Avant cellist to throw listeners for a loop at Lake Tahoe
CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. andamp;#8212; Pete Townshend has been known to smash his guitar on stage. Jimi Hendrix poured lighter fluid in his before torching it. Although she tries to avoid it, Zo Keating sometimes crashes her computer.Keating is an avant cellist. A solo performer, she uses a laptop to record and loop her sounds. She said she sometimes has more than 30 layers on a song.andamp;#8220;I’m always pushing the envelope, seeing if I can crash my computer,andamp;#8221; she laughed. andamp;#8220;It used to happen a lot more frequently. I’ll talk to the audience during those awkward moments.andamp;#8221;Classically trained, Keating began playing cello when she was 8 at an English state-operated school program. andamp;#8220;A teacher asked me if I wanted to play it,andamp;#8221; she said. andamp;#8220;I’ve speculated because I was tall.andamp;#8221;Keating has schlepped the instrument ever since. A Sonoma County resident, Keating, when she tours near home, travels with her gear, merchandise, a 1-year-old child and husband in a Volkswagen van andamp;#8212; chosen, she said, because andamp;#8220;not a lot of cars can make a cup of tea. We are definitely living the dream.andamp;#8221;Keating lost interest for a while in classical music when she was in college, playing different styles in other students’ bands. She moved to San Francisco and worked in the technology industry as an information architect during the dotcom boom. She moonlighted weekends in a variety of bands, added cello layers as a studio musician and toured a few months each year with Rasputina, a cello rock band.She eventually decided in 2003 to take a pay hike and make music her full-time endeavor.andamp;#8220;I always loved the sound of (cello), she said. andamp;#8220;Now I feel that it is my voice. I can say things with a cello that I can’t say with words.andamp;#8221;Keating can also make sounds previously only made possible in a studio.andamp;#8220;I always wanted to make the music more interesting and I had more parts in my mind and I kept adding them,andamp;#8221; she said. andamp;#8220;I was layering it in the studio. I wanted to do it live. As technology got better, I was able to make more parts live so the stage version could get closer to what I could do in the studio.andamp;#8221;Keating said it is important for her music to be performed in good acoustic venues, so it’s appropriate her Tahoe debut will be at the renowned Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room, which has a sound board created by engineer Blake Beeman.andamp;#8220;Into the Trees,andamp;#8221; her latest album, spent 14 weeks on Billboard’s classical charts. Having a unique sound has more advantages than disadvantages, she said.andamp;#8220;I’ve struggled with the genre question most of my career,andamp;#8221; she said. andamp;#8220;Now I just try to avoid it. I fit into a lot of different genres and I fit into no genres. Maybe every musician says that, but I think with me it’s actually true. One great thing is because I don’t fit anywhere, I can play anywhere.andamp;#8221;
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