WOUB Music Blog

David Wax Museum At Stuart's Opera House

By
Mark Hellenberg

Dateline
Updated Fri, Mar 23, 2012 10:39 am

The David Wax Museum will be the opening act for The Carolina Chocolate Drops this Sunday at Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville, Ohio. 

Formed in 2009, the Boston-based band is essentially David Wax and Suz Slezak, who are occasionally joined by horn players, accordionists and other musicians. Since their breakthrough at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival (where they won a contest for a performance spot), The David Wax Museum has been receiving rave reviews from the public and the press.

NPR's Bob Boilen, who hosted the band for a Tiny Desk Concert in January 2011, called the band "pure, irresistible joy" and claimed, "This kind of acoustic exuberance doesn't happen often enough." This past year, the band returned to the Newport Folk Festival, but this time as main stage performers.

The group's most recent recording, Everything Is Saved, solidified their reputation and helped them become more visible on the national level. The album's single, "Born With A Broken Heart," won Song of the Year at the 2011 Boston Music Awards.

Other accolades have come from Time Magazine, which listed The David Wax Museum as one of the top 10 performers at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and Paste Magazine ranked the band eighth in its list of The 25 Best Live Acts of 2011. Next month, they will travel to China for a weeklong residency at the University of Shanghai.

According to The New Yorker, The David Wax Museum "kicks up a cloud of excitement with its high-energy border-crossing sensibility." That sensibility is what the band calls "Mexo-American" music, an aesthetic that merges traditional son mexicano with American roots music and indie-rock energy. 

While in college, David Wax spent his summers working in the Mexican countryside. After graduating from Harvard, he returned to Mexico to study and absorb the country's folk music tradition. While there, Wax learned to play the jarana jarocha, a small eight string guitar-like instrument from the state of Vera Cruz.

After returning to Boston, he met Suz Slezak, a violinist whose musical background included traditional Irish fiddle and old time tunes and classical music. Wax convinced her to take up the quijada, a traditional Mexican percussion instrument fashioned from a donkey's jawbone, and along with her fiddle and harmony vocals, joined in the process of blending the styles and sounds that would become The David Wax Museum.

The Feb. 26 Stuart's Opera House show is sold out. For more information about The David Wax Museum, visit www.davidwaxmuseum.com.

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