Monday, December 5, 2011

Kickers percussionist discovers The Way

The road is a way of life for musician-types, a way of life whose rep is nowhere as romantic as its reality, or half as lurid as Frank Zappa's account in "200 Motels." Let's hope, anyhow. But the recent roadtrip of Kristine Malpica, percussionist for Liz Frame and the Kickers and, for those with longer memories, the force behind Imagine Studios in Amesbury, and her musical and actual fellow traveler Port singer-songwriter Meg Rayne, is something else entirely: a 500-mile, 40-day  backpacking tramp on the El Camino De Santiago, known as The Way, across France and northern Spain, which has been recognized as the first official European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This week you can go along for the ride, at least vicariously, when Malpica,  a student in the Northern Essex Community College Honors Experience program, with a focus on history and anthropology — who knew? —  will give a virtual tour of the landscapes, history, culture, archaeology, art, architecture and music that represent the spirit of The Way today. 

The walk began in St. Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees, a traditional starting place for many pilgrims since medieval times. The Way traverses a range of provinces, landscapes, customs, languages and cultures across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela (“field of stars,” believed to be the resting place of St. James), ending at Finisterre (“land’s end” in Latin for the Romans) on the Atlantic Costa de Morte (coast of death), the symbolic place of death and resurrection for many pilgrims who reach its shores. 

The presentation will include field recordings of interviews and songs of modern-day pilgrims, as well as sacred music of The Way.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, takes place at 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Northern Essex College Technology Center Room 103A.

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