When gypsies meet, they play
August 2, 2012
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Great music evokes emotion and Josef Gault inspired the greatest emotion.
“He seemed to be the only one in the world who cared how my (classical violin) lessons went,” Kim Angelis said. “He listened and he cared,
and I said, ‘Oh my, this is wonderful.’ And that’s what started the romance.”
Angelis and Gault are the musical duo Angelis, which plays three shows this week around Lake Tahoe, and they are husband and wife. Angelis has a sound where classical and bluegrass meet, or at least where Angelis and Gault met.
“I moved from Detroit to L.A. and I was looking for fiddler to play some bluegrass with me,” Gault said. “I tried to convert her to bluegrass from classical and that backfired on me. I’m not sure what I’m playing anymore but it’s sure not bluegrass.”
Nor is it classical.
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“I studied classical all my life,” Angelis said. “Then I met Josef and everything changed.”
“I corrupted her,” Gault said.
A general description is world music with an Old Testament bent. Some of the song titles from the latest album are “Dancing to Zion,” “Isaiah 53,” “Jordan’s Dance” and “Eden.” Listeners frequently call it gypsy music, and the couple settled on it. The new CD is “The Prophecy, A Gypsy’s Journey.”
“By and by, Kim started writing these gypsy pieces,” Gault said. “I tried on my steel string but it didn’t quite work, so I got a nylon string guitar. It was so foreign at first. It had a much bigger neck and the fret space is bigger, so it was a big adjustment but it really fit well with the violin and the music she was starting to create.”
Angelis is popular across the globe, reaching a Billboard chart in Taiwan, making a Top 10 list in Germany and the 2007 song “Zingaro!” won Global Rhythm magazine’s international songwriting competition. Angelis was played during former Chinese world champion gymnast Kui Yuanyuan’s competition floor exercise.
The Angelis sound is original but not entirely singular.
“There is a band in Russia called Loyko that we sound eerily similar to,” Angelis said. “It’s very strange. I program a radio show, ‘New World Beat’ (on http://coastradio.org). I never heard of them before until I started it. Somebody called up and said, ‘Why are you playing your own music on your show? You can’t do that.’ “
The couple are not from Russia, and not from Los Angeles anymore, either. They reside in Astoria, Wash., a cultural hotbed of a wet, cold town at the mouth of the Columbia River.
Angelis’ most used publicity photo was taken near their home. Adorned in their performance attire, they took a hike with a tiny digital camera.
“It was winter, a sunny day in early February,” Angelis said. “(Professional photographer Justin Grafton) comes up and said, ‘Would you like to have a really good picture taken?’ He opened his trunk and pulled out umbrellas and his crew was his family. Not only was he there but the sunset was unbelievable. He didn’t charge us a penny. It was a great chance meeting.”
Happenstance, too, occurred when Gardnerville resident Danette Vargas saw Angelis perform recently at Turtle Rock park near Markleeville.
“Their music ignites you with their passion,” Vargas said. “It just makes you want to get up and dance.”
Vargas arranged the three Tahoe area shows, one of them at the Squaw Valley Chapel, an acoustically superior venue which Angelis praised. The duo also will make its debut at the Valhalla Boathouse Theater in South Lake Tahoe and David Walley’s’ Hot Springs Resort in Genoa.