Admirable Eccentrics – a soprano sings Beefheart

A fascinating concert programme which includes an unusual new arrangement of Bat Chain Puller has been announced by Zeitgeist, the eclectic new music ensemble from St Paul, Minnesota.

Zeitgeist’s Bat Chain Puller is scored for MalletKat (a mallet keyboard synthesizer), another keyboard synthesizer, bass clarinet, and drums. Perhaps most interestingly the vocal part is taken by a soprano, Janet Gotschall Fried.

Heather Barringer, Zeitgeist’s artistic director told me, “She doesn’t sound anything like Captain Beefheart. In fact, that’s why we decided to use a female as our vocalist. I wouldn’t have wanted someone to come onstage and do an imitation of Captain Beefheart, because our arrangment isn’t really an imitation of the original (though yes, all of the rhythms, notes, and voices are there).”

Zeitgeist chose to perform Bat Chain Puller because it incorporates so many elements that they already do well (such as multiple metres).

For the rest of the programme Zeitgeist selected other composers who accomplished their work outside the new music establishment. The title piece is the world premiere of Admirable Eccentrics by Twin Cities composer Carol Barnett. Works by Eric Stokes, Charles Ives, Giacinto Scelsi, Conlon Nancarrow and Hermeto Pascoal will also be performed. Hurry if you want to be there, as there are only 30 tickets available for each performance.

Studio Z, 275 East 4th Street, Suite 100, St. Paul,
Friday, October 28 at 8 p.m
Saturday, October 29, Benefit Party at 7 p.m., Concert at 8 pm
Friday-Saturday, November 4-5 at 8 p.m
Family Concert on Sunday, November 6 at 2 p.m

Call Zeitgeist at (651) 755-1600 or email hbarring(at) for ticket and disability access information.

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