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Show Review: Chervona at Star Theater 
- by Brandy Crowe

    We are at the end of that brief time of year between Halloween and Thanksgiving. For a few more days we can still have pumpkins and wear fall colors and savor that little bit of leftover scary, before all of the glitter and pageantry of winter holidays are vomited upon us.

     This “season” has offered up some enjoyment, starting with an annual Day of the Dead Celebration with internationally known, Portland based band Chervona at the newly poshed Star Theater. The  event did cater to a remembrance and celebration of loved ones past. Outside in one corner of the large patio space there was a  glowing, ornate alter with linen strips for the names of family or friends that had died. A beautiful dead girl nearby told me that I didn’t have to go to it, it would call to me.

     Mostly though, that first Friday, the first night of November holiday was an extension of the Halloween weekend, a gathering of sugar skulls, masquerade and steam-punk opera. Someone broke all the rules and decided to meld Transylvanian and Voodoo.      

     Chervona took the stage with front-man André Temkin rocking a pink fro. To overuse the term “high-energy” applies here. With members spanning homelands of Russia, Lithuania and Brazil, these guys put a Russian/ Eastern European/Gypsy Punk spin on traditional folk and party songs, and on some currents too, like turning Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance” into Polka and having the whole place love it.

     The show was headlined by Vagabond Opera. I had thought of the Opera as a mere title but found it in the beautiful, powerful voice of Ashia Grzesik along with cello, accordion and stand-up bass; all with an enticing charm of a mysterious sideshow. An in-house artist donning a long-nosed venetian mask painted during the music and there was a belly dancer who by all accounts was “HOT”. The whole thing was said to have ended with a séance, but with all the drinks and dancing, new and old friends were already floating between worlds.  

     In addition to this event,  Chervona has been busy with recent gigs at The Portland Polish Festival and Library, and with Abney Park at The Swashbucklers Ball. Currently they are preparing to make it crazy for their 7th Birthday Celebration/Red Party at Alberta Street Pub this Saturday, November 23rd.            

 

 

  

Chevrona      

Vagabond Opera