango and has made a reputation playing with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Reviewing the biographies for these musicians is, in itself, an exercise in fusion and a testament to the international flavor of the music. Zum cites gypsy, Celtic, salsa, bluegrass, klezmer and Arabic music as additional influences found in their music. According to Brockel, this well-traveled quintet comes at a bargain.
"We had the usual discussion about what to charge for seats, and we decided to keep the prices the same, even though this is a more expensive concert for us. We figured why not just let the prices stay the same so that more people feel like they can afford to come," she said.
That means it's just $15 for general admission and $10 for students.
According to Brockel, the Performing Arts Society is able to offer the tickets, which are going for $29 and $33 in Fairbanks, at their usual price is because of the organization's supporters.
"The ... community the central peninsula community businesses and friends of the Performing Arts Society have been so supportive in giving us money, that we can try stuff like this every once in a while."
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