San Diego Symphony's second night of the Masterworks season showcased the power of place and personality
Garrett Harris noon, Oct. 13
Sound description: Psychedelic folk blues.
RIYL: Rafter, Flipper, Addiquit, Sufjan Stevens, the Shaky Hands
Inception: San Diego, 2003
Current Status: Touring the nation.
Influences: Sufjan Stevens, the Shaky Hands, DA Levy, DJ Screw, Flipper, Hickey, Nachtmystium, Vanishing Voice, Addiquit, Rafter
Castanets is the musical project of Raymond Raposa, a San Diego native currently residing in New York City. While Raposa is the only constant member of the band, his records and live performances often feature a seemingly never ending rotating cast of musicians, the line-up often changing from night to night in a single tour. First touted by Pitchfork Media, Castanets was one of the more prominent proponents of the so-called freak folk movement (aka psychedelic folk, New Weird America, etc.) that took place in the U.S. music scene in 2003-2004.
In addition to his regular touring, in 2006 Raposa toured the East Coast's Intracoastal Waterway in a sailboat. "I love the ocean, and I love the water," he says. Raposa, who surfed competitively as a teen, hooked up with fellow "freak folk" artists Red Hunter (aka Peter and the Wolf) and Jana Hunter for a two-week float on a 28-foot sailboat.
The notion for a tour by sailboat arose while Hunter and Peter and the Wolf principal Red Hunter (no relation to Jana) were shooting pool.
"Red's into unconventional touring," says Hunter, "and we were discussing alternatives to being in a car all the time. He wanted to tour by train; I wanted to tour by bicycle. Then we both got excited about the sailing idea -- and then a friend of mine who was buying a boat...offered to be the skipper."
What ensued was a minor media feeding frenzy when the story was spun as a fuel-saving approach to touring. The story was written up in Newsweek (and other publications) and broadcast on MTV, VH1, CNN, and ABC, including segments on Good Morning America and World News Tonight.
"I thought it was funny," muses Raposa. "ABC talked to Red for a goddamned hour, and the quote they pulled from him was something like, 'Chicks dig boats' -- and he's a profound dude, he can say a lot of things!"
As of 2011, Raposa was residing in Portland, Oregon and performing live film soundtracks with Sufjan Stevens for screenings of a film the duo scored together, director Kaleo La Belle’s documentary Beyond This Place.