The Princes of Serendip, comprised of the eclectic husband and wife team of fiddler/mathematician T.G. Vanini and songwriter/musician Julie Parisi Kirby, will celebrate the release the first of a quartet of CD’s titled Seed-Maid: Sentimental Songs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 14 at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 34 Tinker Street in Woodstock.
The recording brings us a mixed variety of songs ranging from a Celtic and classical heart and is leavened by influences ranging from Renaissance England to the Balkans and the Beatles.
“I want to kind of share sweetness and compassion in these songs”, says T.G. of the music that was recorded and co-produced by Julie Last at Coldbrook Productions.
The band for the show, who all play on the new CD, includes George Quinn on mandolin, Abby Newton on cello, and Jude Roberts on backing vocals and guitar. Lou Pappas, who plays bass on the new CD will not be in attendance.
T.G. tells of the ambitions for the project.
“A series of four is the plan. We are working on the second one now, which will be called Yumpatiddly Bee: Silly Songs,” he says. Story Songs and Strange Songs will be the final two CD’s of the Quartet. “Each one will have its own concept,” says T.G, who is writer of all the music and lyrics for the Princes of Serendip. “One reason for all of these themes and feelings, if you like, sometimes I feel like different music for different occasions or different times of day. I like for people to reach for a Princes of Serendip CD to suit the moment. It’s a bit like having a range of herbal teas.”
For over 20 years the husband and wife duo have been releasing their music and playing locally. This year Julie released her debut solo CD, In Her Dream that spent four months on the Folk DJ chart and was made up of mostly compositions by Julie, though T.G. had his hand in writing and playing on the project.
“He goes for walks in the woods and fields a lot and many times he comes back with snatches of a song and then he sits down at the piano. Sometimes he’ll come back with all of it and sometimes he’s woken up with a song,” says Julie of T.G.’s writing process.
T.G. agrees. “I have to let it come. Musically it helps if you are sitting at a piano. You have to let it come and accept it in a way. Also, having the luxury of time so you are not on a bus when it comes. Often the melody comes first but it’s not hard and fast and they influence each other dialectically. Sometimes I have a melody floating in my head for ages.”
When he is not writing, and performing for the Princes of Serendip, T.G.’s alter ego is as a mathematics Professor and researcher in mathematical logic. A man of many talents, T.G. also has a book of his poetry to be released this year on Post Traumatic Press.
For those of you who have never heard The Princes of Serendip their sound is entirely unique and unmatched by anything that you have ever heard except for perhaps the Incredible String Band who were an early influence on T.G. growing up in Great Britain. “We always have had a lot of contrast in our music and I like that variety,” explains T.G. whose influences range from The Beatles to Beethoven with a little bit of Roy Harper and Sandy Denny thrown in.
Looking forward to the release party event T.G. and Julie are excited about performing in the Kleinert. “It’s a nice space and it’s a great vibe. A wonderful place to play,” says Julie.
Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, located at 34 Tinker Street, Woodstock, on Saturday January 14. Suggested donation is $10.