Professors of rock
Universities are well known as a fertile breeding ground for aspiring musicians, actors and artists, but why should students have all the fun?
Not to be beaten by their younger counterparts, a group of St Andrews musicians have joined together and formed a band, exclusively for academics in the Arts. The band, Dry Island Buffalo Jump (named after a provincial park in Canada), consists of two poets, three historians and a French linguist from the University of St Andrews.
Founder-member Dr Chris Jones joined forces with colleagues Donovan McAbee, David Evans and James Palmer earlier this year, in what he hopes will become a `music-making collective’ for academics across the University.
The band have played a number of gigs in venues in and around St Andrews, and this week, played their first live session on student radio station Star FM. The foursome will be joined by new members Peter Kushner and Simon MacLean for their last gig of the year at Boarhills Village Hall this weekend.
The group came about during a jamming session held at Chris’s home, with French lecturer David Evans on an assortment of string instruments and drummer James Palmer ‘playing the phonebook’. Chris, who plays bass guitar, banjo and bodhran, envisages an evolving lineup, with new colleagues taking part in this unusual form of collaboration as `academics inevitably move on’.
The collective family-style ethos of the band even means that the Buffalos are occasionally joined by Chris’s daughters, nine year old Eve on fiddle and seven year old Anya on harmonica.
Lead singer and songwriter Donovan McAbee, a former youth minister, describes the group as `Americana folk-rock, a bit like The Band, if they were from Dairsie’. The Buffalo setlist consists of a mix of covers by Grateful Dead, The Band and honorary graduate Bob Dylan, as well as songs penned by Donovan himself.
Next year, the band will be on the hunt for a new singer as South Carolina-born Donovan is relocating to Nashville, Tennessee or Austin, Texas, where he hopes to begin a career as a singer-songwriter.
Dry Island Buffalo Jump play at Boarhills Village Hall on Saturday 13 December 2008 at 5pm. For further information contact them on [email protected]
NOTE TO EDITORS:
FOUNDER-MEMBER OF DRY ISLAND BUFFALO JUMP DR CHRIS JONES (SCHOOL OF ENGLISH) IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW ON 01334 462673 OR EMAIL [email protected]
NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS
IMAGES OF THE BAND IN ST ANDREWS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.
Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email [email protected]
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