Home Doll house DeVotchKa and Colorado Symphony Team Up for Holiday Concert

DeVotchKa and Colorado Symphony Team Up for Holiday Concert

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It is no secret that the members of DeVotchKa have been fans of ornate instruments for years. The creative partnership between the Denver-based Romanian-inspired indie-rock quartet and the Colorado Symphony began in 2012, when the two teamed up to launch an amalgamation of rock and classical music at the Boettcher Concert Hall.

“We’ve always been in love with strings and brass, and we’ve had relationships with certain symphonic musicians for years,” says Nick Urata, singer, guitarist and songwriter of DeVotchKa. “So having the biggest group and the most talented players in one place for a special concert is always dear to us. And the feeling of playing with so many people on stage is almost indescribable. It’s a bit like riding a big wave of giant energy.

Now in their sixth collaboration, DeVotchKa and the eighty-piece orchestra will heighten the listening experience with sumptuous, layered sound as they share the stage for the premiere. “A very DeVotchKa holiday“Thursday December 16 at Boettcher Hall.

The holiday concert features a two-hour package that includes new works, Christmas classics and DeVotchKa fan favorites. This is the first live show the two groups have performed together since their sold-out performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater in 2016.

“We realize the holiday songbook has been dragged through the mud for decades, so we tried to keep it for those who were most moving and meaningful to us, and avoided the most out of hand,” explains Urata.

“We’ve always been drawn to the saddest Christmas songs that have a bit of nostalgia,” he continues. “We do a beautiful number, ‘Pas de Deux’, from Tchaikovsky’s emblematic score Nutcracker, as well as other memorable ones like “The Little Drummer Boy”, because of his spirituality. Another song that will make the night’s songlist is the melancholy “Blue Christmas,” written by Bill Hayes and Jay Johnson in 1948 and made popular by Elvis Presley on his 1957 album. Elvis Christmas Album.

Click to enlarge The holiday concert features a two-hour package with new works, Christmas classics, and DeVotchKa fan favorites.  - MARSHALL BRANDON

The holiday concert features a two-hour package with new works, Christmas classics, and DeVotchKa fan favorites.

Brandon marshall

“I love to hum in my own way, and I’ve always been drawn to Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and most of all Elvis, who set the gold standard for me,” said Urata. “I think Elvis set the stage for what we all do now. There are a lot of people who remember the circus performance towards the end of his career, but he was a real performer. who chose his songs He was a game-changer for everyone.

“I love his sentimentality in ‘Blue Christmas’, so we made an interesting twist on the song where we take inspiration from the version of Elvis, which is more of a swing, rock and roll song, and Mathis, which has also had a hit with it a bit later, and we’re mixing the two styles with a little bit of DeVotchKa added in it, ”he adds.

Urata, who plays guitar, theremin, trumpet and piano, as well as her talented band mates – Jeanie Schroder (acoustic bass, sousaphone, vocals), Shawn King (drums, percussion, trumpet) and Tom Hagerman ( violin, viola, accordion, piano) – creates relationship songs that are mainly about heartache. This common thread is found throughout DeVotchKa’s work, from his first record, SuperMelodrama, released in 2000, up to the 2018 album This night is falling forever and the current work of the group.

“A lot of our songs are about love and loss. These are the songs that have always moved me. When you go through a breakup, you listen to songs with new ears because they are so much deeper. Or the high when you’re in love makes you hear music like you’ve never heard it before, ”says Urata. “That’s what first introduced me to pop and rock music – when my interest in girls started to grow. All of a sudden, I started to pay attention to the lyrics, to the chorus and to the melody of the songs. It’s that spark that keeps me coming back for more all these years. ”

Born in Westchester County, New York, Urata grew up around music. Grandson of Italian immigrants, he grew up watching his grandparents play various instruments. “That’s how I picked up the accordion, tuba, and mandolin, and got into polkas and waltzes,” he says.

In 1997, Urata moved to Colorado for her college education at Western State College, but also to explore Denver’s eclectic music scene. “I fell in love with Denver,” he recalls. “There were some great bands performing here, it was cheap, and it had this really cool, poetic vibe. It was an open door, where you could kind of try anything.

He quickly formed DeVotchKa – derived from the Russian word devotchka, meaning “girl” – and the band began releasing albums and touring relentlessly, fostering important musical ties with bands like Calexico and Gogol Bordello. The group has toured internationally with Gogol, and recordings with Calexico have helped spread the band’s sound in the United States and internationally. With the release of 2007 A crazy and faithful story, DeVotchKa continued to gain popularity, which allowed the group to appear at coveted festivals such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot and Lollapalooza.

Click to enlarge Thursday's concert will mark the first live show DeVotchKa and the Colorado Symphony have performed together since their sold-out performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater in 2016. - BRANDON MARSHALL

Thursday’s concert will mark the first live show DeVotchKa and the Colorado Symphony have performed together since their sold-out performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater in 2016.

Brandon marshall

Urata and her group have also been successful in composing film scores over the past two decades. DeVotchKa was a major contributor to the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film Little Miss Sun, which earned her a Grammy nomination in 2006. Since then, Urata has composed over thirty films with her group and as a solo artist, including Crazy Stupid Love, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Ruby Sparks, Focus and the animated film Paddington, for which he composed the majority of the music.

“You are still evolving as a writer, so creating sheet music certainly paves the way for greater artistic growth,” admits Urata. “It opens your mind to places you would never have been before. ”

During the pandemic, Urata, who lives in Denver with his wife and daughter, wrote new film music that he says has helped him stay creative during a dark year. “With the spread of COVID-19, things have come to a screeching halt. We stopped working on a new album, our shows were canceled and tours were cut off, ”he says. “So being able to make the music for the film for A noisy Christmas at home, a holiday TV movie for Nickelodeon, which was a popular children’s show that I watched on my own, helped make things a little more fun.

A Very DeVotchKa Holiday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 16 at the Boettcher Concert Hall at the Denver Performing Arts Complex; tickets from $ 15. For more information visit coloradosymphony.org.


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