They say that plants thrive when played classical music. And humans do pretty well, too. A Whitehorse musician is finding that her twin babies are enraptured with the pretty, dreamy classical songs she has been playing them.
Kim Barlow, who is five-and-a-half months pregnant, is performing every second Friday through March and April with Micah Smith and Helene Beaulieu at Well-Read Books in Whitehorse.
Together, they are Blue Hibou and they perform classical guitar instrumentals such as Bach, Stravinsky, some Spanish pieces, as well as original songs that evoke the same feeling.
“They seem to be pretty calm when I play our music,” Barlow says of her twins.
Barlow and Beauliu both have classical guitar training, however Barlow’s approach is to offer songs for people who don’t have a taste for classical music. She once had an aversion to classical guitar herself and headed in a different direction, pursuing campfire-banjo, folky-pop, hillbilly music and more.
With Blue Hibou she is dipping back into her roots.
“When I finished studying classical guitar in university, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it and started playing the banjo,” Barlow says. “It took me 20 years to start liking it again.”
Finishing university and jumping into the world to make it as a singer-songwriter, she pushed into her creativity to see what she was made of. Now her impulses have changed.
“When I was younger I had more to prove and now I just want to make something that’s beautiful,” Barlow says.
The stage at Well Read Books creates an appropriate ambience for Blue Hibou.
“We try to find classical pieces that have some timelessness to them; they’re really kind of pretty and dreamy,” Barlow says. “All of our music is quite gentle and dreamy, so it works well to play this at the bookstore because it’s a nice, quiet space.”
However, the trio is still challenging themselves, changing the sound to give the classical songs an unconventional treatment.
“We’re breaking rules a little bit, by taking music written for two guitars and I play a steel-string guitar (as opposed a nylon-string classical guitar), electrified, and I’ll add vibrato and sometimes Michael will add some electric bass to it or his lap steel,” Barlow says. “It makes it a little more contemporary and less formal. I like to think it makes this music more palatable to people who don’t normally listen to classical music.”
Blue Hibou are playing March 22 at Well-Read Books, located at 4137 – 4th Avenue in Whitehorse, from 8 to 10 p.m. and every second Friday thereafter until the beginning of May, depending on when the twins’ want to arrive.