Living

Songwriter and storyteller visits Little Carnegie Of the South

“Inner Beauty” by Artischa Lattimore is part of the “Portraits and Poetry exhibit at Macon Arts Alliance.
“Inner Beauty” by Artischa Lattimore is part of the “Portraits and Poetry exhibit at Macon Arts Alliance.

Little Carnegie of the South, the arts and entertainment venue founded by concert pianist Louise Barfield, is the hidden gem in the performance community in Macon. Barfield’s primary mission was to provide the place and the support for “artists of every creative expression,” some of whom may never be heard or seen by the general population. That initial ambition has changed and grown over the years to include nuggets of entertainment brought from all corners of the world to the house on Forsyth Street which is home to Little Carnegie of the South.

On Feb. 17, acclaimed guitarist Hiroya Tsukamoto was the featured guest artist, bringing a brand of solo guitar playing that kept the guests on their toes with its harmonies, lightning fast riffs and melodic soul. Tsukamoto plays the acoustic guitar accompanied by a synthesizer which provides harmony and sound effects to his compositions — but, this is Hiroya’s voice with its own passionate or mournful inflections.

Hiroya honed his skills as a songwriter who writes most of the music he performs, and as a poet at Berklee College of Music in Boston, which he attended as a scholarship recipient after graduating from secondary school in his home town of Kyoto, Japan. His first instrument was the five string banjo, which he started playing at age 13; shortly thereafter he decided to play the guitar.

At the opening of last weekend’s concert, Hiroya shared some of his history with the guests and discussed briefly the introduction of musical instruments to Japan, around 1860, that had been foreign to the isolated Asian country. The guitar, of any description, was one of those “new” instruments.

Hiroya has lived in the United States for 17 years, traveling frequently to perform as a soloist or as a member of the band he put together in Boston known as Interoceanico, a name that reflects the international diversity of the musicians that represent every continent.

The mellifluous lyrics of his songs have prompted critics to notice his poetic ease; indeed, much of his music is storytelling is in verse. Before playing each of his sets, Hiroya talked to the audience about a walk, a long drive, a river, a mountain or a person that inspired the music and the lyrics — he set the scene each time for music that might surprise the listener with a sudden shift to a jazz beat.

This is Hiroya’s second visit to Macon, part of the international attention and talent being brought to Little Carnegie of the South. Check the other scheduled events for 2018 in Out & About or inquire by e-mail to louisebarfield@gmail.com.

“Portraits and Poetry”

Macon Arts Alliance issued an artists’ call a couple of months ago for entrants interested in participating in a workshop on portraits and poetry, and on the relationship of the two art forms. The creative initiative, under the auspices of Macon Arts and held in the Family Community Center in Mill Hill, a collaborative effort under the aegis of Historic Macon Foundation, was facilitated, with a small financial grant, by local painter Yvonne Gabriel.

The culmination of the workshop was a reception Feb.18 celebrating the artists and the opening of the exhibition of works by the participants in the gallery rts on First Street. Gabriel introduced all of the artists and commented on the spirit of camaraderie among them while they worked side by side on poems and on their paintings, in many cases interrelating the subject matter of writing and painting.

Rhonda Miller, on staff at the Family Community Center as the liaison for residents, and supporter of friends that participated in “Portraits and Poetry,” also had reason to celebrate something new in her life. After receiving the GED student award in creative marketing in October 2017 at Central Georgia Technical College for her unique greeting cards business model, Miller has been accepted at Mercer University in the college of liberal arts. She will enter in the fall as a freshman at the age of 47, after inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit in her three adult children, all of whom are successful in their fields of endeavor.

Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or kwaldenint@aol.com.

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