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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on February 15th, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 22, Issue 51 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 22, Issue 51

San Francisco-based ensemble Dirty Cello performs inaugural Solvang concert

By CALEB WISEBLOOD

Sometimes the only article of clothing you need to get into a Dirty Cello concert is a face covering. One of the group’s most memorable shows took place at a nudist resort in San Jose, band leader Rebecca Roudman revealed.


BAND ON THE RUN
Dirty Cello is playing its first live concert in Solvang at Lost Chord Guitars on Friday, Feb. 25. The band has previously performed in several venues along the Central Coast, including in San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DIRTY CELLO

“The audience dutifully kept their masks on, but nothing else,” Roudman said. “We kept our clothes on and found the whole experience to be beyond distracting, especially when the hula hoops came out and the dancing kicked up a notch.”

Internationally known for its high-energy, genre-bending performances, Dirty Cello prides itself in finding concert venues off the beaten path but isn’t opposed to playing in traditional settings. The group has found examples of both along the Central Coast.

“We’ve played all up and down the Central Coast, with special mentions going to a giant buffalo ranch near San Luis Obispo and the beautiful Clark Center in Arroyo Grande,” said Roudman, whose band will mark its first concert in Solvang on Friday, Feb. 25, with an 8 p.m. performance at Lost Chord Guitars.


Guitar heroes
For more info on Dirty Cello, visit dirtycello.com. The group’s upcoming concert takes place on Friday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m., at Lost Chord Guitars, located at 1576 Copenhagen Drive, Solvang. Tickets are $20. Call (805) 331-4362 for more details.

“Fun, quirky venues like Lost Chord Guitars are truly saving musicians,” Roudman said of the local spot, described as a triple threat—music store, music venue, and art gallery. “We want people to close their computers, turn off the damn TV, get off the couch, and come see some live music for a great evening!”

Roudman has been playing cello since childhood and performed in several professional orchestras as an adult before becoming the founder of Dirty Cello.


GENRE BENDER
Rebecca Roudman (pictured) has been playing classical cello since childhood and performed in several professional orchestras as an adult before becoming the founder of Dirty Cello. A bit of experimentation led Roudman to switch from performing classical to classic rock, blues, and Americana hits, albeit “getting rid of the lead guitar and replacing it with my cello,” she said.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DIRTY CELLO

“While I still love playing in various symphonies, before long I wanted to figuratively and literally let my hair down—there’s actually a hair dress code for orchestras,” the cellist said. “So I started trying to find something else to do with my cello.”

A bit of experimentation led Roudman to switch from performing classical to classic rock, blues, and Americana hits, albeit “getting rid of the lead guitar and replacing it with my cello,” she said. 

But it wasn’t smooth sailing from there, added Roudman, while recalling her “disastrously weird” experience bringing her newfound style to America’s Got Talent.

“A standout moment was Sharon Osbourne telling me that when she died, and went to hell, she imagined my playing as the soundtrack,” Roudman said. “Despite all that, the band took off fast, and before long, we had major performance tours all over the world.”

The one band member who consistently joins Roudman for live concerts—in China, Iceland, Ireland, England, and beyond—is her husband and guitarist Jason Eckle, while the rest of Dirty Cello is composed of “a rotating cast of bass, drums, keys, and backup singers,” the bandleader said.


DYNAMIC DUO
The one band member who consistently joins cellist and bandleader Rebecca Roudman for live concerts—in China, Iceland, Ireland, England, and beyond—is her husband and guitarist Jason Eckle, while the rest of Dirty Cello is composed of “a rotating cast of bass, drums, keys, and backup singers,” Roudman said.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DIRTY CELLO

“We perform so many shows that we’ve essentially had to create two bands that we mix and match to make sure everyone’s available,” Roudman said. “The size of the band we bring depends on the audience size and the venue size. … We’ll play from the bottom of a cave for five people, to a giant show of over 2,000, and we’ll do it within the same week if needed.”

Dirty Cello takes a similar play-it-by-ear approach when it comes to picking which songs they’re going to perform, Roudman explained.

“We step on stage with a giant pile of songs in our repertoire, then we start rocking, and see what the audience likes. There’s no pre-planned set of music,” she said. “So if the audience wants to hear what Eric Clapton would sound like as a cello player, we’ll do that. Jimi Hendrix? Why not?”

When it comes to taking specific audience requests, chances are, if it’s a song from the ’60s or ’70s, “we either know it or will learn it by the next show,” Roudman added.

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood wants to hear Tiny Tim’s ukulele riffs in cello form. Send comments to cwiseblood@santamariasun.com.










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