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String King of Tahoe to play free CBC show

Peter Joseph Burtt is known for his musical contributions over the years to Lake Tahoe — and for playing his 21-string West African kora.
File photo |

If you go

What: Peter Joseph Burtt & the King Tide

When 10 p.m. Fri. April 5

Where: Crystal Bay Club Red Room

Cover: All Red Room shows are free

CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — Peter Joseph Burtt plays 21 — and we’re not talking about cards.

Burtt plays a 21-string kora, an instrument invented in West Africa. He is backed by members of Mama’s Cookin’ to form the North Shore band Peter Joseph Burtt and the King Tide, which performs for free Friday night in the Crystal Bay Club Red Room.

“He is one of the most soulful people I have ever met and there is no denying the greatness of his classic songs,” said Mama’s Cookin’s guitarist Zebuel Early in a previous interview.

According to a bio, Burtt, a lifelong drummer, draws from many sources to inform his music and chronicle the years he spent living and studying with master musicians of Africa. Much of his music is played on traditional instruments, including the kora and the mbira or thumb piano. Songs are also transposed for the guitar.

Burtt was a graduate student in San Francisco, studying creative writing, spoken word, and African drum and folklore when he began looking to cultures that maintain oral histories for connections between rhythm, music and the spoken word.

Upon learning of the melodious music of the Mbira and the corresponding poetry of the Shona people, he left at once for Zimbabwe, then Ghana and the Gambia, staying long in each place, living and moving within the society of the traditional musician while expanding his own musical vision. The band King Tide help bridge these influences back home.

Other band members are Steven LaBella (bass guitar, vocals), Mike Adamo (drums, samples) and Todd Holway (keys, vocals).


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