The acclaimed writer, composer, librettist, physician, performer, and director Rinde Eckert delighted and amazed the crowd on Friday evening at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater. Eckert allowed the audience to enter his seemingly hermetically sealed world of musical language, comedic riffs, rare instrumentals, and anecdotal tales.
Mr. Eckert is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award as well as several Drama Desk Awards. He certainly captured the crowd’s attention with amazing verbal wordplay, singing in the highest of registers and playing several musical instruments.
He played an accordion and surprised all with an entrancing chant (rather than the expected polka!) Mr. Eckert’s iconoclastic “performance art” style always produced the unexpected.
As Eckert began his act, he carefully removed his shoes and performed his entire show in his bare feet. In addition to his many other talents, Eckert plays beautifully on the piano.
Eckert played a romantic song and an Irish love song on a mini keyboard that was wrapped around his neck.
Often, Mr. Eckert created his own words. As he chanted, it was a mesmerizing experience.
One of the standouts of Eckert’s act was when he wrapped himself in a big brown piece of paper and spouted bits of gibberish and a strange, guttural language.
On his key board, Eckert sang a vey poetic song with references to animals with the line “The wolf is fading” staying hauntingly in my mind. The keyboard often reminded me of an organ.
With his accordion, Eckert once more amazed with street musician music.
With his guitar, Eckert produced an Irish Hillbilly Sound.
Eckert explicated upon three outfits that he had worn from past shows.
On his electric guitar, Eckert sang the “Song is Blues”.
With his trusty accordion, Eckert sang of the wood dove and the fact that God is in all things.
Eckert played the banjo and he sang movingly of the Catbird – who sings the song that nothing is ours to keep.
Eckert sang a moving prayer for peace at the piano.
For a well-deserved encore, Eckert sang a very poetic song about his lover.
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.
RIN—Tales from the life of a Troubadour Starring Rinde Eckert was presented on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 7 PM as part of the Renée Fleming VOICES series at the Kennedy Center Family Theater – 2700 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For information on future events at the Kennedy Center, go to their calendar.
Excerpt of Rinde Eckert performing his piece And God Created Great Whales: