Elliott Sharp
Concert in Dachau

[Intakt Records, www.intaktrec.ch]

Elliott Sharp's concert in Dachau in May 2007 was a striking personal moment. Being a descendant of parents who were lucky enough to escape the Holocaust, Sharp understands the crucial meaning the concentration camps hold for future generations. Sharp is quick to point out that besides the Jews, Hitler's first victims were the mentally ill, Communists, Socialists and homosexuals. Question for Sharp [as for many of us] is why aren't there more international memorials in place for millions killed by Chinese Cultural Revolution, by Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, the Hutus and Tutsis? In other words, a definition of a holocaust comes into question. Is it sheer numbers that define a holocaust or is broad-range marketing enough to label a horrendous event as such? Program that Sharp presented on that May night in Dachau was performed on his electro-acoustic and laptop guitars. The themes play themselves flawlessly so much so, one would like to believe there is a bunch of guitarists sitting in the spotlight. Sharp is quick on the picking and the strings get quite a work out. More than anything else, this music is drenched in blues. These are the sounds of despair, the themes of anger, disgust and all dark human emotions put into one 70 minute performance. Wild improvisations appear, only to be replaced by scorching laptop revelations a few minutes later. With each phrase, with each turn, the music turns on its head to deliver an emotive punch. This is an ultimate way for Sharp to pay homage to those whose lives were brutally cut short at Dachau. As the old adage says, for those that don't know history are doomed to repeat it.

- Tom Sekowski


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