Arborea: Tiny Desk Concert While clearly rooted in acoustic traditions, the folk music of Arborea stands out for its calm beauty and rough edges. The duo incorporates harmonium, electric guitars played with an EBow, and a Ban-Jammer — a hybrid instrument that's part banjo, part mountain dulcimer.

Tiny Desk

Arborea

Arborea: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/152709325/152710051" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

I discovered Arborea amid a sea of 1,300 songs that I heard in preparation for South by Southwest. The music stood out for its calm beauty, its rough edges, and the duo's ability to speak eloquently of life's precious moments, about the sea, and about wonder.

Shanti and Buck Curran came to NPR with their two children, their guitars, a harmonium, and a Ban-Jammer — a sweet little hybrid that's part banjo, part mountain dulcimer. And, while their music is clearly rooted in acoustic and folk traditions, Arborea's songs can roar with an electric guitar, sustained indefinitely courtesy of an electromagnetic device known as an EBow.

I first heard the duo perform at St. David's Bethel Hall in Austin during this year's South by Southwest music festival. That gorgeous church was the best imaginable place to hear this music, short of a visit to the couple's cabin in the western mountains of Maine. Unfortunately, only a small number of people attended that St. David's show — maybe 40 or so — but a large percentage I recognized as music writers and DJs who were fortunate enough to know not to miss Arborea.

It's always special to hear musicians play to the space they're in. The Currans are not only superb players, and Shanti Curran a lovely singer, but, as this Tiny Desk Concert indicates, they're equally good listeners — always in tune with their surroundings.

Set List:

  • "Song For Obol"
  • "Forewarned"
  • "A Little Time"

Credits:

Producer and Editor: Bob Boilen; Videographer: Michael Katzif; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; photo by Doriane Raiman/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Y La Bamba plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Y La Bamba

Y La Bamba returns for its second Tiny Desk performance with a revised musical vision.

Nilüfer Yanya plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Nilüfer Yanya

There's a hush to the music of Nilüfer Yanya that made the Tiny Desk the perfect stage for her sound.

Rhiannon Giddens plays a Tiny Desk Concert on July 17, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Rhiannon Giddens

Giddens shares songs from her latest album, There is No Other, in an emotional and transfixing performance at the Tiny Desk.

Come From Away plays a Tiny Desk Concert on Aug. 12, 2019 (Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR

Come From Away

Sixteen performers from the Broadway cast crammed behind the Tiny Desk to sing songs and share stories about thousands of airline passengers who were stranded in Newfoundland after 9/11.

Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley

With eyes shut, Marley dug deep into the healing power of music with songs from his 2017 album Stony Hill.

The Tallest Man On Earth plays a Tiny Desk Concert on July 10, 2019. Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

The Tallest Man On Earth (2019)

The Tallest Man On Earth's second appearance at the Tiny Desk comes almost 10 years to the day after his first. He returns with a touch of grey and a beard, but no less intense or moving.

A-WA plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

A-WA

The three Israeli sisters in A-WA mix Yemenite and Arabic traditions with splashes of reggae and hip-hop.

The-Dream plays a Tiny Desk Concert on April 12, 2019 (Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR

The-Dream

The singer and mega-hit songwriter showcases three of his own tracks, including "I Luv Your Girl" and two songs from Ménage à Trois: Sextape Vol. 1, 2, 3.

Dan Tepfer plays a Tiny Desk concert on July 30, 2019 (Olivia Falcigno/NPR). Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Dan Tepfer

The pianist and programmer has transformed the acoustic piano into his duet partner.

47SOUL plays a Tiny Desk Concert on July 1, 2019 (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

47SOUL

47SOUL's message of equality is meant for the world. It's music without borders, mixing old and new, acoustic and electronic from a band formed in Amman Jordan, singing in Arabic and English.

Back To Top