Musical mainstay returns to the Lincoln County Fair
The Lincoln County Fair will welcome a perennial favorite musical act to the Main Stage at the Lincoln County Commons (aka Lincoln County Fairgrounds), in Newport, this year on Saturday, July 2.
The Newport/Oregon Coast Community Drum Circle’s Thunder & Lightness World Beat Ensemble — kicking off the Saturday music with a robust 90-minute set between from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. — has been a Main Stage musical mainstay at the fair since 2012, presenting its unique multicultural blend of traditional and indigenous rhythm to audiences that are likely more accustomed to country music and classic rock and roll.
The ensemble features unique arrangements of traditional percussion song and dance rhythms from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, the prehistoric plains of what is now the United States, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and elsewhere, that go back scores of thousands of years to the very origins of music.
Traditional wooden hand drums alternate and contrast with the haunting soft melodies of traditional wooden Native American flutes and other traditional and indigenous harmonic instruments. Some sets include solos on the ancient log drums that ethnomusicologists say were among the first musical instruments played by man.
Chandler Davis, who founded the group as an offshoot of the local non-profit community drum circle in 2010, is the lead drummer and is frequently accompanied by local professional musicians and musical guests who bring variety and authenticity to the traditional genres and styles that make up the group’s eclectic format. The group is closely associated with the Native American flutes which were the first melodic instruments to be added to the group’s mix.
Davis said this year’s Lincoln County Fair show, Saturday on the main Stage from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., will feature the group’s principal Native American flute player Terry Filer, a member of the Osage Nation; Master Drummer Abdoulaye Thioub, from Senegal, West Africa; Lewis Smith, who presents authentic Polynesian log drum rhythms from Tahiti; Jazz percussionist Steven Ridley; and popular local drummer/percussionist and band leader Rodney Turner.
“Thunder & Lightness may seem an odd choice for a county fair musical act,” Davis said, “but we have been performing at the fair for longer than any of this year’s musical acts and the music we play is the original source of virtually all the other music at the fair, from jazz to blues to country and rock!”
Davis also contends that the Thunder & Lightness shows can hold their own for high energy excitement and danceability and they are encouraging audience participation this year by inviting audience members to bring their own hand drums and light percussion and by urging dancers of all types, ages, and skill levels to join in, as well, on the large concrete apron in front of the stage.
Thunder & Lightness will be followed immediately by two other well-known local acts: the remarkably versatile Eric Levine (12:00-1:00 pm), whose frequent appearances at the new Luna Sea Fish House in Seal Rock over the past year have established him as a leading local musician, and by some well-known and respected ‘’old hands” in a new package, Greg Ernst and Jan Kaplan’s new Blues Variant combo (1:30 to 2:30 pm).
For more information on the Thunder & Lightness Ensemble or the Newport/Oregon Coast Community Drum Circle contact Davis at email@example.com or 541-351-5757.