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From THE FOLK CIRCLE, May/June 2002
Tidewater Friends of Folk Music Newsletter

 

A Night With Bob Zentz

by Kim Korman Brown

The versatile Bob Zentz put on a concert recently to benefit the Wholefoods Co-op of Norfolk, sponsored by the Naro Expanded Cinema in Ghent, together with TFFM.

Zentz has a gift for easily teaching songs and drawing the audience into group singing along with him within the first few bars of his performance.  Sea chanties, folk songs, and original tunes were played and sung on guitar, concertina, cittern (like a big mandolin), melodion (like a medium sized accordion), banjo, cuatro (a Puerto Rican or South American violin-shaped instrument the size of a small guitar, with 10 strings, which he didn't know how to play until he got to Scotland and someone showed him how to tune it, using a combination of mandolin and guitar strings!) and harmonica.

The seafaring poetry of C. Fox Smith set to music, the familiar and touching songs of Stephen Foster and other traditional Irish and Scottish melodies gave one the impression of life as it might have been in little villages when folks gathered in the evenings in a pub or someone's home and simply sang and enjoyed songs together.  Zentz's generosity and ease with his medium could make one wish for an older brother, a father, a grandpa, or a friend like him to be a part of one's daily life.

His tribute to 9-11, the gorgeous hymn, "When All Thy Names Are One," demonstrated the wide, broad heart of universal music.  He embodied the lyrics in his final song, "he could sing all night, he must've known a million songs, he made you feel alright ..."  Thank you Bob, you are one in a million.

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