Rooted in original works spanning from the Celtic world, sextet Night Tree creates original music that borrows from the Swedish, Jewish and American folk tradition. Night Tree includes the dark resonance of the cello, baritone saxophone, and cajón meeting with the drones of accordion and intertwining with the soaring melodies of dueling fiddles. Contrast is created with the replacement of the baritone saxophone with the soprano saxophone, adding another fiddle-like melodic instrument to the mix. Drawing from an unusually diverse mix of musical backgrounds, Night Tree has discovered a sound both colorfully and resonantly different while delving into the realm of harmonies and rhythm that range from edgy to inviting, both unheard of and timeless.
Night Tree, named the 2016-2017 Wildcard Honors Ensemble at the New England Conservatory (NEC), first began in a practice room starting with just fiddle, cajon, and accordion. It quickly expanded to include an additional fiddle player, cellist, and baritone saxophone. This creative and spiritually connected band held early rehearsals in complete darkness to have an unobscured focus on developing their musical and aural connection. These rehearsals guided them as they targeted each other’s individual sounds. Duos and trios formed within the ensemble, as well as building and molding the sound of the band. Rehearsals consisted from free improvisations to traditional Irish jig-to-reel sets and everything in between, as can be heard in their arrangement ‘Ships’, which surrounds two traditional tunes about actual ocean vessels with improvisational sections that depict a shipwreck.
Said about Night Tree:
“I am still reeling from your concert and all I heard and experienced there. Simply wonderful!! In addition to having a strong, beautiful
musical sensibility, the six of you all seem to have been hand-picked by
the Cosmos to play together; your spirits are in perfect sync.”
“Sometimes I find myself in an experience that is so incredible and moving that I crave to share it with the whole world. Last night was one of these as I sat in Matt Hemler’s crazy cool house listening to Night Tree (@nighttreemusicboston) fill that top floor apartment and beyond with wild, grinning, swelling soul blends of Swedish and American folk music. You had to be there, friends. Look them up – they’re working on a CD!”
Night Tree are:
Lily Honigberg – violin
Chris Overholser – violin
Zach Mayer – bari and soprano sax, voice
Sunniva Brynnel – accordion & voice
McKinley James – cello
Julian Loida – percussion
Though each member of Night Tree originates from a different world, the six members have come together to create something new and unique specifically to their instrumentation and musical voices, attracting new audiences and connecting folk music lovers, café radio junkies, jazz enthusiasts, free-improvisation cliques, and beyond.