Raul Midon - Rubenstein Atrium - April 18, 2013
The opener was a musician associated with “Season of Cambodia” (see April 11, 2013), Master Kong Nay, playing the “chapei dang veng”, a long-necked guitar-like contraption. This guy is old, blind, and frail; like some other oldsters I’ve seen (Candido comes to mind), once he is set up with his instrument, the primacy and boldness of his art takes him over into rapture, trumping all discomfort and disability. Kong Nay’s playing and vocal stylings, while so foreign, also seemed akin to the likes of Lightnin’ Hopkins, and he was no less down and gritty. I tried to get him to sign as he was being helped away by his handlers, and it wasn’t clear if he was familiar at all with the concept of signing autograph for fans, or if there was just poor communication. I did get a mark of some sort. The headliner (also blind!) Midon played an energetic solo set that utilized a full range of guitar sounds, including as a percussion box, and he scatted along in synch to great effect. His method of signing is to have an index card in place as a tactile guide for his pen motions.