By Kat DaVille
I had the pleasure of meeting Alaskan treasure Marian Call (link) in Princeton, NJ at the Princeton Arts Council a few days ago. I have to be honest: I didn’t quite know what to expect as I was witnessing an old fashioned mechanical typewriter (complete with clicks and dings) being miked. Was this a part of the show? My head tilted in confusion as I saw the typewriter being manipulated correctly and set up. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around why Marian Call was using a typewriter at all. I quickly got over it after I saw her performance and how she incorporated it into the show.
As Ms. Call greets the audience, one can’t help but be charmed by her wit and charisma. Everyone laughed at her quirky jokes and became mesmerized through her interaction with the audience. Then, she sang. I was captivated especially by her voice. It sounds like a hybrid between Joni Mitchell and Carol King, as you will understand once listening to Sketchbook. Marian Call communicates with the audience and she makes it as personable and personal as possible. All of her songs possess a giant piece of her experiences whether they are ordinary or extraordinary; simple or amazing; while leaving her feeling absolutely complete or utterly devastated.
Marian Call charmingly describes her Sketchbook album on her website as a “bootleg album recorded on the road. These are not polished studio tracks, they are simple, imperfect, & transparent.” I enjoyed the tracks “Elementary” and “I Hope My Discipline Improves in Time.” My personal favorite song that she performed is not on Sketchbook, however, I feel people need to hear about it: “Dear Mr. Darcy,” a clever little tune about overcoming shyness and personal boundaries to finally acquire the love for which you were desperately searching.
And, yes, she “played” the typewriter. She didn’t have a percussionist or even someone who played a triangle. The typewriter supplied all of those colors for her. As she sang, she typed on the keys to play along in time with the song. Kudos to Marian Call for thinking outside the box!
Check her out! She’s on tour now…