Got to see the virtuoso violinist Ferenc Illenyi playing with the Gypsies at Walk Festival Hall in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The venue located in the Teton Village has wonderful sound. You could hear the artists turning the pages of their music sheets. Ferenc also plays with the Houston Symphony. If you get a chance to see this lad, go. The Gypsies played Hungarian, Romanian, and Serbian songs tinged with gitano influences. Guitarist Erich Avinger and bassist Chris Maresh joined Ferenc for beautiful world folk ballads. Pianist Scott Holshousser also joined the group during the first set and then later accompanied Frederic as a duo. It was interesting hearing Eastern European gypsy music as compared to the Western European styles seen in France and Spain. The gitanos of Spain and southern France like the Gypsy Kings and the world-famous Paco De Lucia seem to focus on the guitar, clapping, dancing, and percussive elements. But the Eastern European gypsies focus more on the violin bringing more traditional instruments to the mix like the Piano and Bass. I can’t say which I like better, but it is certain that the western style is more lively while the eastern style more classical. The group played some traditional tunes including a “Romanian March,” and also played some popular tunes like “Fraulein.” The evening sounds proved to be soothing and lovely.
Weird Al Yankovic rode the Michael Jackson coat tails quite unlike any other performer in modern history. When you listen to artists like Weird Al Yankovic, DJ Spooky, Q-Tip, Herbie Hancock, and LL Cool J speak about Michael Jackson on the Thrillercast podcast you learn just how huge a superstar Michael Jackson actually was. In fact Jackson created an entire industry. Just think about the popularity and the money made from the parodies.“Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Eat It” and “Fat” made hits out of Jackson’s super hits “Beat It (Single Version)” and “Bad.” Jackson and Yankovic share the royalties of the parodied songs. On the recent Thrillercast, a podcast celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the album Thriller 25 Super Deluxe Edition, Yankovic said he bought a very nice house with the royalties from the Michael Jackson parodies.
I loved Weird Al Yankovic as a kid and his videos were very funny. My brother, friends, and I memorized the Even Worse album. I even was a fan of his film UHF. Perhaps Michael Jackson is the King of Pop but Weird Al Yankovic must be the King of Pop Parody. I always thought Weird Al Yankovic was the son of the “King of Polka” Frank Yankovic. However, readers have informed me of the truth. “Weird Al” is not the son of Frankie Yankovic. Anyways go ahead and check out Frankie Yankovic and the Yanks on the album Frankie Yankovic & His Yanks’ Greatests Hits. Frankie Yankovic played a wonderful “Beer Barrel Polka.”