Timberhead Music Presents Gordon Bok
Welcome to Maine folk musician/composer Gordon Bok's website. Here you can find all the latest news about Gordon: upcoming concerts and events, CDs and updates on our latest projects.
Timberhead Music is your online music store for Gordon Bok's recordings and a hand-picked selection of others you might enjoy.
for full details about Gordon's concerts see Gordon's schedule page or his Facebook event page
Originally released on cassette tape as Play of the Lady Odivere this re-mastered CD edition of Gordon's folk opera is a timeless tale of love, conflict, and betrayal. Featuring Gordon Bok, Ann Mayo Muir, and Euclid Hanbury.
Available now at Timberhead Music.
January 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the recording and premiere performance of the Play of the Lady Odivere. Gordon called me one day early in 1988 and said he was working on a new piece of music, a 94 verse Norn legend called the Play of the Lady Odivere. And it had a part for Celtic harp. Soon Paul Schaffner joined us with his hammered dulcimer. The three of us got together many times over the next months, reading some written parts and brainstorming as we went. By fall we were ready for Will Brown on laud and Anne Dodson on whistle. Jan Harmon stood in for Ann Mayo Muir as the Lady in early rehearsals. It wasnít long before the texture of an 8 foot bass hammered dulcimer made by Nick Apollonio found its way into the arrangements.
We had 3 vocalists to tell and sing the story- Gordon Bok, Euclid Hanbury living in Belfast, Maine and who could more easily get to rehearsals than Ann Mayo Muir who was living in France at the time. Work tapes went around. By January 1989 we were gathering in Euclidís basement to record with Bruce Boege, who as engineer joined in on some flute parts. We had to turn off pumps and heaters and there could be no movement upstairs in the living room where people were waiting for their part to come along, getting colder by the minute. We were making a lot up as we went along, but in a week, what you hear here [on the album] came together.
In the middle of that January 1989 week of recording we staged two performances, Saturday matinee and evening shows in the Abbot Room of the Belfast Free Public Library. They were well attended and enthusiastically received and at the end of the week we left that basement in a daze of satisfaction, wonderment and gratitude for what we had pulled off in such a short time.
We did 3 tours over the next 4 years (including the 8 foot hammered dulcimer and Ann Muir returning from France). With the exception of a new Sir Odivere played by Emiliano Marino, the ensemble remained the same. The tours included, in March of 1990, concerts in Rockport, Blue Hill, Bath and Augusta, Maine and Putney, Vermont. October of 1991 took us to Lewiston and Belfast, Maine; Albany, New York; Woodstock, Vermont and Durham, New Hampshire. Two years later in October of 1993 we returned to Belfast and Bath, Maine and Albany, New York and added Marblehead, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut to the tour.
I had been playing my grandmotherís Clark Irish harp for three years when we began recording in 1989. Gordon wrote a challenging and fun harp part. It both stands alone and flows beautifully with the other instruments. It is a thrill to have it included on a recording, sharping blades and all! At one point, I had 3 measures to go from the key of C to G, turning one F blade each measure.
The ensemble nature of the piece was a first for me. This midcoast ensemble knew each other and had played in duos and trios for years in various combinations. But this time, all 8 of us collaborated as we went along. Each concert consisted of the first half being a set of instrumentals and songs featuring all of us in a variety of leads and combinations. In the 15 concerts, while we repeated some pieces, each of the first sets was different. After an intermission we would launch into the Play of the Lady Odivere.
The magic and mystery of this story was consistently warmly received and it was very satisfying to see the penny drop as the story unfolded. It is a complicated story and bears hearing more than once and there were several faces we saw at more than one performance.
What Gordon's up to lately