When: Thu., April 5, 10 p.m. 2012
Phillip Torres, songwriter and founding member of Durham art-folk duo Baobab, says he draws as much inspiration from science as from art and music. They're not in opposition, he says, or even all that different. "Being a good scientist requires loads of creativity," he says. "I don't think there's anything psychologically different between devising a theory and writing a song."
Torres, an author, started writing the Baobab songs to give himself a break from working on a book. He recorded at home, layering acoustic guitars and multiple vocal tracks into Africanized electro-folk that splits the difference between Paul Simon's Graceland and more recent fare like Panda Bear's Tomboy. "I thought my songs were inaccessible and would appeal only to a very small audience," he says. "But the reactions I got from friends indicated just the opposite."
After this positive input, Torres teamed up with keyboardist and sample artist Whitney Trettien to develop a live show. Some songs had to be reworked to be reproduced live, but Torres is excited about the increasingly multimedia direction Baobab is taking as a duo. He mentions a plan involving a Kinect motion sensor and a projector, for one: "The image would change depending on either the music we're playing, the reaction of the audience or our own movement on stage. I'm pretty excited about the possibilities." Baobab plays with Humble Tripe at Tir na nOg on Thursday, April 5, at 10 p.m. The show is free. —Corbie Hill