Bowhunter's Album Captures The Fun In Square Dance Culture
Square Dance Kalamazoo's resident band Bowhunter is coming out with their first album called The Right Hands Round. They'll premiere a few of their songs at the upcoming SDK event at Bell's Eccentric Cafe on Monday night at 7:30 p.m.
What to Expect in the Album:
Cooper says the goal of the album was to capture the energy of the live band and square dance atmosphere as much as possible—without the caller of course. The Right Hands Round has dance tunes as well as traditional ballads and original songs. You’ll also find out takes and jokes on the record.
“So to us it feels a lot like hanging out at home and just jamming together, which I think is a big part of this tradition,” says Cooper. “Just kitchen music, playing in your house with friends, not necessarily having…needing to be really professional about it, but just having fun.”
What Makes A Great Square Dance Tune:
Herman says, as you would expect, a lot of the songs are in 2/4 or 4/4 time to make it easy for the caller to organize dances. There’s also some repetition as dance tunes tend to have, but Herman says there needs to be a little variety.
“They have to have a good drive to them and still like intricate enough of a tune to keep everyone’s attention and energy up,” he says.
Oh, Fiddle Sticks!
In the track “Patter Roller,” Michael Beauchamp plays an accompanying rhythm using fiddle sticks on the finger board of the strings.
“You’re not necessarily playing notes or harmonics, but something in between that where you get this rhythmic sound on top of the actual melody and the bowing,” Herman explains.
The Instant Gratification of Playing for Dancers:
Herman says when you’re just playing for an audience at a concert, you put out a product and wait until the end of the song, hoping the audience likes it. But playing for dancers is different:
“You’re getting a constant feedback from the people on the floor,” he says. “There’s a symbiotic energy that happens with the dancers all the time.”