|Kristen Miller and Ken Bonfield perform 'Soulful Strings' Dec. 4.|
Kristen Miller is a cellist who has been turning the instrument on its head for years, mixing hypnotic African rhythms and Eastern melodies with rock attitude, vocabulary and gear. Ken Bonfield is a Gloucester-based multi-instrumentalist who has developed a style that's difficult to pin down, combining elements of folk, Celtic, classical and blues for acoustic guitar to create a mash he calls, for better or worse, fojazzical. They've both got Christmas albums out: Bonfield’s subdued, introspective “WinterNight,” coming out more than a decade ago, and Miller’s 2010 “Winter Loves Company,” a collaboration with sound guru Tom Eaton, a sweet mix of cello and piano with a Windham Hill sensibility. Both include fresh arrangements of traditional carols as well as original seasonal compositions. They'll be playing a holiday show together next week, but, given their idosyncatic musical histories, it is unlikely that their “Soulful Strings,” show at the First Religious Society Unitarian Universalist Church in Newburyport next week will be your traditional rum-pa-pa-pum kind of show, but it’s gonna be nice.