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kaki king,atlas maior,

Words & Stills By Ursula Rogers

Something about humid weather and amazing music causes my imagination to soar. Fortunately, fans and I experienced that in droves Sunday evening at the Empire Control Room in Austin, Texas. Kaki King and her opening act, Atlas Maior, treated an audience of eager, loyal fans to a night of music, mystifying like the harvest moon. The night was full of provocative, engaging musical talents. Which began with Austin based group, Atlas Mair.

It’s comforting to witness the amount of homegrown talent Austin has at its fingertips. Atlas Maior, who began in 2009, opened the show and gave promise to the night. Sunday their ensemble included a double bass (upright bass), alto saxophone, and percussion (on drum kit), and an oud (a pear-shaped stringed, an instrument of Turkish origin).

The group’s name was inspired by the first World Atlas. That worldly name leaves its mark within their musical influence. There are hints of American jazz, Middle Eastern, Indian, and South American influences in their music. As someone who played a musical instrument for nearly 20 years, it warmed my heart.

I loved their passion and musicality. One of my favorite aspects of their performance whether in a solo or collectively was the phrasing. It kept me invested in the tapestry their music wove. I cannot wait to see how they will grow and flourish. Their clever use of the projector helped to accompany and elevate their music. The musicians blended well together. I can see them become larger actors on the world music stage. They set the tone for an originally unforgettable night of music.

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Kaki King has been wowing audiences for nearly 20 years. It’s been awe-inspiring to see her growth in that time. Recent shows have had heavy use of projections. However, this show was stripped to its core. She mentioned she enjoys bare shows. I had only listened to Kaki King online and was enamored. I’m a fairly new fan. Before the show, I briefly spoke to a longtime fan of Kaki’s. What would normally be idle chit chat turned into a short fan appreciation conversation. The entire crowd was enthusiastic and loved her. Throughout the night I was wrapped in the fan equivalent of a warm, comfy blanket. 

There is nothing like her live performances. She played a blend of new and old songs. Somehow days later I remain mesmerized. It’s clear the guitar is an extension of who she is. Her fingers moved effortlessly across the guitar with grace a prima ballerina would envy. The percussive elements elevated this guitar virtuoso. She simply left me spellbound.

Kaki King engaged the crowd with entertaining antidotes. In our brief time with Kaki not only did we hear the gorgeous melodic tunes of her guitar wafting into our ears. We heard a combination of the personal and poignant drifting into our hearts and souls. She was melodic, energetic and inspiring.

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The whole night was riveting. These musicians care about their craft and are a gift to any fan of music, no matter the genre. Anytime you spend at a live performance with Atlas Maior or Kaki King will be time well spent.

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