Friday, November 16, 2012

Petra van Nuis at Friday at the Ford

I've said it before. Being host of the Friday at the Ford concerts at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library is one of the unexpected pleasures of my job. In the process of hiring acts for the five-times-a-year music series, I meet a lot of nice people. I also get to hear a lot of great music. Such was the case on November 2, when we featured jazz singer Petra van Nuis (pronounced Paytra van Nouse - which rhymes with mouse) with guitar accompaniment by Andy Brown. Petra, as she is called by most of her publicity, specializes in the American songbook and Brazilian bossa nova, genres that really pleased our crowd of 60 at the library.

Petra began with Cole Porter's "Is It an Earthquake" followed by "Dreamer" by Antonio Carlos Jobin. I recognized these but few others in the first half of the concert. Then she sang "I Won't Dance" by Jerome Kern and "Mediation, " another song by Jobin, starting a series of familiar-to-me standards. I especially liked how she finished the evening, letting the audience recommend songs for a medley that she and Brown pulled off splendidly. With her smooth voice, she both calmed and captivated. 

The singer met some of her listeners before the show and discovered the first other Petra she had ever met, other than her Dutch grandmother. After the show, Petra answered questions and signed cd's.

Petra obviously knows and loves her songs and the era from which they came, and she connects warmly with the audience, who enjoyed her many tempos and moods. After the last notes of "You Make Me Feel So Young" ended, many went home with a little more bounce in their steps.

Here's a sample of Petra's music - Old Black Magic

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