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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at MaineToday.com and a music writer for MaineToday.com and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at Mainetoday.com. You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk about...music of course.

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Posted: April 22, 2019

Richardson and Amarantos Quartet make a divine pair

Written by: Aimsel Ponti

Back: Anna Maria Amoroso Noyes, Sara Hallie Richardson, Lauren Hastings Genova. Front: Hannah Schroeder Jackson, Meagan McIntyre.
Photo by Matt Cosby

When one of Maine’s most vibrant singers performs with a string quartet, it’s what would come to mind if a musical match was actually made in heaven.

Singer-songwriter Sara Hallie Richardson has long set herself apart with intricate arrangements and soaring vocals. “Sonorous” from her 2015 album “Phoenix” is but one example.

Amarantos Quartet, formed in 2014, is Lauren Hastings Genova (violin), Hannah Jackson (cello), Meagan McIntyre (violin) and most recently, Anna Maria Amoroso Noyes (viola). Noyes was invited to join the quartet when former violist Bryan Brash moved to California. The quartet’s name is the Greek form of amaranth, an ancient flower that persists through the best and roughest conditions and has magical properties to mend broken hearts. “All of us come together as a quartet with our own histories in the world of classical music which has been both nurturing and trying for all of us. It’s our friendship and love for music and for one another that unites us as a quartet,” said Hastings Genova.

Speaking of California, Richardson spent a few years there before coming back to Maine last year. Hastings Genova had long hoped to collaborate with Richardson, and this dream was realized last fall when the quartet and Richardson played a few house shows and one at The Jewel Box in Portland.

In the true spirit of collaboration, all five women worked on arranging the songs and promoting the shows in what they described as “dream come true project.” You can expect to hear Richardson’s originals with her on vocals and electric guitar, and the quartet’s strings arranged primarily by Jackson along with a few by local arranger and composer Sam Kyzivat. Richardson said that they’ve also been learning classical pieces for string and voice. Amarantos Quartet will open the show at One Longfellow Square with a set of instrumental pieces.

If you can’t make it to the Portland show, Richardson and the Amarantos Quartet will also be at Camden Opera House on Saturday. They’re sharing the bill with organ, drums and guitar trio Micromassé. Richardson appears on their 2014 single “Don’t Give Up.” It’s a cover of a duet between Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, and Richardson handles all the vocals in glorious fashion. She sang it live with Micromassé at the recent Dave Noyes tribute show at the State Theatre, and it brought the house down. Head to camdenoperahouse.com for details.

And in breaking news, Micromassé JUST released “Arrow Song” featuring Sara Hallie Richardson. Check out the super cool video!

 

Sara Hallie Richardson with Amarantos Quartet

8 p.m. Friday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland, $12 in advance, $15 day of show. onelongfellowsquare.com


Sarah Shook & the Disarmers photo by John Gessner

Quickly, there’s a Tuesday night show at Port City Music Hall that demands a shout-out. Murder By Death is an indie-Americana band with eight albums under its belt, most recently “The Other Shore.” Opening the show is Sarah Shook & The Disarmers whose outlaw country sound won me over five seconds into “Good As Gold,” the opening track from last year’s “Years” album.


I can’t wait to stomp my feet to “The Bottle Never Lets Me Down.” Also hoping to hear another whiskey-soaked song in the form of “Dwight Yoakam” from the 2017 “Sidelong” album.

Murder By Death with Sarah Shook & The Disarmers

8 p.m. Tuesday, April 30.  Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland, $18 in advance, $22 day of show, $35 preferred seating, 18-plus. portcitymusichall.com

 

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