top: ridiculous "band" press photo
bottom: The Tempest is Over cover by Sherri Wood

Duo with Kevin Davis

banjo/cello duo

The duo of with cellist Kevin Davis, a classically trained cellist originally from Tennessee who later studied music in Istanbul, began in 2004 within the fertile Chicago free improvisation community. The project resulted in several tours of the Untied States, including performances at John Zorn's the Stone as well as in trio with famed electronic composer Pauline Oliveros. Following their 2005 tour, they recorded The Tempest is Over, which received acclaim from Wire Magazine, Signal to Noise, etc..

There is the obvious cultural collapse occurring with the instrumentation of cello and banjo; a rare combination, as each instrument points to a very specific historical trajectory. Via improvisation, the duo attempts to navigate a common ground where new meanings can emerge. There is the occasional play towards the romantic, incorporating simple major/minor melodies intended to evoke the emotional, but these gestures do not necessarily point to "folk" or 19th century classical - they seem rooted in much larger cross-cultural currents. While searching for mutuality, real differences are discovered. Larger socio-political questions emerge - is it possible to create a space where our similarities and differentiation can co-exist and if we are excluding anything within our natures (musical or personal), why does it not fit?

"Beautiful, dynamic stuff." - Byron Coley, Harp Magazine

"A world of delicate tinkles, rapidly comforting strokes and telepathic gestures, all beautifully recorded" - Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

"Sullender is as good at finding the right notes as he is at discovering timbres on the venerable banjo you never thought existed... Good stuff" - Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic